Need help/encouragement....those with older children, does AP really make a difference? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-19-2010, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some help and encouragement and not sure where to post this question, but thought I would start here...for those with older children, does Attachment Parenting really make a difference in your child's behavior?

I have a 6-month old DD and we BF, co-sleep, cloth-diaper, BW and I would consider us pretty strong APs. But I am exhausted!!! I know AP is a lot of work up front and I really would not do anything differently as far as parenting goes...I am just wondering if it really makes a difference. I only know one child, who is now 5, that her parents basically had a AP style of parenting and I definitely see a difference in her when compared to others I know her age. But couldn't this just be her personality? Or does the parenting style have something to do with it?

Everyone keeps telling me that 6-months is the easiest age... I would not consider DD at an easy age and I am wondering if I am doing something to contribute to this by being at her constant side day and night. I don't even know if this post makes sense (sorry... I feel very sleep deprived today). I was just looking for some encouragement and for someone to tell me that all this hard work will pay off someday! Thanks for listening!!!

Nicole, mama to DD (11/09)
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Old 05-19-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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My oldest are teens now. I have always been a consciencious mama. That is my parenting style. AP is a name that describes me pretty well, but I have always just followed my heart and set the example. I think my kids are secure and doing really well. They are big hearted and responsible. Just my opinion, but as with so many things in life it is best if you can relax into the experience, and do the best you can do. Take care.

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Old 05-19-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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We cosleep, bf, bw and definitely consider ourselves attachment parents too. I remember months 5-6 actually being the hardest in some ways. Dd wouldn't sleep without me at night or for naps and I couldn't put her down much at all during the day. By the time she was 6 months old, I was so tired of never having personal time or space. By month 7 everything was different. She started sleeping by herself after being nursed to sleep (so I could get up), and she began to be interested in what I was doing and happy to watch while I did chores.

I'm still very committed to attachment parenting, but my expectations have changed. When dd was little, I was very baby-centered and didn't take my own needs seriously. I've since come to view family life as something that should work for everyone and my needs as being important too. Modeling self-care is a good thing for your little one to see. I realize it's not really possible for you yet, but just want to plant that thought, because you'll have more opportunities soon to find a little bit more balance.

And for the record, dd is almost three and I think AP is paying off marvelously so far. Dd is compassionate, intuitive and a well balanced kid all the way around.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:58 PM
 
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I found that age to be challenging, all the ages are in their own way!
If you are feeling exhausted maybe there are some areas you can cut back on, such as cloth diapering, for a short time. You don't have to do it all to be an attached Mom!

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Old 05-19-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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I don't really do it because it makes a difference in my child's behavior, but because I feel it builds an extremely strong parent-child relationship. Even more than that, I do it because it seems like the most decent way to treat a child. I think if you get caught up in doing it only because you think it "works," whatever that means to you, you're setting yourelf up for a fall.

Mothering a baby is tough stuff no matter what method you use.

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Old 05-19-2010, 10:34 PM
 
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The thing about AP is that people who elect to do it are often intuitive, conscientious people. Therefore they raise intuitive, conscientious children. So no one really knows if AP works regardless of who institutes it. You just do the best you can and your children will grow up feeling loved and secure.

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Old 05-20-2010, 01:59 PM
 
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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I think that oversimplifies things a bit. Are you ap because you want to fit into a box with a crunchy-granola label, or beause it feels right for your family.

I cosleep because it feels right.
I breastfeed because it is better for baby and it feels right.
I babywear because I don't like having to put the baby down to go about my daily life, and life still has to go on. It's an easy and natural way to incorporate my child into the rhythms of daily life.
I use cloth diapers because they are better for the environment, and because when I think about it, I don't want to wear chemicals, plastic, and paper against my genitals, so why would I do that to my kids?
We eat natural foods as often as possible because we prefer them (well, I do, my husband would live on fast food if he could, but he knows real food will allow him to remain healthier.)
We have chickens in the yard because we like them.
We plant a garden because we like the fresh food.
We don't spank and scream because we wouldn't want someone to do those things to us.

Where I live, this is all very 'weird' but i don't understand what is so much more difficult about living a life that leaves me feeling good about my actions, the example I have set for my children, and the legacy I will leave them.
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Old 05-20-2010, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thank everyone for their responses. I think my post may have been misinterpreted in some ways. I was having one of those days where I was feeling like I must have been doing something wrong. DD is on the higher-needs side and although she has gotten so much easier since when she was a newborn, there are still days when I wonder if it will ever get better.

I don't AP because I am trying to fit into some category or because I am trying to mold my LO into something...I parent based on instincts and what I feel is the best way to treat my child. I LOVE co-sleeping, BF, BW and even CD and this so happens to be the AP style of parenting.

That being said, it is hard work and there are days I wonder if I am doing something wrong b/c I am told by those around me that it is suppose to be 'easy' during this phase or that phase. I don't have many friends/family that understand how and why I parent the way I do, so I use MDC as a support system. I was just hoping to hear some encouragement that all this hard work does pay off.

Today is a much better day and I know in my heart that I am doing right by DD. Thank you for listening and for your posts.

-Nicole, mama to DD 11/09
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbys View Post
The thing about AP is that people who elect to do it are often intuitive, conscientious people. Therefore they raise intuitive, conscientious children. So no one really knows if AP works regardless of who institutes it. You just do the best you can and your children will grow up feeling loved and secure.
I strongly agree with this. The type of parent who is AP (or someone who AP's the best they can respecting their own limits) tends to raise intuitive, conscientous children.

I think when AP criteria become very rigid, it sets moms up to feel like they've failed when every aspect of AP doesn't seem possible without sacrificing a significant amount of happiness. Parenting no matter how you cut it, will of course require sacrifice and finding a *new* happiness, but when you find yourself struggling to get through every day, I say, make some concessions to preserve your sanity.

When my daughter was born, I was a very irritable AP. When I decided to follow my instincts, rather than a set of AP rules, boy there was a huge change in our household. My gut led me down a parenting road where a lot of things fell under an AP model anyway...but not everything.

I was not raised with an AP mother. She'd never even heard of AP. But a lot of what she did (which is why now I do it too) happens to look like AP. And we all happen to be sensitive, peaceful, confident and well adjusted people. I really admire people who work so hard to be all AP and those who AP just comes naturally. I think it's a great model to inspire your own mothering style and journey.

I subscribe to the philosophy that when you find your bliss and live true to your spirit...things feel easy.
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Old 05-20-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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My older kids are 9 and almost 8. My answer is yes I do believe ap has something to do with what wonderful and secure kids they are. I have a 5.5 month old and I have to remind myself of those kind of days that it really does pay off in the end. Yes, it does. I had a horrible morning today but some lady I didn't know says "Your baby looks so happy because you keep her close to you. That's the way they need it." I just love the way life reminds you in subtle ways that you really are doing a good job. 6 months in my opinion is tiring. Good luck mama

Jennifer Sahm to my smart lil boy (9 yo), fun loving lil girl (7 yo),and our new sweet one (12/04/09)
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:09 PM
 
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Glad today is a better day. It's not easy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nicole528 View Post
I thank everyone for their responses. I think my post may have been misinterpreted in some ways. I was having one of those days where I was feeling like I must have been doing something wrong. DD is on the higher-needs side and although she has gotten so much easier since when she was a newborn, there are still days when I wonder if it will ever get better.

I don't AP because I am trying to fit into some category or because I am trying to mold my LO into something...I parent based on instincts and what I feel is the best way to treat my child. I LOVE co-sleeping, BF, BW and even CD and this so happens to be the AP style of parenting.

That being said, it is hard work and there are days I wonder if I am doing something wrong b/c I am told by those around me that it is suppose to be 'easy' during this phase or that phase. I don't have many friends/family that understand how and why I parent the way I do, so I use MDC as a support system. I was just hoping to hear some encouragement that all this hard work does pay off.

Today is a much better day and I know in my heart that I am doing right by DD. Thank you for listening and for your posts.

-Nicole, mama to DD 11/09

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Old 05-20-2010, 10:37 PM
 
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Ds1 was totally not an easy baby. Not by far. He wanted attention/to be held ALL THE TIME.
He was just about the easiest toddler I can imagine! I seriously could take him anywhere, and not worry about him getting into things he shouldn't, he didn't run away in stores, he didn't really go through any major hitting phases or anything like that (he did hit a few times, but it never lasted long, and was easily resolved).
Now at 5, he's still pretty easy. He can be mostly trusted not to do things I tell him not to do. He's great with other kids- he's caring, and as considerate as a 5yo can be. lol. He's fantastic with his little brother- he watches out for him, entertains him, and tries to fix it whenever he cries. Not to say he's perfect, not by a long shot (we still get rudeness, whining, trying to be sneaky sometimes, etc).

I'm SURE that at least some of that was personality. I think that his personality was the reason he was so high needs in the beginning. I think his personality combined with our being AP and meeting all those needs was the reason he was an easy toddler, and is the way he is now at 5.

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Old 05-20-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicole528 View Post
I thank everyone for their responses. I think my post may have been misinterpreted in some ways. I was having one of those days where I was feeling like I must have been doing something wrong. DD is on the higher-needs side and although she has gotten so much easier since when she was a newborn, there are still days when I wonder if it will ever get better.
I think whether your child is high-needs or not depends much more on the child's personality than on your parenting (although, I guess, you can choose to respond or ignore the child's needs). I have been the same kind of parent to DD (3 yrs) as to DS (3 months), but the two are radically different -- DD wouldn't let herself be put down, ever, to sleep as a baby; she nursed to sleep until very late; she still wakes up most nights. DS, on the other hand, has never really wanted to nurse to sleep; is perfectly happy (in fact, prefers) to be put in the crib drowsy but awake; is perfectly happy to sleep in the co-sleeper rather than on me. They're just different babies.

Your dd has her needs; you can choose how to respond, but your parenting didn't create her needs.

Sarah, mama to Miriam 9/26/2006 and Isaac 2/12/2010
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Old 05-21-2010, 01:04 AM
 
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Yes, your hard work will pay off! You will have a strong bond with you little one that will last forever and through the hard times.

I use AP based on instinct also.

The hard days help you to appreciate the good days.

Mama to & +:::
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:47 AM
 
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It's important to remember that doing things the conventional way doesn't make life necessarily "easier". Kids come with a variety of temperments that may or may not be a good fit with the parent(s). I have found that surrendering to parenting and remembering that my needs are important too makes things easier for me.

FWIW, I have an almost 13 yo and an almost 5 yo and we have developed very trusting, loving relationships. However, I don't think cloth diapering had anything specifically to do with that, but I will tell you that my number one priority as a parent has been to *respect* my children as people and I don't think that's the common American way of approaching parenting.

One other thing I will share is that I figured out by baby #2 that Attachment Parenting doesn't necessarily mean that my child must be physically attached to me at all times! lol

Me : living with and loving papa and the kids: Dd1 8/97 , dd2 8/04 and my sweet baby ds 5/09 : :
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:14 AM
 
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6mths is not the easiest age - no way! with ds2 (8mths) he is not sleeping nearly as well as when he was 3mths and is pretty darn demanding and now super mobile...
but my 3yr old - omg, about 90% of the time he is such a dream! he is loving, sensitive and listens to me (when i ask him to clean up he usually helps). i get lots of comments on what a great kid he is and i feel so incredibly blessed to have him in my life...but he didn't sleep through the night on a regular basis til he was 17mths, every tooth was torture, took 3 mths of exclusive pumping before he finally latched (he was a preemie and nicu time really flucked things up)...so we had a tough start, but wow, now it is so great with him. and dh has always been on board and it is really beautiful to see his connection with the boys too.

i do think letting him self wean, share the family bed until he was ready ('til 2.5) for his own space, babywearing, gentle discipline - all made a difference.

lots of challenges still ahead for you (and i'm in the same boat) - but when people will talk about the terrible 2s when your bub is 2 you really won't know what they are talking about!! hang in there, it's not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it will be worth it!

mama to callum (april 8,07) and everett (sept 24,09) - blessed to be married to my life's love since '98. novaxnocirc.gif

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