T Nation

The Man Who Remade Motherhood

This gave me serious creep jives! Surprised this wasn’t a thread already.

By Kate Pickert Monday, May 21, 2012

Heâ??s sold millions of books about attachment parenting, and converted hundreds of thousands of followers. His philosophy has made parenthood more physically and emotionally demanding than ever before. But are mothers taking his advice too far?

Meet Dr. Bill Sears, the Man Who Remade Motherhood
By Kate Pickert May 10,2012

For TIMEâ??s May 21 cover story - I explored the personal history and legacy of Dr. Bill Sears, the father of a child-rearing philosophy called attachment parenting. As the author of 40-plus books on parenting and pregnancy, Sears is a familiar figure to many American mothers and fathers. Some parents subscribe to his theory that attachment parenting â?? characterized by extended breast-feeding, co-sleeping and wearing your baby in a sling across your body â?? is the best way to raise confident, secure children. Others think Sears is an antifeminist tyrant, or that his ideas are just totally unrealistic.

Searsâ?? most well-known parenting manual, a purple 767-page tome called The Baby Book, is ubiquitous, but his own story is not. In reporting this article for TIME, I was intrigued to find out how little had been written about Searsâ?? upbringing or how he came up with his parenting theories in the first place.

It turns out that he and his wife Martha had written a lot of earlier books about attachment parenting before The Baby Book, including one with an evangelical approach. I also came across a book the Searses wrote in 1982 based on another book called The Continuum Concept, which I traced back to a college dropout who had become fascinated by child care in the Venezuelan jungle. â??We read the book and thought, Well, this is neat,â?? says Sears.

When I interviewed Bill and Martha Sears at their home in Southern California, we talked for a long time about their childhoods â?? neither of which resembled the kind of idealized environment the couple imagines for their supporters. Billâ??s father abandoned him when he was a baby; Marthaâ??s father died when she was young, and her mother suffered from mental illness. Their childhoods seemed to be lacking in affection and parental bonding, the very tenets of their teachings.

I began to realize that Bill Searsâ?? theories are based not only on his experience as a pediatrician and father, as most of his readers assume, but also on the work of others and on the Searsesâ?? own upbringings as Midwestern Catholics. Martha acknowledged this in our interview: â??You could say Iâ??m reacting to my background.â??

As I spoke with parents, especially mothers, about their parenting styles, I found that even those who didnâ??t know Bill Sears by name had been touched by the phenomenon of attachment parenting â?? whether as practitioners of some of its tenets or as critics. TIMEâ??s May 21 cover story introduces readers to Sears, the man whose influence has shifted mainstream American parenting and brought us to a point where mothering requires more physical and emotional investment than perhaps ever before.

One thing I have learned from living in a completely different culture than America’s, is that most people from any culture have passionate, staunch, and often very vocal ideas about how kids should be raised, and will sometimes almost violently defend their own parenting style while viciously disparaging anything that happens to fall the slightest bit outside their own rigid parameters.

The attachment parenting thing sounds pretty much like how all parenting is done in Japan. If anything, it’s much more extreme here. Yet, the young people I have the honor of teaching are more self-motivated, goal-oriented, and clear about their ideas for what they want from life than a vast majority of the American kids I know.

My opinion on how kids should be raised: Love them first. Be fair. Be Consistent. Treat them like the people you would like them to be. Then love them a little more. That’s all you need to worry about.

It’s strange to see a picture of it on the front of TIME, but I think it’s actually weird because someone is exploiting a child to make money.

Otherwise, I have yet to see what’s wrong with attached parenting.

It looks a little dopey to me. And yes, I get that feeling that this kid IS being exploited. More than anything, it’s on the cover for its ‘shock value’ – just in time for Mothers Day. Seriously, does anyone except doctors offices purchase periodicals any more? Anything to sell.

I wanna suck the left one.

[quote]Cortes wrote:

My opinion on how kids should be raised: Love them first. Be fair. Be Consistent. Treat them like the people you would like them to be. Then love them a little more. That’s all you need to worry about. [/quote]

I agree.

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

[quote]Cortes wrote:

My opinion on how kids should be raised: Love them first. Be fair. Be Consistent. Treat them like the people you would like them to be. Then love them a little more. That’s all you need to worry about. [/quote]

I agree.[/quote]

Holy crap!

:wink:

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

[quote]Cortes wrote:

My opinion on how kids should be raised: Love them first. Be fair. Be Consistent. Treat them like the people you would like them to be. Then love them a little more. That’s all you need to worry about. [/quote]

I agree.[/quote]
x3

[quote]MattyG35 wrote:

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

[quote]Cortes wrote:

My opinion on how kids should be raised: Love them first. Be fair. Be Consistent. Treat them like the people you would like them to be. Then love them a little more. That’s all you need to worry about. [/quote]

I agree.[/quote]
x3[/quote]
x4 here. Hard to argue with that.

[quote]Makavali wrote:

[quote]MattyG35 wrote:

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

[quote]Cortes wrote:

My opinion on how kids should be raised: Love them first. Be fair. Be Consistent. Treat them like the people you would like them to be. Then love them a little more. That’s all you need to worry about. [/quote]

I agree.[/quote]
x3[/quote]
x4 here. Hard to argue with that.[/quote]

Dude, group hug, guys.

This kid is three or four years old and the mom has plans on continuing until he is past four and starting into his fifth year! You can never tell me that a well respected psychologist would ever support the act. Let alone that the child will grow up to be well adjusted young adult and without parental and/or separation issues. I have an aunt who was trying to be he daughters best friend growing up. You should see my cousins daddy issues and the thing is, she could be an attractive girl if she wanted to be. Please take note, the mom in the issue was breast fed until she was 6! The dad was no where to be seen.

My take on parenting, I couldn’t summarize here on these boards. However none of my kids will be breast feeding much past a year. To take this to the extent of four to five years is asking for many issues, at least IMHO.

[quote]Cortes wrote:

[quote]Makavali wrote:

[quote]MattyG35 wrote:

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

[quote]Cortes wrote:

My opinion on how kids should be raised: Love them first. Be fair. Be Consistent. Treat them like the people you would like them to be. Then love them a little more. That’s all you need to worry about. [/quote]

I agree.[/quote]
x3[/quote]
x4 here. Hard to argue with that.[/quote]

Dude, group hug, guys.
[/quote]

Too much. My opinion: Beat first, their mother can love them. Surprise them so they never know when they’ll get whooped. Keeps them on their toes.

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:

[quote]Cortes wrote:

[quote]Makavali wrote:

[quote]MattyG35 wrote:

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

[quote]Cortes wrote:

My opinion on how kids should be raised: Love them first. Be fair. Be Consistent. Treat them like the people you would like them to be. Then love them a little more. That’s all you need to worry about. [/quote]

I agree.[/quote]
x3[/quote]
x4 here. Hard to argue with that.[/quote]

Dude, group hug, guys.
[/quote]

Too much. My opinion: Beat first, their mother can love them. Surprise them so they never know when they’ll get whooped. Keeps them on their toes.[/quote]

Nah. Make their mother beat 'em if they need it. You play Mr. Good Guy. Awwwww, did the mean old Mommy hit 'ums?

My non-expert gut feeling is that breast-feeding a child in the 3 years to 5 years age range most likely provides no particular benefit, but probably does no significant harm, either. (As long as the child’s diet is mostly solid food.)

If she wants to continue to give her child breast milk because she believes it is beneficial, why not pump? I do not see why she has to have him latched on, can’t imagine it is comfortable for her or the child.