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Is being AP a whole pick and choose whatever you want and do away with the rest?

post #1 of 137
Thread Starter 
I know that even Dr. Sears says that being an attatchment parent isnt about "the rules" - safe birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing, gentle discipline. I know that he, being a HUGE AP advocate would never tell a person, for example, "oh, you didnt breastfeed so you cant be an attatchment parent". Life isnt that black and white and just because you couldnt breastfeed doesnt mean that you can't still practice all of the other wonderful aspects of attatchment parenting and call yourself an AP mom or dad.

I, myself do believe that being an attatchment parent is about not the rules, but about respecting your child/children and about raising them in a gentle way. A safe birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing, and gentle discipline just so happen into that way of thinking and parenting. I also work very hard at all of these things. It doesnt always come "natural" to me and I have to remind myself why I want to raise my son this way.

With this in mind, is it really okay to call yourself AP and not follow "the rules"? Can you breastfeed, babywear and then let your child cio, and spank them and still be considered an Ap'er? I definitely dont think so. But I am finding myself in conact with woman who tell me that they are AP moms and then tell me they do stuff that doesnt go along with the whole gentle approach to AP, like cio, weaning their children at 12 months or younger and spanking.

I dont like to get hung up on lables either. But Im finding that the word "attatchment parenting and AP" are becoming a more mainstream phrase, adn that's good, but they dont really parent like most of the AP moms I know, especially not like the AP moms I know here at MDC.

SO, are you gals finding this in your community? Moms who claim to be AP moms and do stuff like spank, cio, and even use aggressive weaning techniques to wean their 12 month olds? How does this make you feel about being an AP mom yourself? I hate to say it, but I dont want to be associated with moms that parent this way...it makes me upset in fact.

Is being AP a whole pick and choose whatever you want and do away with the rest?

I find it particularily disturbing that the aspects of attatchment that I see mostly disregarded is the gentle disipline aspect. ANd I think it is the MOST important aspect. Eventually, one day, all of our kids will wean, sleep in a separate bed, adn be too big to babywear, but being gentle and respectful in regards to discipline will be there for a long time!

Ive been thinking about this for several weeks so Im sorry if this is too long and jumbled, just had to get my thoughts and feelings out.
post #2 of 137
well. i think that to label yourself "AP" you should do most of the stuff.. or the majority of the stuff that Sears recommends.

i guess i dont consider myself "AP" because I don't do the majority.

i do feel that i do enough to feel comfortable here.

i think it is fine to pick and choose.

maybe id not label AP, unless a majority of the "rules" are "followed", but ....

i have picked and choosen. personally

PS> CK'smamma. YOu said everything I feel so well. Much better than I did.
post #3 of 137
I think AP is more being in tune with your child and less where your child sleeps (for example). Some children sleep better in their own bed than they do next to you, while others need to be next to mommy in order to sleep. AP is knowing which child you have and giving your child the opportunity to be in the environment that works best for him or her. It's how you approach the issues more than which answer you select.
post #4 of 137
I've heard this before and I have to say I've never encountered it. Most people I know have not heard of attachment parenting (LLL and AP group folks not included, lol).

It pains me when terms get bandied about so that they lose their meaning. But then I don't feel I have the right to tell a mother "well, you may think you are AP but you aren't". Still, it's hard to wrap your mind around respectful parenting (definitely a hallmark of AP) that includes yelling and spanking.

It would definitely frustrate me, and probably make me less likely to use that term to describe myself if I were surrounded by people who were "perverting the word" (to use my Dad's favorite expression, lol).
post #5 of 137
Follow your heart. If your heart is with your children I trust you will do the right thing by them.

AP isn't about the rules rather ap gives you permission to follow your mother's or father's heart.

post #6 of 137
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by pageta
I think AP is more being in tune with your child and less where your child sleeps (for example). Some children sleep better in their own bed than they do next to you, while others need to be next to mommy in order to sleep. AP is knowing which child you have and giving your child the opportunity to be in the environment that works best for him or her. It's how you approach the issues more than which answer you select.
While I agreee with you, I think your example is one of the things that I would agree that you can give or take. I mean, some kids out there probably do sleep better alone and even in a crib. I have one friend that is very upset that her baby prefers her own space instead of their bed. But being such a great mom, she recognizes this and accepts this. This is being respectful of your child.

But how does spanking, cio, and forced early weaning fit into doing what is best for your child? How would these things EVER be best for them?
post #7 of 137
I breastfed DD until she was 19 months, she co-slept until she was 5, I picked her up whenever she wanted and am a sahm but I don't really consider myself AP, probably because DD did get a spanking when we felt it was necessary. The last time she was spanked (and quite frankly the only time I can remember) was when she was 5.

Even though we had talked about it repeatedly and she knew she wasn't supposed to, she ran out into the street. DH spanked her. That was the first and only time he ever laid a hand on her. She never did it again. She is 10 now and to this day when we are walking together she still waits for my signal before crossing the street. So I think in that situation it was best for her. But I don't think that automatically makes us bad or disrespectful parents.
post #8 of 137
<typing as fast I can so computer does shtu down before I'm finished!>

There are AP parents, people who think they are AP, or call themselves that, but don't understand what that means, and those who are striving for an ideal. I feel I am in the latter category.

I'm not technically AP because I do spank, yell, and let my toddlers fuss/cry themselves to sleep sometimes. Ideally I would like not to do any of these things. I would like to be a gentle disciplinarian, but it hasn't happened yet. With my first I followed all "the rules" and thought that would make discipline easy, cuz that's what the books siad. It woas a rude awakening to find that wahsnt' true! I've said theis and seen it posted before that AP is easy with babies, but onece they hit about 2.5 or 3 it all goes out the window. it's liek, what do I do now?

Also, I am a single mom, so some things I'm just not capable of. ANd to say that I am selfish, not attached, bad mom, or whatever because I let my toddlers fuss/cry to sleep is short sighted. THey learn to sleep without me not because I value my sleep over their needs, but because I know what my limits are and what will make me snap and that is when I am a bad mommny!

I am trying ot just lead with my head and heart and trust myself to parent my children the best way for us. Torturing myself with doubts, second guessing myself, worrying about traumatizing them wiht every little thing, was making me wishy washy, not confident. I think that was messing with dd's head more than anything. So, yes sometimes I am at my wit's end and I yell or spank, so I am not an attachment parent. But, we are attached and all I can do is keep trying to get better. It's not like it is an exclusive club or something. I do wish though that the books and some parents did not make it sound so easy and such an if then situation, because it is not easy and it is not an if/then kind of hting.

I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and not cio (with little babies), then decided to co-sleep and finally not to spank. Problem was, I was not parented that way, so it did not come naturally and I had no huge thing against my parents' way of doing things to kick off from, so it was much easier to slip back into non gentle stuff when the going got rought. I need more support, more role models and more ideas that actually wokr for my high need spirited gifted kiddo.
post #9 of 137
You know, this reminds me of discussions about who is a Christian and who isn't.
Some say you have to take the bible literally, others say you don't.
Some say you have to adhere rigidly to church dogma, others say you don't.
And everyone gets all bent out of shape about it.

AP isn't a religion. And it isn't something concrete and absolute.
And Dr. Sears isn't even the be-all, end-all of it. He's ONE voice. He's not the Pope.

I don't CARE what other people call themselves.
I don't CARE whether people think I am an "ap" mom or not.

I am just interested in doing what seems best for my kid.
So far, the ideas expressed by Dr. Sears, Elizabeth Pantley, Dr. Gordon and the Kabat-Zinns and others have helped me.

But I am not their disciple.
I am not trying to get into some AP heaven by following all the AP rules.
Just trying to be a good parent.

So, if it makes you all feel better.. I won't call myself AP.
And y'all can call yourselves anything you want.
I won't object.
I'm proud and happy if my son someday calls me a good parent.
That's the only label I will ever need.
post #10 of 137
If your child wants to be spanked or cio'ed, you can do these things and still be an attachment parents. Otherwise, not.

babywearing, family bed... all these things are done or not done because of the child's preference. breastfeeding can be limited by biological or perhaps even other urgent reasons, but we all agree it's best when it can be done. Same with natural birth.

cio and spanking are inherently abusive, and therefore don't fit the ap philosophy. imo
post #11 of 137
Pretty much what asherah said.

I don't understand the obsession with this term. "Is she AP if she does this? Will I still be AP if I do that? How dare she call herself AP if she does this!"

What absolutely kills me is threads like this, and the threads about someone else trying to say that she is AP when clearly, in the eyes of the poster, she is not. I like the AP philosophy as outlined by Dr. Sears. The first time I heard it described, I did not think it applied to me at ALL. The person describing it to me was an idiot. When I actually read about it, I found that it DID apply to me, even though I'd never heard of it before, the main idea being that you are attached to your child and your child is attached to you. The rest are ideas on how to get you there. Being attached to your child and your child being attached to you make an attached parent, not a sling and a bravado nursing bra.

Like asherah said, I don't care how "AP" I am. I only care what my kids think of me as a parent and how I feel about my relationship with them. Pretty good on both fronts. Disecting how AP someone else is or isn't doesn't make sense to me given that the core of the philosophy is that AP isn't about individual parenting techniques, but the overall nature of the relationship between mother and child.

When I see a "Is this person really AP if she does this?" I see a cry for a rally for everyone to bemoan those who aren't REALLY AP and pat each other on the back for being so much more AP than the "mainstream", a term which bugs me to no end.
post #12 of 137
From the man that coined the term...

AP is a tool. Tools are things you use to complete a job. The better the tools, the easier and the better you can do the job. Notice we use the term "tools" rather than "steps." With tools you can pick and choose which of those fit your personal parent-child relationship. Steps imply that you have to use all the steps to get the job done. Think of attachment parenting as connecting tools, interactions with your infant that help you and your child get connected. Once connected, the whole parent-child relationship (discipline, healthcare, and plain old having fun with your child) becomes more natural and enjoyable. Consider AP a discipline tool. The better you know your child, the more your child trusts you, and the more effective your discipline will be. You will find it easier to discipline your child and your child will be easier to discipline.


I do want to say that Dr. Sears himself admits that this is not a new style. Attachment parenting is a term that decribes a type of parenting that is instinctual and does not just belong to the middle-class white women that make such a big deal about throwing it around to describe themselves and exclude others.
post #13 of 137
i do not consider myself ap, but i do feel comfortable here. we co-sleep, i bottlefed. i have spanked in the past, not something i'm proud of. ap tools are like a twelve step program. take what you can use and leave the rest.
post #14 of 137
I've always thought of it as a mindset and not a list of rules that need to be followed. AP parents (in my definition) follow their intuition about what is right for the child rather then what some book tells them (Dr. Sears or otherwise!). The idea is to establish a close bonding so that as a parent you can instinctively tell what your baby wants or needs and (provided it's safe and non-harmful) you can accomodate. So rather then feed the baby on a schedule or force sleep on a kid that just may not be tired by CIO - you follow the baby's lead. If your baby wants to co-sleep, you co-sleep, if your baby wants to be carried around in a sling you oblige (or if the baby enjoys the stroller you do that!), if your baby wants to EBF cool - but if s/he wants to wean him/herself at 10 months of age you deal with it and let it happen. That kind of thing.

I don't think that meshes with everyone else's idea but that's always how I describe it!
post #15 of 137
I'm not as "crunchy" as most here, but I'm inclined to agree that someone who spanks or lets thier infant CIO is very unlikely to be an attached parent. Very unlikely. I wouldn't have a problem saying that to someone, either.
post #16 of 137
About the spanking, there is a culture within conservative Christian circles in which parents are taught spanking is mandated by the Bible.

I know this firsthand. To my shame I spanked my children because of these teachings but they didn't ever sit well with me. I have always been ap in my parenting (co-sleeping, breastfeeding, responding to crying) and the more I explored written ap thought the more my own inner voice was validated.

Eventually I stopped spanking my children in spite of the enormous pressure to spank. It has been harder to get my husband onboard, he was resistant for a long time and now he has come around as well.

So please be gentle with spanking ap'ers they may need time to get the overwhelming prospanking culture out of their systems.

Debra Baker
post #17 of 137
Spanking is one area where I have a hard time being gentle. When a parent is spanking, a child is actively being abused. I don't see any other way to put it. Spanking is also the one thing that would indicate to me that there is not an attached relationship between the parent and child.

I think there are few areas in parenting where outrage is warranted, and spanking is one of them. Definitely. There HAS to be outrage and intolerance of spanking in order for it to stop immediately. I think that it should come with other things, too, such as tools to help the parent who feels that he or she "must" spank lest they spoil their child.


Here is one.
post #18 of 137
You can be firm and resolute in your beliefs while being gentle.

There is a growing body of literature directed toward the Christan parent that counters the mistaken notion that the Bible mandates spanking.

I had no one in my real life to help me, I did this on my own. I would have appriciated a real-life friend to help me.

post #19 of 137
I know, which is why I'm working on it. I know that by completely freaking out on someone who does spank, I'm being selfish in that I'm using the opportunity to express my own rage, rather than helping both the parent and child by doing what I can to help the parent see why spanking is unacceptable on so, so many levels. I think a lot of activists, in pretty much any area, have the same problem.

I think the outrage that many of us feel regarding spanking is necessary in dealing with the societal practice of spanking, not in dealing with the individual. I didn't make that clear because I wasn't even sure what I meant.
post #20 of 137
I came across Ap all on my own. It was weird, I was always holding my dd, she slept with us, I ebf, and we used/use GD all because it felt best to us. It wasn't until I had my ds#1 that I even knew there was such a thing as AP. I think it is more about being respectful of your child, like going with the flow of what they want. Like all of my kids have LOVED sleeping with dh and I (:LOL ) BUT if anyone of them seemed they needed to sleep alone, then they would have been able to.
I like the "tool" idea. Instead of the step idea. I mean steps are like what you use to put something together, if you miss astep the whole thing doesn't work right, BUT sometimes you can use a different tool and still get the job done.
It is more about knowing your child enough, being attached, so that you both can work together, and "you" as the parent can find what works best for your child. And what works for one child in your family may not work for the others. But if you know your child you know what works and can do it. So being "attached" at a young age... ie doing some of the "typical" attachement parent stuff when they are babies gets you close to your baby and you get to know them better. That isn't to say that if you didn't "AP" when they where a baby you are a lost cause or anything. It is about learning from your child. A child centered approach. I think for some people that whole idea rubs them the wrong way (like my mom!:LOL ) Finding out what your child needs and being gentel (sp) with them. Helping the child find out what they need, helping them find their voice.
It sure isn't easy because I think so many of us where not raised that way. And to go against our up bringing can really be hard. My folks hit and yelled alot when I was growing up and don't see the point in "working" things thru with my kids. And honestly some days, I just wanna SCREAM (and I have in the past I have been working on that a lot). BUT anyway I am rambling alot here sorry.
I hope what I said made some since...

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