…The Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting…

All parents want to form a close emotional bond with their children and it begins the moment

those children are born. But, parents approach this goal in many different ways because they

need a style that is consistent with their views and values. Some people treat their children as

tiny adults who can be approached rationally. Other parents turn to discipline to socialize unruly

kids. And still others let their children run the show.


As soon as you find out you are going to be a parent, you begin researching and trying to gain

enough knowledge so that you feel like you have some level of control. But, the amount of

parenting advice is overwhelming. How are you supposed to choose a method? You might try

some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try something or to change your approach if the previous

one doesn’t feel like a good fit for your family.


One popular parenting approach is attachment parenting, which focuses on the nurturing link

parents create with their children. Proponents argue that this connection is the best way to raise

children who are empathetic, secure, and independent. As they see it, a trusting, safe attachment

to parents during childhood is the foundation for independence and secure relationships as adults.

According to Attachment Parenting International—a global educational association for this

parenting approach—there are eight principles of attachment parenting. Parents are encouraged

to interpret these principles and put them into action as they choose.


Prepare Physically and Emotionally for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

By researching all of the options and learning about stages of development, parents can set

realistic expectations and remain adaptable in their responses to these situations.


Feed Your Child with Love and Respect

Ideally, babies should be breastfed, but “bottle nursing” can also help begin a secure attachment.

Infants and children will give feeding cues that parents should respond to, encouraging their

children to eat when they are hungry and stop when they feel full. Also, parents should model

healthy eating behavior and healthy food choices.


Respond to Your Child with Sensitivity

Parents need to pay attention to what their children are communicating and answer appropriately

and consistently. Babies can’t calm themselves, so they need parents to help them regulate their



Use a Nurturing Touch

Babies need affection, physical contact, stimulation, security, and movement. These are all

satisfied through touch, and skin-to- skin contact is recommended. Older children need hugs,

physical play, and snuggling.


Ensure Your Child Sleeps Safely, Both Emotionally and Physically

Sleep training routines are detrimental to children, so parents are encouraged to co-sleep with

their children. This allows parents to respond to their children’s needs and to help soothe them

when their emotions become intense.


Provide Your Child with Loving and Consistent Care

Children need the physical presence of a caregiver who is loving, consistent, and responsive. If

parents must be absent, they should choose another caregiver to help strengthen attachment. To

remain present, parents should have flexible schedules and help to diminish fear and stress

during small separations.


Practice Positive Discipline with Your Child

A child should develop a conscience that is led by his or her own inner discipline and empathy

for others. Instead of reacting to a child’s actions, parents need to discover what caused them.

Parents and children work together to create a solution that allows everyone’s dignity to remain



Endeavor for Balance in Your Family and Personal Life

Parents can best be responsive when they are stable. They need to meet the needs of their family

without compromising their own wellbeing. Ways of doing this include putting people before

things, creating a support system, being willing to say “no,” and setting realistic goals.


Obviously, there will be times when circumstances don’t allow parents to adhere to the

attachment principles, like in stressful situations resulting from things like a death or an opiate

addiction in the family. But, they can all be modified to meet the needs of the individual family.

Opiate addiction treatment can help you get your life back on track and

reverse many of the damaging effects that the addiction has had on your values, your family and

your life.

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