Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears, is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child's socio-emotional development and well-being. Less sensitive and emotionally unavailable parenting or neglect of the child's needs may result in insecure forms of attachment style, which is a risk factor for many mental health problems (e.g. depression, anxiety and eating disorders). In extreme and rare conditions, the child may not form an attachment at all and may suffer from reactive attachment disorder. Principles of attachment parenting aim to increase development of a child's secure attachment and decrease insecure attachment.

When parents are taught to increase their sensitivity to an infant's needs and signals, this increases the development of the child's attachment security. Sears' specific techniques of attachment parenting remain under study.

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  • 1. [William Sears (physician)] William Penton Sears (born December 9, 1939) is an American pediatrician and the author or co-author of more than 30 parenting books, most notably several in the "Sears Parenting Library." He is a frequent guest on television talkshows, where he goes by the name Dr. Bill. He and his wife Martha Sears, R.N., are among the leading proponents of the attachment parenting philosophy.
  • 2. [Attachment therapy] Attachment therapy is a controversial category of alternative child mental health interventions intended to treat attachment disorders. The term generally includes accompanying parenting techniques. Other names or particular techniques include "the Evergreen model", "holding time", "rage-reduction", "compression therapy", "rebirthing", "corrective attachment therapy" and Coercive Restraint Therapy. It is found primarily but not exclusively in the
  • 3. [Mary Ainsworth] Mary Dinsmore Salter Ainsworth (/ˈeɪnswɜrθ/; December 1, 1913 – March 21, 1999) was an American-Canadian developmental psychologist known for her work in early emotional attachment with the Strange situation design, as well as her work in the development of attachment theory.
  • 4. [Reactive attachment disorder] Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is described in clinical literature as a severe and relatively uncommon disorder that can affect children. RAD is characterized by markedly disturbed and developmentally inappropriate ways of relating socially in most contexts. It can take the form of a persistent failure to initiate or respond to most social interactions in a
  • 5. [Maternal deprivation] The term maternal deprivation is a catch-phrase summarising the early work of psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, John Bowlby on the effects of separating infants and young children from their mother (or mother substitute) although the effect of loss of the mother on the developing child had been considered earlier by Freud and other theorists. Bowlby's work
  • 6. [Judith Warner] Judith Warner (born July 4, 1965) is an American writer.
    Warner is the author of a range of nonfiction books, among them You Have the Power: How to Take Back Our Country and Restore Democracy in America (with Howard Dean) and the bestselling biography Hillary Clinton: The Inside Story. A former special correspondent for Newsweek in
  • 7. [John Bowlby] Edward John Mostyn Bowlby (/ˈboʊlbi/; 26 February 1907 – 2 September 1990) was a British psychologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst, notable for his interest in child development and for his pioneering work in attachment theory.
  • 8. [Attachment theory] Attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term interpersonal relationships between humans. However, ‘attachment theory is not formulated as a general theory of relationships. It addresses only a specific facet’ (Waters et al. 2005: 81): how human beings respond within relationships when hurt, separated from loved ones, or perceiving a threat. In infants, attachment as a
  • 9. [Parenting] Parenting (or child rearing) is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the aspects of raising a child aside from the biological relationship.
  • 10. [Sudden infant death syndrome] Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) also known as cot death or crib death is the sudden death of an infant that is not predicted by medical history and remains unexplained after a thorough forensic autopsy and detailed death scene investigation. Infants are at the highest risk for SIDS during sleep. Typically the infant is found dead after having been put to bed, and exhibits no signs of having struggled.
  • 11. [U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission] The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent agency of the United States government. It was created in 1972 through the Consumer Product Safety Act. The CPSC is an agency that reports to Congress and the President and is not part of any other department or agency in the federal government. The
  • 12. [Developmental psychology] Developmental psychology is the scientific study of changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to include adolescence, adult development, aging, and the entire lifespan. This field examines change across a broad range of topics including motor skills and other psycho-physiological
  • 13. [Pediatrics] Pediatrics (also spelled paediatrics or pædiatrics) is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents, and the age limit usually ranges from birth up to 18 (in some places until completion of secondary education, and until age 21 in the United States).A medical practitioner who specializes in this
  • 14. [Sigmund Freud] Sigmund Freud (German pronunciation: [ˈziːkmʊnt ˈfʁɔʏ̯t]; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist who became known as the founding father of psychoanalysis.
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