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Where's the line between AP and "smothering"? *see note added 02/02 - Page 3

post #41 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post
I would say smothering, regardless of AP or not, is not allowing your child to develop in healthy, age-appropriate way. that can vary from child to child.

examples are hard to give because kids are ready for different things at different ages.
I agree, my DS is very high-needs, a lot of the things I do for/with/involving him may look like smothering to an outsider, but for his age & development I need to do those things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post
OTOH, I can't STAND people who follow their kids around trying to protect them from every minor bump, scrape and fall. To me that's smothering because it sends a message to the child that they can't handle this without direct, constant intervention from a parent.
I think that's conflicting with what you said above! My DS started cruising & walking a bit around 6-7 months. He was not at all developmentally capable of doing this without falling frequently but he insisted on getting around like that. So I hovered over him so he'd be able to continue doing his thing without getting hurt. At 12 months now, he's much stronger & I have no need to hover. But maybe other 7 month olds could cruise without falling (or would be content to crawl), or maybe other 12mo kids still require the hovering.

I'm uncomfortable with this idea of AP vs. smothering. And I'm not really sure how you can really "smother" a baby if you are responding to your baby's individual needs. I'm also not sure what "we do AP" means (from the OP's post)... I think that's too much of getting caught up into a concept, but maybe she's just trying to succinctly explain her parenting style??? And what looks like smothering to you might be just what her baby needs... it's hard to know that unless you spend 24/7 with a baby. Just as an example, my own parents think DS can't really walk & isn't very active or talkative, but that's because he's so shy around them. When he's home, he's all over the place & talks quite a bit!
post #42 of 63
IMO, AP turns into smothering when the caregiver thinks that they are the only one who can meet the child's needs, all of the time. My goal as a parent is to have a strong attachment with my children, yes, but also to foster strong attachments between them and other people. A little crying in making this happen is ok IMO. I don't think it's natural to never, ever leave a child's side, but YMMV!
post #43 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by JessBB View Post
IMO, AP turns into smothering when the caregiver thinks that they are the only one who can meet the child's needs, all of the time. My goal as a parent is to have a strong attachment with my children, yes, but also to foster strong attachments between them and other people. A little crying in making this happen is ok IMO. I don't think it's natural to never, ever leave a child's side, but YMMV!
What age child are we talking about here? I don't think it's anything BUT natural to keep a young child (under a year or so, depending on the child) by your side 24/7.
post #44 of 63



Must admit I'm surprised to hear that parents are smothering if they "hover" for 12 months and under.

I can't imagine sitting my butt on a park bench and letting DD go play by herself. Seems really anti-AP/detached. Of course, it might have a lot to do with only having a 'big kid' playground, but still, even for example at the mall playground I run around and play with her.

I guess this is one those "float your boat" things of parenting.
post #45 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
I'm uncomfortable with this idea of AP vs. smothering. And I'm not really sure how you can really "smother" a baby if you are responding to your baby's individual needs.
I don't think anybody suggested that you can smother a baby, if you are responding to your baby's individual needs. But, you can certainly smother a baby if you're not.
post #46 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
What age child are we talking about here? I don't think it's anything BUT natural to keep a young child (under a year or so, depending on the child) by your side 24/7.
Even with her FATHER?
post #47 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuba'sMama View Post
co-sleeping when desirable by everyone .
I think this is something a lot of people forget "when desirable by everyone" even Dr. Sears says the best way to sleep is the way everyone gets the most sleep.

You can still be AP and gently help your child transition from co-sleeping to solo-sleeping when *you* start to want that too.

And to get back on topic, I think this would be one example of 'smothering' insisting on a family bed or bedroom when a child expresses the desire to be solo.
(I'm not talking about those who have a small child who says they want to be like a sibling or friend by day but then by night it's a different story. There's ways to 'test the waters' without running out and spending money on a bed and everything because the child asked for it but may not like it once they try the reality.)
post #48 of 63
Hmmm I think I would've been seen as "more AP" with my 2nd than I am with my 3rd simply because I wore dd more than ds2. I tried it some with ds2, but he just didn't like it for whatever reason the way dd did. (I wore her past a year I know, but not long past a year because ds2 was born when she was one week away from 22 months)

It would be "smothering" to wear ds2 because he was clearly unhappy with it most of the time. (I think he was too hot.)

I have had to work on the realization that I do not have to be present every second of my children's lives, even the baby's, to be a good mama to them. It is PERFECTLY OK for me to take some time on the weekends when DH is home and take a bubble bath, or screw around on the computer, or read, or watch a TV show alone or whatever. In fact, time to myself helps me be a BETTER mom the rest of the week. (The baby in question loves his daddy and is now 14 months old and loves solids so he's perfectly OK to be with his daddy, play, and have snacks for an hour.) Daddy is *even* perfectly capable of changing diapers, bathing, and putting babe to sleep (if he's done the thing where he's nursed a ton but not gone to sleep)

It would be "smothering" for me to not back off and let them have their own relationship with Daddy.

DS1 is going to kindy next year. He's already reading and writing, but he did attend preschool on an IEP. I have him on the list for a school where I will be required to spend half a day every week in his room. Is this smothering, or helicopter-y? It might be if I didn't have him in a school where ALL the parents do this, so it's normal. It might be if he were in the seventh grade. In Kindergarten, he would probably think it's cool no matter where he was in school. (And at his school, you are not necessarily IN THE ROOM or working WITH YOUR CHILD every minute of the 3-4 hours you're there--you could be in the workroom doing things for the teacher or going around the room helping all the kids or whatever.)

I think it's AP to look at my child and consider his needs and make sure he is in a school that's equipped to meet his needs...so I am going to make sure he is either in this high-parent-involvement school or, if for some reason we are not in there, I want him in one of the class-size-reduced kindergartens. (Some schools in my district have extra funding for this) I just don't think my kid's needs would be met effectively in a classroom with one adult and 25-plus other students.
post #49 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
Even with her FATHER?
Dd was like that. She nursed all.the.time as an infant and young toddler and while she spent a lot of time with daddy in a different part of the house, no I didn't leave her under a year and *go* anywhere, b/c she would want to nurse and be hysterical if I didn't appear. That would not have helped her or dh.

-Angela
post #50 of 63
Separation anxiety can cause babies (and 12-month-olds are still babies) to prefer mom and not want to be away from her at all. That isn't due to smothering. Separation anxiety is normal and a sign of a healthy attachment. They get past it.
post #51 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Oh, I see the connection.

To me, it's when parents (usually mothers) won't let their children (babies/toddlers) be alone with anyone else, even the father in cases. Where they fall into the trap of feeling that only they can care for and meet every single one of their child's needs. Some have interpreted AP to mean they must wear the baby every moment for fear of not being sufficiently "attached" - whether or not the kid wants to be worn or in fact would rather be exploring and crawling around.

I think smothering - in some cases - is AP misinterpreted.

That's what I was gonna say.
post #52 of 63
I don't get the idea that fathers are second-class parents to babies. Yes, they can't nurse but they can soothe babies in other ways. Saying that they shouldn't be left alone with their caring fathers is something I'll never understand.
post #53 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
Even with her FATHER?
Yes. Depends on the baby & how often she eats. My DS, at 1, still nurses very very frequently. I would not feel comfortable leaving him for more than 1-2 hours with his father, although as he increases his solids intake I will have a little more freedom! In reality, I have spent no more than 8-10 hours total away from DS (in 1/2-2 hour increments) and most of that was for work meetings. That doesn't mean I'm not often in another room of the house will DH plays with him!! In fact, they spend all afternoon every day together while I work, and DH does all the baths, diaper changes, etc. But I still nurse him for all feedings and hold him for his naps and am there to hug him when he wants mommy. I guess part of it is that I don't believe in giving bottles/paci... so unless I had a child who BF very infrequently or started eating lots of solids early on, I wouldn't really ever be away from them in the first year or so. And some babies (my DS!) are really attached & have separation anxiety, I don't believe that's a bad thing unless it continues past the first year or two.

ETA:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
I don't get the idea that fathers are second-class parents to babies. Yes, they can't nurse but they can soothe babies in other ways. Saying that they shouldn't be left alone with their caring fathers is something I'll never understand.
I definitely don't mean to imply fathers are second-class in any way. Like I said above, DH does his half of the parenting & then some!! But the biological fact is that he can't BF...
post #54 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
I don't get the idea that fathers are second-class parents to babies. Yes, they can't nurse but they can soothe babies in other ways. Saying that they shouldn't be left alone with their caring fathers is something I'll never understand.
The only way to soothe a hungry baby is to feed it. Babies get hungry frequently. Some babies won't take bottles. It has nothing to do with being a "second class parent."
post #55 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalemma View Post
you can always find somebody who will tell you this is such a short time in their lives, etc etc. And in turn I think that can lead to some helicopter-style parenting choices, where instead of people parenting in a family-centered way, where everyone's needs and abilities are taken into account, it becomes all about trying to make sure the baby never cries.
This is brilliant! I know that is why I am here at MDC. I don't want to debate the "regular" stuff: "co-sleeping will kill your baby!" kind of things. When I am here, I know what "kind" of people I'm dealing with. I would hope that while offering another opinion and option, people aren't judging whether it's up to standard.

AP, to me, is sooo not about a set of things to do or not do. It's being that responsive, loving, parent who sees the big picture and helps that child grow into a mature and loving adult by doing those little things each day.

I didn't say that very well, but I see so many kids treated as baggage. I need time and space of my own but not at the expense of my kids.
post #56 of 63
I would be so hurt and offended if a so-called "friend" of mine were using my parenting techniques as a jumping board for discussing smothering.

Just because she is not doing it your way, doesn't mean she is doing it wrong.
post #57 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bena View Post
Note (added Feb.2)
My intention with this post was not to start a debate on my friend's specific actions (which is why I don't go in details), but about smothering in general. I only mention this friend as background to explain how I came about to wondering about this. I'm not implying that she is or is not smothering her child, I'm not in her shoes and cannot be a judge of that.
I guess my answer to that is that it would probably be something different for every parent/child combo, since AP is so entrenched in meeting a child's needs and every child has different needs.
post #58 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumble Bumbles View Post
I would be so hurt and offended if a so-called "friend" of mine were using my parenting techniques as a jumping board for discussing smothering.

Just because she is not doing it your way, doesn't mean she is doing it wrong.
I think the OP has stated that seeing her friend got her thinking about the topic, not that she is making judgements about her friend.
post #59 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalemma View Post
"We're doing AP" always makes me think of Maggie Gyllenhaal's character in Away We Go.

It seems pretty easy for some AP adherents to become smothery/helicopter parents. People who are terribly concerned about what kind of cracker the child might temporarily be exposed to at someone else's house. Or, their toddler hates their car seat, so they just stay home all the time, because ever letting your child cry is awful. Or dad isn't really allowed to parent his own baby, because he would inevitably get everything wrong.

But I don't know if that's AP Gone Wrong, or just that those people were kinda helicoptery anyway, and AP is just what they seized upon..?

I do think it can be pretty easy for people to get lost in being extremely child-centered. Unfortunately I think (online) communities of AP-minded types can be really supportive of a mom martyring herself for the cause, whether it's a sleeping situation that isn't working for anyone, or a child who's twiddling the other nipple while nursing... you can always find somebody who will tell you this is such a short time in their lives, etc etc. And in turn I think that can lead to some helicopter-style parenting choices, where instead of people parenting in a family-centered way, where everyone's needs and abilities are taken into account, it becomes all about trying to make sure the baby never cries.

So I can actually see how someone who is maybe a little bit nervous about being a relatively new parent to begin with could really latch on to some AP dogma and conclude "I must never let my baby be alone!" instead of thinking "Hey, the plan here is that I let my child explore, and remain a safe home base." or whatever.

I think you've raised an interesting topic. I think about this stuff, too.
Just wanted to say that this post is right on.
post #60 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Dd was like that. She nursed all.the.time as an infant and young toddler and while she spent a lot of time with daddy in a different part of the house, no I didn't leave her under a year and *go* anywhere, b/c she would want to nurse and be hysterical if I didn't appear. That would not have helped her or dh.

-Angela
Yes, this. I did not leave my child even once before she was a year.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
I don't get the idea that fathers are second-class parents to babies. Yes, they can't nurse but they can soothe babies in other ways. Saying that they shouldn't be left alone with their caring fathers is something I'll never understand.
DH isn't second class. but he doesn't lactate and is not open to inducing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
The only way to soothe a hungry baby is to feed it. Babies get hungry frequently. Some babies won't take bottles. It has nothing to do with being a "second class parent."
Indeed. And some families don't use bottles ever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lalemma View Post

{snip}

It seems pretty easy for some AP adherents to become smothery/helicopter parents. People who are terribly concerned about what kind of cracker the child might temporarily be exposed to at someone else's house. Or, their toddler hates their car seat, so they just stay home all the time, because ever letting your child cry is awful. Or dad isn't really allowed to parent his own baby, because he would inevitably get everything wrong.

But I don't know if that's AP Gone Wrong, or just that those people were kinda helicoptery anyway, and AP is just what they seized upon..?

{snip}
actually, this describes our family and i stand behind our decision. I am not needy or insecure or hovering - my dh and i have strong beliefs and we make sacrifices to ensure that we are true to them whenever possible. I am very picky about the food we eat and I absolutely would not permit my dd to eat most crackers. Most processed foods are full of junk. And for the first year of my dd's life I only ran errands alone when it was completely necessary because she screamed hysterically in her car seat rearfacing. I saved almost all our trips out for when my dh could come alone and I or dh sat in the back so my dd could at least see a friendly face and hold our hands. I also nursed her while strapped in when she could not be comforted any other way (dr. sears recommends this, btw). Once she was 1 and turned around, the hysteria stopped and now she does a wonderful job sitting in her seat.
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