Bad Dr. Sears? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have read a few posts now about people not really liking Dr.Sears and I guess I'm wondering why? I blindly believed I guess that anyone who was into attachment parenting was also into Dr. Sears. What am I missing?

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#2 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 03:56 PM
 
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beats me? I love him!
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#3 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 04:15 PM
 
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I think from what I've gathered on some of the threads I've read is that many here do not care for his Discipline ideas.
I for one don't agree 100% with ANYONE. I happen to like Dr. Sears in general, but as with anything, I take what I can and leave the rest behind.
If his ideas work for you, go with it!
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#4 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 04:16 PM
 
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Have you perhaps been reading things in regard to his Discipline Book? There are some things in there (e.g., punitive time-outs) that some people look at as questionable. In his Christian Parenting book he also says, "Don't spank, but if you do here's how." (can't remember if he talks about it in the DB...) I would prefer him to say, "Don't spank, and here's some tools so you don't need to," KWIM?

But all in all I think he's a wonderful AP advocate and think his books are groundlaying for AP.

Meghan, mom to 11yo, 8yo, and 3yo 

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#5 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 05:15 PM
 
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I like him for his AP ideals but when someone pointed out the "don't spank but if you do, do it this way" thing, well...I've never really felt the same. I feel a bit betrayed that he would talk about bonding and connection and how important it is and then give advice on how to spank.
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#6 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 05:25 PM
 
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I appreciate the groundwork he has laid in promoting AP and getting it out into the mainstream.

But he is not my favorite author to read. I'm not thrilled with the "here is how to spank" stuff. But also, I find his writing style tedious and patronizing. I don't go for step by step stuff so much -- I'd rather read about ideas and general theories, and then build on them in terms of what is good for my family.

I also have some problems with the concept of mothering advice being dispensed by men. Even very sweet men. And even though I have been mostly a SAHM and make career sacrifices in my parenting choices, I find it insulting that he is sometimes somewhat denigrating towards mothers who make other choices.

Also, I think he is given credit for many ideas and concepts that were developed and written about "behind stage" by other thinkers. Its great that he presents it in a way that feeds the public. But he is not really all that original, kwim? There are plenty of mamas who mothered the way he teaches long before he was writing about it.
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#7 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 05:25 PM
 
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I love Dr. Sears. I'm ok with the don't spank but if you do because it goes on to say things like don't use wooden spoons, etc. I like to think that if someone was reading it and taking just what they wanted from him and ignoring the parts that don't apply-- if they were a spanker, they just might ignore the part about not spanking. This way, if they are spankers, maybe they will do less harm to their children. Anyway, its one page out of 200+ in a great book.
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#8 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 06:46 PM
 
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I appreciate the fact that Dr. Sears has been able to get the word out about AP - by appearing on national TV, publishing books which appeal to the masses, etc. BUT I don't appreciate his views on homosexuality, gender roles, discipline, and more.....

Too bad folks like Meredith Small or Kate Granju couldn't be the public spokespeople for AP as well or instead..... I guess they aren't as appealing, don't have the $$$, or something .....hmmmm.
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#9 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 06:58 PM
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I agree with jmoreno. I love dr sears. However, I don't follow anyone's advice 100%. I think you have to find your own path. I would never spank dd but I appreciate the way he talks about spanking for those who do spank their children so at least they are being a bit more humane about it. It would be nice if everyone was AP but that is not going to happen in this country. I think Dr. Sears' books are great intros into AP. I have a pregnant friend who is afraid of AP but I got her The Baby Book as a gentle intro.

I think if you searched hard enough you will find that MDC mamas are not in total agreement about any one idea. There is a multiplicity of ideas here. Some people love dr sears; some don't.
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#10 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 07:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycapmom
BUT I don't appreciate his views on homosexuality, gender roles, discipline, and more.....
Yup, that's a large part of it for me, too. And, and I'm just being honest here, I don't like that he has put out "Christian" books. It just makes me think less of him. (We don't need to get into why, but it is part of why, although I like a lot of what he has to say, I wouldn't call myself a fan.)

And I don't like that he officially endorses things, like the Arms Reach Cosleeper. It smacks of commercialism.

There's also just a certain "vibe" that I get that kind of puts me off. That one I can't really explain.

And, of course, he's a man, and a doctor, telling women and mothers how to parent. Granted, what he's saying is mostly good, but like someone else said, it's sad that we can't have a woman be the standard bearer of the AP movement.

But still, if a mainstream friend of mine asked for a baby book, I would probably give her The Baby Book - and also a few of my above mentioned reservations.
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#11 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 07:36 PM
 
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I'm OK with Dr Sears for many things, but I certainly don't agree with him on everything. I always recommend his books as a good intro into AP/GD - I like what he has to say about babywearing/cosleeping/EBF/etc - but add the caveat that he's far from the final authority on these topics. I appreciate that he's taken on the role of AP Ambassador to the mainstream, and I assume that it's because of this that he has to occasionally speak the language of mainstream parenting (ie the "if you have to spank do it this way.") And of course his endorsement of products and his columns in magazines like Parenting and BabyTalk are part of this too. That doesn't make any of it much more palatable to me, but I do understand that he's trying to spread the gospel of AP to the widest possible audience.

Like others, I specifically disagree with him when it comes to discipline. I don't believe in ever using rewards or punishments as motivators, and Dr Sears advocates both (including "time outs" which I specifically dislike.) I also disagree with some of what he has to say about handling tantrums. I could never ignore or walk away from a child who was in the throes of a tantrum, and Dr Sears prescribes this in certain cases.
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#12 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 08:07 PM
 
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In his updated Baby Book, he writes about how he USED TO be okay with spanking in extreme situations, but now he isn't. He uses the example of when your kid starts to run into the street, and notes that yelling "Stop" or "No" in a very frightened loud voice is way preferable to spanking.

I'm curious: does anyone have any direct quotes from him about homosexuality? I didn't know this about him, and I'll be really disappointed if his viewpoint is homophobic.
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#13 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 10:08 PM
 
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I own just about all of Dr. Sears books except this "christian " one I've been hearing about. To comment on the "don't spank but if you do..."thread I read this and did not feel like he was promoting hitting at all, I felt he was educating parents on reasons NOT to spank i.e i remember him saying "don't spank when angry" well, I took this like, usually parents hit from emotion, if you take this away the parent most likely won't spank. Does anyone follow me? I'd really like to know about this homosexual thing! That would really P**s me off , I don't think I'd read anything by him anymore!

Tara--mama to Riley (9/01) Nolan (4/04) and Finnegan (11/08). Unschooling Rocks!!!
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#14 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 10:23 PM
 
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I love Dr. Sears .. but like everyone else, I take what we can use from his advise and toss the rest.

I was not thrilled with his "if you choose to spank" section in the discpline book BUT he did preface it by saying many times that spanking is NOT the way to do it and in no way does he endorse or think it's ok, but that he knows some people are still going to try it. He goes on to give examples of families who learned the hard way (withdrawn children, etc) that spanking just does not work. Then he goes on to explain how to spank "safely". Like I said, I'm not crazy about that, but he does make it clear spanking is not the best choice and is possibly harmful.

Overall, I'd say he's wonderful b/c he brings AP to the mainstream and that is very hard to do.

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#15 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 11:12 PM
 
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Brain, child published a great article called "Why I hate Dr. Sears" and it pretty much sums up how I feel. It's in their new anthology, I can't find it online but I used to have a link to it Anyway, it basically says while the AP stuff is good, the condescention, patronizing tone and stereotypical portrayal of other cutures, etc. sucks.
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#16 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 11:26 PM
 
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I'm not a fan of Dr. Sears because I think that he minimizes the struggles that some new moms go through, and I feel like his basic message is "suck it up or you're going to ruin your attachment to your child." As a new mom with PPD, reading _The Baby Book_ did nothing for me except make me feel worse. I feel like he says, "If you do X, your baby will respond Y," and if things don't got that way, then something is wrong with your parenting skills.

Dr. Sears never had to face the challenges I faced as a breastfeeding mother; he never had the hormonal changes, and he never had the psychic connection to a baby that a mom has. Yet he speaks as though he has been there and done that and has all the answers, and in my opinion, he expects mothers to do way too much and overplays the danger to a child's emotional health if you aren't the perfect mother at all times to your newborn.

I actually like a lot of the stuff he has about older children, but if he has negative things to say about homosexuality, then I'd be happy to do without him.

Namaste!
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#17 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 11:43 PM
 
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I think he needs to talk about spanking because when I grew up it was okay to spank with a wooden spoon or a belt or a switch. Many people out there still think this is okay, and if everyone else is doing it, and they have a mind-set to continue spanking, at least let them use their hand not a spoon. That's basically what Dr. Sears says. He does state very clearly that he does not believe in spanking though.

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#18 of 81 Old 03-01-2005, 11:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
I'm not a fan of Dr. Sears because I think that he minimizes the struggles that some new moms go through, and I feel like his basic message is "suck it up or you're going to ruin your attachment to your child." As a new mom with PPD, reading _The Baby Book_ did nothing for me except make me feel worse. I feel like he says, "If you do X, your baby will respond Y," and if things don't got that way, then something is wrong with your parenting skills.

Dr. Sears never had to face the challenges I faced as a breastfeeding mother; he never had the hormonal changes, and he never had the psychic connection to a baby that a mom has. Yet he speaks as though he has been there and done that and has all the answers, and in my opinion, he expects mothers to do way too much and overplays the danger to a child's emotional health if you aren't the perfect mother at all times to your newborn.

I actually like a lot of the stuff he has about older children, but if he has negative things to say about homosexuality, then I'd be happy to do without him.

Namaste!


AMEN to that! I am so RELIEVED to hear someone felt that way, too!
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#19 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 12:24 AM
 
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I like his Baby Book. It was the best I could find for a reference about different stages, etc.. for the first few years. I like to flip through sometimes and get a feel for what might be coming up with ds, and it's easy to check out info on rashes or whatever if I have a question.
That said.
I don't like the tone, I find it rather patronizing. Dh has the same issue with it. When we first got hte book, before ds was born, he started reading and told me he didn't like hte book because he felt insulted. Here's dh, reading that 'if your newborn cries, pick him up'. 'hold your baby.' And all we could think was, well, duh! Of course we're going to hold him a lot! Maybe a lot of people really do need to be told that stuff, I don't know, but in my family and all the people I know it's kind of taken for granted that you hold them. Baby carriers were never novel to us because it meant you were actuall yholding hte kid, they were just a great tool to make it easier to hold them as much as they need. So a lot of that stuff seemd like plain common sense, not some radical new thing. Maybe my family is just odd.
I'm glad Dr. Sears is out there, and so well known as an AP advocate. His work is very accesible and that's good, especially for people who maybe don't have much support for this kind of parenting. But I won't be seeking out his books specifically as ds grows. Especially because of hte christian angle. Not that there's anything wrong with that really, but it's definitely not for us.

ETA
wasn't there also some big to-do about him associating his name with a formula brand or somehting like htat? I know that turned a lot of people off of liking him so much.
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#20 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 12:52 AM
 
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The Discipline Book is written by Martha and William Sears. It's not a man going on about how to be a mom. It was written by a parenting couple.
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#21 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 01:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymama
I love Dr. Sears .. but like everyone else, I take what we can use from his advise and toss the rest.
....
Overall, I'd say he's wonderful b/c he brings AP to the mainstream and that is very hard to do.
Ditto - he's where I first learned about AP and then I ran with it from there. I find most of his stuff on discipline to be too vague, so I've looked elsewhere for that, but I have to applaud him for bringing AP to the masses.
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#22 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 01:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
I'm not a fan of Dr. Sears because I think that he minimizes the struggles that some new moms go through, and I feel like his basic message is "suck it up or you're going to ruin your attachment to your child." As a new mom with PPD, reading _The Baby Book_ did nothing for me except make me feel worse. I feel like he says, "If you do X, your baby will respond Y," and if things don't got that way, then something is wrong with your parenting skills.

Dr. Sears never had to face the challenges I faced as a breastfeeding mother; he never had the hormonal changes, and he never had the psychic connection to a baby that a mom has. Yet he speaks as though he has been there and done that and has all the answers, and in my opinion, he expects mothers to do way too much and overplays the danger to a child's emotional health if you aren't the perfect mother at all times to your newborn.

I actually like a lot of the stuff he has about older children, but if he has negative things to say about homosexuality, then I'd be happy to do without him.

Namaste!
Ditto. Ditto. Ditto! Great post!

Trying to get my bearings...
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#23 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 01:45 AM
 
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I like Dr. Sears too, because his Baby Book has made me really take parenting seriously (the way I wanted to take it) and in my view, made me a better mother. I think many people here are forgetting that his wife Martha co-wrote many things and is mentioned a lot in all of his books.

I own The Baby Book, The Pregnancy Book, The Family Nutrition Book, The Discipline Book and The Successful Child. So I should know a bit more about him by now.

I think he's compassionate and sticks to universal values for the most part, those of respect, kindness and truth. To me that matters a great deal. I believe in God so I definitely think highly of him writing Christian books as well.

As in regard to the spanking, I think there are many people, esp. Christians, out there, who spank. To try to change someone's mind you've got to meet them halfway. All his reasons not to spank are very clear. However, if you're going to do it anyway, here's how you do it. And to me the "how to" was almost impossible to follow, which I think would make many people think twice, three times before they spank or hopefully come to the conclusion that it's fruitless and counterproductive to do so.

Cheers,
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#24 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 01:53 AM
 
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I am a Christian although I'm more liberal than Sears. I think it is great that he has written a Christian book. We desparately need Christian AP writers to counteract people like Ezzo and Dobson.

I am bothered by him endorsing formula and I think he's getting a little too mainstream for my taste. But he also serves as a bridge for people who are gradually making their way from mainstream to AP.
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#25 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 04:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
I'm not a fan of Dr. Sears because I think that he minimizes the struggles that some new moms go through, and I feel like his basic message is "suck it up or you're going to ruin your attachment to your child." As a new mom with PPD, reading _The Baby Book_ did nothing for me except make me feel worse. I feel like he says, "If you do X, your baby will respond Y," and if things don't got that way, then something is wrong with your parenting skills.

Dr. Sears never had to face the challenges I faced as a breastfeeding mother; he never had the hormonal changes, and he never had the psychic connection to a baby that a mom has. Yet he speaks as though he has been there and done that and has all the answers, and in my opinion, he expects mothers to do way too much and overplays the danger to a child's emotional health if you aren't the perfect mother at all times to your newborn.



During my PPD, The Baby Book was banished from our house. Turns out I didn't really miss it (the gender assumptions and ease with which he seemed to diagnose "detachment" were a bigger turnoff than I thought).

I never read anything from him about homosexuality. I'd be interested in seeing some quotations, as well....
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#26 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 06:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Arwyn
I don't like that he has put out "Christian" books.
I disagree! I love that he puts out Christian based books. I think it's great that he offers a direct alternative to the Ezzo brainwashing that says you must follow my parenting approach or you aren't going to raise good christian children. I've only been able to get through a couple chapters of The Discipline Book ( I think that's the one I'm thinking of) that actually takes digs at some popular Ezzo advice. It made me laugh. (BTW, I'm not christian, just for the record)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn
And I don't like that he officially endorses things, like the Arms Reach Cosleeper. It smacks of commercialism.
I can understand your distaste to the commercialism. But he's not trying to sell AP to those that already practice AP, or use the family bed. That's like preaching to the choir. He's trying to convince mainstream crib users that co-sleeping is better, and since mainstream parents tend to like to buy gadgets and contraptions, here's one that promotes co-sleeping. You know that the parents that buy them will probably end up with a family bed anyway, but the commercialism that mainstream parents have come to expect and need opens the door to the AP world for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn
And, of course, he's a man, and a doctor, telling women and mothers how to parent.
As an inactive feminist, I totally understand this!!! But I think he's the perfect spokesperson to give AP a voice. He is a man, so other men (aka fathers) would respect his advice, and hopefully support the mothers intent to follow the AP method of parenting. He is a doctor, and to the majority of the sheep.... er... I mean, population, the doctor is all seeing, all knowing. So to have a doctor give advice on raising children is going to hold more water with a larger percent of the population than the most experienced mother in the world. Plus he has Martha, who is a nurse, lactation consultant and mother of many (didn't they have like 9 kids?) to add the wisdom of a woman to his writing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahNH
Here's dh, reading that 'if your newborn cries, pick him up'. 'hold your baby.' And all we could think was, well, duh! Of course we're going to hold him a lot! Maybe a lot of people really do need to be told that stuff,
I think people really do need to be told that kind of stuff, just to contradict all the stupid advice that other people give you. I swear, I was told 4 times the first week DS was born to not hold him too much or it would spoil him. I loved the bit of wisdom that "crying is good for the lungs", and then there is the time honored "he's only crying to manipulate you" approach. Luckily I wasn't fooled, but many young, inexperienced parents are. People need some father figure to tell them what to do, and if Dr Sears doesn't do it, they might turn to someone like Ezzo.

In summarizing my little novel I wrote here, I love Dr Sears, but I don't follow, nor do I endorse all of his philosophies. But I appreciate his efforts to build a better society by teaching people to be better parents.
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#27 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 09:05 AM
 
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In agreement with the others that believe in a lot of his advice, he personally annoys me - I find he is often patronizing in tone and tends to minimize a woman's struggles at times.

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#28 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 09:13 AM
 
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It seems that in many discussions I've been in on here in the past, men can "mother" just as well as women can. I'm confused to now be reading that men can't give appropriate parenting advice...

I like him a lot. Take what you need, leave what you don't. Unfortunately, some of the very best parenting info. out there is so far from mainstream that most people would never come across it or write it off if they did. I'm thankful that there is a natural birth, AP advocate that is well-regarded in mainstream America who can hopefully counteract some of the really scary parenting "advice" that's out there.
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#29 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 09:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by candiland
It seems that in many discussions I've been in on here in the past, men can "mother" just as well as women can. I'm confused to now be reading that men can't give appropriate parenting advice....
I think plenty of dads can give great parenting advice (Leonard Cohen - author of Playful Parenting, for one) but they simply do not come equipped with the biologically driven instincts that women do.....when it comes to the infant stage, at least. Call me the anti-feminist if you wish, but there IS a difference and a big one, in my opinion (and in the opinion of my breasts :LOL )
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#30 of 81 Old 03-02-2005, 10:15 AM
 
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Honestly, I posted earlier that I love him. I really do like their books a lot. As far as the baby book is concerned, it was truly wonderful to have the basics outlined. My background was not AP so to have someone affirm my instinct to pick up my crying baby....to sleep with my newborn, etc etc was really helpful to me.

There is no perfect book out there. Mama's and daddys need to dig down and find their own way with their unique child.

Besides when there is Crap like the pearls floating around out there, aren't most of you generally happy that there is a Christian that isn't advocating beating the devil out of your kids? For whatever you can object to, his core values are really good and I think packaged in a way that is attractive to people who may have never considered any ap values until their pregnancy or birth of their child.
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