Today Reason Magazine (Who in general I respect) posted an article by Kennedy that I disagree with on many levels, but agree with on one. Here is the link to the original: http://reason.com/archives/2012/04/29/why-i-mock-attachment-parenting-and-the
First of all, Kennedy, does not have a real grasp on Attachment Parenting or its roots. The term “Attachment Parenting” was coined by Dr. William Sears and he most often defines it at the “7 B’s.” Birth bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bedding close to baby, belief in the value of your baby’s cry, beware of baby trainers, and balance. He goes on to say how its an approach to parenting and not strict rules.
This means you can attachment parent without co-sleeping, I have many friends that do. Also it means you can attachment parent with out breastfeeding. This article seems to think that attachment parents a simply defined by co-sleeping (that and being assholes) this is just not true. Period. Besides that, co-sleeping is a wonderful option for many families, and when done following a few simple guidelines has been proven to have lower rates of SIDS than following all the rules for crib sleeping.
Next, what the heck is wrong with feeding your child what you choose!? My child is one of those poor “imaginary invalids.” Last time he drank straight milk he vomited for hours. It was one of the worst days of my life and surly the worst of his. But here’s where somehow I can manage to do the impossible, be an attachment parent (what food allergies have to do with attachment parenting, I have NO IDEA) and a libertarian all at once! I don’t “take the rest of the class or school hostage” I don’t force other groups to eat wheat and dairy free like my son. I let people know his dietary restrictions so they aren’t offended when I take away cheesy potatoes from him (they aren’t the ones who will be up with a gassy toddler all night), but I never ever make or suggest that events he is a part of be entirely made of foods he can eat. That’s crazy. I just BE A PARENT. I watch what he eats, and don’t let him eat the stuff he shouldn’t! WHOA! I know, crazy right?
Next, continuing on the subject of food. I avoid (and also help my family avoid) eating crap. How is taking responsibility for my health and my families heathy by avoiding things like high fructose corn syrup and GMO’s and food that is generally terrible for you a problem? I also see this as incredibly libertarian. One, I’m taking responsibility for myself, not eating myself to death then whining when I’m sick and dying. Two, I’m voting with my dollar. I’m choosing to buy local and organic and healthy, because that’s what I support. Three, I’m costing the tax payers less money by being a healthy able-bodied person who doesn’t need welfare, workmen’s comp, or any government money to help pay for my diabetes supplies!
I understand why someone would be upset if someone was a jerk about their decisions about what to put in their body. Its not anyone’s job to tell anyone else what to eat. Period. Seeing that the author lives in L.A. I can see why they think this is a huge issue let me just say, the whole country isn’t like that. Pretty much just L.A. Also, being a jerk doesn’t render your entire parenting and political philosophy stupid. Some people are just jerks.
The sharing thing… I 100% agree with that a person has personal and property rights and if a child doesn’t want to share they shouldn’t be forced to. Why this idea is incompatible with attachement parenting (the idea that you should listen and respond to your child’s needs) is beyond me. I have no idea what the issue is here. I attachment parent and enforce this rule everyday. I still teach my son and nephew (or at least try) that its kind and loving to share, and that the older kids should do their best to respect and care for the younger kids. But if one has a toy that is THIER TOY, and another kid tries to take it by force I don’t allow it. That’s generally where I step in in the affairs of young children when one uses force on another. Besides that I back off and let them be kids (another idea that’s totally in line with attachment parenting).
The last issue in the article is a rant about those who want to get rid of awards in sport and for other achievements. I’ve personally never even seen this as an attachement parenting issue, but I can see how it could be. What I say is, be a libertarian and don’t put your child in a program where that is happening if you don’t like it. Personally I have no problem with awards for sports and things, I teach kids to kick other kids to win gold medals and big trophies. In the world of sports only rarely does this system backfire. As I’m doing more research into education I’m finding that traditional grading is total garbage and means little to nothing anyway, so I say do away with it. But if you don’t like that send your kid to a different school, or better yet, really stick it to the government and be a true libertarian, homeschool.
I do agree with the LAST point made in the blog,
“In the future, when the parenting collective insists on nut free zones, scoreless athletics, and holiday-free childhoods, do the one thing that might run counter to your lone wolf individualism: Start a coalition! Beneath sensible button-ups and shift dresses you might be surprised to find an analytical army of rugged individuals ready to wage war against groupthinking nut haters everywhere.”
This is libertaian, if you have a problem DO SOMETHING. But if doing something means writing an “article” bashing something that you know nothing about maybe you should try something else.
Finally I want to comment on “Free-Range Parenting” as it was discussed at length in the comments of the article. Free Range parenting is not letting your kids run around doing whatever they want. It’s actually one of the most libertarian parenting philosophies ever, its also totally compatible with attachment parenting. I think they go hand in hand very well. The idea of free range is that your child is a responsible human being who is capable of doing things on their own. They don’t need constant supervision to do something they know how to do and is relatively safe! It’s part letting kids be kids and part reality check. Its realizing there is not a kidnapper around every corner and its actually safe to let your kid explore the neighborhood! Check out the blog, freerangekids.com for tons of info on free-range parenting.
Finally I want to say, that doing research and taking responsibility as a parent is libertarian no matter how that manifests itself in your parenting style. Most often I’ve found that attachement parents are some of the few parents I meet who are actually educated about children and parenting. If I ask a non-attachment parent a “Why?” about parenting, rarely can they give me an answer they thought up themselves. Most often its “My Dr. told me to.” That’s a cop-out. It is. Doctors aren’t parenting experts, some aren’t even health experts! Doing your own research, thinking for yourself, and being responsible for your decisions (including bringing a child into the world) is libertarian, and that’s what attachment parents are doing.
Sorry I don’t have time to edit this. I have to pack for the Libertarian National Convention, I leave in just over 24 hours. I will be busy attachment parenting and being a libertarian at the national convention. Kennedy, if you go, be sure to find me and say “Hi”.
Babywearing, one of the "7 Bs" of attachment parenting.