Safe affiliation to Millennial Parenting

A baby walks his father to his mother while he travels to a campsite.Most parents would agree that parenting is a challenging but also rewarding role. The Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) quickly became the new parental majority, numbering 22 million to 9,000 babies born every day. They use social media in all aspects of modern life: 90% of millennia are active in social networks (Steinmetz, 2018). The daily pressures felt by the millennium parents, especially mothers, are deep.

In a parental report about the Baby Center, 80% of the millennium mothers said they wanted to be the "perfect mother" (as reported in Steinmetz, 2018). Information on parenting is so easily available, the millennia often know more about child development from generations ago. However, they report that they feel confused about the right way to the parent and are harder judged by others about their parental choices.

In 2012, YEAR referred to one of the most popular parent strategies for this generation: parental attachment. This parent strategy emphasizes the link between mother and child. A safe attachment is the foundation of health for children and adults in psychology research, but there is more to the model of attachment than is depicted in our culture and Instagram positions with the hashtag #attachmentparenting (numbering 340,000 posts in Instagram) .

What is parenting attachment?

The founder of the theory of attachment to psychological literature was John Bowlby, studying babies in orphanages that had nothing to do with carers. Margarita Maler promoted her research, studying exclusively the relationships between mothers and children (Hamilton, 1990). He spent decades watching their babies and mothers in the early years of life and developing this relationship.

Mahler concluded that the first 6 months of a baby's life are centered around a phase called cohabitation. According to her theory, this phase should include proximity between mother and baby. The mother's main focus is to respond to cries and respond to her baby's needs. This period is crucial for children because it is necessary to have a safe base (their mother) to explore the world.

After the first 6 months of life, the rest of the development should focus on separation and personalization by the mother. Hamilton (1990) showed "the safest baby has watched in his symbiotic attachments, the less stress and the greatest interest he will show in the outside world" (p.42). Here is a description of each phase of separation and personalization and how the mother or carer can encourage the child to personalize:

6-10 mos. Hatch: The child shows interest in the outside world. A mother encourages exploration and is there without being rejected when the baby returns to her mother to meet some needs.

10-16 mos. Workshop: The child continues to explore his world, showing great interest in games and other items. They can crawl or crawl away from the mother, but check back in places in their exploration. A mother encourages this phase by thanking her child's new discoveries while she is present when the child wants to return to her.

16-24 mos. Approach: The young child is now more than ever aware of their divisibility from the mother. While this phase involves further separation from the mother, there are times when the child needs to know that the mother is there. A mother can help a healthy conclusion of this phase by encouraging exploration and non-recovery when the child returns to her. Croat crises may be common at this stage as the child learns their dependence on others to meet certain needs. This must be embraced by understanding rather than shame or punishment.

24-36 mos. Object Unstable: At this stage, the child learns how to keep a positive image of his mother without being physically there. This phase is open and it is happening throughout its life. As the child travels at this stage, he is less concerned about where the mother is due to his ability to keep in mind a positive mental image. A mother can help with this phase emotionally consistent.

Dangers of discouraging segregation

In the light of this information, can the focus be very close to being poor for a child? In some serious situations, he can. According to Hamilton (1990), there are some risks not to encourage separation and personalization:

Sympathy: This happens when a child is not encouraged to stand out and personalized by the mother in early childhood. As an adult, the flooded child becomes an adult obsession with relationships, requiring others to meet all their needs without taking responsibility for the satisfaction of their own needs. These children can also experience the fear of oppression as adults. They can push others off when they feel very emotionally close and often afraid they repeat the same experiences that happened in childhood.

Enmeshment: This happens when the child continues to feel the feelings of the mother as if it were his. As adults, they can develop unhealthy attachments to others, lacking respect for the personal limits or limits of others.

Secure attachment: When a mother puts her needs to connect with her baby above the baby's need to become her own person, an insecure attachment can be formed. In particular, babies experiencing this may be afraid to express their needs because they know that the mother will not meet them. They may also be hypersensitive to the mother's needs, knowing they should respond to their needs.

The parent "good time"

For thousands of parents who feel pressure to be perfect, the literary bibliography may be encouraging. The theorists who embrace this attachment model have devised the term "fairly good mother" (Hamilton, 1990, p. 52). The pretty good mother responds to the needs of her baby consistently. Perfection is not something to be achieved and should not be attempted. The focus is on the mother's consistency in creating a safe child base instead of solving all the child's problems.

In addition to information on attachment, there are also studies that can help new mothers in the role of their parents. It has been reported that for the parents of the millennium, "Google became the new grandfather, the new neighbor and the new nanny" (Feiler, 2017). However, the use of the internet for parental responsibility decisions can be extremely isolated and lead to mothers not being satisfied, especially for young mothers.

A recent study (Luther & Ciciolla, 2015) told more than 2,000 mothers to understand factors that contributed to mother's satisfaction. Two areas were consistently associated with maternal depression: 1) The feeling being overwhelmed by responsibilities and 2) The guilt of the mother. When mothers reached high levels in areas associated with maternal depression but also experienced high levels of friendship protection, they were more likely to experience high parental satisfaction rates. Takeaway Here: The existence of supportive friends is critical to parenting. While Google may be useful, it should not replace the link and the learning it takes from others.

If you want more information about attachment parenting or are looking for professional help for your parental trip, you can contact an authorized therapist here.

Bibliographical references:

  1. Feiler, B. (2017, November 4). Sleep Appointment Time: The university is here. New York Times. Retrieved from:
  2. Hamilton, N. G. (1990) Self and others: The theory of object relations in practice. New York, NY: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  3. Luther, S.S. & Amp; Ciciolla, L. (2015). Which mother mother? Factors contributing to the well-being of mothers. Developmental Psychology, 51(12). 1812-1823
  4. Pickert, K. (2012, 21 May). The man who transformed maternity. YEAR. Retrieved from:,33009,2114427-5,00.html
  5. Samuels, J. & Murphy, S. (2014, January 30). Babycenter reveals the profile of today's millennium mom: It is durable, inventive and optimistic. Retrieved from: of the current millennium-mom-shes_10415025.bc
  6. Sears, B. (N.d.) Explanation of attachment. Retrieved from:
  7. Steinmetz, K. (2018, Aug 31). Aid! My parents are millennia. In TIME: The science of families, (pp. 70-75). New York, New York: TIME.

© Copyright 2018 All rights reserved. Permission to publish is granted by Amy Quinn, MA, MS, LMFT, a therapist at Newport Beach, California

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