Discussion: Attachment Parenting

by Shyla Ernsberger

When I first heard of Attachment Parenting, I pictured a group of hippies breast feeding their children until their children turned thirty, bed sharing with all fifteen of their children, and giving into their child’s every whim.  I later learned about a gentler side to this way of parenting.

In the secular world, Attachment Parenting (AP) puts the child at the center of the family, and causes the parents to fulfill the child’s every desire. They believe if the child is crying there must be a need that is not being met. It can leave the mother feeling guilty because she is not giving her child everything they ‘need’ to be happy (I would like to clarify that I am not talking about infants or babies.).

As believers in Christ, we understand we are all born into sin, even our innocent babies. Christ should be placed at the center of our families, and as our children grow up, we gently guide them into the arms of Christ.

“One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left.” (Matthew 19:14-15 MSG)

attachmentarentingFrom what I have witnessed in the Christian world of AP, from friends and acquaintances who practice this style of parenting, their focus is to keep Christ at the center of their families as opposed to their child. Believers in Christ need to understand that the center of a human beings’ heart is inherently evil, but as parents, it is our job to teach and train our children in a way that is gentle, but also humbling so that our children see Christ through us.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV)

When I inquired with parents who practice AP, they said:

“Attachment parenting to me is following one’s instincts in meeting the needs of your children, but also yourself and family in a respectful, loving and compassionate way.”  -Mandy Foster Falgout

“Attachment parenting for me is learning to love and treasure every part of my children by responding to their needs, wants and behaviors with grace and gentleness. It’s allowing them to be attached to me now so they can feel confident and independent later. It has taught me so much about dying to myself and being a servant to many!” -Claire Reiter

I am not an AP, but after witnessing this style of parenting in a home that is centered on Christ, I see how these parents so desperately want to love their children the way Christ loves them–through grace, gentleness, and forgiveness.

I would like to encourage other readers to tell us about your thoughts and opinions on Attachment Parenting. Do you practice this style of parenting? Does a family friend or a neighbor struggle with keeping Christ the center of their home while practicing this style of parenting? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

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