How Attachment Parenting Fosters Willing Obedience

Obedience springs from humility. Humility is the virtue whereby one is enabled to embrace suffering through the acceptance, even love, of one's "littleness," with the acknowledgment of one's dependence on and confidence in a Superior Being. AP preserves a child's love of his littleness through empathy, when the parents make their love felt despite the child's "littleness," and through refusing to use the fear of suffering as a means to coerce a child out of his "littleness."

One's "littleness" is one's fallen human nature, first and foremost. Man's fallen nature consists of his vulnerability, neediness, dependence, faultiness--his absolute need for unconditional love and acceptance--for a Savior--for redemption. The more aware we are of our "littleness" the more aware we are of our need for Christ, and vice versa. The more aware we are of our need for Christ, the more confidence we are compelled to place in Him, the more attached we are inclined to be to Him. In making ourselves dependent on Him completely, we are opening ourselves up to the transforming power of His grace, His love. In so doing we become capable of such a love, or rather, channels or instruments of His love.

The child who loves his "littleness" sees himself as he truly is and therefore possesses the virtue of humility. In his humility he is compelled to be obedient to someone he can depend on--to his attachment figure--ideally his parents. However, every person has to have an object for their faith, trust and confidence. The lack of such an object leads to despair. The use of force through the fear of suffering ultimately undermines a child's faith, trust and confidence in anyone who would use such tactics, since force excludes love, and in order to truly love one must be elevated to embrace suffering, not to fear it.

A child is born with his littleness and it is inescapable. When he has a secure attachment his confidence in his lovableness is bolstered and his confidence in his ability to love is increased. When he lacks a secure attachment he doubts whether or not he is lovable and whether or not he can love. It is from this anxiety that all his passions spring. Man needs to know first and foremost that he is loved for his littleness--his inadequecy--unconditionally. Only through his experience of this kind of unselfish love does he derive the confidence in his ability to love likewise. The securely attached child can rest assured that the purpose for which he was created is within his grasp, is in fact in his possession by virtue of the love he has received from his parents and ultimately from Christ.

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Catholic Attachment Parenting

A philosophy of parenting modeled after the self-donative love exemplified in the relationship between Mary and Jesus.

1 Jn 4:18

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love."

Luke 1:17

" turn the hearts of the parents toward their children..."