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#91 of 117 Old 05-02-2007, 09:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by marybethorama View Post
the biggest thing for me is that I ap because I believe it's the right thing for my kids. I don't believe that ap is outcome-based. I don't for a minute believe that ap OR crunchy parenting guarantees perfectly behaved kids. It doesn't IME.

I also don't see such a big difference between "ap" and "mainstream" parenting as kids get older. I see many "mainstream" parents who may not have breastfeed very long but use gentle discipline and are very loving and attached.

I also have seen parents who ap'ed and were crunchy who are not gentle with their kids and TBH are not nice to their kids.

I think ap is the best way to meet babies needs BUT as kids get older their needs change. Many parents may not ap babies but they still use ap practices as their kids get older.
: I'm at work so I can't post more but having a 15 yo and 21 mo I absolutely agree with you, what's important when your kids are small really matters less when they grow up. I feel bad at times that my eldest was not BF but at 15 he really does not care.

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Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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#92 of 117 Old 05-02-2007, 10:48 AM
 
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What an interesting discussion! I really hate seeing people gang up on posters looking for a little "yeah that," once in a while. I think sometimes we post because we are looking for outside support for our choices. That's not even about being insecure, it's just about feeling part of a larger community of like-minded people, IMO.

I have to laugh at the idea of AP being mainstream. Here in the DC area the norm is formula feeding. The stats I guess are that 70% of moms nationwide try to breastfeed, but that does not translate to duration of time or nursing in public. I have yet to even see another mama breastfeed here (I mean in my entire life), except for moms I know from my AP group. At LLL meetings here even many LLL leaders admit they don't/won't nurse in public. That isn't to say it doesn't happen, but I do not think it is the norm.

My ped just recommended I start my 4 month old on solids. That is mainstream.

My SIL has no shame about slapping her six year old in public. That is mainstream.

My brother screams, yells, shames, and enforces time-outs on his kids... that is mainstream. (BTW their kids are beautiful and wonderful. I believe they'll have issues related to this though, only because *I* do... my brother is 9 years older than me and used many of the same tactics on me when I was a kid.)

I saw a mama recently at a store shopping with her brand newborn (3 weeks-ish) in a pram with a bottle propped in her mouth. The mom was a few feet away from the pram checking out clothes. That is mainstream.

At least it is here! I've lived in the DC area my whole life. Now you all sure are making me want to move to California, but California is really not America. It's like its own little country. If it weren't so $$$ to live there, I'd be there! I think even people who aren't "crunchy" to you in CA, are probably kind of "crunchy" to the majority of the US! LOL!

I DO however believe that some aspects of the AP lifestyle are becoming more mainstream. I say "some aspects of the AP lifestyle," because the reality is that there is not a checklist. If you check out the API website AP is described as "behaviors which foster attachment." That is it. That can be MANY different things. Some things are generally thought to foster attachment, like breastfeeding, and some to foster detachment, like spanking... but there is still a HUGE range of behaviors in there and it is tough to judge from the outside. And many parents do things from many parts of the parenting spectrum.

Now I have a friend who describes herself as AP and is constantly talking about other moms she knows... "Oh, she is not really AP!" I'm like... why? Is it a club? Do you get to decide who belongs? I really hate that attitude. :

BTW vaxing has nothing whatsoever to do with AP. :
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#93 of 117 Old 05-02-2007, 12:14 PM
 
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so is the issue that mainstream parents are feeling attacked?
because that makes this thread make sense...
Not really. I wouldn't consider myself mainstream and I don't feel attacked, although several other posters have stated that the judgemental attitude makes them wary of posting here.

The OP sets up a false dichotomy. What is AP and what is mainstream? With all the discussions of "mainstream" on this thread, people give their own experiences and it's all different. The behaviors prettypixel describes in her post as "mainstream" in DC are definitely NOT "mainstream" where I come from in the U.S., and no I'm not from California, I'm from Washington state. So we can't really define "mainstream". As for AP, at its core it simply means to create a loving attached relationship with your children; my mom didn't do any of the AP "rules" but she loved me and spent time with me and created opportunities for me and we are close because of that. So it's doing a disservice to AP to reduce it to a list of behaviors that one does or doesn't do.

The labels simply are not helpful at all, and they are hurtful because they create an "us vs. them" dynamic. That's what I'm responding to in the OP.
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#94 of 117 Old 05-02-2007, 12:39 PM
 
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so now youre taking the stance of not knowing what mainstream is.



i think ill just go over here now....

Mother to Sandrel(oct 2003) and Liesl(mar 2006) and someone new coming February 2013

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#95 of 117 Old 05-02-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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GD is certainly not mainstream in the U.S. Individuals may find GD communities in specific geographic locations, but the country as a whole is not GD.

You can find statistics similar to these all over the net. The following is from

http://www.neverhitachild.org/unspar1.html

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Here are some facts about spanking, culled from several recent national surveys of parents:

- 68 percent of American parents think spanking is not only good but essential to child rearing;

- 90 percent of parents spank their toddlers at least three times a week; two-thirds spank them once a day;

- One in four parents begin to spank when their child is 6 months old, 50 percent when their child is 12 months old;

- 52 percent of 13- and 14-year-olds get spanked; 20 percent of high school seniors do.

For someone like me, who was spanked once as a child and doesn't believe in spanking as a parent, these statistics were stunning. Healthy skeptic that I am, I decided to ask parents attending workshops at Families First, a parent education resource in Cambridge, to answer a questionnaire on spanking. To my further surprise, their responses mirrored the national surveys. Of 63 parents, 39, or nearly 62 percent, said they spank.

Sociologist Murray Strauss, the nation's foremost researcher on spanking, was surprised only that the numbers weren't higher. He attributes that to geography: Studies show parents in the Northeast spank the least, parents in the South, the most.
Also remember that public school spanking is legal in approximately half of all states in the U.S.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#96 of 117 Old 05-02-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Thao View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by izobelle
To think that it's these activities that make an attached family, rather than the overall attitude of acceptance and deep-seated love, is a very superficial take on attachment and what the authors of the AP movement meant.
This bears repeating.

I do most of the AP "checklist" of things, but I don't assume for a minute that this means I am more attached to my kid than a parent who doesn't. I do them because they feel right for me and my kid, period. My mother didn't breastfeed, babywear, cosleep, or GD, and we have always been extremely attached because she always loved me and did everything she could for me that she knew how.

Superficial?

Perhaps the idea of attachment as a litmus test is... But let's cut to the heart of the matter - in the GD forum, let's go with GD. Are you (any "you" taking this general position, that is) willing to stand behind the idea that spanking, shaming, or otherwise unfairly wielding parental power over children (and I'm including the whole spectrum here, so let's not get bogged down on a tangent about particulars...) does not damage them, and therefore the parent / child relationship?

:
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#97 of 117 Old 05-02-2007, 02:08 PM
 
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Let's keep in mind the forum guidelines for Gentle Discipline:

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Effective discipline is based on loving guidance. It is based on the belief that children are born innately good and that our role as parents is to nurture their spirits as they learn about limits and boundaries, rather than to curb their tendencies toward wrongdoing. Effective discipline presumes that children have reasons for their behavior and that cooperation can be engaged to solve shared problems.
Also the following MDC statement:

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Mothering advocates natural family living, including the ancient way of being with babies and children that is known today as attachment parenting. This way is reliant on the inherent integrity of children and the inviolate intuition of parents. The family is the dominion of parents and children and authoritative knowledge rests with them. This website is a place to safely explore all the aspects involved in such a parenting philosophy.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#98 of 117 Old 05-02-2007, 03:01 PM
 
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"Superficial?

But let's cut to the heart of the matter - in the GD forum, let's go with GD. Are you (any "you" taking this general position, that is) willing to stand behind the idea that spanking, shaming, or otherwise unfairly wielding parental power over children (and I'm including the whole spectrum here, so let's not get bogged down on a tangent about particulars...) does not damage them, and therefore the parent / child relationship?"

I would absolutely never say that shaming a child, for example, was not damaging. I don't see how that flows out of anything that I've said. All I've said is that there is not a simple dichotomy of AP and mainstream, with one being simply good and the other being simply bad or somehow damaging.

For one thing, we have Canadians, British, Australians, and Americans, and people from other, non-English speaking countries on this board. What is mainstream in one state or province is not mainstream in another. What is mainstream among poor families is not always accepted among upper-middle class ones. When we suggest that mainstream is not a cut-and-dry parenting philosophy that is diametrically opposed to attachment parenting- that's just to say you can be attached without co-sleeping.

I just don't understand how we got from a very basic statement- that parenting is not black and white, as in "AP or not", to spanking is OK.

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#99 of 117 Old 05-02-2007, 03:24 PM
 
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Aside from the fact that you refuse to use the quote function, why did you snip my post without noting that you did so? What you left out is speaking to everything else you said following.

Please take care to quote properly.
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#100 of 117 Old 05-02-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aira View Post
But let's cut to the heart of the matter - in the GD forum, let's go with GD. Are you (any "you" taking this general position, that is) willing to stand behind the idea that spanking, shaming, or otherwise unfairly wielding parental power over children (and I'm including the whole spectrum here, so let's not get bogged down on a tangent about particulars...) does not damage them, and therefore the parent / child relationship?
Of course not. But this thread is not titled "AP/spanking, shaming, and unfairly wielding parental power = big difference". There are plenty of parents who would be considered "mainstream" by this board who do not spank or shame. My objection is to the use of a vague, unhelpful labels rather than simply focusing on the specific behaviors involved. That's what I've been saying from the start, it's why I've been putting the word "mainstream" in quotes.

I don't argue that spanking is still the dominant paradigm in the U.S. But the word "mainstream" encompasses so much more than just discipline style. Say a mother doesn't spank but bottle feeds, doesn't sling, and sleeps separately from her child. She would be considered "mainstream", right?
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#101 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 01:39 AM
 
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I don't argue that spanking is still the dominant paradigm in the U.S. But the word "mainstream" encompasses so much more than just discipline style. Say a mother doesn't spank but bottle feeds, doesn't sling, and sleeps separately from her child. She would be considered "mainstream", right?
The OP's family in question did spank. For me personally, and perhaps for others, that resolved any doubt as to whether the OP was justified in drawing a line between ap/mainstream in this instance. I can see where some definitions of gd are too narrow, but I think the OP correctly assumed she was not dealing with an ap/gd family. I understand that was mixed in with other decisions that were irrelevant (tv use). I understand that was called out as such (irrelevant). But even without the addition of those items she wasn't describing gd, kwim?

Perhaps I'm trying to get clear in my own head what is being debated...

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#102 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 01:54 AM
 
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No-one is advocating spanking at all, and I'm not really sure how it came into the debate. Some of us are resisting the labelling that is at the heart of this thread. To me, it's simplistic and not useful.

Where I'm from spanking is illegal. It certainly isn't "mainstream". I feel like this label is being tossed around like it has some inherent meaning. It doesn't.
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#103 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 02:58 AM
 
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But this thread is not titled "AP/spanking, shaming, and unfairly wielding parental power = big difference".
Where's the "yeah that" smiley?

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#104 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 03:07 AM
 
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Heartmama- for me, the question is whether everyone who is not AP is mainstream, and whether it's useful to have just two labels, one of which encompasses all that is good and attachment, and another which encompasses all that is bad and detached.

When we frame it as AP vs. mainstream, that is what we do. We take billions of parents and say: okay, either you're with us (how many AP activities do you have to check off to be with us?) or against us (are you a circumcising Muslim family? does your baby sleep better by herself? do you spank? do you beat the crap out of your toddler? you must be "mainstream"). I personally don't like that mentality.

For me, parenting is a spectrum. Dr. Sears used to advocate spanking- was he not attached at that time? The OP- and again, I do sympathise with her feelings after what she saw- has taken one family at one point in their lives and used it to form an idea of a polar-type dichotomy that just doesn't exist.

And the whole mainstream label to encompass everyone from people who live as Pirates and also spank to, say, upper class twits who don't but who send their kids to boarding school at six, to my mom is not helpful either.

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#105 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 10:25 AM
 
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bbrandonsmom, I was thinking of you this morning and wanted to give you a

Boys: 12/94, 1/99, 11/03, 6/11. Girls: 11/06, 10/09, 12/12 2ndtri.gif

 
       

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#106 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 12:17 PM
 
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Another to you, mama. I know you didn't have any intention of starting a debate with your post.

I think that there are many of us here, though, that get a lot out of these discussions. It would be so nice if there was a place on MDC where we could have these more philosophical/theoretical discussions. They keep popping up in threads where that wasn't the intial intention and I'm sure it makes the OP feel uncomfortable.

Can't we have a forum for discussions on broader topics??
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#107 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 01:13 PM
 
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Alright, so you're saying that the bone of contention here is the term "mainstream". Right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao
As for AP, at its core it simply means to create a loving attached relationship with your children; my mom didn't do any of the AP "rules" but she loved me and spent time with me and created opportunities for me and we are close because of that. So it's doing a disservice to AP to reduce it to a list of behaviors that one does or doesn't do.
This quote seems to exemplify the idea that you're putting across, right?


The issue is that you're making a false dichotomy that sort of supercedes the one you're talking about. It's not either a checklist or a parenting free-for-all. There are gradiations of parenting choices that we can say are optimal and others that are not. AP is not just a mystical, undefined "spirit" of parenting - a vague intention - nor is it a rigid checklist. And to cast it as such is this larger false dichotome.

We can talk about these things with a common understanding that some parenting choices meet children's needs and others don't. There are qualifiable aspects to parenting that are superior in terms of healthy outcome for a child. BFing is one. (That takes on many shapes and forms, like in my case EPing.) GD is another aspect that, at least on this board, is not debatable as a superior choice to shaming, smacking, or punative measures. On MDC, we don't take the stance that circ has no effect on babies, and therefore AP - we simply don't discuss religious circ. It's not the same as saying "It doesn't matter." I've also seen many times on the Nighttime Forum where people are supported for having a baby who prefers solitary sleep. The point is it's meeting the needs of the child and not ignoring them.


If your mom spanked, left you alone, and whatever else, you may have overcome the lack of needs-meeting in those areas, and put it into a perspective that she really did her best. You may be close with her now. But that is not the same as AP. And that being the case doesn't mean then that AP is a "checklist".

Distilling these things down to a "checklist" doesn't serve the cause anymore than what you're miffed about the OP doing. She used a shorthand way of communicating apoint. So are you. It's not a checklist. The biggest difference I see, is that she truncated a valid concept backed with vast knowledge that supports attachment practices as the superior choices. And she did it in a way that communicated exactly what she meant to others who are feeling her pain.

This really gets to the idea that those who are up in arms about the way she chose to convey the concept of "sup-optimal parenting choices" as mainstream, are feeling something like guilt. What are we debating here? That optimal parenting choices are mainstream? Heartmama posted links addressing that. Seems an absurd thing to get offended over. Are we debating the idea that everyone gets to do what they want with their kids without "judgement"? This is what was expressed back on page 1. Very different than how things are being framed on pages 5-6... Feeling those goalposts changing around...
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#108 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 01:23 PM
 
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This really gets to the idea that those who are up in arms about the way she chose to convey the concept of "sup-optimal parenting choices" as mainstream, are feeling something like guilt. What are we debating here? That optimal parenting choices are mainstream? Heartmama posted links addressing that. Seems an absurd thing to get offended over.
I don't feel guilty OR offended. I do feel sorry that the OP feels that some of us were twisting her meaning. I do understand her general feeling- that their actions, and the theory behind them- are not doing these kids good. She is sorry for the children and is glad that she can do better for hers. Boy, can I sympathise! However I would not lump all non-AP practicers into the mainstream, and I would not lump all followers of Dr. Spock into a strictly non-attachment category.

I agree that an AP/GD theory thread or sub-forum might be interesting and take some of the pressure off people who are posting from the heart and who don't want to get into the philosophical stuff.

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#109 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 01:30 PM
 
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I think much if the time it is just easier to say "mainstream" or "AP" instead of writing a paragraph about what they mean to you. My guess is that if you polled all the MDC members at least 80% of them would come up with pretty similar definitions. So for the sake of quick prose when you have a baby or toddler calling you I think using words like that is pretty handy.
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#110 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 01:38 PM
 
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"My guess is that if you polled all the MDC members at least 80% of them would come up with pretty similar definitions."

Really? Off to start a spinoff thread on that.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#111 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 02:24 PM
 
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Why bother? Check the guidelines in each forum. It's clear and well-defined what we hold as optimal and why.

This is MDC, right?
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#112 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 03:23 PM
 
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This really gets to the idea that those who are up in arms about the way she chose to convey the concept of "sup-optimal parenting choices" as mainstream, are feeling something like guilt.
Why should I feel guilt? I'm comfortable with my parenting choices.

I just take umbrage at the fact that somebody like my friend who didn't BF, gave me her baby sling after trying it once, and whose son sleeps in his own room (and always has) is a SUB-OPTIMAL PARENT.

On the contrary, she is a WONDERFUL mother. She has made different choices along the path than some of you might have made, but that doesn't mean her kid is going to grow up any worse off than yours is.

I love AP parenting and it's the way to go for our family, but for crying out loud, it's not the only way to bring up kids successfully. What a narrow world view to think that it is.
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#113 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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Right but the OP was talking about her friend, not yours. She said in that situation she clearly saw a connection between the way the kids turned out and the way they had been parented.
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#114 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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Why bother? Check the guidelines in each forum. It's clear and well-defined what we hold as optimal and why.

This is MDC, right?
Amen. I feel like some posters have started an arguing point and are going to follow it til the grave. Who cares what the definition of mainstream is? I got what the OP was saying. It seems like even the people have started this sideline debate got what the OP was saying. Who cares if the label wasn't used correctly.

The point is there is no perfect mainstream and AP label. The labels' usefulness is only in its communication among people. If we get into the pointless debates about what is mainstream and what is not when we are clearly on MDC which has clear board guidelines (supports breastfeeding, not spanking, not circumcising, and cosleeping options), it just doesn't make sense and it just becomes semantics. AP is not a checklist. But, there are specific AP practices.

Also, saying that some parenting practices are more optimal, more beneficial or more nutritious than other practices does NOT mean that parents who don't use these practices, for whatever reason, are bad parents or are SUBOPTIMAL parents.

But, it's not "whatever works" when it comes to being a parent. Having said that, I don't believe in condemning parents or judging them as people but do I judge parenting practices and weigh some as better than others? Absolutely. I wouldn't be here at MDC if I didn't.

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#115 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 07:10 PM
 
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Well said, chinaKat. This is the problem I have with presuming that one way is superior to another. Most parents are doing the best they can.

And I find the implication that opinions like this don't belong on MDC incredibly irritating. It gets to feeling like a sorority of sorts where critical thinking is not valued. Isn't a diversity of opinion interesting? It's curious to me that threads like this get so hostile and defensive...boards like the utnecafe don't ever get like this and often very differing views are posting and challenging one another...respectfully.

I am doing the very best that I can for my children, but I would in no way suggest that my way is somehow better than someone else's (with the exception of verbal, emotional and physical abuse, of course). Of course I think that I'm making the best choices for my children...but that is what fits me and my kids.
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#116 of 117 Old 05-03-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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I know several people who don't co-sleep, used CIO, never bf, always used strollers etc...

But now they use GD and now that their kids are older, anyone would admire the families they have built: closely bonded, fun loving, happy, with kids who are every parent's dream.

As someone here said, I think its almost impossible to build a great family if you shame or demean children. But those who do things differently than I do can certainly do so, and often do a great job of it.
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#117 of 117 Old 05-04-2007, 01:28 AM
 
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Aira, I'm trying to figure out how to say this so it's clear. I am not setting up a false dichotomy saying that AP is either so vague as to be meaningless or so rigid it is nothing more than a list. What I am saying is that the range of behaviors advocated by AP is very wide and when played out in actual family situations will often overlap with what many people on this board would call "mainstream" behaviors. So a given family may be (for lack of better terms) hard-core AP; or AP with some mainstream mixed in; or mainstream with some AP mixed in. Also, in terms of results acheived, there is the fact that some completely "mainstream" families can do manage to raise attached kids (I'm one) and some completely "AP" families occasionally produce very self-absorbed kids. So while I understand that labelling can simplify things, it can also distort the complexity of reality and alienate people. By casting the family with poor parenting as a "mainstream" family the OP implied that all "mainstream" families are like this and all "AP" families are wonderful, even though that was not her intention.

And when I read these boards I do not see that AP or GD is so easily defined. Yes, there are guidelines in the forum; there are also countless threads trying to parse exactly what those guidelines mean. Is it okay to use any kind of force with a kid? Are timeouts GD? What is coercion? Etc etc. People come to different conclusions and so the definition varies from family to family, just as the definition of "mainstream" varies dependending on where one lives (like the poster who lives in a country where spanking is illegal and so is definitely not "mainstream". Or don't non-US members count?).

As for the idea that those of us who are saying this are really just secretly guilty that we aren't practicing optimal parenting, I have to say that is insulting. Like we should only be concerned about the feelings of families that might be considered "mainstream" if we personally are one. Well, I can assure you that if you came and lived with my family for a week, you'd probably consider us "AP" so that is not my motivation. Nor do I see that we have "moved any goalposts"; there are multiple issues under discussion (definition of AP and Mainstream, whether AP is the only way to raise well-adjusted kids, labelling leading to judging...). I think the discussion would go better if we did not try to ascribe ulterior motives to each other.
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