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So, what if I don't have a parenting style?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm quite new to this forum and I've read quite a bit of the overall opinions. I understand that most everyone is into AP and also that everyone HATES mainstreamers. Ok, but what really is AP and mainstream? I mean, what are the horrible things that make us judge and dislike other parenting styles?

Before coming on this forum I wasn't really into different parenting *TITLES*. I don't really consider myself to have *A STYLE*. I do BF and would never do anything else. I wear my babies part time - sometimes a kid just wants to get down! I do not co-sleep. It doesn't work for me and my kids both love their beds. We have let our kids CIO. It doesn't sound like anyone else has had this problem, but there have been times when no matter how I hold them or love on them they will scream. When I put them in bed to CIO they are out in 2 minutes. My 2 year old has always been independant and that is what worked for him. Now he asks to go to bed so he can read and sing by himself. My second needs a little more and normally needs to be nursed back to sleep. I make my own babyfood, mostly because it's so simple and cheap, the same reasons why I CD. But most of all, I just plain love my kids!

I get so frustrated when everyone judges so much. Children are all different and IMO need different parenting tecniques. I don't always agree with the parenting tecniques of those I know, but I also learned when I had children, that you have to do what you have to do! When the kids are safe and, above all else, loved, who is to judge?

So am I a bad mom because I don't wear the AP or Mainstream sign on my head? I
post #2 of 26
I agree with you that I really don't care for the titles. I parent by what feels right. If it makes my kids happy (and me and dh), then we're good. I think that it's unfortunate that we as moms feel the need to judge each other.

I'm far from perfect and I will make mistakes. When I do make a mistake, I try to let dd know that I was wrong and I apologize to her (and to ds, but he's a little young to understand). I try to learn from my mistakes. I do the best I can.

I know some moms that feel they are above all others and can do no wrong. I'm glad that they're so content with themselves that they have nothing better to do than judge others. I wish I was that sure of myself, but I'm not.

Let me tell you, though- before I had kids, I was a perfect parent.
post #3 of 26
I don't classify myself as either AP or mainstream because I practice different things from each.

When I see posts that ask if something is AP or mainstream and how would you judge a parent if you witnessed them doing X, Y or Z (as AP or mainstream), I skip it. I don't get why labels are important and I certainly think there is a certain insecurity in wondering which category we fit into. To me, there is a bigger value in sharing issues and problem solving techniques, not in wondering if I'm AP enough or too mainstream.

I hope that you will stay and continue to contribute. Welcome!
post #4 of 26
I don't label myself either. I have always parented by instincts. Looking back on his ;ife so far, I guess one could classify many of my decisions as in keeping with AP, but I certainly didn't start out with a specific philosophy on how I was going to interact with my child. I waited til he was born and took it day by day.
post #5 of 26
Attachment Parenting to me is just that. Being attached to your children, knowing them, having a relationship with them.
It means doing the best you can for them despite your convience.

I wouldn't call 2 minutes of crying CIO perse. So in this case I'd say it might be more AP than mainstream.
post #6 of 26
A professor of mine used to say: "Your brain is the best pattern-recognition device". We love to categorize and classify. That is how our brains work to understand the world around us. Unfortunately, the down side of that is stereotyping, generalizations, and pigeonholing.

The terms "AP" and "mainstream" are terms of convenience for the purposes of discussion. We all parent differently, and I doubt anyone here really believes that if you don't do X, Y, and Z you aren't "AP". But when you cosleep, or nurse your 2 year old, you are not the norm in this society and so the term "mainstream" can be a helpful shorthand that we here generally understand to mean "the way most people do it".

Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of people saying that we all judge here, and that there's an attitude here that we "hate mainstreamers". That's just bull. We don't like people who hate *anybody* here and as a mod I can attest to that. On this board you will find people who feed formula, who use pacifiers and exersaucers and strollers, whose babies sleep in cribs, and who did CIO in various forms, and they are welcome and valuable members of our group. I challenge you to find any board where people don't debate things and get passionate about things. And what could be more passionate than the love we have for our children?

It is perfectly natural to be excited about something new you have learned that opens up your eyes to a whole new world. It's easy to get carried away, and it's human nature to question and have "judgemental" feelings. It's normal to see a woman feeding formula, think to yourself "yuck", and then recognize that you don't know that woman's story nor have you lived her life, and then you grow as a person. We do that here, and I don't like it when people are made to feel bad for exploring their feelings (in a respectful manner, of course).

[Sigh. Well, my poor DD has a nasty teething fever so I apologize if I'm coming on strong.]
post #7 of 26
The psychology books always define these four neat categories of parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and, uh, there was one other one. Or maybe it was just three styles? (And I'm supposed to be a psych major! )

Anyway, the book goes on to say a bunch of bad stuff about all the styles except for authoritative.

You might find people here (myself included) who go on about how they don't like "mainstreamers" but I bet a bunch of us do stuff that is mainstream. Even if someone doesn't immunize or have their kid in public school, they probably have a tv and a car!

I do a little of both, and don't call myself a mainstreamer or an AP-er. I think it's a task that is way too large to be defined, and what dd and I both need can change daily. So one day I might do more "main" things and one day more AP things.

I think I believe in most of the principles behind AP and that it's not always necessary to do all the AP "things" to live by the principles.

Like, this one board has all these questions to determine if you are a "militant breastfeeder" (hope I didn't give it away!) and some of the questions have nothing to do with breastfeeding, like what you think of circumcision or abortion or cloth diapers. I think I understand what they are really getting at but I don't think these issues really affect the breastfeeding relationship.

Statistically, a slight majority of American mothers breastfeed (though not for long) as well as circ and use disposables.

Anyway...I am completely without style as a parent.
post #8 of 26
i am one of the mothers who circ'ed & used disposables, & i also breastfed on demand. not for long- only FOUR YEARS! i think an ap parent is one who loves her child & puts the child's needs ahead of her own wants. labels are for clothes, not people!
post #9 of 26
stupid double posts! :
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 


Thanks for all the replys. It's good to know that there are lots of moms that just love their kids and don't try to *fit in* somewhere.

Piglet - sorry, I guess I was on my soapbox. My 6 month old isn't feeling well and, as you know, it seems to pass over into us moms. I didn't mean that everyone on this forum was judgemental. I meant people in general - and we are! However, * mainstreamers* are not exactly thought highly of around here. I will try to think of it as just a "convienience term" and know that we are talking about a specific practice and not the parents to whom it reflects!

This forum does have some good info, so thanks.
post #11 of 26
i am one of the mothers who circ'ed & used disposables,
I also loved my epidural and am a right winged conservative

although some folks her grandstand and posture (oh, i breastfed for 5 years, pushed for 8 hours without painrelief in my birthtub, chewed my umbilical cord off and grow organic veggies, and i used a sling for my 8 year old), I have never felt "personally" judged. I love it here, and most folks put up with me even though i am different.....
post #12 of 26
The psychology books always define these four neat categories of parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and, uh, there was one other one. Or maybe it was just three styles? (And I'm supposed to be a psych major! )
Neglectful. The 4 styles are in a 2x2 grid, "warm" vs. "cold" on one side and "firm" vs. "lenient" on the other side. Authoritative is the warm and firm style, characterized by explaining the reasoning behind rules.

Those distinctions are a little different from the AP vs. mainstream distinction. I mostly agree w/textbooks that good parents, whether AP or mainstream, are mostly authoritative. Ezzo (which is NOT mainstream; it's fringe at the opposite edge from AP) is an authoritarian style. Some AP parents AND some mainstream parents are permissive.
post #13 of 26

I've also sometimes felt out of place on these boards...I feel as though I'm on the more "mainstream" end of things here, if we are using those labels. But, I find that the information and discussions here much more thought-provoking in terms of how I want to parent my son than on any other parenting board. I feel welcome here, and I hope you will too!
post #14 of 26
sweetbaby3, that was so funny. I aspire one day to chew off my own kids umbilical cord.

I do what feels right. and lucky for me, most of the things that feel right ARE right (hehe)

I am just having so much FUN raising my dd, and its only been 8 months! I cant imagine what other parents must go through, cuz they cant believe that I am not 'bored/tired/stressed/overworked/manipulated/insert any negative emotion here'

parenting doesnt have to be so COMPLICATED, does it?!? I am finding it is very easy going if you just listen to your gut, and try to remember to enjoy it....

I am trying to not worry about little things that bother me about how 'others' parent...it is an everyday thing to remind myself to not be judgemental...it casts a clowd over my mind, and hinders my happiness, so why WOULD I want to partake in that?

my main goal with why I come HERE is because my family wants to be more self-reliant, and thats in ALL ways, and I learn so many GREAT ideas here..
post #15 of 26
MommyKim -

I am just having so much FUN raising my dd, and its only been 8 months! I cant imagine what other parents must go through, cuz they cant believe that I am not 'bored/tired/stressed/overworked/manipulated/insert any negative emotion here'
Well said, MelMel!
post #16 of 26
I don't think of labels as something to try to live up to, but more as quick shorthand descriptors. If a board is described as "pro-attachment parenting", then I assume that I won't be jumped on because I nursed my daughter for 4 years and co-sleep and don't vax or punish or school. Not everyone on the board will make the same choices, but it will probably be a more welcoming place for me than other boards. I go to boards labeled "unschooling" because I don't want to talk about curriculum or "making kids do their work" or testing, I want to talk about cool stuff kids are doing and learning.

My style is my own, as it should be. Ten years ago, attachment parenting was just a description, but now it's turned into... well, something else.

post #17 of 26
parenting doesnt have to be so COMPLICATED, does it?!? I am finding it is very easy going if you just listen to your gut,
Well said, and so very true.

post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Sweetbaby3 - thanks, I can relate more than you know!

Thanks to all, again for making newbies like me feel welcomed. I can say that in all that I've read, I haven't felt personlly judged or attacked. I am enjoying the info that I'm picking up, for me and my little loved ones!

I just want to say that I love the way my dh and I parent. Still, I sometimes think, "am I doing the right thing"? Even though I'm sure everyone out there is secure in how you parent, does anyone have these same feelings?
post #19 of 26
To me it seems like when I use the term "mainstreamers" I am meaning parents that just follow the main american trend of parenting without really ever questioning it. I was one of those, I was going to let my son CIO to learn how to sleep, I vaxed just because I was "supposed to", I wasn't going to hold him too much because most people say that spoils them. Yet my son has taught me a whole new way to parent just by who he is. I follow my heart and do what feels right, and research things that I am unsure about now. On these boards there is really a broad range of parenting choices that people make, but we all come here with a general agreement of respecting our children and following what is right for our family. There are some people here that can tend to get a "more righteous than thou" attitude, but I have found that the majority of people here are open and accepting of whatever way works for you. When I made comments before about not wanting to nurse past a year for various reasons, nobody judged me, yet they did point out that alot of my "reasons" were falsely based and I decided to follow my heart and continue nursing him longer.
post #20 of 26

"attachment parenting"

I just read this thread and am wondering if anyone here feels that the term “attachment parenting” is an alienating term. I lived in Santa Cruz, CA with my daughter and “AP” parenting was very much the norm. However, when I would go back to my friends and family in Baltimore, MD I would NEVER use the term attachment parenting when refering to my parenting “style” . I feel the term implies that parents with other styles are not attached to their children and I know this is not true. Any thoughts?
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