Spoiled kids: Experts warn of the rise of attachment parenting

INDULGENT parents are raising a generation of “tin god” babies who are breastfed on demand, never left to cry alone, sleep in their parents­’ bed until school age and grow up too attached to mum and dad.

Social analyst David Chalke said “attachment parenting” and “little prince or princess syndrome” was becoming an increasing problem as family sizes shrank and parents had fewer kids to dote on.

“You have a generation of single kids with obsessive parents who spend their whole lives worrying about the colour of their stools and whether they’re at the appropriate­ level for their bassoon lessons,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

media_cameraPicnic Point mum-of-two Chelsea Conen: “I definitely try to give space for me and the girls.” Picture: Jonathan Ng

“It’s very hard to ‘attachment parent’ all 11 kids. You can’t do it. But when you’ve only got the one trophy child there’s a tendency for that to happen and we’re going to see more of it.”

Mr Chalke warned these kids grow up to be “dependent on their parents to do everything” and even “fail to develop fully as independent human beings”.

Parenting Research Centre chief Warren Cann said the buzz trend “attachment parenting” wrongly created the impression that a simple mistake could ruin the relationship between a parent and baby: “It takes quite extreme and prolonged disruption to damage attachment.”

Ignite Parenting founder and Sydney-based parenting coach Tracy Harrison said new parents looked to these trends because they were “scared to get things wrong”.

“There’s lots of talk at the moment that we’ve got a generation of kids that aren’t resilient, that aren’t critical thinkers, that don’t have empathy,” she said.

Ms Harrison said modern parents were often overwhelmed by the overload of information now available about how to raise kids.

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She said conversations around attachment parenting, helicopter parenting or even “lawnmower parenting” — where parents literally “mow down” obstacles in their child’s way — were often pushed through groups on social media.

While she doesn’t practise attachment parenting, Picnic Point mum Chelsea Conen said she occasionally let daughters Kadie, 3, and Ella, 2, sleep with her.


“For a while I did sleep with both of them and allow them to come in and sleep with me,” the 23-year-old said.

“It got to a point where they started fighting during the night and I just went ‘No, I can’t do this’.

“I definitely try to give space for me and the girls. I think it’s good for both of us and I’ve always said that from birth.”

Ms Conen said she knew mums who regularly let their children share the bed, including one mum who co-slept with her daughter until age four.

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