Sunday, May 13, 2012

Attachment Parenting

In a couple of weeks my beautiful oldest daughter will be 23.  She's half way through her masters degree, self sufficient, smart and a whole lot of other good things.  Like all my kids I just raised the only way I knew how and did what seemed right for our family.  That included cloth diapers, extended nursing, co-sleeping and baby wearing.

So imagine my surprise when people started talking about this "new" style of parenting.  When did attachment parenting become new?  It's how I raised my kids and it wasn't a new concept when I had them.  Granted it wasn't the norm then or now, but suddenly being talked about in Time magazine doesn't make it new.

And why is it controversial?  I nursed my kids until they were ready to wean.  And as far as messing them up - the one who weaned at the youngest age is the one who has had the most problems in life.    (no attachment parenting does not lead to perfect people)  So maybe there were other things to blame besides my "alternative" parenting methods.   They all nursed until around age 2 with one going to 2 1/2 and one making it all the way until 3.  Why?  Because it was right for our family.  It was never sexual and by the time they are 3 it's very different from nursing a baby.  By then it was only at night because that particular one wasn't ready quite ready to be totally on her own.  Today she sleeps in her own room, is popular and had the highest scores in her entire grade for the school system on the state standardized test.  So by society standards I didn't mess her up with my crazy ideas.    She's also smart, kind and artistic, so I didn't mess her up by my own standards either.

And while I did have the luxury of being home with them, which makes my choices easier to manage.  Creating that luxury was partially by choice too.  We made do with less because I wanted to be there.  Nicer car, bigger house, more stuff - all of that could have been had by my getting a job outside the home.  But that wasn't the choice I wanted to make.

My 4 kids are mostly grown up and are all smart, talented individuals.  As are many people who were raised with plastic diapers and formula.  Each family has to choose the path that is right for them.  I hate that this issue seems so polarizing.  My choosing to do it one way is not condemning other people for making different choices.  I don't live their lives and I don't know what's best for them.

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