"Aware Parenting" method? - Mothering Forums
Parenting > "Aware Parenting" method?
Wildflower's Avatar Wildflower 05:45 PM 06-18-2002
Is anyone using the methods of Aletha Solter and Patty Wipfler? There was a related thread a while ago, but I wanted to check in and here anyone's thoughts or experiences...the basic idea is that parents can help their babies/kids to "offload" or "release" stresses/traumas/daily frustrations by being a loving, emotionally validating presence for them while they cry/tantrum, and that a loose, gentle embrace and empathetic listening are better than shushing, bouncing, distracting, or nursing (after you've checked that there's no hunger/thirst), and that when your child feels that they have your full attention a fuss may turn into a big rage, and that this is good because they are accessing and shedding deep emotions with your support.

It seems natural and compassionate to me...but it does bring up my own stuff--I've stuggled with how to express my own negative emotions my whole life, maybe becauase I wasn't encouraged to release this way as a child...

Any thoughts?

heartmama's Avatar heartmama 06:01 PM 06-18-2002
I am very familiar with Aletha Solter's work.

I have mixed feelings. I think it is great to read her books to have her perspective in mind as you deal with children. I just don't think a child *always* needs this kind of "therapy parent" apprach, KWIM? If you practiced this day in and day out, it would be way over the top IMO.

I guess I'd say she is a good tool to have in your "toolbox" as a parent, but not a final answer for dealing with all the issues children face.

I also disagreed with some of her beliefs about nursing, for what it's worth. She didn't seem to value it as comfort, if I remember correctly.

grumo's Avatar grumo 08:02 PM 06-18-2002
I agree with heartmama. I think Solter's theory is interesting and it helps me when I am having a hard time comforting dd. But on the whole I still go to great lengths to comfort dd. When what I do doesn't help I take comfort in the thought that dd may just need a good cry, and I do my best to patiently relax and let her know that crying is okay.

I think we may use this method more often when dd is older and I have a better idea of what has set off the crying. The book also solidifies for me that I must allow dd to cry when that is how she chooses to express herself - that I will be sure not to do what my parents did which was, go to your room and cry by yourself, or I'll give you something to cry about if you don't stop crying (I never did get that one anyway: )

Do a search for Solter. Lots of people have said very interesting things about it.
Wildflower's Avatar Wildflower 10:04 PM 06-18-2002
thanks for the responses...i like the tool in my toolbox way of looking at it...I think for me personally her ideas may be extra meaningful because I was raised in the polar opposite, 'nobody feel anything in front of anybody!!!' method. So, it seems very refreshing. I can't remember ever crying in the loving arms of a parent, even at, like funerals and stuff...So I love the idea of that being OK. But I too will definitely (and she does specify this) check in every way that I'm meeting dd's needs as well, and also I think I'll be more apt to offer comfort nurseing than whatshe seems to suggest just becaquse I love it...Interesting, though, when dd has seemed to need to release her stress through a cry, she refused to nurse anyways until she had all the crying put of her system. For me it just helps to be reminded of the healing power of tears, because I had a tendency to freak or feel like a failure when dd would do her (pretty rare) crying sessions. Anyone else have experiences to add?
~member~'s Avatar ~member~ 11:20 PM 06-18-2002
Hello Wildflower!

I have never heard of those people nor the method, but as I read your post, I realized that is the method I have used with my DS and DD for the past six years. I once held and listened to my DD for five hours straight (great grandpa died).

I find that we have bonded immensely and the trust is strong. They are both fearless (fortunately or unfortunately?). And have no qualms about running and comforting another person who is hurting. With some coaching on my part, all 'tantrums/sessions' take place at home, so I don't have to worry about tantrums in public, they both know that they will have my time and attention when we get home.

Discipline is also an almost nonexistent. I have found they are loving and caring and accomodate their behavior to be such. Of course we do deal with the messy room and unfortunately their wants to hug and love everyone they meet. It's been hard for them to understand why not everyone is loving and caring. I have to say they are right when they tell me, 'but mother, if everyone got hugs and was loved then there wouldn't be any mean people in the world!'

Anyways, this is my long input. It is a difficult path but well worth it IMO.
Wildflower's Avatar Wildflower 10:06 PM 06-19-2002
What a beautiful reply, Boonies Mama! I really appreciate the fact that this "method" is something you just naturally, intuitively came by, and how it has worked for your family...Now I'm thinking that the real treasure may be in just follwing your mother's intuition...Like, despite pros and cons and doubts my mind can toss around, I feel intuitively drawn to these ideas about lovingly holding/listening during my dd's upsets...We're all so unique...But I know about myself that some of my strengths are that I'm very unconditionally loving, and a very patient listener...So maybe this is the kind of love I'm best at giving, and maybe another mother is a great problem solver or great at cheering people up and so she's best off handling upset situation according to her particular personality and set of strengths...

The times I've held her tenderly for a cry just seemed to feel better and end up better than the times I ran around offering toys and snacks and games...It was a bonding experience, and she seemed refreshed after. Of course, there's been a zillion times when a nurse or a dry diaper was just the thing. I would hate it if I neglected to help her get something she needed mistaking that she was wanting to have a good cry...But we're so attached and once again I feel like intuition guides and I do know what she needs if I just get quiet and listen.

Its been great for me to read and talk about all this...thanks all...
imakebelieve's Avatar imakebelieve 10:12 PM 06-20-2002
I have read most of Aware Baby upon reccomendation of fil, a big "therapy junkie" person. (I am fully supportive of therapy, but sometimes it becomes a way of life) Anyhow, I found some of her views a bit contrary to both my instincts and what I've read of AP. I've also read that many AP folks have some real issues with her.

FIL gave this book to us while I was having a complicated pregnancy. A little lite reading, for me realizing that everything happening was going to traumatize our unborn child for his entire life. he felt we had so much birth trauma, and we did, that our son was going to need lots of crying and major therapy later on.

Well, I found the idea of letting babies and children express their feelings fully and not always trying to distract when that is what is needed, to be helpful. Especially during times when I just couldn't do anything to help. I recognize his need to just release negative feelings, anger, sadness etc... Kind of the feel better after a cry thing.
I don't like her views on nursing. She only nursed her daughter for I think 14 months and hardly ever comfort nursed. She said that it was stuffing their feelings with food and could cause them to grow up and eat when their upset. When pregnant, this sounded good, but once he started nursing, I knew that nursing comfort was more than just food comfort.
DH, decided to try her theory on nightwaking out and slept with our son in another room. Letting him cry for me for quite a while. It was terrible and though I like to give him equal say in parenting decisions, I put a stop to it. Speaking of crying child, mine just woke up. All in all, I don't care much for her theories, Cure By Crying is on our shelf unread, two copies actually:
sleepies's Avatar sleepies 10:54 PM 06-20-2002
i have not heard of it.

it sounds ok on some levels.

but, i think a lot of distraction could lead to a child having trouble paying attention to things...or dealing with emotions.

maybe. id have to read more.