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

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Old 06-08-2003, 11:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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
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Old 06-09-2003, 12:05 AM
 
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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.

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Old 06-09-2003, 12:28 AM
 
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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!
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Old 06-09-2003, 01:41 AM
 
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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.
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Old 06-09-2003, 02:49 AM
 
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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.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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Old 06-09-2003, 02:53 AM
 
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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.]

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Old 06-09-2003, 03:09 AM
 
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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.
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Old 06-09-2003, 03:24 AM
 
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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!
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Old 06-09-2003, 03:24 AM
 
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stupid double posts! :
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Old 06-09-2003, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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Old 06-09-2003, 11:42 AM
 
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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.....
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Old 06-09-2003, 11:59 AM
 
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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.

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Old 06-09-2003, 12:18 PM
 
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MommyKim!

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!
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Old 06-09-2003, 12:28 PM
 
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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..
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Old 06-09-2003, 05:26 PM
 
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MommyKim -

Quote:
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!

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Old 06-09-2003, 05:36 PM
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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.

Dar

 
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Old 06-09-2003, 09:15 PM
 
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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.

Lisa
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Old 06-09-2003, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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Old 06-10-2003, 02:22 AM
 
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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.
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Old 06-11-2003, 07:31 PM
 
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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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Old 06-11-2003, 09:12 PM
 
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Originally posted by HannahSims
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?

The term "attachment" in Attachment Parenting comes from the fields of psychiatry and psychology and has a very specific meaning. It does not, therefore, mean that to not AP is to not be attached to your child in the way most people think of the term.

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Old 06-12-2003, 09:36 AM
 
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I understand that the term attachment parenting has a very specific meaning – to people who are familiar with it. However, what the phrase “means” to the user is not the only thing that matters. We have become careful of our language by phasing out things like, “Working mother”, “dad is babysitting”, and etc. Many of the principals of AP and, especially, Mothering Magazine include all families; I just wish the phrase AP did as well. I I have successfully maintained friendships with families having many different parenting styles. I think this is in part because I’m very careful of how my words and actions include, support and encourage all families.


It’s like when I would buy “conventional” veggies…jeze, what a marketing technique, ridicule! Kidding…


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Old 06-12-2003, 10:34 AM
 
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I feel that as long as a parent treats his/her child with respect, and treats him/her like a fully conscious, fully aware human being with his/her own sets of needs, fears, and desires, they are doing a good job.
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Old 06-12-2003, 10:44 AM
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The best thing is to find your own unique style.

The reason I like AP is that it encourages the parents to find out what works and do it.

Sadly AP has become a cookbook which isn't right.

You can have the baby in a crib and be a responsive mother.

You can bottlefeed and be a responsive mother.

You don't need the baby in a sling all day to be a responsive mother...etc. etc. etc.

You doing what works well for your family is the essence of AP parenting.

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Old 06-13-2003, 04:38 PM
 
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I think I like the term mindful parenting. Because it IS about what works for you and your child at that moment. Attachment parenting implies that if you don't do all these things all the time you won't be attached and your child will turn out terrible. But you could probably do all these things and your child still will turn out unlike what you want. You have to accept what you get. You can do it all right and I may find that DD gets pregnant at 13, gets in trouble or whatever. (My sister was a big teenage trouble maker! I was goody twoshoes. Sh drinking carousing sneaking out and crashed my dads car without a drivers licence. Same parents, same general parenting philosophy except she got the more mature and experienced parents. Go figure)
I really relate to the feeling that I couldn't take it anymore, put screaming DD down and she stopped! And she used to scream when I put her down for a nap. Would not nurse down, or lay down with me in the room. When I walked out with her wailing she would be quiet almost the instant I closed the door and take a long (well an hour) nap. I hated it every time but letting her get tired was so much worse and not addressing her need for sleep and I had tried everything else. I guess she needed a little peace and quiet to go to sleep. I guess I could have driven her to sleep everyday, but she would often screamin the car before falling asleep too.
And I think the labels make it easy to judge other people and the way they do things but they are really doing their best. Very few mothers don't want the best for their kids, but not everyone can handle cosleeping and everyone has different backgrounds and limits and personalities. Eve psychology can't comepletely define human interactions and behavior. I think some behaviors are misguided such as spanking or Ezzo like treatment, but that is just my opinion. Generally I think the people doing these things have just read the wrong thing and have the wrong information. It is not that they are bad people at all. They are trying to do what is right and their best for their children.
Besides, if you judge other people, that leaves them open to judge you. Well, my mom is very judgmental. Very very. I feel very judged b her but for the grace of her love for me because I am her daughter. I do things she judges inother people and it is OK that I do them. Well, what can you do!
There are definately different parenting styles but what is mainstream anyway? I think my friends who don't BF long, don't cosleep or wear babies and don't hold them all the time and are more distanced than I am are still attached to their kids. THing is I used to have HUGE insecurity that I was not attached! DUH! I was responsive, but mother guilt is just so easy to have. Now I am more confident in my unique style. And I am attached.
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Old 06-13-2003, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I like the term mindful parenting too, nuggetsmom!
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