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.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The AP Balancing Act

This past weekend, I took a trip to Washington DC with my sister and the kids. Our plan was to go down on Friday, get settled in the hotel that night, then get up Saturday morning, go to the Green Festival in the morning and the zoo in the afternoon, go back to the Festival on Sunday morning for awhile and then head home.

Ah, the best laid plans.

Our schedule did look like that. However, the effort it took to keep it all together while getting around was frustrating and exhausting. Bess, a very spirited and sensitive child, was totally overstimulated by the city and disrupted by the change in routine and environment. It took us an hour and a half to walk the six blocks from the hotel to the Convention Center because she wanted to stop and look at every leaf, feel the sidewalks with their different textures, listen to the birds and the traffic, and climb on every statue. She didn't want to hold our hands while we navigated crowded sidewalks and busy streets. By the time we were ready to go to the zoo, she was so exhausted that she had a complete meltdown and fell asleep by six that evening. The next morning she was up before five, so by the time 2 pm came and I was poised to see the one speaker I had come for, she had had enough and we had to walk out.

Through it all, I tried to stay calm. I tried to remember that, at three years old, she is egocentric and developmentally unable to consider a perspective other than her own. I tried to be sympathetic to the fact that she, like the adults in our party, was totally exhausted and overwhelmed by the sights, the noise, and our ambitious agenda. But I was frustrated. I wanted to look at the exhibits, to listen to some interesting speakers, to enjoy the zoo. I didn't get to do any of that, and I was mad.

So I began to wonder - where was the balance in this situation? My sister really wanted to see the animals at the zoo, and so did I. She is a zoologist, and there were some really interesting and rare animals she wanted to view. I really wanted to hear the speakers at the Festival, and so did she. As a student of humane education, I had the opportunity to learn about what is going on in my field, to meet some interesting people, and to hear some new ideas. Neither one of us got our needs met. Neither did Bess, really.

Part of AP is making sure everyone's needs are getting met, within reason. When babies are small, their needs often take priority over ours. A hungry baby gets fed before we do. A baby who is crying at 2 am gets attended to at the cost of our own rest. But as our children grow, they start to be able to defer their own needs and we can start to rediscover ours.

I'm not sure what I could have done differently to make this weekend go more smoothly. Bess is an exuberant, observant and strong-willed child who is exploring her independence in age-appropriate ways. Usually, that's perfectly fine with me, but this time I hoped I could do what *I* wanted to do. Perhaps the trip was just ill-conceived and there was nothing that could have been done to improve the outcome. If you have any thoughts, please comment! I would love some ideas!

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