Friday, July 20, 2012 - 5:30 pm
AP Potluck at 355 Naughright Road, Long Valley

Topic: Attachment Parenting, Co-Parenting, and Extended Family

Attachment Parenting can be challenging in a world that still doesn't necessarily support the idea of granting children some autonomy even when they are very small and respecting them as individuals with their own ideas, wants, needs, and personalities. This can present a challenge when co-parents aren't always on the same page. And now that it's summer - which means summer vacations, often spent with extended family - the challenges can be greater when grandparents and other relatives challenge our parenting practices. At our next meeting, we will discuss strategies for dealing with these delicate issues while maintaining strong relationships among all members of our families.

Recommended Reading: On Being a Parenting Original by Kelly Coyle DiNorcia, Mothering Magazine, March/April 2008



Topic: What is Attachment Parenting? (And What Isn't?)
Date: Friday, June 15, 2012

In the wake of the infamous Time magazine cover asking women, "Are You Mom Enough?", a discussion has erupted over Attachment Parenting. Is it an extreme form of martyrdom, or is it a common sense way of raising children? At this meeting, we discussed the principles of Attachment Parenting, and talked about what it means to be AP. (Hint: it isn't about self-denial and total subjugation of the self to the betterment of the children!) We also talked about the idea put forth by Elisabeth Badinter in her new book that Attachment Parenting in general, and breastfeeding in particular, are destroying feminism by tying women to the home after they have fought so hard to gain equal footing in the workplace. For a thorough and thoughtful discussion of this idea - Why Women Still Can't Have It All - take a look at this article by Anne-Marie Slaughter in The Atlantic.


The No-Cry Sleep Solution

by Elizabeth Pantley

There are two schools of thought for encouraging babies to sleep through the night: the hotly debated Ferber technique of letting the baby "cry it out," or the grin-and-bear-it solution of getting up from dusk to dawn as often as necessary. If you don't believe in letting your baby cry it out, but desperately want to sleep, there is now a third option, presented in Elizabeth Pantley's sanity-saving book The No-Cry Sleep Solution

Pantley's successful solution has been tested and proven effective by scores of mothers and their babies from across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Based on her research, Pantley's guide provides you with effective strategies to overcoming naptime and nighttime problems. The No-Cry Sleep Solution offers clearly explained, step-by-step ideas that steer your little ones toward a good night's sleep--all with no crying.


Attachment Parenting International (API) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization founded in 1994 to network with parents, professionals and like-minded organizations around the world. API boasts an impressive group of board and advisory board members, including Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, R.N., author and co-sleeping specialist Dr. James McKenna, Lu Hannessian of LetTheBabyDrive.com, author Alice Miller and Jan Hunt of the Natural Child Project, among others. API’s mission is to educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world. In addition to providing assistance in forming Attachment Parenting support groups, API functions as a clearinghouse providing educational materials, research information, consultative, referral and speaker services to promote Attachment Parenting concepts.

Attachment Parenting International promotes parenting methods that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents. Through education, support, advocacy and research, Attachment Parenting International seeks to strengthen families. More information about Attachment Parenting International can be found at www.attachmentparenting.org.


The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we'd like them to interact with others.

Attachment Parenting isn't new. In many ways, it is a return to the instinctual behaviors of our ancestors. In the last sixty years, the behaviors of attachment have been studied extensively by psychology and child development researchers, and more recently, by researchers studying the brain. This body of knowledge offers strong support for the idea that this style of parenting is key to the optimal development of children.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What AP is NOT submitted by Kelly Coyle DiNorcia

In anticipation of next week's open house, I sent out about a million (give or take) press releases and brochures to local papers, radio stations, magazines, and practitioners. One of them was my own pediatrician. Imagine my surprise when I went in for a visit today and there was my letter and brochure, clipped to my son's chart. I should have known that she would never post anything in her office about an organization that she didn't thoroughly research and support.

Tell me what this is all about, she said.

I was totally caught off guard and not having my best day in general, so I definitely wasn't in PR mode. I blathered something incoherent about co-sleeping, or maybe breastfeeding, and mentioned positive discipline.

No, I mean give me an example of something a child might do and how you might handle it, she said, cutting to the chase.

I couldn't really think of anything, so she began to talk about how kids today "don't know how to act". From what I could gather, she shares one of the most common misconceptions about AP, which is that AP equals letting kids do whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want.

On the API website there is a blog post by Dr. Lawrence Cohen, author of one of my all-time favorite parenting books, Playful Parenting. He discusses some of the most common difficulties that attached parents run into, such as aggressiveness, defiance and oversensitivity between the ages of 2 and 4. He assures parents that this does not mean that they are doing it wrong, or that AP is wrong, but that every approach has its drawbacks and these are the common "itches" (his word) associated with AP.

So, back to Dr. B - she said that as much as she loves kids (and she does, she's a wonderful woman and amazingly compassionate physician) she asks not to be seated near them when she goes out to eat, because kids don't know how to act in restaurants. Now, most of the advice she's given me has been in line with the principles of AP, so I'd find it difficult to believe that she expects young kids to sit quietly for an hour or two in a restaurant listening to adult conversation, but for the sake of argument, let's say she does. Clearly, it is more pleasant to dine with a three-year-old who acts that way than it is to dine with, say, MY three-year-old. If I were out for a rare adults-only dinner, I wouldn't want to sit by a three-year-old either. I've been out to eat where the child at the table next to us was literally throwing glasses and plates off the table, smashing them on the floor, and the parents did nothing to stop the behavior. True story. I would argue that it isn't the child who doesn't know how to behave in that case, but the adult, but that's besides the point.

The question remains, is it that my three-year-old doesn't know how to act in restaurants, or is it that we, as a culture, have unreasonable expectations of three-year-olds in restaurants? Is it realistic to expect her to sit quietly in a chair for an hour or so? Or should we choose our dining establishments more carefully, or plan more thoroughly, or maybe forgo public eateries for a few years?

To get back to the point - AP is not permissive parenting. Kids need limits. Hitting: not okay. Biting: not okay. Running in the street: definitely not okay. Smashing plates on the floor: we're leaving, after we pay the manager for the broken dinnerware. What I tried, with very minimal success, to explain to Dr. B is that it's not about anything goes parenting, because we all (or we all should) have rules. It's about how we get our kids to comply with rules. Do they comply because they're afraid of what we'll do to them if they don't? If so, that's not AP. Do they comply because they are aware of natural consequences? Maybe AP. Do they comply because they have a respectful relationship with you, the parent, and as such wish to maintain the give-and-take that such a relationship entails? BINGO!

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