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
Recently, my nearly four-year-old daughter was playing with some other children during a shopping trip to the local mall. I was keeping a close watch, and everyone seemed to be having a fun experience. Suddenly, a boy about two years old decided he wanted to stand in the spot where my daughter was standing. He gave her a strong push and overtook her position.
My daughter stepped back and looked at the boy's mother, expecting her to intervene. The mother broke momentarily from her conversation to toss a weak "don't do that" to her son, and then returned her focus to her friend. The boy went on playing, barely acknowledging his mother's presence. My daughter looked at me and burst into tears, saying "Why didn't that mommy talk to him?"
How profound that my daughter's reaction was not directed toward the boy, who was behaving in a completely age-appropriate way. She felt betrayed by the parent, who did not use the opportunity to model empathy and to begin teaching her son about being respectful in his interactions with others.
We create Attachment Parenting villages so that our children come to expect adults to behave in a predictably respectful way. Someday I envision our global village being large enough that we can tell our children that the alternative is the exception rather than the norm.
We must educate and advocate for protection of the parent-child connection because it will change the world our children will live in. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children and their families. Thank you for joining API in this monumental effort!
|A Warm Embrace|
Meet API Member Melanie
Melanie learned about API before the birth of her daughter, Ayla. "I came across the API Web site, and it seemed a little, well, 'out there.' I wasn't sure if it would be right for our family." Months later, when experiencing breastfeeding challenges, she attended her first API meeting to hear a guest presentation by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, (now a member of the API Board of Directors). "I attended a few meetings after that to get a feel for the group, and it seemed perfectly normal. Motherhood gave me new perspective. I don't know why I thought it was 'out there' before!"
Attending API meetings not only introduced Melanie and her husband Aaron to new friends, it gave them the support and confidence they needed as parents. "I pummeled the group with questions," recalls Melanie, "and it was so reassuring to hear that other parents had experienced the same things. Like when my daughter hated tummy time, I was relieved to hear that another child hated tummy time, too, and yet grew up perfectly normal, even doing gymnastics! It was that little bit of reassurance I needed."
Now Melanie often refers other parents to her API group. "When new moms I meet seem a little lost, asking lots of questions and reaching out for support, I tell them about API. Our group warmly embraced me, and I want other mothers to feel that same support," says Melanie. "Plus, it is great for our group to have the infusion of new perspectives."
Melanie and her husband now have the confidence to follow Ayla's lead. "I let her try to tell me what she needs, and then I try to be a as proactive as possible in meeting those needs," Melanie explains. "API helps me with that process."
When you support API, you allow us to educate local leaders so that they may reach out to families in their communities. Check out our support group pages for a group near you. If there isn't a group in your community, we hope you will consider volunteering to start a new group. Your contributions and donations make a difference!
|Books for Positive Change|
Share Books and Music to Support API!
API has partered with A Meaningful Fundraiser to offer the opportunity for friends and fans of API to support our vision through the purchase of warm, loving, and spiritual books and media. Ensure that "Attachment Parenting International" is selected as your fundraiser of choice, and 35% of your purchase price will be donated to Attachment Parenting International. By sharing books with your friends and family, you will be supporting our efforts to protect the parent-child connection.
Amy Powell and Rebecca Whitecotton, both work-at-home moms who practice Attachment Parenting, started A Meaningful Fundraiser as a way to share meaningful children's books with the public. Its popularity has grown so that their catalog now includes adult books, teen books, parenting books, and children's books from a large variety of smaller publishers.
One of the books available through A Meaningful Fundraiser is A Gift For Baby by API Advisory Board Member Jan Hunt. In this charming book, a child is given a large gift and imagines what it might contain but realizes that none of these items is a substitute for the love and attention that the child needs. "A Gift for Baby is a warm, inviting children's book," says Susan Esserman-Schack, API Leader and Coordinator of the API Bibliography Review Committee. "It presents the importance of people over things and family togetherness over material possessions." This book shares the joys of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and carrying your baby.
To order "A Gift for Baby," or to browse through other books for children, teens, and parents, please visit A Meaningful Fundraiser. Remember to ensure that Attachment Parenting International is selected as your fundraiser, and 35% of your purchase will support, educate, research, and advocate for protection of the parent-child connection in families worldwide.
|One Mom's Reaction|
Brandy Lance Reacts to School Violence
(written April 18th)
My husband came home today and told me something that one of his employees told him. His employee just turned 16 and attends a local high school. He said a few months ago there was a note written on of the bathroom wall that said "on April 19th, 2007 everyone here will die."
Now that we are on the heels of the Virginia Tech tragedy and on the eve of the Columbine "anniversary," they are starting to take this threat a little more seriously. Today this boy said they found a knife stuck in the cafeteria wall that says "it is not a joke." They have now given kids the option of attending school tomorrow.
It's at times like these that I appreciate Attachment Parenting and API the most. There are a lot of kids out there that feel like they go unheard by their parents, family members, friends, and communities. Some of them haven't had people reach out to them and to allow them to attach and it's beginning to show in grave ways. It saddens me and breaks my heart to think of the fear that kids everywhere are beginning to feel when they think of attending school. Last night, I was thinking back to an incident while I was in high school where a guy brought a gun to school. The authorities were tipped off and they found it in his locker. He was taken away in handcuffs and we never heard about him again. I shudder to think that my high school days could have ended much differently if I went to school these days and he was in my class.
What we do as attached parents is so powerful, so important, and it can be so life-changing. It's not only about what we do within the walls of our own homes, with our own children. It's about what we do in our communities as well...with those people that we support in our groups, with the support we give organizations like API and others that spread the word about attachment, and with children inside and outside of our "attached" circles. Now more than ever our world's children need people like you and me to help make a difference. There are obviously a TON of other factors that play a part in tragedies such as these, but attachment is definitely one of them and that's a big way in which we can make a difference.
Thanks for listening to my thoughts on this. Columbine happened in Colorado, the state where I live now and we had another school shooting in a very small mountain town last year as well, so all of this hits close to home for me. It's a little therapeutic to write all of this now.
Please go and hug your children and think of the ways you can continue to change the world that they live in.
|Protect Against Child Abuse & Neglect|
Protective Factors for Promoting Healthy Families
Prevent Child Abuse America
lists the following five protective factors as those that research has shown lead to a lower incidence of child abuse and neglect:
- Nurturing and Attachment
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child and Youth Development
- Parental Resilience
- Social Connections
- Concrete Support for Parents
Attachment Parenting International is proud that our mission
and strategic plan
serve many of these protective factor, guiding us to educate parents and clinicians, and to provide the support so desperately needed in local communities.
|Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting|
API Clarifies and Expands the Eight Ideals
Attachment Parenting international is dedicated to helping parents connect and stay connected with their children using
practices rooted in Bowlby's Attachment Theory and supported by today's leading Attachment
Parenting experts. The founders, board members, staff, and volunteers of API have been hard at
work clarifying and expanding the information contained in The Eight Ideals of Attachment
Parenting. The revisions are ready for their initial debut under a new name, The Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting. The Principles are:
The Principles combine information previously found in the Ideals for
both "infants" and "beyond the early years", and include tips on a wider variety of attachment promoting practices. An abbreviated version is now available on our Web site, and we expect full-version pamphlets to be available later this summer.
- Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
- Feed with Love and Respect
- Respond with Sensitivity
- Use Nurturing Touch
- Engage in Nighttime Parenting
- Provide Consistent and Loving Care
- Practice Positive Discipline
- Seek Balance in Personal and Family Life
from Dr. Larry Cohen, Author of Playful Parenting
"Too often we hit a wall, and on the other side of that wall sit our children, waiting for us to reconnect with them on their turf, and on their terms. We have to take the initiative in reconnecting, instead of waiting for them or giving up."
is one of many wonderful resources in the API Bibliography
under Discipline. To purchase this or other books about practicing positive discipline, visit the API Bookstore.
|Preparing in Peoria|
API of Peoria, IL Offers BabyBodyBirth Classes
"The parenting journey begins with Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting. Emphasizing that preparation in a conscious way can profoundly transform the initial attachment relationship," explains Julie Harvey, API leader in Peoria, Illinois. "Education is so key to Attachment Parenting. When parents are given the tools and information they need, it really is an investment in the future of their relationship with their child."
Julie and her group wanted to find a way to support this Principle
in their local community, while also showing pregnant women and their partners how they can establish healthy bonds with their unborn children as early in life as possible. They found the opportunity with childbirth education.
Peoria was lacking childbirth classes that were more than just a one-size-fits-all approach. "There was a real need for balanced education that exposes women and their partners to all of their birth options," says Julie, "including unmedicated vaginal, medicated vaginal, and cesarean section."
Julie and her group approached Hilary Shivren of BabyBodyBirth
(BBB) about sponsoring her classes. Hilary, a member of API since 2003, has a passion and gift for educating pregnant women and couples to improve their chances of having a positive birth experience, a key factor in bonding and reducing incidences of postpartum depression. "Sponsoring and supporting the BBB classes is just such a natural fit for our group," says Julie.
BabyBodyBirth is a unique education experience that was launched nationally in late 2006. It features three distinct classes, BABY, BODY, and BIRTH, which provide balanced education designed for adults in a non-judgmental atmosphere. The classes support parents throughout the Pregnancy Cycle (TM)
, starting when a woman is preparing her body for pregnancy and ending with weaning.
The response to the API of Peoria-sponsored classes has been overwhelmingly positive. "When I first found out I was pregnant I felt terrified more than anything else. I wasn't sure if I was going to have a natural birth or choose an epidural. I wasn't even sure whether or not I wanted a c-section," says BBB client, Danielle Atherton. "Each class with Hilary was extremely informational. She taught me that I have options. I learned how to make decisions for myself because I was informed well enough to understand the positives and negatives of every obstacle. These classes gave me peace of mind, health, comfort, and knowledge."
These classes are a tremendous asset to the Peoria community. When you support API
, you support the efforts of local Parent Support Groups to educate their communities about the Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting.
|Is Co-Sleeping Safe?|
Question from a Reader, Response from the Editor
Q: My husband and I have co-slept with our six-week-old son since he was born. My friend forwarded me a statement from the Consumer Safety Product Commission saying that this practice is unsafe. Am I putting my son at risk by co-sleeping?
API's Principle of "Engage in Nighttime Parenting" explains our belief that babies need attention and affection from their parents during the night. Parents can be responsive to their children in many different physical sleeping arrangements, and for many families, co-sleeping or near-sleeping is the easiest and most enjoyable.
Babies who co-sleep have been found to breastfeed more, sleep more, and cry less. Furthermore, close proximity of a caregiver may help the infant's immature nervous system learn to self-regulate during sleep, preventing them from entering into sleep states that are too deep, and helping them to 'remember' to breathe. In the long term, children who co-sleep during the early years have been shown to grow up with higher self-esteem, more positive behavior, and increased life satisfaction.
The CPSC recommendation against co-sleeping is based upon data that is incomplete, unreliable, and misleading. It is extremely important that when parents choose to co-sleep they do so safely. The CPSC relied on statistics that included cases of SIDS attributable to known risk factors, and others that did not adequately evaluate the factors surrounding the death. The complete truth is that when bedsharing occurs in conjunction with breastfeeding amongst mothers who do not smoke and who know basic sleep environment safety, SIDS and infant deaths are actually reduced.
When practiced safely, co-sleeping offers many benefits to parents and their children. Regardless of the sleep arrangement chosen by any individual family, it is important to remain engaged and responsive throughout the night.
To read more about API's response to the CPSC, please visit the co-sleeping area our Web site.
If you have questions about Attachment Parenting, please ask the editor! 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.
Decoding Temper Tantrums
Why They Happen and What to Do About Them
It's 5:30 P.M. and you've got to get dinner started. You have only a moment before the baby needs to nurse, and everything seems to be going swimmingly with your older child who is contentedly building with his blocks. Then it comes, THE OUTRAGEOUS REQUEST. It might be to go water the snow with the garden hose in December (though he still has a fever), eat chocolate for dinner (nothing else, just chocolate), or to help prepare dinner using mom's big, sharp chef's knife. Any other time of day it would be a blip and everyone would move on. Not this time.
Your child's intensity electrifies. He screams, pounds, stomps, and slams. You can feel your own emotions start to percolate. The baby begins to cry. You should have had dinner started by now. You feel like yelling at your child to just be reasonable. But you know you must model appropriate behavior. You're paralyzed. Everyone's miserable. What can you do?
Join API today to receive your copy of the Spring 2007 New Baby Issue of Attachment Parenting: The Journal of Attachment Parenting International. There you can read Stephanie Petters' "Decoding Tantrums" to learn why tantrums happen and what you can do about them.
By becoming a member of API, you help reach other parents and professionals through
education, support, advocacy, and research. Our efforts touch the lives of parents worldwide
through local support groups, our quarterly publication, Attachment Parenting: The Journal of API, this newsletter, and national advocacy efforts. In addition, your membership donation contributes
to innovative projects such as the creation of a comprehensive Attachment Parenting curriculum,
the formation of strategic alliances with like-minded organizations, the expansion of our network
of AP-Friendly Professionals, and the upgrade of our Web site to become the premier Attachment
Parenting online community.
Benefits of Individual / Family Membership, which is $35 per year, include:
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. Benefits 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
- All the benefits of Individual / Family Membership
- Two extra outreach copies each quarter of Attachment Parenting: The Journal of API
- Opportunity to purchase 25 additional copies of each issue of The Journal of API (100 total copies) for only $100 per year
- Special invitation to professional events hosted by API and our partners
- Access to professional brochures and materials as they become available
- Invitation to join an online discussion forum of professionals who support Attachment Parenting
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.
Pam Stone, Editor
Attachment Parenting International