Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The product mentality

APInternational, the attachment parenting organisation, has the motto "Peaceful Parenting for a Peaceful World"

The underlying message is clearly that if you attachment parent your children - breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, baby wearing - your children will likely turn out to be gentle and peaceful people.

Unfortunately, the API logo writer had not read The Nurture Assumption by Judith Rich Harris. She argues - pretty compellingly, as far as I've got - that the major influence on how children turn out is not how their parents treat them, but what their peer group is like. There are genetic effects and indirect genetic effects, but the people children mdel themselves on, once they leave their mother's knee, are their peers.

If you want your child to be peaceful, live in a commune where the whole community is peaceful.

I think Attachment Parenting is a splendid way to treat very small people. But do it because it makes parents and children happier, not because you have some ultimate goal for your child's mature personality.

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