Educating a child is not an easy task, so it is understandable that sometimes parents are not sure if the methods they use are the most appropriate. It is difficult to know to what extent we are too authoritarian or too permissive, especially if we do not have benchmarks that allow us to establish healthy limits for children.
Attachment parenting affirms that we must educate from love and respect, fostering an emotionally safe environment for the child in which all their needs are taken into account. However, can that attachment turn into emotional dependence?
What is attachment parenting?
Attachment parenting involves establishing a loving and secure relationship with the child, meeting their emotional needs. These 8 principles of attachment parenting reveal the way forward:
- Preparation for pregnancy, birth and parenthood.
- Food with love and respect.
- Sensitive response to the baby’s needs from birth.
- Maternal contact for as long as possible.
- Suitable for physically and emotionally safe sleep.
- Suitable for constant loving care.
- Positive discipline practice.
- Search for balance between personal and family life.
Positive Discipline: The Key to Attachment Parenting
Attachment parenting implies educating from love, but that does not mean that there are no limits. Parents should set appropriate limits for the child’s developmental stage so that the child can safely explore the world. In fact, limits and norms give meaning to the world of children, allow them to know what is expected of them and, at the same time, avoid the frustration in parents by nurturing unrealistic expectations about their child.
Parenting with attachment does not spoil children because it does not fall into permissiveness, but rather disciplines from love. Few limits are set, but clear and consistent. The child is not punished but the behavior, which means that no emotional wounds are left, but the misbehavior is corrected.
By setting such limits, care is taken to give the child the freedom and space they need to discover the world.
Satisfying the emotional needs of children and educating them from love and respect will not generate emotional dependency, on the contrary, it contributes to educating children with self-confidence and good self-esteem.
Resistant Attachment: The Prelude to Emotional Dependence
Resistant attachment, which usually occurs in approximately 10% of children, is what generates an emotional dependence on parents. These children try to stay close to their parents and become very upset when they leave. They are overly cautious around strangers and explore little when their parents are not present.
Resistant attachment is usually the result of a combination of factors, although at its base is an inconsistent relationship with parents. Usually it is because parents, because they experienced inconsistent parenting that did not convey the emotional security they needed, trying to compensate for their “emotional hunger” with their child. As a result, they practice possessive behaviors, developing an overprotective educational style that leads them to live through their children. The result of that overprotection is emotional dependence.