International Parenting: Attachment Parenting

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There are many hot button issues when it comes to parenting. It doesn’t matter what the issue is but you know you will have one opinion and someone else will have a differing. SEEK has interviewed moms from around the world because we are curious about their cultural and personal views on certain issues.

 

By Becky Horace

As our series continues, we come to a topic that is something I hadn’t really heard of until I moved to Bangkok; attachment parenting/baby wearing. Since I am living in an expat melting pot with people from all around the world, I learn about so many new parenting techniques every day; some are applicable to my family some are not. In the States, I was a working mom, had a car with a car seat and a stroller for when we parked the car. With that being said, I didn’t really “wear my baby” or focus on attachment parenting since I was busy working (something some of us have to do), although we were present for our child when he had needs but we were a family that eventually did the cry it out method when it came to bedtime. Here in Bangkok, with public transit, relying on taxis and walking literally everywhere baby wearing and having a kid on your body all day everyday makes a little more sense.

Dr. Sears defines attachment parenting as “a style of caring for your infant that brings out the best in the baby and the best in the parents.” You can click here for what they believe are the seven best practices. I have heard of extreme cases of attachment parenting that basically if the child makes a peep or cries the parent will scoop the kid up and will be comfort them by providing food. This can be done to the point where it is unhealthy, there can no balance, ability for the child to self sooth or for the parent to learn their children’s different cries. You can read an article here where a professional discusses how this practice has gone way out of balance.

Let’s look at the scientific side of this hot topic. In my research I found, Gwen Dewar, Ph.D. has covered a lot on the science of attachment parenting- click here for all the information. In essence, she is saying that when done properly attachment parenting can benefit children by “promoting independence, emotional availability, better moods and emotional coping, contributes to moral development, it’s a buffer from toxic stress, associated with fewer behavior problems, and higher academic performance.”

Like any parenting practice most start out meaning well but then get taken to an extreme where there can be emotional and physical unhealthy repercussions for everyone involved. Let us know what you think about attachment parenting, if you practice this and how do you maintain balance.

 

Bangladesh

  • Cultural: “Baby wearing is very rare in my culture but that doesn’t mean we don’t do attachment parenting. We are a very pro bangladeshattachment parenting culture. Babies are held in laps. The concept of baby wearing is not present in our culture but the cry it out theory is not the norm in our culture. Babies are given our full attention to the point of being spoiled! Recent Gen X and Y parents, who have the ability and the exposure, do sometimes implement the baby wearing concept.”
  • Personal: “I carried my baby around in a ring sling, hip seat and also a moby type wrap when he was younger. But mostly we would take him around in a stroller when we are outside as baby wearing gets quite hot and tiring for me too! Had we been in Bangladesh it would usually be lap carrying or a hip seat carry as it’s too hot for a wrap and the pavements and roads are not stroller friendly.”

France

  • Cultural: “In my country, I’ve seen a bit of everything, some parents are like me and others just let the kids cry to adjust by themselves. Most of the time, we keep the babies away from public areas and during the first weeks we will go to countryside if temperature is OK.”france
  • Personal: “I will always respond to my baby, I do not let them cry (not more than 2-3 min) just the time it takes me to get to them. I heard that it builds confidence for the kids when we respond to their needs quickly. Also I believe that one day they will not need me as they do now, and they will not demand so much of my attention anymore, so I am just enjoying the time now. As for baby wearing, as a working mother I was away from my babies during day time when they were about 2 months. It was hard but I think we all copped well. When I am at home, my time is dedicated to them. I will take them along with me everywhere as long as it’s comfortable and interesting for them. I do not see the point to take a baby to a shopping mall, in the cold and the noise. I do sometimes but only when I know it’s going be a short trip, otherwise I prefer to know my baby is at home in a known and peaceful environment. Also I wait for 4 weeks minimum before I take my babies to public area.”

Venezuela

  • Cultural: “To be honest, I have no idea how to answer this. I believe in my culture it depends very much venon the personality of the parents.”
  • Personal: “I hate hearing my child cry, but I have learned through my husband that tantrums are not an accepted behavior. If the screams do not have a genuine reason, those screams should not be nurtured and at some point those tantrums should be less and less.”

Sweden

  • Cultural: “I don’t know much about attachment parenting as it is not common in Sweden. I guess the Swedish culture is taking the children’s perspective a lot. We aim to make them happy rather than perform. In Sweden, we are not supposed to push youngsweden children to perform, but let them be and let them do things for fun. We also have 480 days for parental leave that both the mum or dad can take, so we are supported to stay at home with our babies for at least one year. We are allowed to stay at home unpaid until the child is 8 years old. The employer cannot deny you that. In Sweden most mums and dad use the Baby Bjorn or other kinds of carrier but quite a few use slings too. All our strollers are facing towards the parent and not outwards until they are 2 years or older.”
  • Personal: “I used a sling for both my kids when they were newborn and later on like a maya sling when we traveled. When it comes to attachment parenting, I’m definitely more into that than the “tiger mum-style.” And I hate the forward facing strollers! I want to have eye contact with my baby and be able to communicate and read when he/she is tired, overstimulated, scared or just happy.”

USAUS

  • Cultural: “Honestly, I am not really sure my culture has a view on this . . . . “
  • Personal: “We didn’t wear our baby. Both my husband and I worked and therefore she went to daycare. In addition, even when we were out and about, we found a stroller easier than a carrier. We had a carrier but only used it when we forgot the stroller.”

 

 

A big thank you to the moms who were able to help us with this interview.

Check back next week when we discuss the issue of balancing your child’s extra curricular activities! 

photo by Peter Halling Hilborg CC by 2.0

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