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What is Connected Parenting?

The concept of connected parenting was developed by several writers and speakers in the field of child development and parenting. Included in this impressive list is Pam Leo, a parent, and independent researcher. She is respected for her research and work in the field as well as her widely distributed book “Connection Parenting”. Connected parenting is related to attachment parenting and focuses on building a lifetime connection with children. It provides parents with an approach that is neither authoritarian nor permissive to relate to their children and guide them in their development.

Connected parenting offers parents an opportunity to communicate, teach, and relate to their children on a deeply personal level. It strengthens the parent child bond and has many other benefits that can last a lifetime. If a family is seeking advice from a child and family therapist, a professional may encourage this practical parenting advice. Let’s learn more about this parenting model and how it is helping families all across the world.

Principles of Connected Parenting

As mentioned above, this parenting philosophy offers practical parenting advice to help both children and parents. While all children, teens, and parents can benefit from these parenting models, they can be especially helpful when a parent has a challenging child and they are struggling to understand their behaviors. So what are the principles of this method? What are these practical techniques rooted in and how are they affecting parent child bonds in such a positive way?

According to connected parenting principles, both authoritarian and permissive parenting have their roots in fear. Connected parenting focuses on empathizing and connecting with the child, building a relationship that will allow a parent’s natural instincts to be the guide in parenting choices. It also focuses on living a child-centered life. Connected parenting emphasizes a strong relationship with a primary caregiver and discourages sending infants and very young children to daycare because this might disrupt the bonds of connection that are forming. While recognizing that in some cases, both parents may need to work outside the home, connected parenting suggests structuring work lives in a way that allows the child maximum time with one or both parents. Proponents of connected parenting believe that building this secure base for children sets the stage for a strong lifelong bond between parents and children as well as a lifetime of happiness for the children. The backbone of this parenting method puts mental health and emotional life as the top priority for both the child and the parent.

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Examples of Connected Parenting

Attachment parenting encourages parents of infants to have a lot of physical contact with them, and this is echoed in connected parenting. Connected parents of toddlers would be encouraged to play with the child frequently. As the child gets older, connected parents should continue to strengthen the bond by showing an interest in the child’s life.

An example of how connected parenting might play out in a disciplinary situation versus other types of parenting could involve a child who did not want to get dressed for the day in order to go somewhere. A permissive parent might let the child have their way and delay the errand while an authoritarian parent would force the child to get ready regardless of the conflict this creates. A connected parent would say things to empathize with the child and then offer options that satisfy both of them. Perhaps the child will be willing to get dressed but insists on wearing a superhero cape to the grocery store. This calm technique is one of the key parenting models that a child therapist would strongly encourage.

Criticism of Connected Parenting

One of the main criticisms of connected parenting is that it is simply too demanding on the parents. Critics also argue that a child-centered approach is not necessarily the best because it creates unrealistic expectations for children as they grow into adulthood that their needs will always come first. Some might argue that there is not strong evidence suggesting that connected parenting is significantly better than other types of parenting. However, some of its principles are reflected in some psychologists’ approaches to parenting. For example, in Psychology Today, a behavioral psychologist points out that connecting strongly with an adult can provide children with the motivation to change their behavior, and this is one of the tenets of connected parenting.

Benefits of Connected Parenting

While there is no one magical parenting book that has all of the answers, connected parenting offers simple minded solutions that can impact your family dynamic in such a positive way. The approach helps parents accurately attune their previous parenting methods in order to now have a deep understanding of their child or teenager’s difficult behaviors. This can allow them to turn angry conflict into a positive step forward and will ultimately become a lifelong tool for both parents and their children. These connected parenting tools and tricks are helpful for everyone including new parents, confused parents, challenging children, and anything else life throws your way while growing and learning with your family.

Few people could argue with the benefits of parents endeavoring to build a strong lifelong relationship with a child. Connected parenting may not be the only way to ensure this bond exists, but its principles can provide a blueprint for parents interested in a child-centered approach to parenting.

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