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Old 03-21-2002, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm curious to see how people feel about Jean Leidloff's "Continuum Concept." I heard about her from someone else's recommendation to someone else's post and have since been reading some of the theories.

I have two main questions: if you do believe in this concept, what are the practical applications for a toddler? And is this concept a little simplistic for a "civilized" society (incomparison to the tribes she studied; I don't mean to be gauche, but it's for comparison only)?

If you haven't read any of the Continnum Concept theories, check them out at www.continuum-concept.org. I am really interested on the response. Thanks!

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Old 03-21-2002, 05:10 PM
 
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Suzannah, this is the first I've heard of this, but I like it! It is certainly, to my mind, the ideal to which our culture *should" strive. As far as practical applications in our culture, this type of parenting, as we all well know here, is definitely swimming upstream. But I think it is good to have an ideal. I think it's equally important not to be too hard on ourselves if we can't perfectly achieve that goal at all times and in all ways. As for the application to a toddler, I think the basis of the concept (and my parenting philosophy) is that as the child grows older you follow their lead in determining what their needs are. If a child is struggling to get down and play by themselves you are not doing them a service by holding them in your arms against their will! (Who in their right mind would do that, anyway? lol)

I prefer the term "western" society to "civilized" - if anything, I think our society with its cribs and bottles and all that are the uncivilized ones, personally! Maybe there's even a better term - crazy society?
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Old 03-21-2002, 05:55 PM
 
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I feel that we, world population, will return to the tribal concept at some point in the future. This will happen because of catastropic change in the world. Just my feeling.
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Old 03-21-2002, 08:15 PM
 
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I don't mean to interrupt your discussion but there are a few interesting threads we've had on this topic. One is in Gentle Discipline and the other in Real Life with a Toddler. I "bumped" them both up in case you're interested.

OK I'm done, please continue

peggy

ps: I found even more... if you use the search function and type in Continuum Concept about 40 threads pop up!
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Old 03-21-2002, 08:29 PM
 
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i believe the book is a useful one to read, albeit, with critical eyes. she makes some strong comments that i find very important (about babies not having object permanence, and hence their TERROR when a parent is not very near), but others are absurd, in my opinion (like poor parenting explaining one's choice in purple hair dye later in life). also, she is not a "scholar" as i understand it, nor has she ever had children, but she does frequently speak of her monkey she raised.

also, plain fact, we just don't live in communities like the ones the parents she speaks of.

nonetheless, her book helped us support some of the decisions we already wanted to make (sling, co-sleeping).
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Old 03-21-2002, 09:04 PM
 
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I read her book a few years ago (before having children) and really loved it at the time. I was on the Cont. Concept email list for awile, at two different times (right after reading the book, and again while pregnant).

It has been awhile since I've read the book, but here are my current thoughts...

I think she brings up some very important issues and things to think about when raising children. When the book was first published (1975ish) the ideas were revolutionary in Western Culture. HOwever, I think she exagerated some things to make a point, and I have heard several people mention that some of her observations about the tribe she studied have not been noticed by other anthropoligists studying the same tribe. And, she has never had children of her own.

I think that it is important to "wear" your baby as much as possible, to breastfeed on cue, and to co-sleep. One of the things that I disagree with is what she said about babies/children and safety. Part of my issues with that are because the physical dangers in our society are not ones that a baby has been evolutionarily programmed to react to. Also, I think it takes a few years before self-preservation measures really kick in.

I find it very difficult to do housework with my baby in her sling. This was a big disillusionment to me when my DD was born - I expected (from CC) to just put her in the sling and do everything I could do before...not so. My dd was only happy in the sling if I was very actively moving - most American housework is not very active (standing to wash dishes, for example). Also it is hard to reach around the sling for housework.

The last "main" thing about CC that I don't think works well in Western culture is the idea of being non-child centered. With just myself and DD at home all day there is not enough stimulation to not focus on and talk to DD. In a tribal culture there are many adults working and speaking to each other that provide the babies with the kind of stimulation they need.

I still think it is a very good book, and has a lot of worthwhile information - a definite eye-opener for someone steeped in traditonal Western/American parenting. I just think that it needs to be taken with a grain of salt, and adapted to what works in our society.

A book that I have recently read and think is better than TCC is Our Babies, Ourselves . I can't remember the author. It brings up many similiar issues as TCC, but examines Many cultures parenting practices, AND WHY different cultures have certain practices. I HIGHLY recommend reading this, especially if you liked Continuum.

Whew! I didn't realize I had so much to say. Hope it all makes sense - I'm writing in kind of a hurry
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Old 03-21-2002, 09:23 PM
 
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Just wanted to say that I totally agree with your post Jenoline- all of it.
I have read both books and I found Our Babies, Ourselves to be way more informative and applicable to our culture. And it's by Meredith Small.
There were several things that bothered me about TCC. Most of you mentioned them. It bothered me that she really idealized this society she studied but yet gave no practical ways for this to be applied to the society we live in. It also bothered me that she never had children of her own. I want my experts to have some personal experience with their area of expertise.
I had also heard that there is some dispute about the things she reported, such as babies being left next to an open fire and playing with machetes. Others have stated that no way do these people's leave their children that unattended.
TCC is definately interesting and I would recommend reading it but if I had to choose the better book I would choose Our Babies, Ourselves.
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Old 03-22-2002, 01:10 AM
 
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I agree with the two main points others have made: She doesn't have any children herself, and we just don't live in a tribal society, so a lot of it is not applicable, IMO. I wish it were, and I have tried to force it sometimes, to no avail. Some points are good to keep in mind, about cosleeping, wearing your baby, etc., but I think achieving the overall ideal that she sets forth is pretty unrealistic in the culture we live in.

Also, my mom met and had lunch with Jean. She's a bit nutty.
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Old 03-22-2002, 02:02 AM
 
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Also, my mom met and had lunch with Jean. She's a bit nutty
Well my interest in piqued. Got any dish?
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Old 03-25-2002, 08:20 PM
 
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I actually am reading The Continum Concept right now so it was good to hear some responses about it.

I think the ideas are very interesting. It is good to hear other ways of raising children that may have not been thought of before by us so steeped in this culture.

So it is definenetly a book worth reading IMO.

But I agree with the others who were talking about how we cannot use it as a rule for how we raise children here in western society. We do not live in the same type of world. We live in the world of nucleur families and our work is very different.

But the ideal of wearing your child as much as possible in as many settings as possible is definetely one to follow.

I might have more to say when I read more of the book.
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Old 03-26-2002, 05:20 PM
 
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i agree with some other moms - "our babies ourselves" by meredit small is so fantastic - it should be required reading for any thinking mom or dad!!! the idea of writing a book on biological constraints of infants from an evolutionary, medical and psychological perspective, and then combining that with cultural contraints on infants from an anthropological perspective is just so logical and so novel!

i keep hoping she'll come out with a book about older children and cultural practices.
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Old 04-26-2002, 06:53 PM
 
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I belonged to a "Continum Group"..We were all very excited to have found each other and having like minded views and excited to have found this book!!...then the trouble started...it seemed in my opinion that people twisted the book to meet thier own needs to neglect their children by not taking the resposiblity to step in to help some of these kids that were getting pounded by some of the older ones and telling me that they will work it out...Well we don't live in that tribal society which would have been interesting...I still love the book in a critical thinking mode and not to jump in.head over heels..Find out what the underlying philoshpy is and do what is right for you...I found for me the nursing, co-sleeping, was wonderful welcome information and wishing for the tribal atmospher but it ain't gona happen ..But I need to check on my children and to NOT feel guilty for doing so...another great book that references Jean leidloff is "Free range childhood..self-regulation at Summerhill school" This is also a great book and has helped me to loosen up a bit and this book helps to but it in a western soceity perspective...anyone read this one? Rene
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Old 05-11-2002, 11:33 PM
 
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Originally posted by lilablue
Yet I found this writer to be antagonostic and self-important about her subject. I felt this way from the first page but carried on trying to stay open minded until she got to the point of bashing people who golf as shallow beings who probably got neglected in childhood.
lilablue, i totally agree with you. i found her tone to be condescending and VERY judgemental. and coming from someone who has never had her own children, i find it also very funny.

i, too, read CC before i had dd and one of the things that nearly snet me over the edge in the 1st few weeks was feeling like i was a terrible mother who was harming my child if i even put her down for a minute to go pee! slings are great. i love mine, and i love carrying dd, but NOT ALL THE TIME. sometimes you gotta put 'em down IMO, and no one should feel like a bad parent for doing so. and also, anyone who has not raised a child of their own has no idea IMO what it is actually like to try to carry a child constantly.

i hate this book and think she has a lot of nerve...
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Old 05-12-2002, 08:19 AM
 
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My Mum's partner is a child psych and co-founder of an alternative school and is right into this book...
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Old 05-13-2002, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have to say that I love the fact that so many of you are still discussing this innocent little post of mine. Very rousing discussion!!

HoneyFern

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Never let your schooling interfere with your education. ~Mark Twain~

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Old 05-14-2002, 02:33 AM
 
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I read this book, as did my fil. He in fact sent it to us. One of the points he drew from it was the idea that children raised this way have a inate sense of survival. And if we were truly attached to our son, then we shouldn't fence in our backyard pool. He would inately have enough self preservation to not go near the water. Crazy. And yes, we have a fence. I also found it interesting about not having a child-centered community. I agree with Jenoline that it would be difficult to go about my day and not focus on my child. With all of the "modern" convienences, I am able to focus most of my day on my son. But, it did make me aware of the fact that he joins our lives, we don't create one around him. Very interesting points in this book. I might just read it again.
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Old 05-14-2002, 01:26 PM
 
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Originally posted by sootface
I belonged to a "Continum Group"..We were all very excited to have found each other and having like minded views and excited to have found this book!!...then the trouble started...it seemed in my opinion that people twisted the book to meet thier own needs to neglect their children by not taking the resposiblity to step in to help some of these kids that were getting pounded by some of the older ones and telling me that they will work it out...
i currently belong to a CC group and i love it. we do not have the troubles you found in yours. ours is a loving group of moms and babies trying to raise our children how we see fit.

i agree that you cannot attach yourself to this lifestyle, as it doesnt groove totally with our society, but its not all bad and i think it has a lot to offer.
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