Our mission is to promote parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents. We believe these practices nurture and fulfill a child's need for trust, empathy, and affection, providing a lifelong foundation for healthy, enduring relationships.
Read Our Eight Principles
The month of January was named for the Roman God Janus. He's that funny two faced God, the God of Gates, who can see where he's headed as well as where he's been. I think he's a very apt symbol for a month which represents the beginning of a new year, because he gives us an example of Perspective.
New parents are kept in the moment by their newborns. Infants have immediate needs, as their brains are forming connections and learning about the world, how quickly those needs are met can structure the kind of world they live in. They can have a very "iffy" world where sometimes they get fed right away, or sometimes they have to wait, or they can be born into a "scary world" where they can cry and cry and nothing happens, or they can have a comforting world where pretty much their needs get met right away or are even anticipated.
In order to give an infant that comforting world, parents need to be in the moment. And it's hard to put a little person's needs first, especially through colic and teething and all the other trials of the early years. But it does pay off. As a leader I've been there, done that, and I can reassure a parent that indeed, it all is for a reason.
While I still stay pretty much in the moment with my ten year old son, one of the benefits I have as an API leader is that I am also in the position of Janus, looking forward and back at the same time. My son self-weaned at four, has slept through the night for the last 7.5 years and now prefers to be the one to initiate hugs because he doesn't like me being too mushy.
As a leader, I can give perspective to new parents and at the same time gain perspective on my own parenting. I can tell parents that AP'ing their child is a good thing for many, many reasons. I can savor a bit more the memories of my son's babyhood because my recollection is constantly being refreshed by parents seeking advice.
Thank you API for helping me be in a great relationship with my son and for letting me help so many other parents on their journey!
If there isn't an API chapter where you are, please consider becoming a leader or co-leader. And if there is a group where you are, please do give it your support by becoming a member.
|Necessity--The Mother of Invention|
by Michel Chesal
When pregnant with my first child, I knew I was going to be carrying our baby, co-sleeping, and breastfeeding to increase connectedness. I was just following my instincts. It was a lifestyle choice that I found out later had the name of attachment parenting.
It was a great pregnancy and birth. And though we didn't know until our son was born that he was a Down's child, his special needs didn't change a thing in our parenting plans, except to make us more determined to meet those needs.
Children with Down's syndrome have low muscle tone, along with other health issues and we quickly found that most of the baby wearing devices on the market couldn't give him the support he needed to sit up or face forward. And the ones which did have that support put too much pressure on his hips. We needed something which would work with his physical therapy, not against it.
So, I began to experiment with the existing carriers. I connected two pouch type carriers with a double loop and this gave us the best of both worlds. Our son would have the swaddling he needed to ride sitting up, without the strain on his hip joints. We carried him everywhere.
The carrier worked well with our next two children. People would stop us on the street to find out where we got ours. With all the attention we were getting, we decided to market our creation-the Baby Ktan Carrier.
Attachment Parenting has always been in our hearts and minds as parents and we are thankful that it has helped us raise our amazing children. But it came with a side bonus: because of our first son's needs we now have a business which helps other parents keep close to their kids.
To find out more about her carriers please visit Michel's website.
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."
Clarification on Previous Custody Article
The goal of API is to make people aware that children need to form a close bond with a loving adult figure in the early years of life.
The majority of time, and historically, it has been mothers; but that is not to say that fathers are not just as capable of caring for their young. We celebrate that more and more fathers are becoming stay-at-home dads. We embrace fathers wholeheartedly. Our world and our children need nurturing, sensitive fathers. In writing about custody issues, we did not intend any disrespect at all toward fathers, if that was perceived. Certainly it would have been better had a statement been included about stay-at-home fathers or fathers who are the primary caregivers. The wonderful fathers in API are good about reminding us of that when we tend to be to "mom" focused. It is not intentional. We have added, in our 8 Principals of AP document, the disclaimer that when we use the word "mother", we are referring to whoever is the primary caregiver, if it is not the mother. We do regret any perceived implication that fathers are not important.
Regarding custody situation and the courts, we hear much more frequently from mothers who say that the courts are favoring the father and some have even had their children removed or had their parental rights lost because the father has turned against AP and ultimately uses it against the mother. We continue to be horrified by these situations and do our best to help where we can, in educating the criminal justice system about attachment and AP.
Dr. Susan Markel
Please go here to read the article in November's API Links on Custody Issues.
|Executive Director Position Open
Do you have a love for attachment parenting and Attachment Parenting International?
Do you wish you had the opportunity to lead a team of dedicated staff members, volunteers, leaders, etc. while they work to educate and support parents about the benefits of Attachment Parenting?
Well the search is on at API and we would love to hear from you if you are interested in learning more about the Executive Director position within our organization. If you are able to dedicate approximately 30 hours per week, would like to work from home and enjoy flexible hours, this position may be for you! API provides a small stipend for this role, as well as the great satisfaction you receive when you work for a non-profit organization focused on bettering the lives of parents and children.
If you, or someone you know, are interested in learning more about this position please email Brandy Lance so that she can email you the job description and position requirements. We look forward to hearing from you!
Overly Aggressive Child on Playground
Question from a reader, response from The API Information Team
Q: I am concerned about a particular child I see that seems to me to be very aggressive. This child hits, pushes, mounts, and scratches the other children that he/she plays with. I have tried to engage the young child in some empathetic disciplining after the other children have been hurt, but to no avail. The mother reacts to the cries of the other children and usually approaches her child shortly after. Since I have tried to approach the little boy/girl already, I am thinking I need to address the child's mother. How do API families deal with discipline and what suggestions do you have for approaching this mother? I would like to help this child but do not want to tarnish the work the family has done, maybe they have an API strategy in place that I am not aware of?
A: Thanks for your question. API does have a stance on discipline that should help in your situation. I don't know the age of the child, but they may be having some issues related to sensory issues or stress in their home life. Behavior is always a clue to the way the child is feeling, and API believes that our job as parents is to identify the unmet needs of the child and help them to express their needs and feelings in more positive ways, rather than punish for the unacceptable behavior. Sometimes children seek attention and obtain it through any means possible, including bullying other children. Perhaps the child is seeking more one-on-one attention from the mother. Perhaps they are a child of a single mother or the father works long hours. Perhaps there is a new sibling at home. There can be many reasons why a child acts out.
A great tool for communicating with children is called "nonviolent communication" (NVC). It is a tool developed by psychologist Marshall Rosenberg and there are several books on the subject, including a few specifically related to parenting. The great thing about it is that it is very simple, easy to learn and can be used in communicating with people of all ages. Sometimes it is difficult to implement because it is so different from our normal way of communication, but just learning the basics can be very beneficial at changing the way we understand and communicate with others. He wrote a book called "Raising Children Compassionately"; here is a link to an excerpt and some additional info about NVC:
I would also recommend reading some articles about living with children on the Natural Child Project website to see if anything there might be helpful to either you or the mother:
It sounds like you really want to help this child, but if the parent dismisses the aggressive behavior and doesn't work with you to minimize it than another solution might be finding an alternate play date location. Another idea is to set up the play date so that children and parents are sharing space and their activities are monitored, so that the children's needs can be met and aggressive behavior addressed before it results in tears.
If you have questions about Attachment Parenting e-mail them here! Your questions will be considered for APILinks, for the Frequently Asked Questions section of the API Web site (currently under revision!), or for the "Ask the Founders" section of Attachment Parenting: The Journal of API.
A Perfect Valentine's Day Gift
Be a Warrior for API
Volunteer Position Spotlight
The API Technology Team is looking for some short-term volunteers in the month of February to help format the new web site's content into HTML. Just basic knowledge of HTML is needed, as all scripting, formatting and navigation will be handled separately.
To volunteer a few hours of your time, please contact Julie Artz. Other team positions are also available here.
Do you or your friends annually give to a charity? If so, please make API your charity for this year!
Do you like to give meaningful and heartfelt gifts to family and friends? If so, then please consider giving gift memberships to API!
Does your employer or your spouse's employer match contributions? If so, how about signing up with API as your matching gift fund!
Please consider how you might make a difference... our children and yours will reap the benefits. Please send in your donations to: Julia Artz.
Attachment Parenting International
PO Box 4615
Alpharetta, GA 30023
Mailing your donation ensures 100% goes to API - PayPal takes their fee from all online donations. To donate online please go here.
Benefits of Individual / Family Membership, which is $35 per year, include:
- Four issues of Attachment Parenting: The Journal of API
- Membership in local parent support group (mention your local group when you join and $15 of your membership will be retained for use in your local community)
- Discounts and early registration for API conferences and other select events
- A chance to share your passion; opportunity to become an API leader, start a new support group, or donate your skills to the API Headquarters Team
Professional Membership, which is $75 per year, is recommended for individuals who promote Attachment Parenting through their professional endeavors. This level of membership is open to anyone whose job impacts the physical, psychological, or emotional health of children and families.
Join API Today!
Our Growing Team
We have no new leaders or groups to report this month.
For information on becoming an API Leader or starting a new API Support Group, please visit our website.
New Reading Requirements for Leader Applicants
We have revised API's reading requirements. We now refer to specific books in seven categories, and we have introduced more individual flexibility at the discretion of Linda Dicus, Director of Leader Applicants. The new requirements are detailed on the Starting a Group page.
Just Two Weeks Left...
For you to take advantage of their sale and API STILL gets a 10% donation.
Whoo-Hooo! You get the best prices on great books and we get some cold hard cash.
Platypus Media is offering great holiday pricing on their books. For those of you who aren't familiar with Platypus Media, the company was founded by Dia Michels, coauthor of "Milk, Money & Madness." It is an independent press creating and distributing materials that promote breastfeeding and attachment parenting. Their goal is to bring products to the market that parents love, children enjoy, teachers appreciate, and parenting professionals value. Their books have all been approved by Attachment Parenting, International and La Leche League. This is the perfect time to stock up on books for the holidays (and even pick up some extras for the gift box!).
From now until January 31, you can....
"101 Things Everyone Should Know About Science" for FREE
Buy 4 Hardback Books...
Pay Half Price!!
Buy 6 Hardback Books...
Pay Half Price AND get FREE SHIPPING!!
Buy 10 Hardback Books...
Pay Half Price AND get FREE SHIPPING and get 4 copies of
To order, just call 202-546-1674 or visit Platypus and enter coupon code HH0Y-SIGOAX when prompted. To get API their donation, put API in the order form under "company" or mention us on the phone.
Be looking for information about our NEW curriculum coming in next month's Links, along with information about becoming a Parent Educator.
And In the Next Issue of the Journal
Attachment Parenting and Adoption
As the Journal of API has explored in many of its issues, Attachment Parenting is not exclusive to the traditional family set. In the coming Attachment Parenting and Adoption edition, you will read many articles detailing both the joys and challenges of loving and raising adopted children while practicing Attachment Parenting.
In "Attachment Issues in International Adoption," Susan Soon Keum Cox explains why it is essential for parents to remember the heritage and culture of their overseas adoptees. She begins by writing...
"There is uniqueness to being an internationally -- and transethnically -- adopted person. Most obvious is that the children grow up in a family in which they do not look like their parents or other members of their family. They were born in another country, and that history is a part of them throughout their life because it is so visibly apparent."
As Susan continues, she promotes families helping the international adoptee to learn about and embrace his ethnicity and birth country, because as she emphasizes, they have the right to "realize and cherish the fullness of their identity and place in this world."
Read this article in its entirety in the next issue of the Journal, due to be in your mailbox by mid-March.
Join today so you get a copy!
On another note, the Journal is now accepting article submissions and advertising placements for its 2008 issues. While the deadline has passed for the Annual New Baby Issue, the Editor is still considering submissions.
Submission deadlines for articles:
- Annual New Baby Issue (growing families, sibling interactions) - Deadline is passed but contact the Editor for late submissions
- AP in a Non-AP World (nurturing touch, criticism from family) - April 11th
- AP and the Growing Child (parenting children ages 5 through adult, school choices) - July 11th
- Healing Childhood Wounds (changing the patterns of our past, controlling anxiety and anger) - Oct 10th
If you are interested in submitting articles to The Journal please contact our editor.
Advertisers please go here
The mission of Attachment Parenting International (API) is to promote parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents. These practices nurture and fulfill a child's need for trust, empathy, and affection, providing a lifelong foundation for healthy, enduring relationships.
Through education, support, advocacy, and research, API seeks to strengthen families and increase awareness of the importance of secure attachment, ultimately helping to reduce or prevent child abuse, behavioral disorders, criminal acts, and other serious social problems.
I hope you enjoyed this issue of APILinks! If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about this eNewsletter, please contact me.
Avril Dannenbaum, Editor
Attachment Parenting International