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'Are you mom enough?' A dialogue about attachment parenting

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SALT LAKE CITY — The provocative cover on a national news magazine has fueled a debate over parenting styles, which some consider extreme.Critics say, in the end, the controversy may not end up helping mothers or their children.

"Are you mom enough?" asks Time Magazine, with the cover showing an image of a 3-year-old boy standing on a chair breastfeeding. The issue: attachment parenting and its growing popularity.

"The title was a bit offensive — are you mom enough? But I think it's great attachment parenting is being talked about," said Amber Hand, a mother who is a supporter of attachment parenting.

Hand said she did not use the style with her older children, but has since used it on her 3-year-old son and has no plans to stop.

"I don't have a set time in mind," Hand said. "Probably by the time he goes to school. As long as he's comfortable and I'm happy, we're good."

And advocates say that is the natural way to raise a child, regardless of whether it makes people in public feel uncomfortable.

"We do need to be aware that it is biologically normal; that it does happen and that it is not causing harm to the children. In fact, it's fulfilling their needs," said Karin Hardman with the Utah Breastfeeding Coalition.

But some family therapists say attachment parenting goes too far.

"The child is theoretically supposed to be getting all of these positive vibes coming from their mother and attachment," said Bonnie Peters, Executive Director of the Family Support Centers. "But when you have people around that may not accept that or don't understand it, then that makes a completely different dynamic for that child."

Family therapists believe the magazine's approach was designed to drive controversy, and thus, sales. The magazine was not really meant to inform the dialogue.

"It just pits moms against each other and there's already enough judgement going on," Hand said.

"Just love your child and do the best you can and not try to plug in some artificial model," added Peters.

The Time Magazine hits stores Monday.


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Nadine Wimmer


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