Last April, a giant news story was on every news channel and was on the covers of many newspapers and magazines for weeks.
This nightmare of the Columbine massacre impacted citizens across the nation. What compelled Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, two young teenage boys, to open fire on an innocent high school, killing thirteen people and then, killing themselves? What were they thinking? Who is to blame? Do we blame the music they listened to, the video games they played, the high school cliques they were not a part of? No one may ever know who or what is to blame, but one group of parents interviewed by 20/20 claim to have an explanation for these seemingly unexplainable phenomena. They say the answer lies with the parents and their method of parenting. This group of guardians suggest a type of child rearing called Attachment Parenting Essay.
They believe the style of parenting they practice will inoculate their children against ever becoming troubled (1). Attachment parenting is a style of parenting in which the mother and father spend as much as time as possible with the baby, physically connected to the child. While other parents use the help of walkers, playpens, even strollers to give themselves a little down time, 11-month-old Maddox McQuay, one of the children being profiled by 20/20, has never set foot in one. The bulk of her short life has been spent in a device called a sling, an indispensable second appendage for attachment parents (3). This device resembles a sling for a broken arm, yet for a baby.
Allowing the parent to take care of his or her daily chores and errands while having the baby physically attached, a sling proves to be very useful. Another aspect of attachment parenting involves the sleeping arrangements of the family. Since a requirement of this style of child rearing is to be as close as possible, the only logical answer for these parents is to have the whole family sleep in the same bed or at least in the same bedroom. In addition to the parents being physically bonded to their children and the family sleeping together, these mothers breast feed their children for as long as possible or at least until the minimum of two years of age.
The Bedrakas, interviewed by 20/20, says it has done wonders for their daughter, Veronica, who will be five years old next month and is still continuing to breast-feed (4). According to the advocates of attachment parenting, its what parents would naturally do in the absence of baby books and doctors telling them what to do (2). But, the authors of baby books and the doctors are the experts. They have conducted numerous studies on the many aspects of child development and have the childs best interest in mind.
Equally concerned with the well being of children, the government issued a warning against co-sleeping, a fundamental component of attachment parenting. Recently, Dr. Clifford Nelson, a forensic pathologist for the Oregon State Medical Examiners Office, conducted a study of 651 cases originally classified as sudden unexpected infant death. Of the 651 cases, 183 occurred in a co-sleeping situation (5). The infants, sleeping in their own beds, possibly would have prevented 183 deaths.
With such an extreme focus on the parents being physically connected to the child, is it feasible for both parents to work? Dr. William Sears, a supporter of attachment parenting, told Dr. Snyderman that, Lots of moms have the type of jobs that they can wear their babies to work a clerk in a toy storea real estate agent (7). While there might be jobs that allow mothers to have their children with them, the work place is not an ideal environment for children.
Preschools and day cares offer an alternative for working mothers. However, preschools and day cares are not an option for attachment parents. In an article titled, Guilt and the Working Mother, Shirley Radl, the author, states that:There is absolutely no evidence to support the notion that children are damaged or deprived when their mothers work. Dr Mary Howell, a professor of pediatrics and associate dean of Harvard Medical School,studied 280 cases and concluded that the children of working mothersfared just .