Different parenting plans

Parenting is arguably the most challenging and rewarding and/or frustrating and agonizing experience that most people ever encounter.  Humans are born with the protective instincts of all animals that bear young, but for better or for worse, to be human is to be much more complicated than the rest of the animal kingdom.  In many cases just having a plan, with fairly definite structure and guidelines, can contribute greatly to healthy, effectual parenting.

Many favor the ‘natural’ parenting approach, which is based on no real plan at all, but draws on the natural instincts of parents to protect and teach their child to insure its survival.  Breast-feeding is an integral part of the natural parenting approach, as well as co-sleeping and home schooling.

Family parenting involves the input of all family members, from siblings, if any, to aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins.  The obvious advantage here is that there is a

strong support network for the child as well as the parents.  A baby is virtually never without a comforting and loving presence, and the parents have a bit more freedom for their own pursuits.

Attachment parenting is pretty much what the name implies, with nearly constant physical contact between parent and child so that a strong bond is formed and nurtured from birth.

There is no perfect ‘plan’ for parenthood, but parents can integrate the parts of any plan that work best.  Each child has the same basic need for love, security and stimulation, both mental and physical.  However, every one is different, with a developing personality of his or her own, so parents must try to be consistent but flexible – not an easy assignment, but well worth the effort.

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