Celeb Parents That Swear By the Koala Parenting Style
Back in the day, parenting was parenting. Now, we've come to accept that there are numerous parenting styles, some with more merit than others. Being a "helicopter" parent might result in children who lack the confidence to function on their own, for example. Meanwhile, so-called tiger parents can over-schedule their kids straight into therapy.
The term koala parenting is now trending, but it's really nothing new. Koala parenting is another term for attachment parenting, a style of parenting in which parents aim to form a close bond with their child from birth. Proponents, including author and pediatrician William Sears, believe this approach fosters a secure attachment, setting the stage for healthy emotional and physical development.
Several celebrities advocate for koala parenting, including these 13 famous mamas who have some insightful tips on how to practice what they preach.
Angelina Jolie has an interesting perspective on parenting. She's said before that her rules are bendable, allowing her kids to make their own decisions. She doesn't see herself as above them but, instead, as an equal family member.
While her kids are in their teens and beyond now, when they were small, she allowed them to co-sleep to encourage closeness and to provide a sense of security and stability.
Like Angelina Jolie, Alanis Morissette is a strong advocate of attachment parenting. In one article on The Huffington Post, she wrote, "I personally believe that the attachment stage, done well, can circumvent countless addictions later in life."
She elected to give birth at home, breastfeed and practice baby-wearing with her three children, Onyx, Winter and Ever.
Koala parenting is taken more literally by some celebrities than others. Hilary Duff, for example, has three kids, and she chose to rarely use strollers with any of them.
We have to wonder where you'd keep a heavy diaper bag, not to mention put your much-needed cup of coffee while you're on a walk, but she preferred the closeness of holding her kids until they were old enough to walk on their own.
It's hard to find a more outspoken advocate of attachment parenting than Mayim Bialik. "The Big Bang Theory" star is also an author and neuroscientist, so her opinion carries a lot of weight. She strongly believes in koala parenting, telling TIME that, "I saw it matters that very small people have a voice."
That's a major piece of the attachment parenting puzzle, too: respecting kids as individuals and listening to their opinions with open ears and open arms. Bialik believes in the philosophy so strongly that she wrote her own parenting book.
Pamela Anderson is better known for her red bathing suit on "Baywatch" than for her parenting skills, which is unfortunate since she raised both of her sons mostly on her own, using attachment parenting methods that worked for her.
In fact, she had homebirths and breastfed them both until they were over a year old. Her parents helped out in the early days, but she never had a nanny. In her opinion, why have kids if you're not going to raise them?
"Clueless" actress Alicia Silverstone is infamous for her more unconventional take on attachment parenting. According to her, "You are your baby's food, solace, entertainment, transportation and education, and all of that brings you and your baby closer together than you could ever imagine. It strengthens your bond with your child and helps him develop a sense of contentment and belonging in the universe."
Her practice of baby-wearing, co-sleeping and breastfeeding is typical of attachment parenting. Chewing food for her son, however, was a little extreme.
Kimya Dawson is best known for recording the theme song of the 2007 film "Juno." She's also an outspoken advocate of koala parenting. She once said, "I couldn’t imagine putting my baby in a crib, and I knew that I wanted to cloth diaper and feed her healthy foods," according to an interview with Babble.
She still appears to be very close with her daughter, Panda, so she must be doing something right.
Gwen Stefani hasn't directly labeled herself as a koala parent, but her style matches it to a tee. In an interview with Stylist, she shared that she chose to co-sleep and doesn't regret her decision in the slightest. "I don't want to look back and say, 'Oh my God, I didn't sleep with Zuma that time because I was too tired,' so I’ll just snuggle up with him tonight."
Being close to your baby, particularly during the first few months of life, is one of the defining markers of koala parenting, and co-sleeping aligns with that perfectly.
Maggie Gyllenhaal played an attachment parent in one of her movies, "Away We Go," and her real-life parenting philosophy is pretty similar. She used cloth diapers for her daughters when they were small, and she shared in an interview with She Knows that, “I am always mothering, always thinking about my kids: Who needs a dentist appointment? Got to change the violin lesson for Friday, I forgot to RSVP to that birthday party, and on and on forever. There is no second shift. It’s all the time.”
She also, refreshingly, brought an honest, relatable version of attachment parenting to the table, admitting that motherhood is difficult, and we're all just doing the best we can.
Pink is outspoken about how she parents her kids and couldn't care less what the haters say. She made public statements about attachment parenting, stating that she supports it 100 percent. She also believes in baby-led weaning, a practice in which babies are allowed to breastfeed until they choose to stop on their own.
She also practices label-free parenting, allowing her kids to define their own gender identity when they're ready to.
According to an interview with People, the cry-it-out method was never Salma Hayek's jam. She loved putting her baby to sleep herself, even when it was exhausting and time intensive.
She's also been a strong advocate for women's rights, including breastfeeding rights.
Model Gisele Bündchen has made a number of extreme comments on breastfeeding, implying that trying to breastfeed for at least six months should be the law worldwide. While that glosses over the reality that non-celebrity parents may not have that luxury, she can firmly be defined as a koala parent.
This Instagram post, for example, was captioned, "One of the most special moments I’ve shared with my kids was while breastfeeding. That special look you get, that feeling of connection is unlike anything I have ever experienced ... Congratulations to all mamas out there for the effort that we put in, the ones who breastfeed and those who could not and have had heartbreaking moments trying to. I celebrate all of you!"
Lastly, we have none other than Kim K. She recently came under fire for allowing her kids to misbehave, both during an Instagram Live stream and during an interview with Jimmy Fallon. Some critics blamed her koala parenting style.
We'd argue that there are many other factors at play given the children's unconventional childhood. Plus, we're a little uncomfortable addressing a meltdown at the grocery store. Imagine dealing with an inappropriate outburst on national television.
Whether you're a fan of the Kardashians' lifestyle or not, let's try to have a little empathy, shall we? Regardless of your parenting style, practicing empathy for fellow parents can only help.
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