How much do you know about attachment parenting? - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

How much do you know about attachment parenting?

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Parenting styles and techniques are subjects that can debated and researched maybe more than any other. But one approach has recently gotten some national attention in both good and bad ways.

Attachment parenting is not a new concept. It was based on attachment theory which came about after World War II when homeless and orphaned children showed difficulties functioning in society and a propensity toward violence while growing up and as adults.

But the very natural way of parenting is gaining in popularity here in the Natural State.

You might have known her as Winnie from the Wonder Years. Now Danica McKellar is recognized as a proponent of attachment parenting.

Same can be said of Mayim Bialik, star of "Blossom" and now on "Big Bang Theory" who told Good Morning Arkansas she breast fed her toddler until he was three years old.

But long-term breast-feeding is just one of several principles that fall under the attachment parenting technique and not all practicing moms do it.

"They're not rules," said Ashley Franz, the co-leader the Central Arkansas branch of Attachment Parenting International. "They're more like tools that you can use for parenting."

Here's a look at the eight guidelines of API:

*Prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting

*Feed with love and respect

*Respond with sensitivity

*Use nurturing touch

*Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally

*Provide consistent and loving care

*Practice positive discipline

*Strive for balance in personal and family life

Concepts that proponents say nurture and fulfill children's need for trust, respect, and affection and ultimately provide a lifelong foundation for healthy, enduring relationships.

"The analogy we use is attachment parenting principles are like a buffet. You can take what you like and leave the rest," said Franz.

"I was kind of raised in an attachment parenting situation," says mom of 4, Hannah Carpenter.

Carpenter considers herself a second generation product of attachment parenting although she doesn't adhere to every guideline. It's all about creating a bond with her children that gives them a sense of security.

"I did feel very emotionally strong and confident. I think that had a lot to do with that emotional bond. And I still have an emotional bond with my mother," said Carpenter.

One of the more controversial aspects of attachment parenting is what's called co-sleeping, which is not the same as bed-sharing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against sleeping with babies in the same bed but moms like Melani Blansett says it's all about the baby being near mom.

"It didn't feel right to put him all the way across the house in a room with a monitor," said Blansett. "I wanted him close to me. We'd been together for nine months and I didn't want to let that go."

The bottom line for these moms is doing what comes naturally while creating a loving and secure environment for their children.

"I think every parent is an expert on their own baby." said Franz.

"We need to understand that every child is different and we all have great ideas," said Blansett. "And not all those ideas are coming out of books or research. It's just instinctive parenting and sometimes you need somebody to say what you're doing is fine, your kid is great."

Click here for more information on Attachment Parenting International of Central Arkansas.