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Would Your Kids Respond To An Instinctive or Attachment Parenting Style?

Parenting styles differ from parent to parent. If you have ever been to an event that involves kids and parents. It’s pretty easy to see that there are a variety of styles. It is not so easy to see is which is better. Likely because there isn’t a style that is “better”. There are, however, styles that closely align with you, your values, and your children’s nature.

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Over the past several months, we’ve been reviewing different parenting styles. So far, we’ve looked at Tiger and Elephant parenting as well as Helicopter and Hands-Off parenting. Now we’re taking a look at the pros and cons of Instinctive and Attachment parenting. Although the two styles are different, there are a few threads of similarities between them.

Please keep in mind that the pros and cons noted below are potential outcomes, not definite outcomes.

Instinctive Parenting

Instinctive Parenting: Relying on instinct to parent your child(ren) and using your own upbringing as a guide to parenting.

Pros

  • Offers the opportunity for kids to be themselves
  • Parents react to what the child needs
  • Potentially a less regimented environment because there aren’t set rules for this style of parenting

Cons

  • Can be considered an “old school” approach to parenting
  • Largely dependent on how the parent was brought up, regardless of who may have raised them (mother, father, grandparent, sibling, close older friend)
  • May be difficult to deal with the types of challenges that children face today

Parents that follow an instinctive approach leverage their own gut feelings. Also how they were raised to parent their own children. Using your own intuition vs constantly following the rules, can help create a secure environment for kids and help them grow emotionally.

Because instinctive parenting is very personal, the emotional, physical and virtual well-being of each child parented in this manner will vary widely and will likely mimic the well-being of the parent. Parents may struggle when dealing with situations that they did not encounter when they were a child, or have had very little experience with, and should ask others for guidance if these situations arise.

Attachment Parenting

Attachment Parenting: Creating an environment where there is no definable early separation between you and your child(ren) and focusing on the bond between parent and child.

Pros

  • Creates a strong emotional and psychological bond between parent and child
  • May be easier to understand the wants and needs of the child
  • Promotes a safe haven for children with their parents
  • Kids tend to have a positive outlook about themselves and the relationships they develop

Cons

  • Can be associated with over-parenting and may be a difficult transition as children get older, or move out of the house
  • Self-growth and self-exploration may be inhibited

Attachment parents focus on building a strong bond with their children. In the early years, there may be no definable separation between the parent and the child. This form of parenting encourages bodily closeness to enhance the attachment. This may include extended breastfeeding, extended bed-sharing, and homeschooling. Some believe that these stronger bonds can help children become more secure and peaceful adults.

This form of parenting can also be tied to over-parenting. This may inhibit children from exploring and learning about their world without parent supervision. This style can keep kids safe from physical and virtual dangers. It may also expose them to challenges later in life. Since they have not built the skills necessary to self-identify potential dangers.

One Style Does Not Fit All

One of the interesting elements of these, and the other parenting styles that we are sharing, is that parents do not need to adopt just one style. Styles could shift based on the age of the child, styles could also be layered, or styles could change based on the personality of the child. That is one of the reasons we are sharing these different styles, to help provide information and enable you to make the decision that is right for you, and your child.

Next month we’ll be exploring the Authoritative and Permissive parenting styles. Spoiler alert, these styles fall in the opposite category again! Keep an eye on our blog for that post.

And for additional reading, we encourage you to check out Distracted Parenting. What is your digital addiction doing to your kids?. Regardless of your parenting style, it’s a good read and offers a few tips if you need to unplug while around your children.