What perspective in psychology, either historical or current, makes the least sense to you? and why?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Given the scope of such a question, I imagine answers could be across the board, so I will try to narrow mine to a field of psychology with which I believe I have immediate personal and professional experience, and that is child psychology.

I first became interested in child psychology with Glasser's Reality Therapy and Choice Theory.  His ideas, brought down to their most basic components, are not only how I've chosen to view students and behavioral change in my classroom, but in many ways, how I parent my own children.

This, among other reasons, is why I simply cannot wrap my mind around what is referred to in more modern parenting-psychology as "attachment parenting."  At its core, attachment theory sounds completely healthy, full of love, and mostly harmless, as its main goal is to provide physical and emotional security to children through physical touch, availablity, and balance, starting before the child is even born, and on through its life.

Unfortunately, what I see happening is a blur of lines between parental control and child control.  Those who fully adhere to the attachment parenting theory are often the mothers who's elementary student cannot sleep through the night alone.  Many attachment parenting advocates practice co-sleeping with their children.  They do not let their children "cry it out," (be it a temper tantrum, boundary issue, or transition into a more independent phase of childhood), but seek to immediately sooth and provide security for whatever has sparked the child into crying in the first place.

Physical discipline is completely out of the question as attachment theory encourages "positive discipline," but often, this translates with older children into a lack of sense of any boundaries at all, whether physical or emotional.  In my experience, young children whose parents believe in the benefits of attachment theory are rarely on a set schedule for eating and sleeping, but have been taught that they can eat when they are hungry, sleep when tired, and do neither if they do not feel like it.

I can certainly see the positive intentions of attachment theory, but it makes the least sense to me because it trains a child to become so dependent on an adult for every need (emotional and physical) that the child lacks the development of independence.  He lacks the ability to "self-sooth" whether at night as a baby, or later in life as a depressed adult.  As a parent, the practice of attachment parenting too often translates to children who are in complete control of mom and dad, but helpless without them.  As a teacher, the idea of attachment parenting making its way into my classroom just plain scares me.