When we first started out as parents, we had no idea that how we parented actually had a name. We just did what felt natural, what was best for our babies, and what was best for our family. We nursed, co slept, and baby wore. Neither of our babies were allowed to "cry it out", our children always know that we are here for them-day or night.
As they've grown, we've tried to be gentle and realistic with "punishment" (of course, as any good parent will tell you, we have had our issues and sometimes haven't handled them quite the way we probably should have, but we learned from our mistakes and moved on) Even at nearly seven, Gabriel knows that all he has to do is call one of us and we will come to him and take care of what he needs.
Attachment Parenting is the name given to our style of parenting (what is attachment parenting?) In a nutshell it's the most instinctual parenting you can do; babies naturally want to be close to their mommas and daddies, babies naturally need to have their needs met, and responding to them as quickly and as appropriately as possible is the best thing for them. I'd always read that children who were raised in the "AP" style were more independent and generally more content babies and children. (the 7 benefits of attachment parenting) It took a long time for us to see that in our kids, probably because we have been SO busy raising them; we really haven't had a chance to see our children the way other people do.
So what benefits HAVE we seen then? Gabriel and SarahAnne are BOTH very independent; they can amuse themselves for a good amount of time without one of us having to constantly be next to them. They both behave appropriately most of the time; they aren't constantly seeking attention by acting out because they KNOW we will pay attention to them despite their behavior. They are both very giving and kind; they think of others, they want others to feel good about themselves. Gabriel is always quick with a compliment, SarahAnne responds to our moods and tries to mirror what we are going through. In short, while I am sure their temperaments have a lot to do with the children they've become, I'd be remiss if I didn't give Geo and my parenting style credit.
I am constantly baffled at parents who do NOT parent this way (yup, I'm up on my high horse) WHY in the world would a parent leave a baby to scream thru the night just because it's night time? WHY would a parent put a baby on a "feeding" schedule? WHY wouldn't a parent WANT their baby close to them most of the time? All of us, of course, parent differently and feel strongly about the way we parent, but when the benefits of AP are SO apparent and so obviously GOOD for a child, why would a parent choose any way but this one?
For more information on Attachment Parenting, I'd urge you to check out the Dr. Sears website. I had to chuckle when our pediatrician recommended the site to me as well as USING the site while I was in her office; as she says "he's the best!" and I couldn't agree more!