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How do you think attachment parenting makes kids different (from other kids) as they get older? - Page 2

post #21 of 47

OP, it sounds like you're doing great with attachment parenting, it sounds like your kids are doing great - no need to compare yours with others. 

 

Developmentally, sometimes they'll be ahead, sometimes they'll be behind.  It's true when they're younger, and will be true when they're older. 

 

Focus on your own relationships, enjoy the moments you spend with them. Teach your kids how to appreciate how precious these moments are - love them so they learn how to love.  This will probably matter more than whether or not you're doing AP, or whatever else parenting style.

post #22 of 47

 

 

Quote:
I disagree actually. I "AP" because I think it will benefit my relationship with my ds, but not because I think he will turn out 'better'

 

I absolutely 100% believe that AP-type practices DO make kids "better" in relation to their long term mental health.  I am convinced that the epidemic of mental health issues in the US is directly linked to parenting practices.  For example, it is not normal to stop parenting at 8pm.  It doesn't mean co-sleeping is best for all kids, because of course some children sleep better alone, but not comforting a crying child for extended periods of time, not respecting them as an important member of the family, etc.  all increase the likelhood for mental health issues down the road.  

 

As some of the OP's mentioned AP-raised children are more likely to acquire the emotional tools needed to cope with what life is going to throw at them.  Depression/panic disorders/bipolar illness most commonly appear in the late teens-early 20s and typically after a particularly stressful event (going to/graduating from college, for example). 

 

-Jen

 

post #23 of 47

I think there are so many factors that affect an older child's behavior and personality, that it is really hard to tell what is personality, what is parenting, etc.  Plus, there are many different parenting practices that affect a child..and not just AP.  

 

I've found that a baby/toddler that is breastfed and spends almost all his/her time with his mom and dad is going to have more stranger anxiety than a child that has multiple caregivers or babysitters, irregardless of AP or not.

 

Other things like diet and educational choice also play a factor.  For example. I feel that my kids are less hyper than other kids but their could be many reasons for that..besides parenting...personality and diet.  I've taught kids before that were absolutely bouncing off the walls, and when you ask them what they ate for breakfast, they say something like "toast and fruit loops."    My kids eat very little sugar on a daily basis and artifical food colors are pretty rare...usually only on a holiday or party..and when they do have it, I definitely notice a behavior difference.

 

In general, I've noticed that some homeschooling children tend to grow up a little "slower" compared to children that go to school.  Not they are less mature, but they spend more time in childhood activities longer than other children.  It's not true for everyone across the board, of course, just a general trend.

 

My kids aren't really old enough to tell if they will have greater emotional health than their peers as they aren't at an age were mental health illnesses typical manifest.

 

 

post #24 of 47

I've been thinking about this thread and I hope that we haven't completely discouraged the OP.

 

One of the reasons that I worry about this line of thinking is that I don't like the other side of the coin that this kind of reasoning brings: If the good things (early milestones, greater empathy, early talking) that your child has are due to the fact that you AP, then the bad things must also be due to your parenting. I've seen a lot of parents on MDC over the years beat themselves up because they did all the "right" things and their kids still have problems. Their 2 year olds still hit. Their 4 year olds are still mouthy. Some kids still have motor delays or speech delays or autism or mental health issues. My kids have a tendency toward anxiety. I hope that when they're 25 or 30 they won't go through the same debilitating periods of anxiety that I've experienced. But if they do, is it because I didn't AP "right"? I don't think so. Mental health issues go back generations in my family.

 

As others have said, I AP and practice GD because it feels right in the moment. I hope that it will pay off in the end, but that's all I can do. I can predict. I don't want to take credit for my children's own development, nor the blame for all their faults. That's putting too much of a burden on me, as a parent.

 

That being said, I think AP allows you, as a parent, to savor your child's development a little more. But that's a benefit to the parent, not the child.

post #25 of 47

I think we need to be careful how we frame "mental health issues" because many mental illnesses are related to chemical imbalances in the brain and other physiological events, and while environmental factors may ease certain mental illnesses, they do not prevent them, especially certain depressions, bipolar disorders and schizophrenia.  I agree that certain anxiety disorders may have a direct link with environment, but I think the problem we have in our society with the acceptance of mental illness as a serious issue is because we (general we) believe that the person has the power to cure themselves through positive attitude or that their illness is preventable through positive reinforcement, "correct" parenting, etc.  

 

I don't know if AP makes kids different or better.  I agree with Lynn above that it feels/felt right when doing it.  It made our lives as a family a whole lot happier and more rested (co-sleeping being the biggy for us).  DD cousins, however, are just as empathetic and secure as DD, and their parents didn't practice AP.  I just think it makes parenting (when children are babies and toddlers) so much easier.  Plus it felt right to meet certain needs when they needed to be met.  

post #26 of 47


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snydley View Post

 

I am convinced that the epidemic of mental health issues in the US is directly linked to parenting practices. 


 

On of my children has special needs. It is quite common for children with her basic dx to experience extreme anxiety and depression during adolescence. AP didn't spare her from that. At 12, she was diagnosed with clinical depression, and at 13, with a social anxiety disorder.  She was carried in a sling. BF. She only had GD. She homeschooled in a relaxed way when she was little. And she still became extremely depressed at 12. My DD has a lot of labels, but that one was the hardest for me, because I bought into the idea that if I did my job right, but child would at least be happy.

 

If you notice, it's generally moms of younger children who think that APing makes all the difference, and moms of older kids who are less sure.

 

Some of us have watched our kids have extreme problems, or we've known other children who've been well parented who had problems, or we see kids who've had very mainstream upbringings do great.

 

APing is wonderful in many ways. It does not come with a money back guarantee. Part of how children turn out is just genetics, or random. Or the impact of events beyond your control.

 

When you start looking at how children are doing and evaluating it against what you know about the parents, you are just judging. And it's hurtful. It's still hurtful to moms like me, even if you add in a cavet that my DD is doing better than she would have with mainstream parenting. But you are still judging me and my child, and you have no right.

 

And when you make generalizations, you are judging lots of mothers and their children, and you have no right to do that either.

 

 

 

post #27 of 47

I'm so sorry for the confusion, I should clarify.  

 

My statement that "mental health issues and parenting practices are linked" does NOT mean that the way you parent can prevent all forms of mental illness, AT ALL.   When I say linked, I mean that in some circumstances, I believe that some forms of mental issues manifest because of early childhood experiences.  I have a brother with schizoaffective disorder.  He is currently refusing meds and living on the streets while my parents and I try (with no success) to gain guardianship over him.  He was always a high needs, sensitive kid who is clearly genetically linked to his disease.  No question.  However, I can't help but wonder if there is a small chance his disease would not have arisen (or arisen in such severe form) if my parents did not hit him every time he bit another child when he was 1 or keep guard outside his bedroom when he was 2 because he kept "trying to escape".  This form of parenting practices continued throughout his childhood, when he desperately needed someone to understand and he sensitive to who he was and as a result he spent most of his time alone reading in his room.  His disease didn't manifest until graduating from college, when he was so utterly panicked over what to do next he attempted suicide.  Then and only then did the other symptoms of his disease emerge. 

 

I never had any mental health problems growing up, and my 2nd year of college (biology major) I was having trouble keeping up with my work and completely panicked.  I wound up with many severe panic attacks every day and had to take a semester off of college.  I was told that I had a "chemical imbalance" (and mentioned by previous OP) and spend most of my 20s on prozac and other meds.  I used to tell people I was 'sick'.   I don't believe that I'm sick anymore.  I had two strange parents who I couldn't really talk to about anything, including an overprotective mother who never ever let my brother and I out of her sight until we were dropped at college.  I may have a genetic propensity toward panic disorder, but maybe if I didn't have an obsessive need to achieve (from trying to impress my parents) my attitude toward my studied would have been better and I wouldn't have felt so stressed in the first place.  

 

Stress causes chemical changes in the brain.  Stress responses/negative patterns of thinking, if they become habitual, are going to alter brain chemistry.  I believe this is far more likely to happen with more severity and frequency in non-AP environments.

 

I have a nearly 5 year old and I don't like the history of mental disease I'm up against when considering her future.  Maybe I've adapted some Freudian beliefs (that the personality is formed primarily in response to early childhood experiences) because it helps me feel like I'm doing everything I can to prevent her from following the same road as my brother.  So, I may be biased due to my grief.

 

Also, one more point; this book also affirmed my current thinking on this topic.  http://www.amazon.com/The-Price-Privilege-Generation-Disconnected/dp/0060595841  "Numerous studies show that privileged adolescents are experiencing epidemic rates of depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse -- rates that are higher than those of any other socioeconomic group of young people in this country."

 

Again, I'm sorry if I offended anyone.  I think AP parenting is our best defense against mental disease, and if my DD or future DC wind up with some issues at least I can feel I did everything I could to prevent it.

 

-Jen

 

 

 

post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snydley View Post

 

Again, I'm sorry if I offended anyone.  I think AP parenting is our best defense against mental disease, and if my DD or future DC wind up with some issues at least I can feel I did everything I could to prevent it.

 

 


I'm still not buying it. Is the complete control that your parents attempted to exercise over you and your brother healthy? Of course not.

 

However, when I see people as parents, I think most of us fall along a spectrum of mainstream to AP. Most "mainstream" parents that I know are good loving parents - they may use different discipline tactics than I do (most do NOT spank - neither do I), but they lovingly take care of their children. Did they babywear? Maybe or maybe not. Did they do BLW? Who knows, but probably not. Do they Gd? mostly. Even though we parent differently (and who parents exactly the same as I do? No one - we're all different and we all do things slightly differently. We all have very unique relationships with our children), mostly we are all loving parents who are attentive to our child's needs. There are definitely extremes on both ends, but thats not the majority. The majority fall on a spectrum.

 

I'm not the "perfect" AP parent, and I'm willing to bet that most people here aren't either. We're human, and we all make mistakes. I don't think its a good idea to go through your parenting journey thinking that you're going to do things just right so that your children don't end up like you and your brother - they might anyway! And then you'll have to come to terms with it, which will be easier if you don't put all your eggs in the AP basket thinking that they will turn out perfectly.

 

post #29 of 47

 

Quote:
When you start looking at how children are doing and evaluating it against what you know about the parents, you are just judging. And it's hurtful. It's still hurtful to moms like me, even if you add in a cavet that my DD is doing better than she would have with mainstream parenting. But you are still judging me and my child, and you have no right.

I'll admit, I judge parents.  Most believe too strongly in genetics and don't think about what the heck they are doing.   Parenting is 1000x harder than I ever thought it would be and there is a HUGE lack of effort by many parents.  Include the breakdown of the community in this country (not living near relatives, don't know your neighbors) kids are going to have more problems than ever IMO.  I  do understand your perspective though.

 

-Jen

 

post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snydley View Post

 

I'll admit, I judge parents.  Most believe too strongly in genetics and don't think about what the heck they are doing.   Parenting is 1000x harder than I ever thought it would be and there is a HUGE lack of effort by many parents.  Include the breakdown of the community in this country (not living near relatives, don't know your neighbors) kids are going to have more problems than ever IMO.  I  do understand your perspective though.

 

-Jen

 



Thats fine, but when your kids have any issues whatsoever, I hope you blame it on yourself. Since, you know, you're blaming parents for all their kids issues.

post #31 of 47

 

 

Quote:
I'm not the "perfect" AP parent, and I'm willing to bet that most people here aren't either. We're human, and we all make mistakes. I don't think its a good idea to go through your parenting journey thinking that you're going to do things just right so that your children don't end up like you and your brother - they might anyway! And then you'll have to come to terms with it, which will be easier if you don't put all your eggs in the AP basket thinking that they will turn out perfectly.

 

By "AP" I mean responding to your DC in the way that makes sense for you, thoughtful parenting in response to what is best for them.  My DD slept in a crib for years and I've never babyworn either!  I actually don't know the official rules of AP.   I don't expect DD to turn out perfect (as there is no such thing) I just want her to be as emotionally healthy as possible.  I don't think there's anything wrong with this being my #1 priority for her.  

 

Quote:
mostly we are all loving parents who are attentive to our child's needs

Maybe on these boards, but I'm much more cynical based on what I see IRL.  Maybe I'm just a Debbie Downer when it comes to this.  We had a hard time choosing who would be DD's legal guardians for our will and we were only looking for a semi-functional parenting style and marriage (I mean that's the best anyone can do, right?).   

 

 

post #32 of 47

 

 

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snydley View Post

 

I'll admit, I judge parents.  Most believe too strongly in genetics and don't think about what the heck they are doing.   Parenting is 1000x harder than I ever thought it would be and there is a HUGE lack of effort by many parents.  Include the breakdown of the community in this country (not living near relatives, don't know your neighbors) kids are going to have more problems than ever IMO.  I  do understand your perspective though.

 

-Jen

 



Thats fine, but when your kids have any issues whatsoever, I hope you blame it on yourself. Since, you know, you're blaming parents for all their kids issues.

 

Oh come on.  I'm not blaming parents for all their kids' issues by any stretch.  When I see a child who has been in front of a TV screen for 10+ hours a day since birth and winds up with attention issues and a speech delay, you don't think that maybe parenting had something to do with it?   Also, I'm surrounded by kids who are bought whatever they want whenever..to the point where on Xmas morning, they have no desire to go downstairs and open gifts.  The parents complain to me that they have no work ethic.  THIS is when I think to myself - hmmm  maybe the parents behavior had something to do with it.  

 

Do I judge the parents of a kid a see screaming in a store?  Of course not.  Mine's done that enough times, oh and she was a biter and actually spit in a kids' face last year..and we are going on TWO YEARS of potty training.    Are the PT issues my fault?  Who knows, maybe.  

 

If I see absurd/neglectful parenting, far beyond the norms, yea I think WTF.  I think if you say that you don't judge, when you see the parenting practices first hand, you're not being totally honest with yourself.   I don't judge a parent based on the actions of the child alone, of course. 

 

 

 

 

 

post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snydley View Post

Oh come on.  I'm not blaming parents for all their kids' issues by any stretch.  When I see a child who has been in front of a TV screen for 10+ hours a day since birth and winds up with attention issues and a speech delay, you don't think that maybe parenting had something to do with it?   Also, I'm surrounded by kids who are bought whatever they want whenever..to the point where on Xmas morning, they have no desire to go downstairs and open gifts.  The parents complain to me that they have no work ethic.  THIS is when I think to myself - hmmm  maybe the parents behavior had something to do with it.  

 

Do I judge the parents of a kid a see screaming in a store?  Of course not.  Mine's done that enough times, oh and she was a biter and actually spit in a kids' face last year..and we are going on TWO YEARS of potty training.    Are the PT issues my fault?  Who knows, maybe.  

 

If I see absurd/neglectful parenting, far beyond the norms, yea I think WTF.  I think if you say that you don't judge, when you see the parenting practices first hand, you're not being totally honest with yourself.   I don't judge a parent based on the actions of the child alone, of course. 

 


Maybe i'm really out of touch - but I haven't seen ANY of these first hand. First off, I don't spend 10 hours with a child thats not MINE (I don't have that kind of time - I'm a single mom and I work). You really see kids whose parents buy them everything constantly? I don't. Again, maybe I'm out of touch, or your job has you working with these families. I believe you that these types of things happen, but I do not believe that it is all the time, or that you are surrounded by it.

 

As for potty training taking 2 years, you should just give it up. They'll get it when they get it.

 

post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snydley View Post

 

 

 

By "AP" I mean responding to your DC in the way that makes sense for you, thoughtful parenting in response to what is best for them.  My DD slept in a crib for years and I've never babyworn either!  I actually don't know the official rules of AP.   I don't expect DD to turn out perfect (as there is no such thing) I just want her to be as emotionally healthy as possible.  I don't think there's anything wrong with this being my #1 priority for her.  

 

Your point? Most people do that. At least most people that I know IRL (I don't base my parenting stuff 100% on MDC, especially since I don't know any of these folks IRL). Even when they don't, they are usually good, loving parents, who want what is best for their children.

 

Maybe on these boards, but I'm much more cynical based on what I see IRL.  Maybe I'm just a Debbie Downer when it comes to this.  We had a hard time choosing who would be DD's legal guardians for our will and we were only looking for a semi-functional parenting style and marriage (I mean that's the best anyone can do, right?).   

 

 


I haven't even chosen a legal guardian - if I die, my ds goes to his dad. If his dad predeceases me, well, I'll figure it out then.

 

post #35 of 47
Thread Starter 

So... I started this thread really as an open question of how is it different.  I wasn't AT ALL arguing that my kid is better or looking to compare my kids with others or compare my parenting with others (though I agree that it's impossible to not be somewhat judgemental at times, I keep it to myself).  When I said that I think how I parent matters, I didn't say I think how I parent is better but that my parenting practices have specific effects on my kids!

 

I was really just ruminating on how specific parenting practices that are outside the norm result in changes to the established developmental timeline.  I mentioned crawling in my first post.  Kids used to be expected to crawl earlier than they are expected to crawl today because kids used to sleep on their tummies and therefore learned to crawl sooner.  Now, kids (as a whole) are put to sleep on their backs, they have occasional tummy time and they learn to crawl later.  And, my own kid and many others never crawl.  My older daughter developed great trunk strength through babywearing and breastfeeding and went straight to cruising and then walking.  That is NOT better... it's different.  Not crawling = a missed developmental marker.  Early cruising and walking = an early developmental marker. 

 

That's the type of thing I was ruminating about.  There are a couple of other examples in the early part of the thread... how breastfeeding instead of bottle feeding may make a kid different.  Sleeping habits and spaces, babywearing v. car seats and strollers, etc...  The milestones and benchmarks established by American Pediatric association and others are based on how we as a culture parent our children.  When groups of people parent differently we can expect those milestones and benchmarks to look different.  (for another example, see the differences between CDC and WHO growth charts). 

 

Lynn and others, I see your point that this type of reasoning can lead to arguing that parents are responsible for kids problems (mental health, autism, etc...).  And, I agree it's so sad when people blame themselves for their kids problems despite doing everything they can to help their kid.  I certainly don't want to add to that burden!  And, I can see how my reference to hitting milestones early or late may have eclipsed my own bigger point and been insensitive to parents dealing with delays and special needs.  I was really thinking more abstractly.  From my perspective, all kids are born with a unique set of potential strengths and their parents help them bring out those strengths, responsive parenting of any type can do that but I think HOW a parent responds can lead to bringing out different strengths. 

 

 

post #36 of 47

Did not read last posts though it looks like an interesting discussion. Personally, its hard for me to draw a distinction between what is good parenting a la AP,  and plain old flashioned ethics. For me, doing AP is about doing what is right towards another person, all the more so because of their dependence on you.   I see alot of practical advantages to AP, that make life easier for me,  and some that make life more difficult. But ultimately, i find AP practices make life easier in the longterm.

 

 Bottom line though, its how i treat my child now and the relationship i have with them as a consequence,  rather than how i expect them to turn out, which is foremost in my mind in my parenting.

 

This certainly  connects to mental well being, but i would not say that parenting is the only determinent of mental health in the long term.  

post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post

Did not read last posts though it looks like an interesting discussion. Personally, its hard for me to draw a distinction between what is good parenting a la AP,  and plain old flashioned ethics. For me, doing AP is about doing what is right towards another person, all the more so because of their dependence on you.   I see alot of practical advantages to AP, that make life easier for me,  and some that make life more difficult. But ultimately, i find AP practices make life easier in the longterm.

 

 Bottom line though, its how i treat my child now and the relationship i have with them as a consequence,  rather than how i expect them to turn out, which is foremost in my mind in my parenting.

 

This certainly  connects to mental well being, but i would not say that parenting is the only determinent of mental health in the long term.  

Well said.  


 

Quote:

Maybe i'm really out of touch - but I haven't seen ANY of these first hand. First off, I don't spend 10 hours with a child thats not MINE (I don't have that kind of time - I'm a single mom and I work). You really see kids whose parents buy them everything constantly? I don't. Again, maybe I'm out of touch, or your job has you working with these families. I believe you that these types of things happen, but I do not believe that it is all the time, or that you are surrounded by it.

Yes my job has me around these families - ironically, these are our good friends from grad school and now we have relocated in the same city.   By 'surrounded' I mean not unusual.   As far as the baby in front of the screen all the time, the girl is now 6 and has zero screen time limits, including her own IPAD for the car/restaurants, etc, and she is never put to bed and is typically up until 12-1am watching tv.  We had a hurricane come through last fall and her parents bought a generator because they didn't want to deal with her without tv for 48 hours.  Really....and they are the nicest people!  Just not making the best parenting choices IMO. 

 

When I lived in San Fran, I'd go to the park and almost every parent was always emailing on a blackberry.  Since I'm kinda immersed in this type of lifestyle, once I found the book simplicity parenting I was so happy! I refer to it often.  I am lucky to have moved to a great neighborhood with awesome families however.  

 

Quote:
As for potty training taking 2 years, you should just give it up. They'll get it when they get it.

 

I've tried that!  Haha.  Kindergarten is in the fall and she'll be sent to the nurse for pooping in her pants.  I'm only hopeful because they seem to sell pull-ups in 6T so maybe that means in a year she'll decide to stop what she's doing and go on the toilet.  wink1.gif

 

 

 

 

post #38 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post

 

I see alot of practical advantages to AP, that make life easier for me,  and some that make life more difficult. But ultimately, i find AP practices make life easier in the longterm.

 



I agree!  And in the short term for me as well... I can anticipate my babes needs and accomodate them so that I'm able to also do other things.  I can put the baby in the wrap and then have a meeting.  I know she's comforted and comfortable and I've managed to do that before she starts to scream which means I can then have my meeting! 

 

Another dimension of all this that too is how children learn about parenting.  My older daughter and I are having lots of conversations about cribs, formula, disposable diapers, etc... as she sees me choose and defend these choices for her new sister. 

post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snydley View Post


 

When I lived in San Fran, I'd go to the park and almost every parent was always emailing on a blackberry.  Since I'm kinda immersed in this type of lifestyle, once I found the book simplicity parenting I was so happy! I refer to it often.  I am lucky to have moved to a great neighborhood with awesome families however.  

 



Well I use my iPhone when I'm at the park with my ds. It's down time for me - especially now that he's old enough not to need my constant attention. We don't have a tv at home though, so he's not drowned in screen time. I hope people don't see me looking at my iPhone and think, "Oh boy, her ds must be a vegetable at home"

post #40 of 47
I look at my phone at the park too. I think that's a good example of why judging can be a problem. It involves making assumptions. Why is it bad to look at my phone when at the park?
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