Attachment parenting – The core of self-esteem

The deep and enduring connection established between a child and his/her parents or primary caregivers is the foundation of his relationship with himself. This pattern begins in utero. Some specialists believe that it begins a few months before conception. If this environment is loving, safe and nurturing on all levels, it is the start of a secure attachment.


While developing in the uterus, the baby builds his body in response to his/her experiences. This is a direct result of the experiences of his/her mother. Baby is building a body suitable to the conditions of the outside environment he/she is perceiving through his mother. How important those months are and how important it is how the babies’ mother copes with stress. Baby is listening to and responding to his/her mothers’ voice and movements during those months.


One of the most important aspects of attachment parenting is the development of the infants’ brain. Brain researchers have shown that the most powerful brain enhancers for children is the quality of the parent-infant attachment (such as skin-to-skin contact) and the response of the caregiving environment to the babies’ cues. Attachment parenting helps the brain to make the right connections.


The old school of regimented schedules and baby training are becoming a thing of the past. I can see now, having studied about self-esteem and the psychology of human development that it should be a thing of the past.


Attachment parenting advocates sleeping close to the baby, carrying the baby close (wearing a carrier), feeding when hungry, changing regularly, bathing, playing with, singing to, rocking and being completely aware of his needs. This form of parenting does not allow baby to cry himself to sleep. Now, you may say that it is ‘spoiling’ him/her. I don’t think so.


Attachment studies have spoiled the spoiling theory. Two researchers, Dr.s’ Bell and Ainsworth studied two sets of parents and their children. Group A were attachment parents and group B parented in a more structured and less intuitive way. After a year of tracking these families, it was found that Group A were the most independent and secure children. A child must go though a stage of healthy dependence to come out securely independent.


(Of course, when a child is older, parents need to understand about setting limits and boundaries). Another subject, again.


If we pay attention to our babies cries and learn what he needs and fulfill those needs, he/she will grow up in an environment that is safe and secure for him/her. If we ignore his/her requests for clean pants, burbs, tummy aches, food, comforting and cuddling, he/she will learn that his/her needs are not important, that the world is not a secure place. He/she will learn that his/her mother or father will not be available to him/her and that he is not valuable. This is all happening at a pre-verbal, subconscious level in the emotional regulating part of the brain. This is the core of the childs’ self-esteem.


By Janet Robinson