The power of early attachment to form humans with compassionate intelligence is illustrated in this introduction to the work of Dr. Ashley Montagu. Dr. Montagu began to advocate reform in birthing practices in 1962. In his book Touching: The Human Significance of the Skinhe discusses the vital importance of touch in healthy infant development. Contrast the effects of secure attachment in a child's development with the devastating effects of disorders of attachment brought on by separation, neglect, or abuse of children in the early years.
Research in infant attachment began primarily with the work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. This research tradition continues at SUNY Stony Brook. The vital role of early attachment is apparent and urgent, though a perusal of attachment parenting sites on the Internet leaves me with a slightly uncomfortable feeling that extreme views are being touted as the only way to practice attachment parenting.
Attachment Parenting currently refers to a reponsive style of infant parenting that was popularized by pediatrician Dr. William Sears. Some of the practices advocated in attachment parenting are home births, extended breastfeeding, responding quickly to babies' crying, minimizing separation between parent and child, co-sleeping, non-punitive discipline, etc. I believe that the core of these practices are parenting with love and respect for the child and that these core principles can be extended into the school-age years.
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