Over the years I've found myself at meetings for "Attachment Parenting" (or something along those lines) and I know that I have quite a bit of parenting philosophy with people who label themselves "AP". Trouble is I don't relate to wanting to label myself in that way. I'm starting up with my local AP group and am feeling a bit of a fraud. Not because I don't fit in -- we're pretty AP all the way (in some areas more than average and in some areas less). But I've always hated the label. Anyone else feel the same way? Care to join me and vent a little?
I'm eligible for my "Attachment Parenting Membership Card" but I don't relate to the term -...
I know what you mean, ICM. I love and adore certain practices but it rubs me the wrong way to pigeon-hole myself into a label. Ultimately I prefer the term "natural living" to best describe what I do, since what I do feels pretty natural! :)
I belong to a big food co-op where a lot of people are really into labels. Frankly I don't see how the labeling from the AP end is any different than labeling from say, a fashion design approach. I.e.: look at me, I wear Coach, I'm in the club.
I recognize that people need to feel a part of something to help them in their journey. That's cool and if it produces a better result (by my terms...ha!) then go for it. I do think, though, that ultimately it comes down to choices that are natural and good, etc. If you need to label yourself, fine, but raising a child is hard and I just don't have the energy to invest in appearances. If you know what I mean.
I hate labels in general...I don't think saying "I'm an attachment parent!" means anything at all. What matters is that you really listen to your intuition, do things that seem to make the most sense for you and your child (which means actually paying attention to your child, not to a book, even though many books are filled with great advice), and I don't like the contest aspect of it all. I'd much rather it was just normal to parent according to nature and your own gut.
I am with you on this! As someone who became a parent before any of these labels, I've had a hard time with the dogma that so many associate with the words Attachment Parenting. I like natural family living or natural parenting or responsive parenting better. Overall, I just don't want the dogma. I found my own way to these parenting ideas or ideals and for me, what's most important is that we find our own way to authentic parenting, not following rules, but following our children. It seems to me that my responding to my children's legitimate needs, I found my way. They taught me.
Thanks, ya'll!! I'm not sure exactly what it is for me but my initial feeling is that the label is rather divisive. Or maybe it's that I don't like how it makes what I do seem really counter-culture or something. Or maybe it's a combination of both -- the willingness to separate one's self from the greater culture of motherhood. I mean, I get why a parent may want or need to do that, it's just not my thing and I guess I do question the consequences of that, yk? I have friends who range really drastically in their parenting methods but we all have way, way more in common than we have lacking. If I were to introduce a label (or dogma - good way of thinking about it PO!), I know a huge wall would go up between us.
i donot hate labels, but i do dislike them. the reason why i dont hate them is because i can see why we need labels. herd mentality to identify a tribe.
the reason why i dislike labels is because of the 'degrees of separation' - some do it more, some less. plus what exactly AP means to me. it means 'emotional attachment' which i also see in non AP parents. many times i see the AP in parents who dont call themselves AP at all.
however in some practical sense i enjoy labels too. right off the bat with strangers i know it means we have something in common.
but having said that i find some other labels are better suited for me as a parent than AP. like consensual living parenting. Or unconditional parenting. or perhaps other styles that i am not aware of. but i cant use CL because many dont really understand this style.
of course all this changes once your children are past the age of 5. once dd started school, the focus shifted to more of a NF thing.
I definitely feel the same way. I do not like the labels. We did what works for our family, not because of a label, but because of how we felt on different issues and what worked for each child. Our parenting style evolved over the years, and will continue to change. When asked about it, I say we did _______, because that is what worked best for us. You have to find what works best for you.
I don't like it either. I am not trying to follow someone else's rules or be part of a club. I would have nursed and co-slept no matter what anyone else was doing. I thought the idea of a sling/carrier was awesome as soon as I saw one, before I had heard of AP (but my kids are apparently claustrophobic). I would have been gentle in my discipline. OTOH, I do appreciate that Dr. Sears and Alfie Cohen and others are out there saying what they're saying. I would have nursed and coslept and gd'd and such, but I might have felt more lonely in it and I might have caved to pressure (especially about nursing so long) if there were no one else singing the praises of extended bf'ing. I also think that there are a world full of people out there who believe they have to follow someone's RULES so I'm happy there's an alternative set for them to pick from. I coslept as a child, myself, so I had a bit of a head start. But most Americans, I'm afraid, really think that having your child sleep in your bed is something to be avoided at all cost. Even now, when I bring it up in mixed company, there's always someone who "admits" to it like it's something to be ashamed of.
I wonder where these labels really come from. Attachment Parenting started as an organization to teach about the importance of the first three to five years of life. The media picked up the term and is mostly the place where it becomes divisive. We parents use it sometimes to introduce ourselves to others, but it's gotten to be such a charged term. And, I'll bet that most parents are like us and find themselves attracted to these things because they work not because they are popular or cool.
And, I'm the same way, I can tend not to like something or to rebel against it once it becomes popular...
Not weird at all. I generally don't read self-help books, and that includes parenting books. I don't need any more advice than I can already handle. I have to say that the Mothering forums were the best for me, because there were a wide range of opinions and I get more from that than one person's take on an issue.
I'm going to be the lone voice of dissent here i guess.
I think labels serve a purpose. The building where my sons go to preschool has a parenting group each week....an API (attachment parenting international) group. I *immediately* from that label knew the "flavor" or focus of the group and the types of moms i'd LIKELY find there. When you're a mom looking for a group to meet certain needs of yours, it HELPS to know what you're getting into. While AP might seem maintream now, when my first was a baby (he'll be 16 in October) it wasnt as popular (though by no means rare)....if you're an AP parent, you might not want to sit through several playgroups hearing other moms telling you really mainstream stuff (early solids, or let them cry, or punitive discipline) before finding "your people"...you are more LIKELY to find what you're looking for in a group that has a pretty specific purpose (that is, supporting attachment parenting.) Its kind of like...sure moms of multiples can have friends who only have singletons but the reason they often go to MoMs groups is because they can immediately gel over twin issues with other moms who really KNOW...does that mean every single thing will be in common?? No of course not. But its nice not to have to constantly defend your choices and be surrounded by moms who "get it" and who will support you in what you're trying to do.
That being said, of course AP moms can also have a great time with moms who dont necessarily share their ideals. And you wont always get "crap" at regular playgroups. It just depends. It also depends on your area...in some areas a more "natural living" or "mindful parenting" bent is the NORM (for example cry it out or formula feeding or spanking might be rare)...in other places, not so much. A mom might really NEED that support.
I get not wanting to label yourself, but i think NOT labeling yourself to prove a point is also kind of silly in a way. How is it any different to say you're into "natural family living" or "mindful parenting"? Those are labels too (or "descriptions" if thats more palatable)...in fact when my oldest was a baby, i would NOT describe myself as NFL...we only cloth diapered briefly, werent really into natural/whole foods, didnt recyle or be really that environmentally aware, etc. I was happy to buy him plastic toys and let him watch tv. And as he got older i didnt feel AP really applied and felt more comfortable with mindful parenting a term used a lot in our Radical Unschooling circles. Now, with my three other kids, i dont feel like any of that, even though i bottlenursed (they were adopted) and coslept etc etc. Parenting can change over time. But if i meet someone and she starts talking about AP i kinda know where she is coming from. Not 100 percent but there is a good chance she wont be shocked at a one yr old nursing or tsk tsk about a toddler in a parents bed.
At this point in my life though, i really dont care what other people think of my parenting so meeting parents who share most of my views isnt that important. I have my adoption mom friends i talk to online to help with those issues, and other than that dont really feel the need to commune with other parents or seek support for other parenting issues.
I don't have a problem with labels as such; as a previous poster said, labels kind of let you know what "flavor" of folks you're likely to find in a particular group. But I haven't found a group or label that really applies to me as of yet, and being a "joiner", I worry about this more than I should. I would prefer to have a niche in which I fit nicely.
Maybe that's sad, but it's me.