Attachment parenting, to put it most simply, is believing what we know in our heart to be true. And if we do that, we find that we trust the child. We trust him in these ways: We trust that he is doing the very best he can at every given moment, given all of his experiences up to that time. We trust that though he may be small in size, he is as fully human as we are, and as deserving as we are to have his needs taken seriously. We trust that he has been born innocent, loving, and trusting. We do not need to "turn him around", to teach him that life is difficult, or train him to be a loving human being - he is that at birth and all we need to do is celebrate that, and support and sustain it. We don't have to give him lessons about life - life brings its own lessons and its own frustrations. We recognize that in a very beautiful way, our child teaches us - if we listen - what love is. We understand that if a child "misbehaves", instead of reacting to the behavior, we should always examine what has been taking place in his life: what stresses, frustrations or frightening, confusing, or difficult situations he has just experienced. We also need to examine whether we have brought about any of these experiences, intentionally or not. It is our job to be responsive parents, meeting the needs of our child; it is not the child's job to meet our needs for a quiet and perfectly well-behaved child. We understand that It is unfair and unrealistic to expect a child to behave perfectly at all times; after all, no adult can do this either. Yet behind all punishment is the unstated expectation that a child can and should behave perfectly at all times; there is no leeway. We see that so-called "bad behavior" is in reality nothing more than the child's attempt to communicate an important need in the best way he can, given the present circumstances and all of his prior experience. "Misbehavior" is a signal to us that important needs are not being met. - by us or by others in the child's life. We should not ignore that behavior any more than we should ignore the sound of a smoke detector. We should instead see "bad behavior" as an opportunity - an opportunity to reevaluate our own behavior, to learn about our child's needs, and to meet those needs in the best way possible. [This definition of attachment parenting is by Jan Hunt, M.Sc., of]
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