Attachment Parenting Gone Wild! (Like Really, Really Wild)

axness familyThe Bravo series Extreme Guide to Parenting has introduced us to some fascinating folks who parent in all different kinds of ways. Some people may think I'm one of those "extreme" types of parents, so when I heard about the family who practices attachment parenting like I do, I was very intrigued to see how they come across and in particular, how they are received.

Meet the Axness family -- mama Christian, daddy Nate, and baby Ella. They practice "conscious attachment" which they feel strengthens the emotional and physical bond between parent and child, so they never let the kid out of their sight. Ever.


And that's where I differ. I'm all for date nights without baby. And yet I'm still all about co-sleeping, breastfeeding, and babywearing. As with all parents, the way you do things even if it's the same general philosophy is going to be different. One of the things that Christian says in the episode is that life changes when you have a baby -- very true. But she adds that she and her husband adjust their life to meet the child's needs. This is true for me, somewhat, but not all of the time. And yet I still believe that the Axness family is doing it right, as am I. Because we are following our own beliefs on how to raise a child with both ways honoring a peaceful form of parenting.

What works for one family isn't going to work for another, so we need to respect each other's ways of doing things.

But I will say that Christian's elimination communication with her 16 month old seems exhausting to me. "EC" as it's called is when you let baby be without a diaper (cloth or otherwise) and look for cues when she's ready to go and then take her over to the potty. I'm not going to say I'm an expert at potty training since my twins are 4 years old now and we are still working out some kinks, but I did feel Christian was piling on the mommy guilt by blaming herself when Ella pooped on the floor. She said she should have been watching more closely. Yet, she was cooking so how could she have been paying extreme attention. That's the problem with any extreme form of anything, I suppose. There is no room for error. And as humans, even as moms, we make mistakes. Mistakes we beat ourselves up about until the end of time. I also wondered why Nate didn't notice since he was sitting right next to Ella when the EC FAIL occurred. But then I learned that this is the same dad who wore medical gloves to change a poop diaper in the early days because he didn't want to touch it. He ditched the gloves eventually.

But the true test of Christian's extreme form of parenting happened when she and baby Ella were invited to a chickenpox party. It's as you would expect -- one kid diagnosed with chickenpox has healthy kids over so they are exposed to the virus, building immunity, so they don't have to be vaccinated against it. (Sure sounds more fun than just ordering an infected chickenpox lollipop over the internet!) After learning all about the way the Axness family thinks when it comes to parenting, it seemed clear they were going to wear their party hats and contract chickenpox. But they decided not to. For the record, I wouldn't have gone either.

So even when it comes to extremes, there are going to be times when parents draw the line.

We do all have the same goal -- to raise free-thinking, independent, and successful adults. Sometimes we do different things to get there.

Is this type of parenting too extreme for you? Would you attend a chickenpox party with your child?


Image via Extreme Guide to Parenting/Bravo

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