Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why I chose Attachment Parenting

When I was a teenager, I knew I didn't want to parent the way my parents did. I didn't want to yell. I didn't want to hold my children back. I didn't want to be passive aggressive. And I didn't want to smother their emotions.

From what I understand and from what I remember, my parents valued silence and not showing emotion. I believe the idea was that if you were really comfortable with the people around you, you didn't need to fill that space with words or sound, so to show your comfort, you were quiet. Of course, this makes for a pretty uncomfortable life, especially when you're a human and not a Vulcan, and especially when you have lots of strong emotions and no one helps you deal with them.

And I have strong emotions. And strong hormones. Sometimes those hormones amplified my emotions, and sometimes I was simply very emotionally invested in something and didn't need extra hormones to enhance my feelings. But all too often I was told, "It's just hormones. You're too out of control."

This hurt. Sure, perhaps my emotions were heightened because of hormones, but they were still my emotions. Somewhere inside me I really felt that way even if it only appeared once a month. I vowed I'd never tell my kids anything on the lines of "it's just hormones." It's too hurtful on the receiving end.

Then I grew up, got married, got pregnant, wanted an unassisted birth. I went to an LLL meeting and met some people- the first people who fully supported me and my birth. And they also invited me to their AP playgroup.

I had heard of "AP" when I was on unassisted birth forums, but didn't look that much into it. When this AP playgroup was offered to me, I knew I wanted to be with these women because of their support, so I figured I'd check out this new acronym.

I read books, the Internet, and asked these women about their parenting. And for the first time ever, I found a parenting style that I wanted: oe that gave children the ability to feel sad or happy without shoving those feelings away, one that didn't involve yelling, one that didn't involve coercion or manipulation.

The moms there aren't perfect. And I still hear myself saying things like, "She's just tired" to excuse Margaret's emotions which hauntingly echoes "It's just hormones," but I'm trying to do better. All the women there are trying to do better- I don't know a group of more dedicated, proactive moms. Some have spanked and some have yelled, but none feel that these are acceptable ways to communicate with children and all are consciously trying to do better. They are always trying to support and preserve the dignity of their children.

I chose to be an AP parent because I want my children to know that it's ok to be sad or happy or angry. Those emotions are part of the human experience and are a huge part of who a person is. I don't want my children to hide in their rooms because they are afraid of me. I want them to know that no matter what they feel or do, I actively love them and that will never be withheld.

Some of the moms at my house for New Year's:


  1. This is a great personal story, thanks for sharing!

  2. I so agree with this! And you're parents are alot like an amplified version of mine :(

  3. what a fascinating concept, I must look into it, Thanks for sharing!

  4. I applaud you. Thanks for sharing. I chose AP because I didn't want to bring my daughter up in a household that revolved around yelling and spanking. I'm learning a lot about myself while parenting this way. :)

  5. the goal is that we all do a little better than out parents did. Or a lot better. :o) And our kids will do better than us, ans their kids better than them...


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