How do you practice attachment parenting with a preschooler? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 11-10-2011, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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How does attachment parenting evolve as children mature?  The list of 8 or 10 things by Dr. Sears for how to AP is very concrete, but I haven't come across anything beyond babies.


In addition, how do you make boundaries with a preschooler who seems so attached to mama that when mama does go out, it is a big deal (as a result, I seldom go out by myself).




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#2 of 3 Old 11-12-2011, 06:46 PM
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I think the main thing is to just be very attuned to what their needs are and to respond accordingly. To treat them with respect and always take their concerns seriously.


A child that has a hard time separating, I would go slow. You do need a break sometimes. Assuming you have a partner, start with just a walk up the road and let your partner give a lot of support, then praise when you return for your child, and reassurance: "See mommy came back, mommy always comes back." Next time maybe go to the library (or somewhere) for a little longer. The idea is to build up the idea that he can survive your outings, that he is strong and can handle it.


ETA: Sorry I didn't realize I was in the Experts forum!!! Sheepish.gif


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#3 of 3 Old 11-14-2011, 01:34 PM
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Dear Go Blue:

What a great question!  I like to adapt the 8 ideals of attachment parenting older children as below:

1. Prepare - Understand and seek out information on development.  Know the social, cognitive and physical limitations of your child at each stage of parenting.  Learn about how the brain develops.

2. Feed - Avoid power struggles at meal times.  Understand the feeding relationship and the different roles of parents and children.

3. Respond - Avoid ignoring your child even when you are feeling angry.  She needs hugs and attention in times of distress just as she did as a baby. Learn empathic listening skills which are more required the older your child gets.

4. Touch - Keep up loving touch - hugs, cuddles, holding hands.

5. Sleep - Continue family bedrooms even in the school-age years if it works for all family members. Problem-solve bedtime issues.

6. Consistent and loving care - Aim for consistency at least 70% of the time.  We are human and not 100% perfect! 

7. Positive Discipline - Use distraction, modelling and problem-solving. Have family meetings more as your child gets older. Avoid "punishment-lite" methods such as time-out, grounding, and taking things away.  Resolve conflicts respectfully as you would with any other person. 

8. Self-Care - find time to meet your varied needs.  You are important too!


In your specific case, your preschooler still needs a lot of you and if you can give it to her, she will become more secure as she grows.  Preschoolers are still very young.  Try to find ways to meet your needs with her around if possible.  This is a stage that won't last foreever!

We have some resources for parents attachment parenting older children on our site at


Judy Arnall,

author of "Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising responsible caring children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery."

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Judy Arnall
Author of the print bestseller, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery, and the new book, Parenting With Patience: Turn frustration into connection with 3 easy steps. President and best of all, Mom of three adults (in university) and two teens! Judy just co-founded Unschooling Canada Association

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