Few things in life are as highly criticized as your parenting choices. Something about bringing a child into this world suddenly compels people — even strangers — to unabashedly tell you exactly what they think you're doing wrong as a parent. Even if it's framed helpful advice, there is no shortage of criticism when it comes to parenthood. Perhaps one of the top issues to be put under a microscope is how attachment parenting affects your kid later in life. Though people are quick to tell you the potentially negative effects your parenting style might have on your children, it seems attachment parenting is one of the more commons methods to receive scrutiny.
I can't tell you how many times I've been told that co-sleeping with my child, a main principle of attachment parenting, is going to make my son incapable of ever sleeping alone. In fact, any friends I have who practice attachment parenting could probably rattle of a list of weird warnings and random remarks they receive on a daily basis. But how much of that judgment is actually legitimate?
If you're curious about information which is rooted in solid evidence, too, then check out what kind of effects attachment parenting can have on your children later in life.
1They Become Emotionally Available
According to the Attachment Parenting Organization, one of the main principles of attachment parenting is emotional well-being. But does that emphasis on sensitivity carry over later in life? In a study led by Dr. M. Ann Easterbrooks, a professor of psychology, children whose parents practiced attachment parenting during infancy were more likely to demonstrate positive social behavior and emotional availability at seven years old.
Another key component of attachment parenting is that parents should be aware of and respond to their baby's needs, both physical and emotional. This is one of the aspects where people might believe this method fosters an unhealthy dependence. Yet, Dr. Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist, told Aha! Parenting that "babies whose needs are fully met become more cooperative and agreeable." It's good to remember, however, that every child is different and so are their personality traits.
3They Have Less Conflict
A question people frequently ask me is if I think teaching my son about empathy and how to manage his emotions is "all talk." I think it sinks in, and research seems to echo that sentiment. Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, told Psychology Today that "research on attachment style parenting shows that securely attached adults have happier and less conflict-ridden lives." This makes sense, since learning how to handle conflict and emotions is part of attachment parenting.
4Their Individuality Remains Intact
Does forming parent-child attachment mean there's no room for self-hood? Dr. Lisa Firestone, an interpersonal psychology expert, told The Huffington Post that, "children who form a secure attachment grow up better able to maintain their unique sense of identity." In contrast to the caricature of overly dependent adults, it seems that experts have found that attachment parenting produces quite independent adults.
According to a study led by Dr. Yoo Rha Hong and Dr. Jae Sun Park attached children tend to become more resilient, show more self-reliance, and become competent adults. Again, research is showing that attachment parenting tends to create capable adults, rather than resulting in co-dependency.