Does Attachment Parenting Prevent Addiction?

For year’s alcohol and drug addiction has been viewed by many as an attachment disorder. Attachment disorder is a broad term used to describe disorders of mood, behavior, and social relationships arising from a failure to form healthy attachments to a primary care giver in early childhood (between the ages of 6 months and 3 years.) Insecure attachment can result in problematic social expectations and behaviors; such as addiction.

Knowing the possibility of addiction manifesting from an insecure attachment one might wonder whether the popular new parenting philosophy, attachment parenting might prevent addiction? Attachment parenting is a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears, based on the principles of attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child’s social and emotional development. When parents are taught to increase their sensitivity to an infant’s needs and signals, this increases the development of the child’s secure attachment.

Some attachment parenting advocates include, mother and singer, Alannis Morsette. Morsette wrote an article on her own attachment parenting experiences and her belief that it is preventing addiction in her child, “I personally believe that the attachment stage, done well, can circumvent countless addictions later in life because many of these addictions are often a temporary attempt at feeling this sense of connection. If a child’s needs during this stage of development are not met, he or she will be staving off a haunting sense of cellular disconnection and loneliness for a lifetime. They will not have effectively internalized a loving nurturance as their own love-style.”

On the other hand, Katie Allison Granju, mother of five, popular blogger, noted expert on attachment parenting and author of Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child lost her eldest son to drug addiction. If even experts can’t protect their children from addiction what can? What does prevent addiction?

One thing to remember is that addictions are proven to be genetic. Even the most attentive, educated and expert parent cannot fight against genes. There may not be full-proof guard to protect your child from experiencing an addiction. However, there is always treatment which has proven to help those struggling out of their addictions. Treatment facilities like The Landing are great places to start asking questions.