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Concerns about Attachment Parenting - Page 2

post #21 of 68
Quote:
When you note the difference between a toddler who is soothed to sleep at the breast and a toddler who was left to cry himself to sleep in a plastic crib as an infant, you will feel confident in the AP lifestyle!
And what difference is that you've noticed in toddlerhood? I find toddlerhood to be less than stellar time to find confidence, IME.
post #22 of 68
Carter's Mommy, here is an editorial you might enjoy about long-term effects:

http://www.mothering.com/lees-bed

From our Statement of Purpose:

Quote:
Mothering celebrates the experience of parenthood as worthy of one's best efforts and fosters awareness of the immense importance and value of family life in the development of the full human potential of parents and children. At Mothering we recognize parents as experts and seek to provide truly helpful information upon which parents can make informed choices. Mothering is both a fierce advocate of the needs and rights of the child and a gentle supporter of the parents, and we encourage decision-making that considers the needs of all family members. We explore the reality of human relationships in the family setting, recognizing that raising the heirs of our civilization well is the prerequisite for a healthy society.

Mothering advocates natural family living, including the ancient way of being with babies and children that is known today as attachment parenting. This way is reliant on the inherent integrity of children and the inviolate intuition of parents. The family is the dominion of parents and children and authoritative knowledge rests with them. This website is a place to safely explore all the aspects involved in such a parenting philosophy.
post #23 of 68
Honestly? I did all the AP stuff the first year....coslept, nursed on demand, wore him instead of using a stroller, never ever ever CIO (I think it's a terrible, awful, horribly disturbing thing). I am extremely glad that i did it and i believe that spending so much time and investing so much emotional energy into ds has helped him to excel now in so many ways. But as we've moved into the toddler phase, I'm noticing that some AP things work for him and some don't. Like a pp, I can't be too specific without getting in trouble on here. But I try to stay educated about attachment parenting and then try different methods to see which one produces a happy, secure child. To me it matters more the end result of a happy child with plenty of confidence and a good relationship with his mom than the precise means of achieving it. All kids are different, so no one method is going to exactly suit every single child.
post #24 of 68
attachment parenting is a philosophical approach that puts strong attachment between a child and his caregivers as the central guide to parenting. Many AP methods - co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, babywearing, etc are just methods - they don't work for every family or every child. The key is for the caregivers to really pay attention to the infant and child and determine what works best for that specific child to develop a strong, nurturing, respectful, and loving relationship.

Keeping a child dependent is not AP - in fact, by giving a child a strong base, s/he feels more able to explore their world because they know if they don't succeed, they have a soft place to land.

Being responsive to each individual child and their needs is modelling and demonstrating deep respect for the child. And it is not the same as letting the child do whatever s/he wants - the parent has the obligatiion to learn when boundaries are needed, when distraction or redirection would be appropriate, or when to let a child explore and possibly get a little hurt. The parent/caregiver knows the child, their abilities, personality, temperment - as a result of the two way attachment between the child and caregivers.

I think the biggest thing that AP gives (and sometimes gets forgotten) is that AP is not abut silver bullet solutions to parenting challenges. It is instead an entire philosophical approach that can be used to make us better people and help us raise our children with love and respect.
post #25 of 68
Following AP doesn't create mama's boys. In fact, my 4 yo and 18 mo are the most independent children I know. When my 4 yo started gymnastics at age 2, she was the only child who didn't cry for her mama. My 18 month old likes to do everything for herself. She refuses help, even when she needs it. People who haven't educated themselves on AP philosophies tend to think AP creates dependent children, but it's actually the exact opposite.

And in regards to CIO, I think it's a horrible practice the mainstream parents have created for their own convenience. Letting children cry alone breaks the trust that the child has for the parent. They don't stop crying because they have learned independence. They stop crying because they have given up and they know that no one is coming to meet their needs.

Loving and nurturing your children, and making them feel safe and secure, doesn't create dependent children, it gives them the confidence to be independent!
post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by flower01 View Post
A baby's cry signals it's "needs," not it's wants. I think the biggest concept that has guided my AP thinking versus mainstream techniques is the idea that babies manipulate their parents. Completely get rid of that idea...attend to your baby when it needs you...and take care of yourself. Allow your child opportunities to be independent when you see it happening...
Yes. Yes.

Sometimes I think the term "Attachment Parenting" can mislead people who are not familiar with it. It is not about forced or prolonged attachment. It is not about fostering a sense of dependency. It is actually often quite the opposite. It is about meeting emotional needs of babies and children by providing a foundation of security and respect.

First, you need to re-center the thinking on babies. Babies are really "cave babies". Babies don't "know" the things we know. When they call out in the night, what they are saying is "I've woken to find myself alone. I could be in danger! What if there is a wild animal out there? What if it gets cold? If my mother is gone, how will I eat? Oh, NO! This is life threatening! And all I can do to save myself is cry! Help! HELP!" They don't "know" that they are safe in the room next door in their comfy bed just a few feet from you. They just know they are alone and completely helpless and don't know if anybody is out there at all. So they cry. If you understand this, answering their cry is a logical and loving thing to do. It is not a manipulation.

Though how it manifests changes, the idea stays the same. The idea of telling your child through actions and deeds "I am here to care for you, protect you, nurture you and I will be all the time." Once the crying baby in the night sees she is not alone afterall and mommy is here, she settles right down. After the toddler sees that he is heard and understood, after the pre-schooler knows that if he falls or is scared of thunder that parents will be kind and loving and help them, after the child sees that when the ball game was lost she is still special, after the teen who is grappling with identity and wondering where he belongs, after they all see that their parents are there, caring, protecting, nurturing, all the time, they are able to see what was happening, come to terms with it and move on. THAT is true independence. Being able and ready to move on to the next stage.

So AP is about establishing this listening relationship in infancy by understanding a baby's cries as descriptions of need and it establishes this listening and respectful relationship as time goes on. Sometimes the need is to hold them close. Sometimes the need is to give them a nudge to push themselves and do more than what they thought they could. And often, it is about giving them wings and a safe place to try them out. But it is never pushing them out in the cold, feeling that they are alone. Alone is not independent. Independence is the confidence and ability to solve problems for yourself. That can still include love, mutual repect, caring, and asking others for help when you need it. Alone is just... alone .

Independence is a slow process. You have 18 years to get there. You don't need to do it all at once.


As for the "AP checklist"- they are just guides... suggestions. The breastfeeding and the babywearing and the co-sleeping and all that... They are all borne of the idea that these things reduce the amount of physical (and following, the emotional) distance between you and the baby. And, being close enables you to "hear" them better, to answer the needs and for them to know YOU and your limits and needs as well. Of course, not every thing works for every family, and "not doing everything" doesn't mean that somehow you are "kicked out of the club". If you are there, listening, connecting... that is the idea.

Sometimes it can seem overwhelming or even "martyr-ish" because at first it is easy to slide in to a mindset of "do EVERYTHING for the baby, even if it kills me!" because, especially the first time around, it is not easy to rate a baby's cry and needs so everything seems high priority and your "bag of tricks" hasn't had a lot of experience to fill itself on. ANd, as babies near the end of that first year, they DO start getting "wants" (though often the wants contain some measure of need... the baby that "wants" to splash in the dog bowl is really learning, which is a need. Just we need them to do it a different way!). And, there is no way around that the process can be demanding. But AP is NOT about martyr-ing yourself. If something isn't working, try something else that can satisfy you both. And, if that is impossible, then you need to determine whose needs are more severe for each issue. If the baby wakes often during the night and mom is sick or needs sleep for depression or whatever, then instead of bf all the time, a bottle and daddy in the night might be what needs to happen, even if the baby would rather nurse, they are still comforted and fed. If co-sleeping is ruining your marriage, how about a crib in the same room? Really, there are so many times when a half-way can work wonders.
post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JL'smom View Post
They don't stop crying because they have learned independence. They stop crying because they have given up and they know that no one is coming to meet their needs.
This is so so true. They don't "learn" to sleep on their own. They just learn that nobody is going to respond to their cries. I am so horrified by how proud a lot parents are of themselves for doing this to their babies. It just makes me feel sad for the babies.

I have basically AP'd my six year old from birth. (I don't really like to call it AP, bc it's really just what has come naturally to me. It is pretty much what came naturally to my mother long before anyone talked about AP, though her doctor told her that if her nipples hurt she had to stop nursing. ) And, he is as independant as any six year old I know. When we go to playgroup or a friend's house, he will go off and play and if I didn't check on him, I think he'd just be on his own for hours at a time.

And as for the "mama's boy" thing. Ugh. While I don't necessarily want my son to be a "mama's boy", I'm not thrilled with any of the other mainstream versions of masculinity I see in this culture. I certainly don't want my boys to be whatever it is that is opposite mama's boy.
post #28 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgia View Post
And what difference is that you've noticed in toddlerhood? I find toddlerhood to be less than stellar time to find confidence, IME.
I have to agree here! All my kids were soothed and breastfed to sleep and co-slept. They were (are) still heck on wheels!!
post #29 of 68
I try not to parent out of fear, but out of love.

So I don't really worry about whether my son will be a "mama's boy" or not. So what if he is (worst case scenario)?

I'll love him, and if he finds himself needing help to develop more courage or take martial arts to feel confident physically or whatever, then we'll do that. I will not worry about it in advance.

Meantime I try to provide a safe and loving and caring home. In the early years for me that was all about cosy cuddles and food on demand and not leaving a child to feel abandoned.

I do think independence is important and that it comes in small steps, but I also tend not to worry about it with kids who can't wipe their own bums yet. As far as I can tell most kids are wired to grow more independent and if they get stuck, I'll step in at that point.
post #30 of 68
I haven't read all the replies, so maybe this has already been mentioned.

My understanding and experience is that children don't need to be taught or encouraged to be independent. When they are ready for independence in an area they will insist upon it. Meeting their needs for connection and security helps get them there. Sometimes what masks as independence is really dependence upon peers, which sets kids up for all kinds of issues. This can happen when parents don't meet early dependency needs and kids ae forced to look elsewhere to have those needs met.

The book Hold on to Your Kids explains the relationship between attachment and connection with parents and the development of true independence. I highly recommend it.

(feeding AK, sorry for the brevity.)
post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgia View Post
And what difference is that you've noticed in toddlerhood? I find toddlerhood to be less than stellar time to find confidence, IME.
My toddlers were outgoing and adventuresome - not afraid of new experiences because they knew they could always come to me for comfort when they were upset or scared. People always commented on how gregarious and secure my kids were/are compared to children who were left to cry in cribs and whose needs were not met in an effort to teach them a lesson.

The whole point of CIO is to teach the child that mother will not come, despite how upset and hysterical they get. I don't necessary think that's a very confidence-boosting lesson for infants or young children.

When a baby's needs are consistently met, and the child KNOWS deep in his soul that his mother will never shun him, ignore him or poo-poo his cries, he feels more confident exploring his world.
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by KweenKrunch View Post
When you note the difference between a toddler who is soothed to sleep at the breast and a toddler who was left to cry himself to sleep in a plastic crib as an infant, you will feel confident in the AP lifestyle!
IMO there are many variations between the two examples you gave.


I have taken some ideas from the AP philosophy but I am definitely mainstream compared to most people here. I think that trying to do everything according to the "rules" of AP (or whatever parenting philosophy you follow) can sometimes backfire. Do what feels right for you and your family. If your children feel loved and secure (however you instill them) they will grow up and become independent. Sometimes trying to reach the goal of perfect motherhood with perfect independent children can get in the way of simply enjoying the ride. Just my two cents.
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by averlee View Post
First, I think attachment parenting is an approach for infants. Kids grow out of the baby-wearing and breastfeeding.
I would beg to differ.

Kids never grow out of being told that they are loved. Kids never grow out of being respected as their own person. AP has to do with a lot more than babywearing and breastfeeding. It goes into gentle discipline, education, etc.
post #34 of 68
I would love to hear what moms of older children think. My kids are 10,8 and 6 and I am getting frustrated that they can not put themselves to bed/sleep. Is it bad to let a 6 year old cry it out,lol.
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by candipooh View Post
I would love to hear what moms of older children think. My kids are 10,8 and 6 and I am getting frustrated that they can not put themselves to bed/sleep. Is it bad to let a 6 year old cry it out,lol.
My kids are 8, 6, 4, and 2. For the most part, they just go upstairs to bed when they are tired and fall asleep. I know this isn't the norm but it's what usually happens. Even the youngest (who is 29 months) has started to do this. He sleeps with us about half the time now, but has his own bed in his room as well. Just last night he said, "I'm tired" and carried his blanket up the stairs. I was in the kitchen doing dishes so it took me a min. to follow but I expected him to be in my bed (or be playing somewhere), instead he was passed out on his.

Often, I do read to my 4 and 6 yo before bed (my 8 yo prefers to read to herself or out loud to me) so I often go upstairs with them when they are ready to go to sleep... but other nights they just go up on their own and go to sleep. Even though they used to nurse to sleep, and love being next to me, (the 4 yo was nursing pretty much all. night. long until he was 3) they seem to have transitioned to independent falling asleep. I know some people think co-sleeping = a kid who never leaves your bed until college ... but that hasn't been our experience

For my kids, if the older ones were crying and fighting sleep, I would assume they weren't ready for bed b/c when they are truly tired, they tend to have no problem falling asleep.
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by candipooh View Post
I would love to hear what moms of older children think. My kids are 10,8 and 6 and I am getting frustrated that they can not put themselves to bed/sleep. Is it bad to let a 6 year old cry it out,lol.
Well, if my 6 year old was crying at bedtime, I would find out why. He's old enough to express himself. The only reasons he's cried at bedtime in years is because of being sick or all of a sudden getting scared. We work out a solution in those cases, which a lot of times involve sleeping with either dh or me.

That said, the only one of my kids that needs to be parented to sleep every night is the baby. The older ones get tucked in and go to sleep. The 12yo and 6yo share a room. The 4yo just moved into her own bed, in her own room. She still is welcome to sleep with dh or me if she needs to.

Dh and I still meet the kids' needs at night, no matter the age. For the 4&6yo, the needs are usually fears or sickness. The 12yo only gets us up anymore if he's sick. But they all know that they can wake us up for any reason at night, just like they can come to us for any reason during the day and ask for help.
post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by candipooh View Post
I would love to hear what moms of older children think. My kids are 10,8 and 6 and I am getting frustrated that they can not put themselves to bed/sleep. Is it bad to let a 6 year old cry it out,lol.
But is this really the parenting method or the personalities of the kids? Honestly, would this be any different at the core of it if you had done something else?
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I do think independence is important and that it comes in small steps, but I also tend not to worry about it with kids who can't wipe their own bums yet.
Well said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by candipooh View Post
I would love to hear what moms of older children think. My kids are 10,8 and 6 and I am getting frustrated that they can not put themselves to bed/sleep. Is it bad to let a 6 year old cry it out,lol.
I'm not sure what to think there. My older three are 16, 6 and 4. The 16 year old doesn't put himself to bed very well these days, because he's going through a "stay up all night, go to bed at daybreak, and then be frustrated because I lost the whole next day" phase. (Okay - it's not really daybreak, but he stays up really late.)

However, when he was younger, we developed a somewhat complicated bedtime ritual, including some exact words (a drawn-out kind of "night, night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" thing), gestures, hugs, kisses, and anywhere from 2 to 12 songs, depending on what I felt up to. After we went through the whole thing, and I closed the door, he almost never called for me again. Sometimes, he was asleep by the time I finished singing. We kept up the ritual, less the singing (usually), until he was 12. He basically told me he was feeling too old for it, but wanted to wait until our move to stop doing it.

My 6 and 4 year olds share a room. Most nights, dh takes them up and brushes their teeth (just checks on dd1), then takes them to bed, and reads them a story. Then, I come up and do a little bit of singing, run through our bedtime routine (much shorter than ds1's was!), tuck them in and say leave. If one of them gets scared, or needs to use the bathroom, or whatever, they call us. That only happens a few times a year, although ds2 did go through a brief phase when I was pregnant with dd2 of frequently wanting someone to come stay with him right until he fell asleep.

So, I'm not sure what kind of sleep issues you're having with your kids, but I haven't experienced any real problems with my older kids...not even dd1, who had the most trouble - by far - with sleep of any of my infants.
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaJunkie View Post
Dh and I still meet the kids' needs at night, no matter the age. For the 4&6yo, the needs are usually fears or sickness. The 12yo only gets us up anymore if he's sick. But they all know that they can wake us up for any reason at night, just like they can come to us for any reason during the day and ask for help.
Yes. This.
I actually had to run to ds1's room a year and a half ago, when he was 15. He woke up sobbing and screaming, from a horrifically painful ear infection (his eardrum ruptured the following day), and wanted someone there. He doesn't need/want his mommy much these days, but I'll be there if he does, even in the middle of the night. (Heck - my mom came to be my "mommy" when I needed her while I was in labour with Aaron...and I was 39!)
post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Heck - my mom came to be my "mommy" when I needed her while I was in labour with Aaron...and I was 39!)
This is .

My parents and I have had a rough history but with both of my labors my mom (and dad) were there. My father left when I started getting too naked (I was in labor for a few days with both kids at home) but kept bringing us food (me and the attendants) and ran to my side after the children were born. My mother stayed up for 2 nights with me and helped clean me up after my labors... my father helped my husband clean up the "birth soup goo" that was in the fishy pool afterwards... which is not really a "fun" thing to do.

I think that being there for your children and being an attached parent lasts forever, as well it should.
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