I realize that things like co-sleeping and babywearing make me seem like one of those “attachment parenting” types. It’s a bummer of a label—people make the leap from the word “attachment” to “you’re raising a child who will be totally dependent for the rest of his/her life” far too easily. But that’s not why it bugs me.
No matter who defines it—Wiki, WebMD, Dr. Sears—attachment parenting is a philosophy that centers on developing nurturing connections between parents and baby. Sounds great, right? I think so too, until you get into the eight bossy rules, sorry, I mean principles that define this style of parenting. That’s where I start balking.
Yes, I co-sleep, and yes, I’m home with my kids pretty much every second of every single day. Yes, I breastfeed, and yes, I like to think I practice “positive discipline.” But these are my choices—and in a few cases, my privileges. What works quite well for me, thanks to economics, personality, teamwork and a million other factors, isn’t necessarily right for everyone else. Or anyone else.
The very best parenting philosophy is the one that works for you as an individual parent. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all method because the playing field isn’t level. It’s a crying shame, but there it is. That’s why the principles/guidelines/whatever you want to call them of these parenting philosophies really bug me. I understand the desire to lay out the specifics of “your way,” but it sets a standard that is truly alienating in most instances. And, to be blunt, parents have enough to do without subscribing to rigid notions of the right or wrong way to raise their kids. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
How about we ditch all the labels—whether it’s attachment, free-range, helicopter, permissive, authoritarian or what have you—and I’ll do me, and you do you. We’ll call that “parenting.”