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Do you prefer a family Hierarchy or Consensuality? Updated! - Page 8

Poll Results: Family Dynamics: Hierarchy or Consensuality?

 
  • 2% (17)
    Definite hierarchy with rules, strict structure; decisions made on behalf of children.
  • 29% (176)
    Hierarchy with guidelines, routine, soft structure; most decisions made for children.
  • 9% (56)
    Consensual family; decisions round table, children are self determining; few or no rules.
  • 10% (61)
    Mostly Consensual; guidelines, choice where possible, highly structured
  • 45% (277)
    Combo; children know their place in hierarchy but have as much freedom as poss within that structure
  • 2% (18)
    I don't know what you are talking about.
605 Total Votes  
post #141 of 1044
yes you should never offer to much choice and yes you should not redirect them away from their feelings but once they are expressed you can ask them how a unenjoyable experience can be more enjoyable for them. IMO this is different then distraction and redirection. I TOTALLY agree with what you said about instinct. I also agree, that CL looks different in every family.
post #142 of 1044
I agree there. I was raised in an abusive family, and my "instincts" come from that. I'm very glad I did a lot of research when I was pregnant with #1. I wouldn't have been abusive but I would have probably been a spanker otherwise because that's what I knew. My husband on the other hand was raised by parents who are very gentle, and his instincts are spot on. I kind of think it depends on your family of origin.
post #143 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
What the CC has done for humanity cannot be compared to any other book, or perhaps any other anything. Other books have altered parents but nothing like it has. And the best part, in my opinion, is that it wasn't a book of instructions or a step by step “plan”, it was observation – that's what makes it so powerful, I think. Whether it instills its own dogma or guilt is irrelevant when we consider that the result is action toward a closer unit and a questioning of our cultural norms. We all have to start somewhere.
We must have read different copies of the book. I recall Leidloff most definitely putting forth a plan and instructing readers that if they didn't follow it then their child would end up pretty messed up...keep in constant contact with your baby for 6 months no matter what, sleep with baby, let baby explore their environment freely because even babies have a survival instinct, yada, yada, yada. IMO, Our Babies Ourselves does a much better job of challenging cultural norms without the dogma.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
And guilt is a valid, useful emotion, one that if utilized effectively can harness greatness in one's life. We spend too much time avoiding guilt when in reality this is avoiding the growth that guilt secrets beneath.
I don't like when guilt is used as a form of manipulation . The "experts" on the other end of the spectrum use it too which is why people listen. I thinks it's coercive and often makes people comply out of fear rather than really analyzing the situation. I think there are far more effective and respectful ways to challenge one to think and grow. Now if we are talking about listening to one's own inner guilt, something that has come from inside rather than the outside, then I agree that it can be a useful emotion. I actually think it is part of our instincts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
I hear mamas say they have never read a book and just go with their gut. To that I retort: how lucky for you that your gut lead you to AP. Because on about a hundred other parenting forums you will read the exact same “instinct” lead mothers to spank, isolated/crib sleeping, and crying it out. They swear up and down it is natural and normal. Who is right? And how do we know for sure? Is it instinct we are talking about or are we confusing it with something else? Why do I feel sick hearing a stranger's child cry but she barely notices? Wouldn't she know her child better than I do... so is it really instinct we are dealing with?
I think a PP made an interesting point about conditioning versus instinct (or maybe that was another thread...I can't remember ). I think people have been conditioned to think certain things like CIO are okay. But I have heard many mamas who have done it say how hard it was and how bad it made them feel. I think they feel that way because they were ignoring their instincts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
Another point of concern is the woman who was raised violently. She is now trying to raise her children non-violently, but the “cycle of violence” dictates that she will do to her children that which was done to her. She must fight this “instinct” every. single. day.
I think this goes back to the conditioning. She was conditioned to hit. But the instinct to me in that case is that she knows to fight it. She knows to try and break the cycle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
I've come to the conclusion, with the evidence put before me in the last decade, that telling a mama to “trust her instincts” as a parent is about as helpful as tits on a bull, and almost as useful.
Yeah, I think people often say that when they agree with what the mama wants to do anyway.

Anyway, I don't think I would advise anyone else to quite reading parenting books and just trust their instincts. I was just saying at this point, it's what is best for me. If reading and researching makes someone a better parent, great. For me, the result isn't better parent though but rather a less confident less joyful one who is afraid of f%$king up.

ETA - I think it might be an instinct to know when you need to seek more info and when you don't. Several people here have mentioned they knew they needed help to change the way they had been conditioned which I think is an instinct.
post #144 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
What the CC has done for humanity cannot be compared to any other book, or perhaps any other anything. Other books have altered parents but nothing like it has. And the best part, in my opinion, is that it wasn't a book of instructions or a step by step “plan”, it was observation – that's what makes it so powerful, I think. Whether it instills its own dogma or guilt is irrelevant when we consider that the result is action toward a closer unit and a questioning of our cultural norms. We all have to start somewhere. And guilt is a valid, useful emotion, one that if utilized effectively can harness greatness in one's life. We spend too much time avoiding guilt when in reality this is avoiding the growth that guilt secrets beneath.
I just feel compelled to say that I could not disagree with you more about this book. I think it is really awful. And I am no less committed to attachment parenting for having read it, but it could well have turned me off entirely.

Of course it may be life changing for some people, and that's fine. But not for me.
post #145 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I just feel compelled to say that I could not disagree with you more about this book. I think it is really awful. And I am no less committed to attachment parenting for having read it, but it could well have turned me off entirely.

Of course it may be life changing for some people, and that's fine. But not for me.
Can you expand more on what you didn't like about it?
post #146 of 1044
I guess for me my instinct was AP-before I even had heard of that term. Carrying my DD in a sling, co-sleeping, nursing on demand, not letting her cry it out-that all seems pretty instinctual when it comes down to it. I didn't even know what AP was until my DD was almost 4 months old, then I read about AP and was like "duh, this is a no brainer for me, these are my instincts"(believe me I had a copy of What to Expect the First year which clearly was against my instincts, yuck). My DD wouldn't sleep without being close to us, wouldn't relax without being held and what's wrong with that-it natural to hold and cuddle a baby. I hate the whole western culture of you better start getting it kid from the beginning. I now am at that place my DD is 2.5 and she is at this point where she needs to sleep in her own bed, it no longer is healthy for her to sleep with us, we all stay awake all night. I am pregnant and need some space in bed, and with the baby coming I just can't deal with co-sleeping with a thrashing toddler and an infant, just not going to work.

I fully believe you can be AP and have strict boundaries of what is allowable. I just don't believe there is one right fit for all families. This discussion has made me think of other ways to communicate with my DD in a fun, constructive way. Will it change all of my ways? Not a chance, but it has taught me different ways to look at the situation.
post #147 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmomma View Post
le. I just don't believe there is one right fit for all families.
: I agree with that!
post #148 of 1044
I voted combo because I do strongly believe that children need to make a lot of choices and be respected as people, but I also believe that they aren't fully capable of making all of their choices regarding themselves in a way that respects their personal safety, another persons body, and the law. There are some things I put my foot down to because they are not heatly or kind like hitting, spitting, swearing, riding without a carseat or in the front seat (illegal and dangerous), eating only junk food (that can lead to malnutrition and make minor injuries very serious), getting toys instead of food with our food money, etc... But I also let dd make a lot of choices about her life and our routines and I negotiate with her a lot.
post #149 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
One good fall and they don't climb the furniture anymore, or if they do, they do it with the respect and caution only experience can bring.
*sigh*
Please permit me a moment of envy. That was my experience with ds1, and with dd, but it's not working out that way with ds2 at all. One good fall, and he'd be mad at the furniture, and climbing again 10 minutes later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
Regarding instinct, I've had that discussion several times on MDC and the problem with it is that most mothers in the western culture don't know the difference between instinct and learned or knee jerk reaction. Instinct is a really hard thing to follow when your whole life you are taught to ignore it, which is where we are at in our culture.
Perhaps that's where I'm fortunate. My parents were never into teaching us to ignore our instincts - not even a little bit.

Quote:
What the CC has done for humanity cannot be compared to any other book, or perhaps any other anything. Other books have altered parents but nothing like it has.
Are you referring to the Continuum Concept? I did read that one a few years ago, and to the extent that it moved me at all, it mostly just annoyed me. Huge assumptions about why things worked the way they did in that tribe, combined with gross generalizations about how every child in the western world was being raised. I was expecting so much more after reading all the raves.

Quote:
I hear mamas say they have never read a book and just go with their gut. To that I retort: how lucky for you that your gut lead you to AP. Because on about a hundred other parenting forums you will read the exact same “instinct” lead mothers to spank, isolated/crib sleeping, and crying it out. They swear up and down it is natural and normal. Who is right? And how do we know for sure? Is it instinct we are talking about or are we confusing it with something else? Why do I feel sick hearing a stranger's child cry but she barely notices? Wouldn't she know her child better than I do, or could I be projecting... so is it really instinct we are dealing with?
Let's see...from a survival standpoint, if we had evolved to ignore babies when they cry, many (most?) of them would have starved to death or died by accident. I can't see how any parenting behaviour that significantly increases the risk of death on the part of a child could be considered "instinctual". Is there any mammal that sends the infants off to sleep alone, other than people? How can an action be "instinctual" when it requires man-made furniture and/or laboratory created food in order to perform that action? If people can't tell the difference between "mommy told me so" and instinctual behaviour, that's very sad...but it doesn't mean that highly artificial behaviours are instinctual.

The only mom I've ever seen practicing cry it out sat in her kitchen, while she had company, staring at her screaming baby on an infant monitor. She watched him until he finally fell asleep. She was visibly upset, and very, very tense. There was absolutely no instinct telling her to leave her child to cry alone - no way.

Quote:
When we answer these questions with, “instinct is when something feels right to me”, then that's coming at it from the self point of view. There is a baby involved however, and their point of view rules when it comes to these things. What feels right to them? Luckily for us in the AP world, we feel the answer to that is the most simple one: if they ain't cryin', things probably feel right to them. Is the ability to answer this question effectively the definition of instinct?
The AP world is also full of rules and checklists that have nothing to do with actual attachment, so this argument doesn't impress me much. The instinctive reaction to a baby's cry would be to figure out what's causing it, and stop it (why do so many cultures - maybe all of them - have lullabies...maybe because we automatically try the option of soothing them with song?).

Quote:
Another point of concern is the woman who was raised violently. She is now trying to raise her children non-violently, but the “cycle of violence” dictates that she will do to her children that which was done to her. She must fight this “instinct” every. single. day.
Instinct and conditioned reflexes aren't the same thing. If she instinctively feels that violence is the way to parent, then why is she fighting it in the first place?

Quote:
I've come to the conclusion, with the evidence put before me in the last decade, that telling a mama to “trust her instincts” as a parent is about as helpful as tits on a bull, and almost as useful.
Interesting. The best parents I've ever met have all been operating from instincts (although in the last couple years I've met a few members of my local MDC tribe, and they seem to do equally well out of books, so I guess that approach does work for some people).

Anyway, if we want to go with books, then which ones? There are books out there about parenting that range from Pearl to Ezzo to Sears to Neufeld, etc., etc., etc. How does a parent choose? Personally...if I were going to parent out of a book, I'd pick a book that felt right to me. If I listen to my instincts, that would be something like Neufeld (the only parenting book I've ever read that actually spoke to me). Someone else would pick Pearl. Whatever approach people take, it's still always going to come down to what feels right for them...and I don't believe that someone who is actually going by instinct would ever use Pearl.


ETA: I should have finished reading the thread before posting, because riverscout said it all and said it better.
post #150 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmomma View Post
I guess for me my instinct was AP-before I even had heard of that term. Carrying my DD in a sling, co-sleeping, nursing on demand, not letting her cry it out-that all seems pretty instinctual when it comes down to it. I didn't even know what AP was until my DD was almost 4 months old...
I practiced AP (more of less - probably not ever aspect of it, but certainly the fundamental approach) from the moment I finally got to hold ds1...and I first heard the term "Attachment Parenting" when I signed up here, shortly after his 12th birthday.

I believe instincts led everyone on this board to attachment parenting, because if AP hadn't fit in with their own instincts, they wouldn't have started to practice it.
post #151 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by momofmine View Post
Can you expand more on what you didn't like about it?
Sure; I just didn't want to hijack the thread and I don't really want to start a negative thread totally (although this is an interesting discussion pro and con here: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ight=continuum ), but since you asked, here are my main objections:

1) Parents should follow their instincts - unless those instincts go against the Ye'kwana's instincts, of course. (Ye'kwana is the more usual spelling.)

2) Liedloff, who never had kids to my knowledge, is pretty quick to pin any problem she sees, especially in her abreaction therapy practice, on any parenting practice she chooses. So kids who aren't held crave roller coasters. Um ok... why? Do we say this? Never mind the whole "refrigerator mother" thing with homosexuality. Of course these are biases of her time, but why are we not challenging them at this point?

In other words, she makes a lot of statements about cause and effect without backing any of them up. How is this different from CIO proponents, etc.

3) Liedloff's observations are so incredibly positively biased by her "noble savage" stance (a stance I find pretty indefensible) that it gets almost silly. Like with the whole concept that kids will just naturally learn about danger. Other people have addressed that the kids may not have died but many have scars.

The babies never cry? Okay, I just plain don't believe that.

She wasn't a trained researcher at the time so I guess we have to kind of let it go, but why do we keep believing it? And why didn't she, in the process of writing the book, at least take a look at the other research?

3A) There are no Ye'kwana voices in the book. So like, who knows what they think of it all.

4) I don't actually believe in all her end goals, like children that never fight. To me the goal is not the end of conflict. I suspect that I would see something quite different in the behaviour she describes as idyllic.

Do I agree with "hold your kid, don't CIO, make your kid a part of your daily life" - sure. But just because she got some things right doesn't make the book a good one.
post #152 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
It's not about getting into "things she's not allowed". It's about getting into the spices. She does put spices into cooking (when she wants to, which she often doesn't). She doesn't like pretending with fake spices, because she eats the spices. She explores all kinds of other things. She wants to eat the spices. She's not allowed to do so, without getting permission, and getting my help in getting them out. She doesn't see that as reasonable (being not-quite-6, she doesn't grasp the importance of not spilling $5.00 worth of spices into my coffee press, because she wants to eat $0.10 worth of fennel seed, yk?).

So...she thinks she should be allowed to climb the counter and eat the spices. I don't. There's no consensus to be had, and it's simply not possible to always honour the need for independence in a child this young (I know, as I was the one who used to wander out of the yard every time mom and dad lost sight of me for 3 seconds).
Wow. Maybe she'd like a set of spices for her birthday! sounds like you have a budding chef on your hands. I loved tasting (or smelling) the spices when I was little and LOVE cooking, now, so you never know. I'm sure it's absurdly frustrating (because I have climbers, too, although younger), but it's a beautiful interest she has. That said, I'd probably handle it similarly to how you are - no criticism here.

Anyway, I follow a consensus based thing similar to SGM, in theory, but usually in practice it falls apart into my being too exhausted to deal with what they want to do. When I'm "on" i try and question myself on my no's with "well, is this really a problem or not - why are you saying no" obviously there's some really good reasons, and sometimes I remember to help the kids find a different way to fill their need, but this past year has been really hard on me with lack of sleep (read: lack of patience) and so lately I've been really unhappy with how i've been handling things.

I voted combo, but in truth lately it's been more of a dictatorship. I *have* been working on compromises with my 3 year old who seems to be getting it more when I say "lets find a compromise", so that makes me happy, at least. My 20 month old is a handful, though, and he is completely unwilling to bend or find different ways of doing things, so I've been pulling rank a lot lately I hope that gets better as he gets older, but I'm not counting on it.
post #153 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Wow. Maybe she'd like a set of spices for her birthday! sounds like you have a budding chef on your hands. I loved tasting (or smelling) the spices when I was little and LOVE cooking, now, so you never know. I'm sure it's absurdly frustrating (because I have climbers, too, although younger), but it's a beautiful interest she has. That said, I'd probably handle it similarly to how you are - no criticism here.
It's really neat to see how into spices she is. She also asks lots of questions about where they come from, etc. What's funny is that she likes most (not all, but most) of them individually, but hates almost everything I cook with them! She likes cardamom and ginger (dried, not fresh - we're working on it) and cloves, etc...but she won't touch the sauce on my butter chicken. She's the most interested in cooking of any of my children...and the least interested in eating.

We're homelearning and I've actually been digging around a little for some info, so I can do a bit of "social studies" work on where different spices come from and how different cuisines evolved. I put it on a back burner when I got so tired (I've been pretty anemic this pregnancy, but seem to be getting over it :: ), but I think it's time to get back to it.

Quote:
Anyway, I follow a consensus based thing similar to SGM, in theory, but usually in practice it falls apart into my being too exhausted to deal with what they want to do.
Fatigue is, by far, my greatest parenting challenge. As much as I wanted - and still want - this baby, I think I'm actually going to be relieved when I know I'm done. Reproductive issues of one kind or another (c-section recoveries, trauma related depression, pregnancy itself) have kept me pretty wiped out for the last few years. It's really difficult to be a decent parent when you really just want to sleep.
post #154 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
It's really neat to see how into spices she is. She also asks lots of questions about where they come from, etc. What's funny is that she likes most (not all, but most) of them individually, but hates almost everything I cook with them! She likes cardamom and ginger (dried, not fresh - we're working on it) and cloves, etc...but she won't touch the sauce on my butter chicken. She's the most interested in cooking of any of my children...and the least interested in eating.

We're homelearning and I've actually been digging around a little for some info, so I can do a bit of "social studies" work on where different spices come from and how different cuisines evolved. I put it on a back burner when I got so tired (I've been pretty anemic this pregnancy, but seem to be getting over it :: ), but I think it's time to get back to it.
Sounds like an in on learning about the spice trade and imperialism, too. There's also some interesting science experiments you could do with spices, I think. Some of them have anti-bacterial properties, so if you could get your hands on some agar you could test for which ones...

Quote:

Fatigue is, by far, my greatest parenting challenge. As much as I wanted - and still want - this baby, I think I'm actually going to be relieved when I know I'm done. Reproductive issues of one kind or another (c-section recoveries, trauma related depression, pregnancy itself) have kept me pretty wiped out for the last few years. It's really difficult to be a decent parent when you really just want to sleep.
I know what you mean. I desperately want another baby (well, I feel like we are missing someone, if that makes sense?) but my son only recently started sleeping decently ( : ) and my life is only now starting back on a reasonable level of sanity. I'm scared to go through all that again. My daughter was a much better sleeper and I night weaned her easily (I was close to my due date w/DS) because she had a pacifier to turn to. Ds gave up his paci before I was close to wanting to nightwean - really, even before his sleep issues started - and he's also a MUCH more determined little soul and extremely difficult to work with *sigh* The lack of patience that came with the lack of sleep really has not helped me to be a good mother to my little spirited guy. It's finally getting a little better, though... bleh.
post #155 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
I know there are many types of family structures, but I'm interested to know that out of the choice of just these two, which appeals or which you actually follow more than the other.

I don't think they are opposites, but I don't think they fit together very well, although I am trying to make them fit.

I thought I was a consensual parent, at least, that's what I was aiming for. For the most part, this is true for me. However, I have to admit to a preference for some hierarchy so I looked into it. Anthropologically, it is actually congruent with my preferred type of parenting which is along the lines of Continuum Concept, or The Vital Touch, or to not use a book - untouched tribal type parenting.

I thought consensual living was in line with AP, but within the most AP type of communities there is a definite hierarchy and structure within the community and also family unit. For instance, in the Continuum Concept, Jean mentions how when eating, the children do not talk at all. There are a few other offhand references in her book that highlight a definite non-consensual, more hierarchical structure in the family and community.

I was brought up with a definite hierarchy, with strong masculine leadership in my father. It was a very secure feeling, and although there was a lot of non-consensual structure in my life, I had and still have the most enviable relationship with my parents. Our relationship grew into a friendship but NOT until I was a teenager (right when a girl needs that friendship, ironically). It was like the structure in my childhood, and the hierarchy, freed me from the stress of decision. And this is outlined in the classic book Magical Child, where the author presents evidence of how damaging it is to engage logic in the child's brain too early.

Logic is required to make reasonable decisions. How does one reconcile this with consensual living? Esp when dealing with very small children?

All this suddenly hit me when I found myself totally and utterly intolerant of my daughter's insistence that she ride in the front seat of the car. In my determination to follow a consensual pattern, I negotiated with her long ago, and we shared. What a ridiculous thing to do! I meant well, but really, I was doing her NO favours in her future as a reasonable human being. The moment I quit the total consensual stuff and started being a little more hierarchical she stopped being so demanding and disrespectful.

I didn't change much other than things like, to continue with the car example, tell her that I am the adult, and I get the front seat, no discussion, no argument, get in freakin' line lassie. I earned these damned stripes, I sat in the backseat my whole childhood while my mother, and rightly bleedin' so, sat in queen's position up front with dad. I never questioned it, I never resented it, nothing. It was a respect thing, or something I can't quite find the word for.

I can have sex, I can drive, I can drink, I can do many things she cannot simply because I have earned both society's seal of approval to, and my own personal stripes. Some things, I have realised, are earned and granted only at maturity. That is what makes maturity so special, our milestones. Like the ceremony when a girl first gets her period and everyone comes over wearing red and welcomes her into womanhood.

So I'm starting to lose favour with consensual living, not in totality, I have just put it in a new place in our life. I always discuss with my daughter and she has more choices and freedom than any other child I've ever met. But sitting in the back seat of the car I had an enlightenment moment, not of resentment for a better seat, but for my earned place in the hierarchy – it was symbolic, and life is nothing if it isn't rife with symbolism. It spoke volumes about why we were having so many struggles she and I. It seems, in my family at least, that there are now things in which there is little choice. I will listen and I will help her understand a particular decision, but I probably won't budge. And I'm now ok with that, and oddly, she didn't seem as put out as I thought she would be. It was almost like she felt... relief.

Thoughts?
Haven't read any of the replies, will be back later to do so, but ITA with you!! I absolutely love CC, it is the book I go back to again and again. It just resonates with me so much... I sometimes have a little trouble defining the heierarchy... along with the complete *LACK* of control or coercion over people that Leidloff describes in the book. It would make so much more sense if I were living in a community of like minded people. But my husband and I don't even agree on what we want to do with our kids half the time
post #156 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Sounds like an in on learning about the spice trade and imperialism, too. There's also some interesting science experiments you could do with spices, I think. Some of them have anti-bacterial properties, so if you could get your hands on some agar you could test for which ones...
Yeah - I'm going to work up to some of this. She's still at kindergarten level, and isn't quite six, and her interest in geography/history is really sporadic, so far.

Quote:
- and he's also a MUCH more determined little soul and extremely difficult to work with *sigh* The lack of patience that came with the lack of sleep really has not helped me to be a good mother to my little spirited guy. It's finally getting a little better, though... bleh.
Yup. That was dd when she was little, and ds2 now that they're older. I'm really hoping (not counting on it, but hoping) that baby-under-construction will be a ds2-like infant, and dd-like toddler/preschooler, in terms of general temperament.
post #157 of 1044
ITA with GuildJenn about the CC. It would never occur to me to use that particular book as parenting advice.
post #158 of 1044
I think one of the reasons CL seems to not work for us is that when a compromise is made, both parties usually loose what they really want. In any circumstance.
post #159 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
I think one of the reasons CL seems to not work for us is that when a compromise is made, both parties usually loose what they really want. In any circumstance.
Yes - this is what I meant about it really being kind of tyrannical.
post #160 of 1044
Thread Starter 
I don't have much time, so forgive that this is rushed.

Quote:
I don't like when guilt is used as a form of manipulation
Guilt is an emotion, like anger or jealousy. We can only give information to another and how they react is their choice, based on their own set of baggage. If information tends to elicit guilt for the majority, then we should look at that information... why can it trigger guilt?

Quote:
Perhaps that's where I'm fortunate. My parents were never into teaching us to ignore our instincts - not even a little bit
If you were raised in a western culture, then I'm afraid to say that you were taught by that culture. Our parents do their best but they aren't the only influence on us. Here's evidence you have been “taught” to ignore your instincts – and before people start checking in to list all the instincts they have intact, note that we all lose different instincts, although largely we lose the following ones (and countless others). If you feel especially special, that's ok and not all that uncommon, but the point I'm making is that we do lose instincts due to culture:

you do not have sex where ever and when ever the feeling strikes you (esp if you are in public)

you do not masturbate whenever you feel like it

you do not defecate in the squat position

you sit in a chair, not in the squat position

you wear shoes, causing the loss of a percentage of your environmental sensitivity

you have “tuned out” a large percentage of your environmental noises and can no longer distinguish between the rustle of a leaf from wind, or the rustle of a leaf from approaching danger

you've chosen mates based on factors other than smell, taste, attractiveness to you (regardless of attractiveness in general)

Watch a baby/toddler, or a monkey, or even a dog (much further removed species wise, but still have links). Watch the monkey or dog eat a particular weed, or lay facing a particular direction (often north). Watch them engage in relationships, family and sex. Just their everday life, how much it is goverened by instinct compared to most of us. If you think we were biologically imprinted to be any different, you haven't ever seen people who have lived untouched by our morals - they don't give a rat's pajamas who sees them have sex, for example, and hence, cosleeping is no issue for them becasue they don't have the stress of "what if the baby sees, they'll be damaged for life?" And hey, guess what, they aren't damaged for life. Odd, no? Yet our culture is rife with sexually damaged people.

Some of those on that list above were helped along by our parents, who although they meant well and were preparing us for our society, were not armed with the longer term ramifications. We are now passing these things on to our children, unexamined. We just do it, we don't ask why or if we do, we aren't convinced the instinct is really required. And who knows if it is? Science keeps discovering that we've done nothing but mess up royally when we started interfering in nature, so what makes this any different just cos we are a “higher mammal”, whatever that means (you'd think a “higher” anything would protect their own planet, for starters, and we can't even get that right. Higher my arse.)

This is an interesting place with tests on your instincts, such as feeling recognition when looking at a face. http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbo...humaninstinct/

We don't actually “lose” our instincts, some die shortly after birth and some die naturally after that but most remain intact, buried beneath our preconceived notions and cultural morals.

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Are you referring to the Continuum Concept? I did read that one a few years ago, and to the extent that it moved me at all, it mostly just annoyed me.
That's ok. Can't please all the people all the time. I'm again talking about an overall effect, which naturally differs individually.

The reason that book impacts most readers is because of that agonising trip down a western baby's life. It only lasts about 20 pages, but WHOA, what a helluva 20 pages it is. Who can read that and not clutch at their own gut and be wrenched with a kind of torturous regret and anguish? (again, I'm sure some of you weren't moved in such a way, just the majority affect) And she could not have written it any other way. That book needed that emotion, to call to arms, to move people to act - get your babies OUT of the isolating crap and INTO your arms!

Some of us went through a type of healing as we saw ourselves in that helpless, tortured baby as we know we were put into nurseries and cribs. Some of us lamented with guilt and sorrow what we put our own babies through. Yes, it is a tough read. No doubt. I found The Vital Touch to do the same, only more convincingly, I recommend it as the author does not stop with only one community, she looks at the world as a whole.

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The AP world is also full of rules and checklists that have nothing to do with actual attachment,
I'm not sure what this means but perhaps the rules and checklists you have found are because some people like them? Some people need them when engaging in behaviours that are not only new to them, but against strong advice to the contrary from their family and peers at large. I'm not sure about “rules”, but I get what you're saying and I'm not going to nit pick cos it drives me to distraction when it happens to my posts and usually only shows the person is not really “listening” and is more intent on finding a counter argument in what I've written.

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The best parents I've ever met have all been operating from instincts
Of course they are, I think you may have missed my point. An amazonian community is rife with instinct as they have not had them stripped down, they need them to survive. We have constructed a reality that no longer relies largely on our biological makeup to survive. We don't need to keep the baby strapped to us or rush to a screaming baby as they might attract a lion, for instance. We no longer listen to the signals that say “eat something yellow and then eat something bitter...” and we often don't even listen to our sensations of fullness. Basic physiology is completely ignored in us. So of course the most well functioning families are going to be the most in touch with their basic instincts, not vice versa, as some modernists insist. (progress progress rah rah rah, I'm no savage nah nah nah!)

My point is that if one is going to say “trust your instincts” then give more than that to a mama. I have known way too many frustrated mothers who I end up dealing with in private because they don't know how to find their instinct, how to identify it. It's great for us who can, but it's almost smug to keep rubbing a mama's nose in it when she doesn't even know what you're talking about when you say “instinct”.

People confuse instinct with intuition. Instinct is a biological imprint that is not genetic or subject to learned behaviour. Instinct, by its very nature, is an inherent species survival mechanism.

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The babies never cry? Okay, I just plain don't believe that.
Many don't. Here's the beginnings of a page on my website where I mention this very phrase you chose. It's a common reaction. Sagacious Mama It is far from finished, as are most of my pages, but for the point I'm making, it kinda works.

Gotta run for now, I know I have left things out but I'll come back later. Some great comments towards the end of the page here I want to mention. Interesting discussion, I am learning which is my absolute favourite thing! Thank you.
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