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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Attachment Parenting and All Things Natural & Instinctual
Apparently there's been a lot of buzz around May's TIME magazine cover. So much buzz, in fact, that Miles caught wind of it and passed it along to me, knowing I'd be interested. As a psychology major, I'm eating this story up.

There are seriously TONS of avenues I could take with this one. 

Kate Pickert, author of this viral article, says that "attachment parenting is based on the idea that you should follow your instincts." It includes extended breast feeding, child-led weaning, co-sleeping, and swaddling/wearing the baby.

Dr. Bill Sears is the patriarch of attachment parenting. Understandably, his opinions stem from his own stressful childhood experiences. Sears says that if a woman and her child were on a deserted island, away from mother in laws, parenting books, & psychologists, she would naturally practice attachment parenting.

I'm all about being attached to your child, but since when has something being natural been the standard? Natural instincts and motherly tendencies are great, but "natural" tendencies shouldn't be the standard. I have a pretty natural tendency to be judgmental and prideful, to be controlling and withdraw from community, but those things aren't good. Talk of all things natural being superior isn't just displayed on the cover of TIME, this advertising scheme is used everywhere. Why? A lot of times natural things are better. Natural food is better because its free of added chemicals and preservatives. Natural linens are better because they're not synthetic. And the list goes on.

However, I often justify sinful behavior because it felt "natural." My natural tendencies (my nature) are not always good because I'm a human and therefore my nature is inherently sinful. Any facet of my nature that is not full on sinful is a product of grace and sanctification. So, friends, next time you choose something, justify something, purchase something because its natural, let that remind you of your own nature. Natural tendencies, while at times good, are often masqueraded sinful desires flowing from a depraved heart.


  1. A youth pastor I know recently posted a simple tweet that goes along quite well with your review of attachment parenting and "natural behavior reinforcement."

    Jesus told us to deny ourselves rather than to be ourselves...

    At first I was taken aback because I couldn't believe that Jesus would not want us to be ourselves, and then I thought that the real fly in the ointment is this idea of doing what comes "naturally."

    However, do you think that even our personality is fallen in this way (as a psychologist and Christian?)

    Regardless, I think that Jesus telling us to deny ourselves is the same thing as telling us to deny our instincts.... Everything about being a Christian is the most natural unnatural thing in the world.

  2. But NATURAL family planning is ok? Sounds like you like to use the Bible to pick and choose what you believe in...kind of like "Why Jesus Wants Me to Have a Big Wedding." I blame this on the super-conservatism that goes on at the Summit Church.

    1. In this post I was just trying to state that just because something is natural doesn't mean its inherently good. A lot of times (myself definitely included!) people condone sin because its "natural."

      While the Bible speaks to lots of issues clearly and directly, for issues that its not as straightforward on (i.e. attachment parenting), I use scripture as a foundation for my beliefs, as well as how I feel the Holy Spirit convicting me. You don't have to disagree/agree with AP, NFP, etc. to be a follower of Jesus, but, as Christians, we are called to submit to Biblical teaching and principles.

      My "Why Jesus Wants Me to Have a Big Wedding" post was admittedly given a provocative title, but was ultimately getting at how weddings reflect how Jesus pursues each person individually and that they only have to accept the pursuit shown through his perfect life that he lived and sacrificial death he died in our place.