or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Attachment parenting vs Continuum Parenting?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Attachment parenting vs Continuum Parenting?

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
What are the major differences between them?

I would describe myself as an instinctive parent which leans heavily towards continuum parenting and do the following:

Constant physical contact with my baby from birth;

Sleeping with my baby in constant physical contact, until he left of his own volition, - mine left at various ages between 6 and 2 1/2 years;

Breastfeeding on cue;

I constantly carried my baby in arms which allowed to observe, nurse and sleep while I went about my business until he was able to be crawl and sit unaided and explore the world. This was around 6 months old for my youngest;

Responding immediately to his signals without judgment or displays of annoyance but without showing any undue concern or making him the constant center of attention;

Acknowledging that he is innately social and cooperative and has strong self-preservation instincts, and that he is welcome and worthy.

This seems the same as any attachment parenting parent would do, or are there some differences here?

Deborah
post #2 of 68
Sometimes in threads about CC, there is a bit of disagreement about one aspect of it. The "benign neglect" for lack of a better word, that it suggests in terms of active attention from mother to child.

Feeding, and changing, and holding are all fine of course. But there seems to be some belief among CC that the baby/child is responsible for finding their own entertainment without relying on the mother. The mother seems to be encouraged to actively avoid falling into the habit of involving herself in the activities of her child, in the form of guidance, giving tasks, and especially sitting with/partcipating in the child's activies as a playmate.

Personally, I think that part of CC is taken out of context. The author was observing a close knit village. A toddler probably did have myriad adults, older kids, and the freedom to roam. Village mothers had the luxury of relying on that network, and to the observer, probably did not appear to be giving much attention to their kids. In the U.S., most kids home with mom aren't free to roam out of their own yard, and don't have other aduts and kids to go run around with all day long. I think it's a stretch to suggest a child will be anything but bored without mom making some kind of effort to have activities on hand, and also to fullfill the role of "playmate" from time time (especially with a first or only child). I also don't think it is bad or harmful for parents and kids to have playtime together.

So that part of CC is not a part of AP really. I think CC and ap are virtually indistinguishable. That is the only aspect of CC that I don't think AP shares.
post #3 of 68
I'm glad that you posted this. This is a question I have been debating myself.

As my baby became a toddler, I got more interested in CC and less so in AP. Or I think I did, because, like you, I'm not sure whether or not they are mutually exclusive.

Are there no essays on this topic? Someone point us in the right direction.
post #4 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by heartmama
The mother seems to be encouraged to actively avoid falling into the habit of involving herself in the activities of her child, in the form of guidance, giving tasks, and especially sitting with/partcipating in the child's activies as a playmate.

Village mothers had the luxury of relying on that network, and to the observer, probably did not appear to be giving much attention to their kids.
Has anyone read the book Our Babies, Ourselves? The author talks about the Gusii tribe in Africa who sling their babies all day long. They don't believe in interacting with a child or giving it direct attention, thinking that it will encourage the child to be self-centered, a trait which is very undesirable in their culture.

I don't know what tribe was studied in CC, but it could have been a similar situation where the mother was deliberately not directly interacting with her child.

I agree it's not really possible in our culture where mother and baby are hanging around the house together most of the time.
post #5 of 68
I really don't see much difference between AP and CC. I think they largely complement each other.

I have noticed that my baby is veyr calm and happy when I am carrying her on my hip and going about my business. I often think of CC during these times. I may be vaccuming, doing laundry, tidying up the kitched, whatever....she just watches, is very calm and quiet, but oh so interested. It's really neat!

But I don't make any effort to do this as a CC practice. It's just that I have things I need to do, and as an AP parent (and just from basic instinct) I cannot put my DD down if she is just going to cry to be held, so....I pick her up on my hip and do my thing. If I have alot to do, I"ll put on a sling or my hip hammock.

I do, however, make a point of paying attention to my DD and engaging her in her playtime activities. Not always - there are times when she is quite happy to play on her own with me nearby. But I make a point of taking time to get down on the floor with her and share in her experiences. I think this is a way of bonding, of getting an insight into her world (I'm reading "Playful Parenting" by L. Cohen).
post #6 of 68
I don't mean this as a judgement in any way if someone feels differently... This is just what I have thought the difference between CC and AP to be in the past.

I know one particular mom who is extremely AP. She has one small child and she will follow him around trying to do things with him and entertain him. It was really annoying, even just to watch. ("Oh, you want to do cars now? Let's do cars! Vrooooom! Oh, you're done with cars? You want to color? No? Well, do you want to paint? A snack? Go outside?! Watch a video?!" On and on. She also would think everything he did was 'cute' whether it actually was cute, or it was him throwing boxes of food in the grocery store.) I always kind of thought of her as AP gone waaaaay too far and would think how much she could benefit from CC. Her house was out of control because DS wouldn't "let" her do anything, and he really ran the whole show.

Actually that last phrase sums it up pretty well- I think in CC the parent is still in charge, but they meet DC's needs as they go about their day, but *sometimes* with just AP and no CC, the kids get to be the boss, and that can be taken too far.

I do CC, and to me that means my kids enjoy helping me in my grown-up things rather than me spending hours doing kid things. My kids LOVE to help me do my stuff, and I still play toys with them, but it is not the main focus of my day.
post #7 of 68
I dont think there should be "labels" Myself I am a Parent. I am the best parent I can be or that I know how to be. I am learning things every day! Thats part of parenting I think. Learning, Improving and making mistakes. I had no clue about AP parenting and Cc parenting. To be honest I never Breastfed either of my children. Never really thought about it with the first one who will be 7 in June and with the youngest I thought about it but was scared for some reason. But I do plan to breastfeed my next child. I have no doubt about that in my mind. We have always been cosleepers, gental disapline. We dont give our kids sugar and we only let them have a hour total of tv a day. They are both very healthy, fun loving children who never seem to be sick. They respect others and their things and they are polite. I spend quilty time with both of them. They are all around happy healthy kids. What more can i ask for ? What kind of parent does that make me? A loving one willing to learn every day.
post #8 of 68
They do complement each other, but I see huge differences.

I wrote an Amazon review. The book helped me tremendously for my first year.

I have a friend who does CC. I read the book a long time ago, fuzzy memory, but I know there is an emphasis on letting the child explore with "dangerous" objects, trusting the child will not harm himself. (I think this is great, and I have implemented it somewhat, but I still have issues with it. It helped me back off when my son was 10 months old and learning to climb stairs. I backed off - wasn't all over him panicking - and I watched him figure it out on his own. It was wonderful to watch. He also climbed things - at a young age. Other parents would have panicked and swooped in to rescue.)

Edited to add: We also cook together. He's been stirring eggs in a glass bowl since he was a little over 2. He's been stirring scrambled eggs at the stove since he was 2.5 yrs old.

A few weeks ago, my CC friend had her 16-month old over. She sews. She sews, so she had her pin cushion on the floor. I told her daughter "Careful sweetie. Don't touch that." Her dd started to cry. (No child likes to be told No by someone else.) My friend said, "That's OK, she can touch it." I felt like a big idiot. The Western typical reaction is to panic and protect the child. CC is more open about this. I can't remember... I do think her DD does pick up pins, but never manages to hurt herself. Her son (4) also uses knives (I guess for 2 years) at the dinner table, and we all know mothers who won't let their 7 yr old touch a knife to cut their own food for fear of cutting themselves. I know of one mainstream mother who is always screaming at her 5-8 yr old boys "Be Careful!" "Stop that!" It's annoying. She means well, but I do think it's more harmful than good.

My analogy: APing is like earning your college degree. CC is like doing post-grad work. CC is more advanced, IMHO.

I know one particular mom who is extremely AP. She has one small child and she will follow him around trying to do things with him and entertain him. It was really annoying, even just to watch. That does sound annoying.

Her house was out of control because DS wouldn't "let" her do anything, and he really ran the whole show.
Well, this sounds like me, but I DO do chores with my son also. He helps me cook. I don't spend the whole day doing Kid stuff either. Yet he is very social and outgoing and prefers company often. "Mom, look at me.... come here." Actually, I'm wrong.... he does play by himself half the time. The other half asks for me.

My CC friend's 4 year old went through a long phase of being "out-of-control." Emotional outbursts, self-centered behavior in public (spitting food at a restaurant - mom wasn't paying attention), too aggressive with my son (they are both high-energy and it bounced off each other).... he has settled down. But I attribute this to the fact that he is a SPIRITED child, like mine.

He's got a million toys. More than us. That's the problem here.... we live in 2 parent household - no CC tribe. Toys are HIS personal possession, just my my son's toys are HIS. There are no tribe toys.

I agree it's not really possible in our culture where mother and baby are hanging around the house together most of the time. We do the best we can...

Has anyone read the book Our Babies, Ourselves? The author talks about the Gusii tribe in Africa who sling their babies all day long. They don't believe in interacting with a child or giving it direct attention, thinking that it will encourage the child to be self-centered, a trait which is very undesirable in their culture.

I read it. AWESOME book. That would explain why my son is so self-centered. I do run things by him "white T-shirt or Blue?" : I try to be fair and let him make choices. In his mind, I'm giving up power, so he acts powerful. :

I also believe in Reading Aloud. So there I am, sitting down with him reading books to him. Focusing more on him.
post #9 of 68
The primary emphasis I took from reading CC was that we should be treating children as valid and contributing members of society. The in arms phase should gradually develop into the phase where the child helps with chores, and contributes to the family/tribe in whatever ways he is interested. It is a continuum that begins with observing and being a part of his environment and grows into interacting with his environment.

The auther pointed the major problem in our culture, and I agree, of segregating children off into their own groups and activities, and keeping "Real life" apart from them. This both teaches them self-centeredness and prevents them from feeling satisfied with life. Her assumption is that all of us, down to the very small, have a deep innate need to be part of the workings of our social setting.

I think CC is very compatable with AP -- because RESPECT toward our children is fundamental to AP. I think CC respects children in the way that it expects them to play valid roles in the community. Children are not pets or playthings -- they are people who want to learn to do what people do. The best way for them to learn is by being a part of what we do.

Extreme child-centeredness is NOT showing respect for our children. It is patronizing them. Respect is shown by involving our children and their focus on tasks and goals in their environment, and by trusting their ability to be a part of things.
post #10 of 68
I think CC is always AP but that AP is not always CC. If that made any sense.

CC is definitely not child centered. A lo fo times people doing AP will be child centered. Everything revolves around the child. I do AP but am defitely not child centered. Our children are a valuble part of our family and the are welcome and worthy of love but the stuff we do does not revolve around them in any way. Our general philosophy is "Mom is doing this right now. You may help me or you may go find something else to do" I think this would line up with parts of CC parenting. Also I am not constantly telling them they can't do something because it is dangerous (although I don't let them play with knives or matches) So I am definitely not CC but have taken some stuff from that camp because it fits nicely with how I parent which is mainly AP. Although I hate lables altogether. Anyone parenting by a set of rules rather than thinking and doing what seems right for thier family is doing thier children a disservice. Lable just encourage that sort of thing.
post #11 of 68
Well, for me, I guess dd's early infancy looked pretty CC -- she was in the sling a lot of the time, hanging out with me doing whatever. But as she gets older (she's almost 9 months), I find playing with her to be much fun, and interacting with her to be enormously rewarding for both of us. I think that the "benign neglect" that heartmama mentions would feel totally UN-instinctual to me, as I tend to be a pretty playful, upbeat person. And since I am quite simply parenting instinctually, doing anything other than that would feel like playing a part. So when dd is clingy and needy, she's in the sling. When she's content to play on her own, she does. And when she seems to want a playmate, if we are alone, I'm it! And happily so.
post #12 of 68
Wow, This is a really interesting thread. I have never even heard of CC!

I do wonder about the safety aspects. I remember reading about a year ago that in Japan for the last decade or so, there was a strong feeling that Americans were way "overprotective" of their kids. And then a major study was published in Japan showing that Japan had THE highest accidental death rate among children of any industrialized nation. In the article I read, it said the government was trying to get the people to change their views somewhat.

Anyway, I also thought this was interesting.

How do you all come down on the safety vs. letting them do their own thing issue.

Just for me I will admit to being completely neurotic and safety obessesed.
post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by lilyka
CC is definitely not child centered. A lo fo times people doing AP will be child centered. Everything revolves around the child. I do AP but am defitely not child centered. Our children are a valuble part of our family and the are welcome and worthy of love but the stuff we do does not revolve around them in any way. Our general philosophy is "Mom is doing this right now. You may help me or you may go find something else to do"
Well, this just made me realize something huge. And that's why I love this topic. I learn new things and CC opens up my mind and makes me think in different ways/see things from another perspective.

My son is very defiant (lately) and self-centered. (But so is my friend's CC child - go figure.) I know I contributed to this directly and I was confused as to how. I definitely need to stop doing certain things.

Breastfeeding
Up till 3 days ago, I nursed him
- in the morning
- in the late afternoon (when he asked - I felt guilty saying no, he would cry and I felt guilty and gave in. Eventhough I did not want to nurse during the day.)
- to sleep
- during the night when he woke up (3-4 times some nights) DH wanted me to teach him to sleep on his own. He didn't want the CC family bed. Sigh. In order not to "scar" my son, I stayed with my son in his twin the rest of the night. My DH missed me. I missed sleeping in my own bed, but I felt I had to take care of my son's nighttime needs. I felt sad that I couldn't give him the Family Bed that other cultures have. My staying with him during the night was a way of remedying that. That sounds child-centered to me!

Now who is the boss? Me or him? Answer: him!!!!

I was emotionally deprived in childhood. So with my son I'm trying to validate all his needs. Problem is, I've gone overboard.

3 days ago I began weaning him. I now only nurse him in the morning after we wake up. I feel good about it. It was time. He's really OK with it. He is the kind of child that would nurse till 5 or 6. I never wanted that.

Another difference - Praise
My CC friend explained that praise (anything over-the-top... 'WOW!!! "Yay!" "Good Job!") is not a good thing for a child because it robs them of their own self-joy. When adults (like well-meaning grandparents) are quick to rush in and give an emotion to their accomplishments, it robs the child of a sense of personal mastery. Let the kid have his OWN feelings. Let him experience them.

So I tried to BITE MY TONGUE anytime he does something good and let him have his good feeling. But I will say "that was a nice thing to do" later/after the fact if he does something nice for a friend.

And then a major study was published there showing that they had THE highest accidental death rate among children of any industrialized nation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Liedloff would say that's because adults EXPECT the worse from children, and that children have never had experience with dangers... therefore are more prone to accidents. My son never fell down when he was climbing. It was something he mastered on his own. I was right there, in case he fell, but I let him climb.

How do you all come down on the safety vs. letting them do their own thing issue.

I have a pool. All my friends with pools got a fence before the kids could crawl. Our pool is at the side of our house, and there is a gate, so it is fenced off so to speak. The way I've handled it is just to stay with him (since about 1.5 yrs old) in that area. I've always let him get close to the edge. I just taught him how to touch the water. NEVER bending knees (you could fall in). Lie on your tummy to touch the water. I'm always there. I won't be leaving him alone in the pool any time soon, but at least I know he knows how to handle himself there.

Since age 2 ish, he's been cleaning the pool with a HUGE pole with a net. At first, I was afraid and didn't want him to becaue I thought it was too heavy and he'd tip in. We'll he likes to put it in and skim (like he's seen me do it) and he's fine. OBVIOUSLY, I do not leave him alone. I'm there if he needs me.

My friend has a brick steps leading up to an elevated spa. She was it was hard for her the first few months to just let her baby climb the steps. One wrong crawl/step BANG on your head. He was fine. It's a just a matter of telling yourself your child needs to explore his environment. You are there. It is safe. The child will actually gain a lot of the exploration - mastery. One thing our kids are not - accident prone.
post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by Tanibani
[B]And then a major study was published there showing that they had THE highest accidental death rate among children of any industrialized nation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Liedloff would say that's because adults EXPECT the worse from children, and that children have never had experience with dangers... therefore are more prone to accidents. My son never fell down when he was climbing. It was something he mastered on his own. I was right there, in case he fell, but I let him climb.

Not sure what you mean. I was talking about how in Japan, they (at least according to the articles I read) don't worry so much about their kids and think Americans are CRAZY for being so protective and not letting kids experience danger and then the Japanese found out that their laid back attitude was leading to lots and lots more accidental deaths per capita then that of US or other industrialized nations.
post #15 of 68
oops i miss read your post
post #16 of 68
My post was kinda confusing. Sorry. I edited it.

I do think its a hard balance : Safety vs. giving kids a sense of adventure and independance.
post #17 of 68
i have not read any cc books, but i get the sense that in most respects i am more cc-ish (although i like the comment that somebody made about following your gut more than any one set of rules/labels) maybe i am misunderstanding, but i am uneasy with the whole 'kids wont hurt themselves' concept. there is really a balance between protectiveness and allowing a child to explore that must be customized for the individual personality of the child. mine was TOTALLY accident prone between ages one to two (at two and a half she is a lot better, but still on the fearless side). while her friend would carefully climb a ladder to use a slide, she would be like half way up the ladder and then let go to wave at me : or she would get way up there and then want to run down the slide rather than slide, which seems like a bit much for 18 months old, or am i being overprotective about that? falling doesnt bother her at all, even when there is real danger. once she was literally nearly trampled by my frightened horse because i had explained how she should behave in order to stay safe, and she either forgot or was testing- i think i let her take more risk than she was ready for. i wonder if some kids just dont get the idea of danger as much as other kids do? or maybe mine is experiencing an adolescent sense of immortality a bit early. :
post #18 of 68

close to my heart

I really like this thread.
I especially enjoyed mamaducks post (very well articulated I thought) and Tanibani's understanding of CC.

I agree that it does come down (for me) to the "child centredness" and trust issues that distinguish CC parenting from anything else. (AP or not)

I also agree that implimenting a CC style way of living into western culture has to (bc we have a very different collective unconscious to the Yuequana tribes) change and unless you do live with adequate tribe members (for me this would mean a number of on call caregivers/breastfeeders, children of all ages raised a "CC" way existing along side each other etc), then to some degree, being a childs playmate will naturally to some degrees need to happen.
How that interaction happens of course is what I think would distinguish cc from perhaps a more child centred (I call it child robbing) way of living.

EG.
(my examplesmay seem extreme to show differences, and of course I am quite biased as you will read)

Childcentred interaction

Mom is following child around making sure child doesnt "get hurt". Child plays with ball.
oh I see youre looking at that ball.(narrative)Oh you threw it, oh what a strong boy/girl you are.(parent claps) Here, why dont you throw it like this!(parent directs) OK muffin, what would you like mommy to do now...oh yes you want that, oh no? ok you tell me what you want. (Mom is running around directing like a chook without a head, child is not left to exist in their own rhythms, child is running the show and acts out trying desperately to right the situation).

CC interaction

Mom is doing useful work in or around the house. Child is throwing ball, experimenting with gravity laws, marvelling at the colors, smells etc etc etc. Child is left to explore without narrative, interruption .
Child is hungry and signals to Mom. (By going to Mom. Mom does not go to child, child knows to go to Mom). Mom offers boob or food but does not stop her work and does not offer or ask what unless child has stated explicitly. this is all done in a natural flow with love, no extra attention is required. Child leaves Mom or child needs more, mom reads child and offers what is needed.

Also wanted to note that I have a dear friend who isnt very AP (my understanding of AP is BF, slinging, co sleeping, minimal separation, that kind of thing) BUT she is very CC
(Does not interfer with their lives, trusts them implicitly, acts always when needed but doesnt offer too much or too little. Does not punish them, shame or belittle them. Goes about her business and they take her lead. They know she is sure of herself and calm).

So , for me the similarities of AP and CC are the family bed and bf on demand.
Even the crucial in arms phase(see mamaducks post)CC talks alot about may differ from AP practices.
How a parent lives with their children is a whole other thing and these two "ways" can be poles apart.

Look forward to hearing more

ps. Tanibani, I hear you about your child and the stairs. I did the same thing with our son. I got better at trusting myself and him as time went on. He rarely had close calls. He uses knives to help cook, used scissors from a young age, cooks with me near heat.....it is so far all ok.
I do believe that the trust and attitude of the parent does determine alot of outcomes, but honestly, I feel arrogant and ignorant if I said that this is a black and white recipe. Children are born with so many differing constitutions, inheritances and karma's.
post #19 of 68
untomySelf,

Wow, your description of child-centered parenting sounds exhausting, and definately annoying to the child, parent, and any unfortunate soul witnessing the interaction. But on the other hand, your description of CC (in my opinion of course!) seems to lack something -- a sense of joy I guess. Of getting pleasure from spending time with one's child. Of playfulness. The parents that I know and hang out with definately fall somewhere between these two extremes, and so do I. KWIM???
post #20 of 68
dancingmama, I agree. I get the same feeling.

I suppose one thing that strikes me reading this (great thread, btw!) is that I personally don't think of AP as being something that is really applied to toddlers. I think of it as primarily a baby thing. YES, it definitely has carryovers, such as cosleeping with your toddler or older child, and EBF. But when I think of the responsiveness, the "child-centeredness" of AP, I believe it is absolutely essential for a newborn, yet as the child gets older it is not the focus anymore. Sears' Baby Book "ends" at age 2, and "The Discipline Book" takes over, KWIM? The examples given above of a "child centered" parent does not seem to fit my own idea of what AP is. It just sounds like smothering, and I think ANY parent can be guilty of this (Harville Hendrix would describe such a parent as a "maximizer") - too worried, too hovering, too unwilling to let the child explore on his own. I don't think it's fair to say that is AP.

I also must admit that while reading all the descriptions of CC-type responses I feel an uneasyness. It just sounds "wrong" to me. I'm sure it's because I haven't read the book, or I'm not reading the posts right, but dancingmama really verbalized it for me - where's the joy? I mean, I'm definitely not on the floor with DD all day long, but when I do take the time out to play "on her level" I'm amazed and filled with joy for her when she can put her little round wooden toy through the round hole and she looks up at me with this huge "I'm so PROUD" smile and I can't help but be excited and make a fuss of her. I can't help but say "okay, let's put the triangle in the triangle hole!" or some other such thing. No, this isn't all we do and my DH and I certainly live our life doing what we want alot of the time and just bringing DD along with us, but I feel those interactions I described above are really important. I just don't think it would suit my personality at all to just "don't offer, don't ask, don't participate"...if I'm reading it correctly.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Attachment parenting vs Continuum Parenting?