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Would you describe me as a "natural parent"? - Page 3

post #41 of 53

 

Quote:

parenting in theory is a whole lot different than parenting in real life. Hugs

Thank you! That is an awesome way to put it. And really important to keep in mind in case the things you believe in change because of your choices with your child. (OR not)

post #42 of 53

I would encourage you to parent from an intuitive place once your baby is here. I am a reader/researcher too, but was surprised by how naturally a lot of things came.


Before DD arrived, I was pretty dead set on her using her arm's reach co-sleeper (just did not feel comfortable with the idea of bed sharing). Well, she only slept if she was literally tucked in next to me for the first couple of months so we did that.


Some of your plans may change and that's totally okay. Congrats on your pregnancy--such an awesome and wonderful time ahead of you.

 

 

post #43 of 53
I think many times people who don't yet have children (or only have one child) underestimate how much the inborn personality of the child influences parenting. It's very tempting to view the parenting as the cause of the child's behavior when, in many cases, the child's personality and behavior is what causes a particular kind of parenting.

I find this to be especially true in the area of sleep. When you see a family whose children are "bad" sleepers, it's probably the child's needs and personality that are creating the sleep patterns and also influencing what the parents do in order to parent their particular child. So that parent might routinely nurse their child to sleep, co-sleep, or whatever they need to do. It's not that the nursing to sleep, co-sleeping or whatever is the cause of the "bad" sleeping, it's a reaction to it. On the flip side, people who happen to have children who are "good" sleepers will parent differently, maybe be less likely to nurse to sleep or co-sleep, because their child doesn't need it. My guess is that your friends whose parenting style you admire would have the same child no matter how they chose to parent and that their parenting style is a result of their child rather than the other way around. You may have a similar child to theirs in temperament and find that their parenting style meshes well with your child's needs, but you may not. You might find that the only way you can get your child to sleep is by holding them until they fall asleep or nursing them to sleep. It won't be what you do that creates that habit, but that the habit is created by what the child needs.
post #44 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by womenswisdom View Post

I think many times people who don't yet have children (or only have one child) underestimate how much the inborn personality of the child influences parenting. It's very tempting to view the parenting as the cause of the child's behavior when, in many cases, the child's personality and behavior is what causes a particular kind of parenting.
I find this to be especially true in the area of sleep. When you see a family whose children are "bad" sleepers, it's probably the child's needs and personality that are creating the sleep patterns and also influencing what the parents do in order to parent their particular child. So that parent might routinely nurse their child to sleep, co-sleep, or whatever they need to do. It's not that the nursing to sleep, co-sleeping or whatever is the cause of the "bad" sleeping, it's a reaction to it. On the flip side, people who happen to have children who are "good" sleepers will parent differently, maybe be less likely to nurse to sleep or co-sleep, because their child doesn't need it. My guess is that your friends whose parenting style you admire would have the same child no matter how they chose to parent and that their parenting style is a result of their child rather than the other way around. You may have a similar child to theirs in temperament and find that their parenting style meshes well with your child's needs, but you may not. You might find that the only way you can get your child to sleep is by holding them until they fall asleep or nursing them to sleep. It won't be what you do that creates that habit, but that the habit is created by what the child needs.


This has certainly been my experience. After trying whatever I could think of (short of CIO or other strategies that seemed cruel to me) my DD was still a bad sleeper. Now that she's getting close to three, she sleeps through or wakes up once most nights, but it has been a long, hard road to get here. Another feature of her personality that came factory-installed is that she is quite emotional and sensitive, far above the average (and I know right where she gets it from too, as I am the same way). So she isn't showing that independence that APed kids are supposed to start showing in toddlerhood. It isn't because I made her dependent or whatever, truly. That is just the way she came. I know many families with similar parenting styles, and their kids are all different from each other.

 

I've come to the conclusion that each child has a range of possibilities for how they will be, and you might be able to move them slightly within that range by the way that you parent, but you cannot change their predefined range of possibilities. And a lot of your parenting decisions have to be made in response to the kid you got, not the kid you thought you would be able to build from the ground up.

 

The thing that's helpful about this perspective is that it can help take some of the pressure off. I used to think I had to do everything right so that DD could learn the best way to be, and if I wasn't super careful I would screw something up and ruin her life. We live in such a parent-blaming culture that I think that way of thinking is quite common. But DD is her own person on her own path. She is not my creation and does not belong to me, and my influence on her is substantial but still limited.

 

post #45 of 53

Wow that was a lot of replies, but I kept reading, it surely is an interesting topic!

 

Your natural mom -list is much stronger than mine was when I was pregnant. I just had started to eat organic. I had no co-sleeper in mind, I had no idea I could question vaccines etc... But two things made me different from you culturally, because I'm from Europe, things like partial co-sleeping and assuming I will breastfeed is mainstream thinking in my country. Probably because these things are not mainstream here in US, I got pulled into the natural parenting world, it seemed more "natural" to me, things I saw my mother and friends do back home.

 

So now I'm breastfeeding my 3 year old, which is totally weird in my country... co sleeping sort of... so watch out what you're getting into winky.gif But it's been a wonderful world to me. In the first month of breastfeeding, i didn't think I could possibly stand it for 6 months. But as it became easier, it was the thing that made my life with a baby wonderful. My husband can't stop telling me how amazing it is to sleep next to a beautiful peaceful toddler, "can't believe some people want to have them alone down the hall somewhere" he says.

 

For two years the mainstream america told me we are total weirdos who's kid is going to have some issues with independence. But when pregnant with my second, I started reading natural parenting books, (I wanted my second birth naturally with a midwife) And reading dr. Sears was like, oh, I've been right about all this intuitively, I'm not alone!!

 

You are right on with the discipline though. I think it's good you plan to encourage independence and have the kids assume no is a no, just because, even. You may get the feeling from AP parenting articles that totally wimpy parenting is the key, and that is something that has kept me keeping my distance from hard core AP. thankfully I have found my friends, mostly european, who can be crazy natural and crazy strict at the same time. Now, time out's were always too american for me, I just yell at my kids when they go too far. Although I do agree with you, that pointless yelling at a child and not enforcing the things makes no sense. But sometimes you realize that as perfect a parent you were supposed to be, you're just human. I read a lot of articles from natural people about discipline, but instead of making me feel like a horrible hitler mom, they make me feel like.... MAYBE just maybe it's ok that my kid sees that mom is just a human too, and that I hurt her feelings and she is upset, but then she hugs me and I know she loves me anyways. I sort of feel like if we pretend we never loose our temper at our kids no matter how horrible they act, the result is just bad, a kid who thinks he can go on destroying not caring about other peoples feelings.

 

On the sleep issue, read the no-cry sleep method. It helped me tremendously. And it seems kind of what you are looking to do. My first baby was a drag, he had to be way deep in sleep before I could pull the nipple out, and kept waking up every two ours at like, nine months. With my second I was prepared with the book, and by the time he was able to turn on his belly, he did so every night after he was done with the feeding. Beautiful! 

 

My sister-in-law trained her daughter to the breast-awake-sleep method and that was a mistake in their case. She was a bad sleeper anyways and now she didn't even go to sleep with the power of the boobie! so se screamed 15 minutes every night , convulsing in her wrap... maybe as an american that sounds normal to you, but it breaks my heart!!! and I feel horrible for my sister in law when we travel together and... one 2 hour bus ride.. a friend of ours toddler, and my niece screamed the WHOLE two hours. my toddler went right to sleep with help from boobie, hidden under my wrap sweater, of course. (I never hid the fact that I breast fed a baby, but with toddlers... I feel I might shock people to much)

 

I'm proud of my smart two boys, who have never EVER had a tantrum, and I'm not lying! So AP worked there. Surely, my 6 year old still needs to kiss me at the school door, (too attached?) but I love it, and really love that he is so confident among school mates, that no-one bullies him about that, in fact some of them have started to kiss their moms again (say the other moms)

 

You're right on with the co-sleeper and all this reading in advance!  I did though sometimes wish I had not read all those books that tell you how is the proper way to care for a baby. Motherhood kind of does come naturally, but then again in this modern world there is just so much that comes from the outside anyways, so it's good to be informed! Find your own motherhood with your baby!

First year can be hard and messy (leaking boobs and puke all over...) so give yourself slack and even let your baby fall asleep on the boob on occation if you are tired, the less tired you are, the better mom you can be, and the happier child you will have!

post #46 of 53
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tittipeitto View Post

 

You may get the feeling from AP parenting articles that totally wimpy parenting is the key, and that is something that has kept me keeping my distance from hard core AP. thankfully I have found my friends, mostly european, who can be crazy natural and crazy strict at the same time. Now, time out's were always too american for me, I just yell at my kids when they go too far. Although I do agree with you, that pointless yelling at a child and not enforcing the things makes no sense. But sometimes you realize that as perfect a parent you were supposed to be, you're just human. I read a lot of articles from natural people about discipline, but instead of making me feel like a horrible hitler mom, they make me feel like.... MAYBE just maybe it's ok that my kid sees that mom is just a human too, and that I hurt her feelings and she is upset, but then she hugs me and I know she loves me anyways. I sort of feel like if we pretend we never loose our temper at our kids no matter how horrible they act, the result is just bad, a kid who thinks he can go on destroying not caring about other peoples feelings.



I love your point about your European friends, which can be applied to cultural variations in general.  It surely cannot be that there are just a few different, coherent schools of parenting - not even in the U.S., but especially not worldwide.  Getting input from other cultures can be really refreshing, and I wish this were easier to do;  it doesn't seem like people outside of English-speaking countries write about childrearing as much, or if they do, their works are not translated into English.

Oh, please don't think I would consider you a bad Mom if you yell occasionally.  I have gotten frustrated with the kids in my care, as well, and sometimes not known what to do other than complain or beg.  As I became more experienced, this has happened less often, and I can nearly always stop myself, simply saying, "Guys, I'm starting to get really frustrated," in a calm voice.  Being someone's Mom, 24/7, would surely include even more opportunities to get upset.  What I don't like is when it is chronic, e.g., when a parent has been complaining about something for months, but I have still seen no enforcement.  As a nanny, I would often enforce whatever behavior the Mom seemed so badly to want, only to see that the undesired behavior was allowed as soon as she came home, and, especially if it didn't bother me personally, I would change the rule back, saying, "I thought this was a house rule, but it's not, so go ahead."  In one funny instance, I've seen a Dad (whom I am still friends with) ask the pediatrician when his daughter was going to stop a behavior.  The pediatrician's answer was, "When she goes to college, unless you make her do it sooner."

post #47 of 53

OP--I was a nanny throughout college and thought I was an expert on childrearing.  I had lots of "ideas."  Enter DS1, aka most colicky wakeful baby ever/crankiest toddler on the block/most mischievous and opportunistic preschooler on the planet.  Suddenly all my ideas changed.  Enter DS2, a totally easy going dude.  I was once again a parenting "expert."  So muchof what you choose is going to depend on your kid. People take way too much credit for their easy kids and way too much blame for their hard ones.  Whatever you think you know from child care will inevitably be different with your own.  As far as whether or not you're a natural parent--that depends on the group.  The natural parenting groups I've been to are totally AP.  I'm very AP myself but my closest friends are totally mainstream.  I didn't click with anyone in the natural parenting groups like I did in others. I guess what I'm saying is it probably doesn't matter what your beliefs are...maybe you'll find great friends there, maybe not.

post #48 of 53

You know what? You sound like you are a great parent to be.  :)  It's great that you are getting a great "bag of tricks" to use in you parenting arsenal!

I think it's apparent with all of these posts that one of the most profound, challenging, and wonderful things about becoming a Mom is....becoming a Mom, lol! Each one of us had an idea of what this journey would entail and ALL of us got something that we didn't expect.  That's the beautiful part of it all.

I wouldn't worry too much about defining yourself as "green" or "natural" "AP" or "mainstream".  Those terms I guess will help you determine where on the map someone is, but there is an enormous spectrum of people in between.   And peoples' definition of each thing is subject to interpretation. What you want to find are people who accept you for who you are, no matter where on the spectrum you are, and in turn to try not to judge others for the choices they make.  I don't know of any Mom who has done something because she thinks it's going to be detrimental to her child. 

I do think that committing to an idea or philosophy can be dangerous in terms of how you perceive your parenting success....things may work all the time, some of the time, or not at all.  And just when you get "it" down, they will change again! Don't get me wrong, it's great to have a game plan.  And a plan B, C, and D if that makes you less nervous... I think the most important thing to do is keep a sense of humor....and be flexible.  thumb.gif  Every parent has to do some kind of trial and error - that's how we learn. If you try to define yourself as one thing or another you may exclude yourself from a group that you shouldn't.  And that definition is ALWAYS going to be evolving as your family's needs change. 

Congrats on your baby!

post #49 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post


 

but as a parent who plans to be authoritative - not sure if i would call that natural parenting. doing the power play - in my definition is not 'natural' parenting. but then that's in my book. however i am assuming you mean 'because i say so' philosophy. to me that is so not natural. 



Like a pp pointed out, authoritative does not mean "authoritarian." Here's a good description of authoritative parenting: http://psychology.about.com/od/childcare/f/authoritative-parenting.htm

post #50 of 53

This is a fun book you might enjoy:

 

http://www.amazon.com/World-Babies-Imagined-Childcare-Societies/dp/0521664756/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329717154&sr=8-1

 

I liked the eat-awake-sleep pattern for my 1st born.  It worked great and was marvelous.  And with my 2nd, I wish it had! :)  But once his dairy issues were dealt with it also worked well for him too (but he was older then too...).

 

I loved reading and research (still do) and find that it is really interesting to see how different people approach things.  I have found that some books that are specifically AP (ugh, I forget the one in particular, but it is sort of an AP Bible, IIRC) was very much about consensual living, and I don't jibe with that.  And sort of assumed that children are inherently good and do no wrong on purpose (and I disagree - I think we do all choose the wrong thing on purpose sometimes).  So II can appreciate your take on leaning more towards an authoritative approach than some branches of AP.  I do agree with respect both ways and with gentle discipline in general, but also feel that parents are leaders in the family and life wisdom and experience do matter.

 

Anyhoo, the continuum concept is interesting, IIRC.  Very much about you being the adult and letting children be children.  It fosters independence.  Not in an "I won't help you" way, but in a tribal roles sort of way. 

 

I don't personally ascribe to one particular philosophy, and have found a lot of helpful ideas and advice from all sorts of parenting angles, and find that "natural" parenting groups around me tend to be mostly about being in nature, meeting friends, and not feeding your kid crap while you do it. ;)
 

Tjej

 

post #51 of 53

Another mom who read a ton before babes were born, and was surprised by just how much the personality/biology of my kids influence things.  My first had failure to thrive, acid reflux, and now (age 7) has a dx of Aspergers.  The child will only eat crunchy things, and produce in general only happens when eaten as part of a routine.  At dinner he adheres to a strict routine of protein, then two servings of produce, then dessert (he gets plenty of grains other meals).  There are some things he'll only eat for me because I cut them just the right size and shape.  We pack him the exact same lunch every day of the week.  I make two meals every night.  I got flack/ gave myself flack for some of the eating issues until ds2 (now 5) came along.  At 2 he was toddling around gardens, pulling things out of the ground and munching on them.  If he wants his dessert in the middle of dinner, we say sure, because chances are he'll give up on it and eat some brussels sprouts off my plate because they look more interesting.  He likes shrimp, kale, raw tomatoes, baba ganouche, beet juice, and pretty much anything you offer him as long as you don't offer it too often (gets bored with the same foods- very unique for a preschooler!).  My kids have gotten used to the fact that we don't have the same dinner time expectations for them, because their needs and personalities are SOOOOO different.  They end up getting about the same level of nutrition.

 

In terms of sleeping, I am happy to say that both my children sleep through the night with a waking maybe once every 5 or 6 months if they're super sick or have a nightmare.  Ds1 sleeps about 10.5 hours, ds2 about 11.5 hours.  Straight.  I nursed those kids to sleep until they weaned (ds1 at 2.5 because he didn't like the taste of newborn milk, and ds2 at 3 because he decided he was done- convenient because I was about to end the milkies myself).  Both of them went through some bad sleep for a few weeks while they figured out how to sleep without the boob, but eh, not the end of the world.

 

I agree with others that your friends may have kids for whom the plans of their parents happened to match up with their needs.  I was an awesome sleeper myself.  According to my mom, I starting sleeping 12 hours straight starting at 2 weeks old!  It was nothing she did.  One of my brothers woke at night all through babyhood and  through much of preschool.

 

I'm not dissing plans, or knowledge.  I think an understanding of normal developmental stages is super helpful, no matter how you decide to respond to the year plus of the spontaneous throwing phase, for instance.  And it certainly helps to have some tools in your belt to try out.  I just want to reiterate that so much will depend on WHO comes into the world, and who you are, and how the two of you figure things out together.

post #52 of 53

Let me just say that I find it unfortunate how the AP philosophy is no longer seen (not by the OP, just in general) as an approach to parenting, but as an increasingly small and exclusive black or white parenting ultimatums. Especially that whole bit about not using strollers. I'm sorry, but the use or non use of a stroller(or bouncy chair, or swing) has no bearing whatsoever on whether you are attachment parenting or not. Obviously, if your child spends 3 minutes of the day in your arms and the rest a stroller, bouncy chair, etc, then you maybe you ought to reexamine your commitment to AP, but just because someone uses a crib or has a bouncy means they are not AP. The same thing goes for discipline methods. When AP first became in vogue, time outs where seen ok. Then it seemed like ONLY GD was ok for an attachment parent to use. And now it seems that even GD is far too controlling and this whole philosophy of the child knows best is coming to the forefront. I happen to think that more than one road leads to rome (ok that's probably not the saying I'm thinking of but it's 3 pm and I haven't had my afternoon coffee). 

I think in a few years we are going to have so many stipulations as to what  "true" AP that NO ONE will be AParenting anymore.

To the OP, just go to the meeting and get a feel for the group. I belong to a natural mothering group and while most of consider ourselves to be AP, we are all on different roads. Some of us homeschool, some cosleep, some clothdiaper, some vaccinate, some self wean, some use time outs, some baby wear, etc. If you're group is anyting like mine, you will realize which moms are more laid back and supportive and which are writing down your every move to make sure you measure up. Stick to the laid back moms and you'll do fine.

post #53 of 53
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

This is a fun book you might enjoy:

 

http://www.amazon.com/World-Babies-Imagined-Childcare-Societies/dp/0521664756/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329717154&sr=8-1

 

I liked the eat-awake-sleep pattern for my 1st born.  It worked great and was marvelous.  And with my 2nd, I wish it had! :)  But once his dairy issues were dealt with it also worked well for him too (but he was older then too...).

 

I loved reading and research (still do) and find that it is really interesting to see how different people approach things.  I have found that some books that are specifically AP (ugh, I forget the one in particular, but it is sort of an AP Bible, IIRC) was very much about consensual living, and I don't jibe with that.  And sort of assumed that children are inherently good and do no wrong on purpose (and I disagree - I think we do all choose the wrong thing on purpose sometimes).  So II can appreciate your take on leaning more towards an authoritative approach than some branches of AP.  I do agree with respect both ways and with gentle discipline in general, but also feel that parents are leaders in the family and life wisdom and experience do matter.

 

Anyhoo, the continuum concept is interesting, IIRC.  Very much about you being the adult and letting children be children.  It fosters independence.  Not in an "I won't help you" way, but in a tribal roles sort of way. 

 

I don't personally ascribe to one particular philosophy, and have found a lot of helpful ideas and advice from all sorts of parenting angles, and find that "natural" parenting groups around me tend to be mostly about being in nature, meeting friends, and not feeding your kid crap while you do it. ;)
 

Tjej

 


That looks so interesting!  I wish they had it at my library;  I will see if I can get it through inter library loan.

 

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