Attachment Parenting – Good or Bad?
From an Islamic and psychological perspective, is giving children too much attention and care when they are young good or bad for them? Also, should children be taught to be independent when they are toddlers, for example, not allowed to sleep with their parents, and so on? Some doctors recommend attachment parenting, where children are frequently cuddled, allowed to sleep with their parents, and continually given affection. Is that good or bad?
It is very important for the mental and emotional development of growing children that they receive plenty of attention from their parents, while also being taught responsibility and manners. When a parent — either the mother or the father — spends time playing with the child, for example, taking her to the park or teaching her how to ride a bicycle, all of this kind of attention will help the child gain self–confidence, acquire skills and feel loved by her parents. Meanwhile, teaching the child to be respectful of her parents, share with other friends, learn how to dress herself, and help with carrying her own toys when going to the park will make it a learning experience. It is natural for children to always seek attention; however, parents should reward the positive behavior of the child with attention and ignore the negative trivial behavior.
As for your second question, toddlers need to learn to sleep in their own beds, maybe in a separate room. The important thing here is to spend enough time with the child when she is awake. Give the child a special time slot where she receives a lot of attention before going to bed. The following are examples of activities parents can do with their children during this time slot:
- Sit with the child(ren) to eat a snack together.
- Tell a bedtime story in a playful way.
- Give them a bath, allow them to use the washroom and have a sip of water.
- Read the Qur’an to them and put your hand on each of the children’s forehead while reading the Qur’an to them.
- If they are old enough, the children should be made to repeat the bedtime du‘a with their parents. If the children are not old enough to repeat it, the parents should recite it aloud to them.
- Explain the meaning of the bedtime du‘a as a tool to make them sleep safely and wake up comfortably.
- Play an audio tape of the Qur’an in the room, kiss them goodnight and leave the room.
With very young children, make sure that they are clean and fed before you put them to bed. This prevents them from calling you for these things once they are in bed. You can leave a toy or book that they like in bed for them to look at until they fall asleep. You may leave on a dim light in the room so they do not feel they have to fall asleep immediately. Try to maintain a consistent bedtime, give or take an hour.