3 Ways Attachment Parenting Messed Up My Kid

Mom Moment 89

mother child holding handsLet me preface my sad, sorry tale of attachment parenting gone horribly awry by saying this: I do not think attachment parenting in and of itself is a bad thing. I'm not, in any way, shape or form, even approaching the territory of judging anyone's child-rearing choices or styles or anything of the sort; I am simply admitting that I personally maybe did attachment parenting wrong. (That said, I'm hardly the only mom to feel this way.)

As with so many things, it sounded like a good idea at the time. "The time" being when my first kid was born 12 years ago. I was a new mom, young, and, well, already ridiculously attached to my daughter -- she'd just spent 9 months inside my body, for god's sake! I couldn't even leave the poor child in her crib alone for an entire night without hyperventilating. 

So the principles of attachment parenting -- co-sleeping, baby-wearing, breastfeeding on demand -- not only made sense to me, they validated my particular set of post-partum neuroses. And, to be fair, everything worked well for a while ... meaning, infancy went pretty well. It wasn't until we hit toddlerdom and "Me & My Shadow" became the the soundtrack of my life that I started to second-guess my decision to aggressively bond with my baby, as it were. It's not that I minded never being able to go to the bathroom by myself (that much). It's more that I began to see what a disservice I'd done my daughter with my bastardized version of attachment parenting. Or maybe it was exactly what attachment parenting is supposed to be, I don't know. Point is, it made problems -- and 12 years later, new ones keep a-croppin' up. Here are a bunch of those problems, from the early years:

1. The transition to preschool was a nightmare. I was constantly getting called to pick my daughter up from pre-kindergarten because she was crying so hard for me. The worst part wasn't hauling my then-pregnant self back to school at a second's notice, it was watching my daughter miss out on all the fun her more well-adjusted classmates were having.
2. The addition of a sibling was TRAUMATIC. Guess what? it's nearly impossible to "attachment parent" two kids at once. Whoops! My daughter will never forgive my son for being born!
3. Sleep was a joke. The bigger your kid gets, the harder getting any actual sleep whilst co-sleeping becomes. Oh, and co-sleeping with two kids? Hope your bed is freaking enormous!
Like I said, it could very well be that I attachment parented incorrectly or that the method just wasn't right for my family, so no need for any successful attachment parents to take offense at my experience. But ... it WAS my experience. How about you?
Did you/do you attachment parent? How's it working for you?

Image via © iStock.com/fatesun

toddler development, babywearing


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Freela Freela

Honestly, I think some kids are clingy no matter how you parent them.  I did 'attachment parenting' (for lack of a better term) with my kids.  One has always been EXTREMELY independent.  One gets anxious about new situations and clings to me like glue.  The other is somewhere in between.  Out of the three kids, all three of them go to bed fine, but one is in my bed almost every night in the middle of the night.  The other two NEVER were.  All were bf'd, worn, co-slept, etc.  The differences have to be within them and not how I parented them, because essentially I did the same thing three times in a row and got different results.  Similarly, one of my CIO/sleep training friends has one clingy kid and one independent kid, one good sleeper and one terrible sleeper.  Kids do come with their own personalities and how we parent them isn't always the defining factor... it's not like programming a computer where it's 'garbage in, garbage out.' 

nonmember avatar AYF

It may just be that you have a child who is naturally slower to warm up to new things than other kids. My sister in law is as crunchy as they come: her first daughter sounds like your kiddo and she is still slow to warm up to new things. Her second child is completely different, but then again, he was born having to share.

Reali... RealityCheckNow

None of these reasons are directly attributed to AP.  Clinginess is normal for a toddler so is lack of sleep, not liking a new sibling (regardless how old they are) etc.  So much of this i personality that I think the author must feel resentful of her choices (i..e. that she did it with an endgame in mind and that was that her kids was going to feel secure in her home environment and be confident and it didnt happen.


amazz... amazzonia

That's the problem, women prefer following the trend in parenting instead of following their guts, their instincts nd their child....I feel like I'm the only mom that never read a parenting book, and my daughters are the few that act normally...

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

Totally your kids personality type, not your parenting or any mistakes!! If you have a clingy kid that needs a lot of reassurance from you- attachment parenting was absolutely the most nurturing thing you could do. And adjusting to school and siblings is different for all kids, some take it in stride, others need to adjust and realize they're not being replaced. I hope you don't beat yourself up for it, and I hope you follow your heart and baby's lead with the youngest. Don't compare, they're two individuals.

MamaT... MamaTo2b2g

^^ Totally agree with amazzonia!!!

linzemae linzemae

I dont understand the breastfeeding on demand thing. If they're hungry wouldn't you feed them? Or does that include comfort nursing? Im confused

linzemae linzemae

I dont understand the breastfeeding on demand thing. If they're hungry wouldn't you feed them? Or does that include comfort nursing? Im confused

nicki... nicki.hemingway

Nope didn't have any of these issues and I am Ap-ing two preschoolers now.  Both moved to their own beds when they were ready.

miche... micheledo

My guess is that it had a lot more to do with your daughter's personality!  I can't speak from personal experience about #1 because we homeschool.  But I have a good friend who didn't do attachment parenting and she ended up pulling her daughter out of school and waiting another year.  Her son did just fine.  I haven't had a single problem with #2, and not saying you did it this way, but it seems like those who have problems introducing a second child - IMO, it is more about how the parents have talked about it that causes the problem (again, just my opinion).  #3 we have had some 'problems' with.  Several of our kids still come down at night, though we have them pull out a sleeping bag and sleep on our floor.  Two regularly stay in their bed all night (the 6 and 4 year old).  The 7 and 3 year old are regularly in our room.  The toddler - well, we are stilll working on him, but he gets taken back to his bed and the new baby sleeps with us.

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