Problems With Attachment Parenting – Note From A Mum

I recently received this email from a mother in Australia, and she kindly allowed me to share it with you.

Hi Janet,

I am just wondering if you have any advice on how I can get my 8 month old baby to play independently.  I have been following the Dr. Sears Attachment Parenting philosophy pretty rigidly since James was born and to my dismay, he is now super clingy, whiny, wakes up every 2 hours at night to nurse, etc.  I am starting to re-think my parenting philosophy and reading your blog has really opened my eyes to the fact that I need to stop carrying him around and just let him play.  The problem is that every time I leave him, he cries.  He literally needs to be touching me to be happy.  Even if I am sitting across the room from him, he will not just sit there and play.  He always crawls over to me crying because he wants me to entertain him and play with him.  Should I just leave him in the room and let him cry? Will he eventually stop crying and start playing on his own?  I’m just so at a loss.  I feel like such a failure.  I just wish my baby would be happy!  Thanks for any advice.

Regards, Sarah                                             

Hi Sarah,

First of all, you are most definitely not a failure. And, at 8 months of age your boy is very adaptable. Babies get used to whatever we do with them and will naturally want to continue those practices, but we can also make changes anytime. The best way to make a change is to first be certain of what you are doing (committed to changing, whatever it is). Then be very honest with your boy, and support him to transition.

It sounds like there are two issues you want to work on: better sleep and more independent play time. They actually overlap because the more restfully your baby sleeps, the more energy he will have to play. The more freedom he has to move his body during the day, the more exercise he gets, the better he will sleep.  Tired babies have a harder time coping, period. (Something we can all relate to.)

I don’t know how committed you are to co-sleeping, but our presence can wake an older infant up sometimes, especially if he is used to being fed every time he wakes. If you plan to continue co-sleeping, I would try doing less when he wakes up — just stroke him gently and tell him to go back to sleep. (If you and your doctor believe he still needs a nighttime feeding, then you might feed him once, maybe the first time he wakes.)

Tell him what you will do (or not do) the day before you decide to change the pattern. “Tonight, if you wake up, we won’t be nursing. I want you to go right back to sleep.”  If he cries in the night you can even acknowledge,” I know we used to nurse in the night, but I want you to get a better sleep,” or something like that… (For more about sleep please see: Sleep On This, and Back To Sleep.)

During playtime, acknowledge the changes the same way. Don’t leave him for long in the beginning. And if you leave him, even for a moment, make sure he is in a safe, securely enclosed play space.

Sit on the floor with James in his play area. Since he is crawling, you can allow him to be the one to separate, to move away from you.  If he starts to cry, move close to him and say, “I hear you’re upset. I used to carry you more. Now I’m allowing you to move on your own.” You might want to stroke him soothingly as you talk to him.  Acknowledge any frustration. Pay attention to him, but don’t coax or entertain him to prolong his playtime. Trust him to do this in his time, when he is ready. If he continues to express objection to being on the floor with, you might try lying down next to him. But if none of these things console him, definitely pick him up (after saying, “You still seem upset, I’m going to pick you up.”) Hold him on your lap on the floor to give him a break. If he crawls to you on the floor, let him stay on your lap as long as he likes.

The most important thing is to know you are giving him something very, very positive. And you’re just helping him adjust. He will eventually adore his playtime. Don’t feel guilty or unsure. That can make it harder for him, make him more uneasy. Every recent child development study corroborates the importance of infant play and exploration.

For more details and a short video that demonstrates an infant reaping the benefits of independent play, please see: Baby, Interrupted – 7 Ways To Build Your Child’s Focus And Attention Span and Infant Play – Great Minds At Work.

Generally, changes are much easier for our babies than we think they will be, once we commit. So go easy on yourself and take good care. Please keep me posted!

 All the best, Janet

(This post is in no way meant as an “attack” on Attachment Parenting.  In fact, I welcome any commentary from the Attachment Parenting perspective on Sarah’s issues!)

18 Comments

Please share your comments and questions. I read them all and respond to as many as time will allow.

  1. This is really helpful (as are all your posts!). Everything about your method makes so much sense.

    I didn’t really have anything to add to your suggestions as I’m still learning myself, but I just wanted to say, keep up the great work, I’m really enjoying reading your site 🙂 .

  2. Hi Janet,
    another great post and it touches on some points that are coming up for me here in my home. As you know I mind children in my home and have recently had a new baby (11 months) join me. I know from the interview and information I have been given that she is a single child and that her play-time at home seemed to largely consist of play with the adult or reading with the adult or play in a chair in the room with the adult when the adult needed to do things. As you may imagine, this is difficult to maintain in a home with two other children present. The baby has extreme difficulty with being left down and like the mum detailed in the post above, can only be inches from me at any time in order to feel content. I have been trying knelling down on the floor with the children while they play in order to get her used to it but she clings to my lap which upsets my own son, 5 months older than her and I end up with two babies clinging to me. I think that her sense of security is all the more threatened by the fact that she has been coming to me barely two months and her mum had to go abroad for a week. There is just so much upheaval in her life right now I really want to help her to transition well but I feel that it is putting my own children under unnecessary stress if I do what will make her happy and keep her up in arms while she settles in. Any suggestions? Thanks x Dee

    1. Hi Dee,

      Wow. Sounds like you have your hands (and arms) full! I’m going to ask my colleague Roseann for her suggestions. She is a RIE-trained educator, director of a school/care center for infants and toddlers. I’m sure that she will be able to advise you better than I could. Thanks so much for sharing your situation with other readers here…:-) Janet

  3. avatar Roseann Murphy says:

    Dear Dee,
    After reading your note to Janet the first thing that came to mind is how fortunate the eleven month old child is to be in your care.
    I can certainly identify with your situation. After years of infant/toddler care, raising three children of my own, and running an early childhood center, I know for a fact two infants in your care close in age can be challenge, particularly when one is your own child.
    From your note I was not sure if the two children mentioned were the only two children in your care. If that is the case, you have landed right in the middle of a normal developmental stage– Separation Anxiety -between 6-8 months and 10-14 months– (these ages can vary up or down) during which an infant experiences apprehension, uncertainty, discomfort when faced with anticipated or actual separation from a care giver, mother or parent-surrogate; separation anxiety lessens by age 2, when toddlers begin to trust that their parents will return; separation anxiety reappears whenever one is in an unfamiliar situations–eg, hospitals, illness, pain, or unfamiliar people.

    The eleven month old girl needs special attention. She is dealing with all the classic challenges, new to your care and your environment and mother away from home on a trip. It sounds as though you are doing everything possible to help her in the transition and at the same time creating a comforting environment for your own son who is traveling through the same developmental stages. He wants you all to himself, there is high anxiety created by the intensity of the girl’s transition.
    She is going to cry and cry. She feels she must cling to you for her survival the fear is so great. Imagine yourself in this situation, everything familiar gone and you have no idea when the people or place will return

    If at all possible for the next bits of time have everything prepared for the day so you do not have to move very much. Have the toys set in the living room for her to go to is she chooses. If these are your only two children you have an advantage. If you have more than the two mentioned we may have to make some adjustments.
    Preparing snacks, lunch and toys will give you an advantage. By putting everything on hold (house keeping, toy cleaning, etc) for awhile you will help her to bond with you and not feel threatened that you will leave as well. The fear is so great that it is indescribable.

    Sit on the floor. Ask both the girl and your son not to sit or climb on you. “Sit next to me, right here” and put your hand on her to reassure her. No matter how many times you have to ask her and gently place her right next to you…body to body..She will eventually stop crying and so will your son if you just stay still. Do not try to entertain her just speak reassuringly. “I am here, Mommy will be back. I hear you crying, I know why you cry. I will help you”. Over and over. Do not offer toys or food while on the floor. If you want to read a book you may, but just sitting will help. Do not try to distract her with anything. Respect the fact that she is going through something so difficult and you will allow her to go through it. This process will take a bit of time.

    You might have to make note of how tired or hungry she may be. Some distress comes from over tiredness or hunger. This stage of development creates so many roadblocks; the stress can block sleep and eating. The less anxious and matter-of-fact you are the better for her. Act as if you know all about this crying and clinging for dear life and you know it will pass and you will help. Take notes during the day so you can record the progress (only cried and held on for three hours today, etc.)

    Ask your son to sit next to you as well, neither of them using you as a climbing post. Your nearness will prove to be enough. When it is time to get up and get snack or lunch prepare for loud uncontrollable crying at first. “I hear you cry, I am fixing lunch, you can follow me if you like” “I am right here, I hear you cry, I hear you both crying” “I can’t let you hang on me, here sit here.” Will help a great deal. Stay near during snack and lunch. Talk about what is happening. We are eating or “you can’t eat right now? Well maybe after nap.”

    Rest time will probably be a challenge as well. If you can sit in the room where she sleeps that will help at first. Little by little she will feel secure enough to take the chance to close her eyes. If she keeps standing in the bed asking to get out, keep going to her helping her to lie down…rubbing her back..asking her to rest…telling her you understand..

    I can speak so honestly to this subject because I have experienced this challenge many times. Depending on the child’s temperament will determine how long this takes. Sometimes it is over in a week, sometimes you are dealing with the challenging behaviors for months, but don’t give up as it is a stage of development that all children go through.

    The RIE philosophy is a life-saver in situations such as this. Follow Janet’s suggestions on the post. Being consistent and respectful is the greatest gift you can give to children. Explaining what is happening.. Using the “sportscasting technique” as Magda Gerber called it, reassures children. “You are crying now” It is obvious she is crying but telling her lets her know that you know. You can even ask, “why do you cry-what can I do to help?”

    Having toys for her to go to explore once she realizes you are permanent is a wonderful way for her to engage. Should she move from your body to look at something, stay where you are. Do not move the first time she moves as then she may think you are leaving. Tell her, “ah I see you have that toy” etc.

    One very important note, check again with the parent and make certain she does not use a pacifier at home that she does not bring to child care, or is she soothed with a bottle at home, or a blanket etc. Sometimes parents forget fill in all the spaces when asked how they soothe their child or they may not think it is important but …if she uses a pacifier or a bottle at home and you do not at childcare, it just intensifies the loss.

    Do not worry that she cries and cries. It will stop- you are there close by- you are telling her exactly what is going on. She will learn to trust what you say and believe it as she moves through this developmental stage.

    I found a wonderful article in the National Early Childhood Assoication publication. It goes into great detail the issues of separation in childcare. In the article one of Magda’s associates, Janet Mena-Gonzales is mentioned a number of times. You might find it helpful.
    http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200611/BTJBalaban.pdf

    Please feel free to contact me if you wish at murphywoods7@aol.com. I would be happy to discuss this further. Thank you , Roseann Murphy

    1. avatar Linda (32 Year Montessori teacher) says:

      Very sage advice, spot on. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Your headline makes it sound like this mom is having problems with Attachment Parenting. Actually, she’s having problems because her 8 month old is “clingy” and she believes he shouldn’t be. So although you add the disclaimer at the end of your post, your title certainly seems to be an attack on Attachment Parenting.

    It’s very common for eight month olds to be clingy. (Just google the phrase to see how many parents of eight month olds have this issue!) Their cognitive development makes them increasingly aware, so stranger anxiety and separation anxiety start at kicking in at around eight months. That’s why so many cultures (and Attachment-oriented parents) carry their babies when they ask — they’re responding to this new stage of development by being available to reassure their child.

    Attachment parenting is based on responding to a baby’s needs, which in infancy include staying in very close proximity to the parent. Once the baby learns that his caretakers are reliably nurturing and protective, he builds on this internal security as he proceeds to the next developmental tasks of exploration, mastery of the environment, and forming relationships with others. Any self-respecting baby reaches a point where he wants you to put him down so he can start pulling everything out of your cupboards.

    So Attachment Parenting does NOT in fact conflict with Magda Gerber’s ideas about child development, as I understand them. Both philosophies respect the needs of the baby and take their cues from him. A child who needs to be on the floor practicing his crawling will make it known. A child who needs to be in a sling on his mother’s body will make it known. Most eight month olds need some of both. James has made his needs pretty clear.

    I appreciate your advice that this mom “listen” to James’ unhappiness when she puts him down to play and he protests. But I’m astonished that you seem to be advising her to adopt a new regimen of “independent playtime” and sleep changes all at once. Coming at eight months, this will take a perfectly normal clingy eight month old who would soon be ready to start toddling around by himself, and turn him into an insecure, super-clingy toddler who is too worried about his mother’s whereabouts to go exploring. What a shame!

    1. Thanks, Dr. Laura, for sharing your perspective. I agree that both Attachment Parenting and Magda Gerber’s RIE Philosophy encourage sensitive responses to an infant’s needs. What I have learned from reading a page or two on Dr. Sears’ website, and also the respectful exchanges I’ve been fortunate to have with parents on my blog (and FB page) is that the two approaches define an infant’s needs differently. There are also many beliefs that the two philosophies have in common. For me, the differences are totally acceptable.

      There are many, many websites that provide information about Attachment Parenting. This website is one of a slim few so far (and I hope there will be many more) that share Magda Gerber’s ideas. I believe that there is plenty of room for all of us on the web, and that parents should have access to any helpful tools and ideas that feel right to them and, most of all, feel supported for their choices.

      Sarah’s instincts were telling her that choices she was making were not beneficial to her and her baby. Perhaps she is misinterpreting Attachment Parenting in some way. I am not familiar enough with AP to know that, and I would be interested to hear your advice to her. But, since she asked for mine, I trusted that she wanted to know more about the RIE approach. Magda Gerber believed that infants needed a safe place and plenty of opportunities each day to self-initiate free movement. She taught us “Basic trust in the child to be an initiator, explorer, and a self-learner, ” and that infants need “Time for uninterrupted play”. She believed that babies should spend only a minimal amount of time in slings and carriers.

      Yes, infants and toddlers sometimes experience separation anxiety and stranger anxiety in the first year of life. There are lots of reasons babies go through ‘clingy’ stages. But, Sarah’s issue seemed to be that her boy was used to being carried all the time. To me, it sounded like he had not had the opportunity to practice the kind of independent play that infants naturally wish to engage in if we allow it. Magda Gerber did not suggest waiting for an already mobile child to signal the need for independence. She believed that even the youngest infants benefited from time alone — moving freely, making choices, engaging in self-directed play. Babies quickly become accustomed to the habits we give them and thrive on routine, so it is up to us to create the routines that we believe are healthiest for our child. Those choices vary from philosophy to philosophy and parent to parent…

      Parents, we don’t have to agree on everything! And I certainly don’t profess to have all the answers…not even close. The most important thing is to get to know your baby, observe and listen, as Sarah did. If there are any “right” answers, you’ll find them that way.

  5. I receive the most wonderful, thoughtful emails! Thank you, Jilly, for allowing me to share this…

    Dear Janet,
    I enjoy reading and becoming inspired by your posts. However, I was a bit upset by the below headline and response in your recent blog. In my humble opinion and as I am no parenting expert, I don’t believe your/Magda Gerber’s philosophy ways and Attachment Parenting need be mutually exclusive. I believe we as moms should teach our children to accept and work with different theories and philosophies. In the United States, one does not have to be Democrat, for example, to vote for Obama, or a Republican to have voted Mc Cain. Similarly, one can utilize the tools of both Attachment Parenting and take some of Magda Gerber’s philosophy to heart.

    Furthermore, in the below question by a mom from Australia, her baby was 8 months I believe. Most 8 month babies, no matter what parenting philosophy we follow, like to be held by momma. I don’t think that the mother’s following AP is the reason for clinginess so to speak.

    As Janet, I think you are a wise mother and educarer, and resultantly could have handled the response below with less of an “either or” philosophy. I am no expert, but I believe the 8 month baby will undergo an unpleasant shock from the advice you rendered. It is possible to consider more gradual ways of encouraging independent play at such a tender age, as well as different sleep habits. And both issues do not need to be addressed at the same time. What if you were that baby: being told in one day/week that both daytime and nighttime habits were to change in an instant????

    In sum, I humbly believe that is what all of us mommas want to teach ourselves and our children: Moderation and balance, as well as a respect for individual differences and states of being. Many people/mothers listen to you. I hope, again quite humbly, as I am no expert, that my words have some resonance with you.

    Respectfully Yours,
    Jilly

    Dear Jilly,
    Thanks so much for your thoughtful letter, and for trusting me. I couldn’t agree with you more about everything you say! There is no one way or right way to parent, and philosophies should not be mutually exclusive. We are all looking for practices that work for us, confidence and balance. I am not “knocking” AP. I believe it has many positives.

    A parent asked me questions, sounded upset, and I responded with advice based on what I know… my own experience and what I’ve learned from Magda Gerber. I am not educated in AP and only know what I have learned from other parents about it. I cannot respond from a POV I don’t know. I was hoping parents and educators more familiar with AP would respond as well. I hoped this post would inspire some respectful dialogue. It would be great if you shared your ideas in the Comments section.

    I am sorry if I gave the impression that Sarah should change everything in one week! Because, I totally agree with you that she should take her time. You are right that separation is an issue at 8mos., but so is the drive for gross motor development. Infants need time to move and play. In that respect, I disagree with Dr. Sears, as does Magda Gerber.

    I am truly grateful to you for sharing your thoughts with me. I am used to teaching parents, not blog writing. This is like a vacuum…and that aspect bothers me a lot. It’s extremely helpful for me to know what you are thinking. I apologize if you were bothered by what I wrote. So, once again THANK YOU, and I hope you will stay in touch.

    Best regards,
    Janet

    Dear Janet,
    Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and thorough reply.

    As an addendum, in my parenting library, I have books by both Magda Gerber and Dr. Sears. In Dr. Sear’s Baby Book, he spends a great deal of time taking about a baby’s gross motor development and during, and not only, the “Second Six Months” (Chapter 21). Thus, I think there is a misunderstanding among advocates of different philosophies. Dr. Sears and AP theory do encourage parents to encourage their baby’s gross motor development, as well as other aspects of their development. So I think in this regard, both Magda Gerber/Educaring and Dr Sears/Attachment Parenting have MORE IN COMMON than people think.

    And I will of course keep following your inspiring and interesting posts. I, like probably many mothers, like to take the best of the best, adapting what fits according to our own personal values as well as what is best for our children.

    Respectfully yours,
    Jilly

  6. avatar Alexandra says:

    So exciting to be in this conversation. More and more I am becoming clear about the places where AP and RIE meet. In class today, I was speaking with Carole, the RIE associate, and she shared a beautiful thought: we are supporting infants to be authentic, moving beyond Eric Ericson’s stage of trust – where a young child learns to trust the caregiver – to facilitating that each child grows to trust him or herself. I think that by offering ample opportunities for the child’s basic needs to be met first (including needs to be touched) and then next offering opportunities and space for exploration and play we offer a young child a way to trust first his or her world and then his or her self.

  7. I just wanted to share my experience here. Although I do consider my approach to be very similar to AP, I am not a “by the book” parent–I like to follow my instincts! I held my son constantly from the time he was born, not just because I believed it was good for him, but because he would begin to stress out when I put him down. When he was 9 months old he started to lunge out of my arms, indicating that he was ready to start crawling.

    I felt that holding him helped him feel secure, while giving him social contact and a chance to see life in action. If he was tired of the stimulation, he could just snuggle up and zone out. He played on his own, but in my lap. Or sometimes he would sit on the floor, but I would still be nearby. After he started crawling, he ventured out on his own, and I let him explore pretty freely.

    He’s always been confident to explore. He’s two now and plays so well on his own and with other children. I didn’t have to do anything other than follow his lead. I still hold him when he wants to be held, but it has dropped off considerably, of course, as he would rather play most of the time.

    My point is, I see no need to rush this. Babies can get adequate stimulation and play time whether they are in their parents’ arms or not. They can be confident and independent, even if (maybe especially if) their parents are willing to hold them every time they ask for it.

    I just wanted to share my story because I think for a lot of parents if feels right to hold their baby and to trust their baby. Sometimes parents read things that make them question themselves. It’s fine to question our ideas and beliefs, but not so good to question our intuition. If this mother’s intuition indeed told her to change things, then great. But I think some parents aren’t listening to their intuition and may wonder if there is something wrong with their baby for being clingy!

    1. Thanks, Lisa, for sharing your thoughts. I agree that parents should choose practices that feel ‘right’ intuitively…and also that we should have basic trust in our baby as a competent individual, and not act out of fear. It sounds like your approach worked well for you and your boy.

      In my experience, some babies transition easily into independent play, but others struggle because of dependencies parents have encouraged. For example, Dr. Sears has a section on his website entitled: “Helping A Toddler Ease Into Independence”. This surprised me because, in my experience, toddlers are naturally driven toward independence! Although, perhaps not if dependency has been encouraged by constant carrying, etc. Magda Gerber would never have dreamt of writing a chapter about helping toddlers become more independent. If you allow babies to do the things they are capable of doing from the beginning (like self-directing play), they naturally ease themselves into independence.

      1. I would be very interested to see some scientific research on this, is it a psychologically proven fact that dependency is created by constantly carrying an infant as you, Janet, stated in a comment?

  8. I consider myself pretty “AP” in a lot of areas and actually agree a lot with what you (and Magda Gerber, therefore) suggest. It is very much intuition and learning to read our children’s cues. My oldest was very independent from the beginning, playing alone a lot of the time, but now at 3 wants more participation and engagement from us and other children. My youngest has always been more “clingy” and shy. I have worn him (sling, other carriers) a lot, but never all day long and he actually progressed in his gross and fine motor skills earlier than my oldest! Some days he doesn’t want to be put down (he’s gone through 2 separation anxiety stages, at 9 mos and now again at 13 mos) and somedays he doesn’t want to be held at all. I think it’s moderation and balance and making sure the family as a whole “works” and functions, not just focusing on one member’s needs wholly, so that it pushes the others away.

    PS. it’s much easier to be completely AP with just one child, once you add more to the mix, it gets a little fuzzy…

  9. I have practiced attachment parenting with my two daughters, mostly through babywearing, ecological breastfeeding, and co-sleeping. My youngest is 17 months and I vividly remember those clingy days when it seemed like all she wanted to is ride in a sling and I wondered if I was raising a barnacle rather than a baby.
    My advice is this–

    In watching my daughters, I have decided that little birds leave the nest in cycles. They will go through periods of independence/joyous discovery then circle back to me for a period of more intense interaction than back out again. As they grow older, the periods of independence grow longer and the periods of Barnacle Baby grow shorter. It is my personal belief that when we respect their need for periods of increased attention it gives them
    the foundation to go be bold.

    That said, there are still dishes to be done.

    If you like babywearing, consider investing in a back carrier such as a non-stretch baby wrap or a mei tai. I did a LOT of housework that way for the first year and still find myself wearing my daughter to do some chores when she’s unusually fussy.

    Encourage independent play in steps. The time before a year is a balancing act between meeting their need for closeness and nudging them toward independence. Trust me, when he’s four (like my oldest) you’ll wonder where those days went.

  10. My son was rather clingy from birth until about 8 or 9 months. I practiced AP parenting to an extent and co-sleep and held him whenever he requested it (we never found a sling that we both liked). My son is now 2 and probably one of the most independent and fearless 2 year olds you will meet. So much so in fact that it is a bit of an issue as he will not hesitate to walk away from me in busy shopping centres/airports/etc. I strongly believe that by responding to his needs I have laid the foundations for his independence. I would say, relax, they are little for such a short time and before you know it you will be chasing your little man as he runs towards a busy parking lot without looking back to see where you are. Good luck!

  11. Dear Janet,
    I read your site and really enjoy much of the information you share. I was really troubled by the title of your post and agree with Dr. Markham that although possibly not your intention, it does start out sounding like an atack on attachment parenting. I am a parenting educator and I practice AP in my family, I am also familiar with RIE and so very many of the concepts from AP and Gerber overlap and overlap very well. I usually keep my opinions to myself but I was surprised to read you say that you are not familiar with AP and therefore unable to answer from that POV. I don´t think your readers expected an AP answer. However,if you are not very familiar with AP, why make such a troubling title that can spark so much insecurity in parents and even animosity? I believe you have a lot to offer to parents, interesting insights and a fresh way of expressing Gerber/RIE concepts. The reader needs help with a clingy child and sleep solutions, that in itself is not a problem with AP. Dr. Sears has a wealth of information on AP but so does Aletha Solter, Susan Markel, API and so many others…I like what you write in general and it can beneficial to those for whom it resonates, meets their ideas and intuition but think you didn´t need to take this direction in your title to make your point or share your ideas.
    Peace & Be Well.

    1. Hi mudpiemama,
      First and foremost, thank you for the kind and respectful tone of your comment. You spurred me to read this mum’s letter and my response again, but I have to admit I’m quite baffled. I can only see that the title of this post perfectly reflects what she believes her issue to be…front and center!

      I am imagining the shoe on the other foot — an article entitled “Problems With The RIE Approach” or “Problems With Magda Gerber’s Teachings”. I wouldn’t be offended at all! And RIE is by far the lesser known approach, but I don’t feel defensive about it, perhaps because I am 100% confident that it works. I would be there straightaway explaining possible misunderstandings (just like I did with Dr. Laura in: http://dev.janetlansbury.com/2011/07/rie-parenting-a-respectful-debate/) and offering solutions. But all this mum got from Dr. Laura and others is a rather indignant “Babies are supposed to be clingy, deal with it, they’ll grow up soon enough” kind of attitude. No solutions, not much empathy and even a tad of shame. Quite honestly, the way I see it, these attitudes are a far bigger turn-off to the Attachment Parenting approach than anything I’ve written that might be construed as critical.

      Attachment Parenting is an enormously popular movement and I truly cannot comprehend the ultra-sensitivity to the suggestion that someone is having problems implementing it. Still, I thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

      All the best,
      Janet

  12. “I truly cannot comprehend the ultra-sensitivity to the suggestion that someone is having problems implementing it.”

    This is something I come across all the time. I would not describe myself as an AP at all (im just picking up what seems right to us from which ever philosophy it comes from), but have been around a lot of AP followers for some time.

    What I find is that full on AP-people are unable to admit to any problems or take advice from any other approach. In that it seems more and more like a cult.

    An example from real life. My cousin pretty much carried her son for his entire first 12 months. He was standing on his own at this point but didn’t start walking until much later (around 17-18 months I think). This could be for number of different reasons of course. But now as I heard a different relative wondering if her daughter was getting enough floor time because she wasn’t crawling yet I heard my cousing claim that babies don’t actually need any floor time and that her son learned to walk straight away and well before the “mainstream kids who live on the floor for their first year”.

    Similarily I hear all the AP-moms around me exaggerate or straight on lie about their kids development and never admit to having any problems in anything. It sounds like a some kind of competition to me…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More From Janet

Books & Recommendations