API Links - May 2012 - Happy Mother's Day!


API Links you to...

News on ... what else? The TIME Magazine issue--and API's response; but also The Baby Book's 20th anniversary, and lots more.

Editor's Picks

Protective Instinct: Women Less Likely to Take Risks around Babies (Even If It's Not Theirs)
The maternal instinct is one of the most powerful in nature. Now scientists have found it applies to women even if they don't have children.
In contrast, men don't alter their risk-taking behaviour around youngsters.

Why Attachment Matters to Me
"My almost six-year-old daughter, my oldest of three children, came to my bedroom in the middle of last night to retell her scary dream and seek reassurance. This may not seem to be that big of a deal to you, but it's monumental for us and our relationship."

Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

Citywide Smoking Ban Reduced Maternal Smoking and Preterm Birth Risk
A citywide ban on public smoking in Colorado led to significant decreases in maternal smoking and preterm births, providing the first evidence in the U.S. that such interventions can impact maternal and fetal health.

Feeding with Love and Respect

Families That Eat Together May Be the Healthiest
"Come and get it!" A phrase historically proclaiming that the communal meal is ready is heard all too infrequently among contemporary American households, especially as children get older. Indeed, over 40% of the typical American food budget is spent on eating out, with family meals often being relegated to holidays and special occasions. Aside from negative effects on the family budget, eating out has been shown to be generally associated with poor food choices and bad health. Of particular interest to public health experts is growing scientific evidence that fewer family meals may translate to increased obesity risk and poor nutritional status, especially among children.

Jars of Baby Food Very Low in Micro-Nutrients
There's been lots of talk lately about the unhealthiness of convenience foods and snacks for kids laden with sugars and fat. Although we may not think of jarred baby food as snacks, they certainly can be convenient. A new study found, however, that jarred baby foods don't measure up either, only it's not about what they have but rather what they lack.

Breastfeeding Can Have a Long-Term Impact on Earnings
Samantha Gray, Executive Director of API, says, "rather than saying breast-feeding is free, we should be remarking, 'Look how valuable it is because there is a cost to it, so yes, breast-feed your baby.'"

Low-Income Moms under Stress May Overfeed Infants
Efforts to prevent obesity among low-income infants should focus not only on what babies are being fed but also on the reasons behind unhealthy feeding practices. Stressors prevalent in low-income households, such as depression, single parenthood, and associated infant behavioral challenges, influence feeding practices likely to promote obesity. "It is important to provide support for parents related to healthy feeding practices if we are to end the epidemic of childhood obesity," notes the lead researcher.

Family Life Study Reveals Key Events That Can Trigger Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can be triggered by lack of support following traumatic events, such as bereavement, relationship problems, abuse, and sexual assault. Even changing school or moving home can prove too much for some young people and lead to such conditions as anorexia or bulimia.

Responding with Sensitivity

API Support Group (Downriver/Detroit) at Work!
Did you know that "excessive crying" and "unable to stop baby from crying" are the number one causes of Infant Abuse? Support Becca and Kyle's mission to prevent Infant Abuse and check out Close At Hand Babywearing Service: A Family's Journey toward Closeness.

The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
The Culture of Empathy website is the largest internet portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, definitions, experts, history, interviews, videos, science and much more about empathy and compassion.

Seeking the Neurological Roots of Conflict
MIT neuroscientists explore how longstanding conflict influences empathy for others.



Special Section: "Are You Mom Enough?"
(Short Answer: Yes!)

TIME Magazine: The Breastfeeding Debate
From The Huffington Post: "The magazine isn't yet out on newsstands, but the airwaves are fluttering with TIME's provocative cover of a 3-year-old child dangling from his mother's breast. Given the fundamental role that attachment plays in my parenting approach - the second chapter of my book is devoted to it - I felt compelled to participate in the conversation about attachment parenting, despite my feelings about how it has come up."

TIME Cover Mom Defends Breastfeeding 3-Year-Old Son
Cover mom Jamie Grumet, 26, and her son Aram discussed the kerfuffle.

TIME Cover Sells Out Moms to Sell Magazines
Breastfeeding Medicine: Time Magazine's "Are you MOM enough?" cover is brilliant marketing. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine reports it is also a terrible disservice to women's health.

Dr. Manny: Attachment Parenting Isn't All That Bad
"Time magazine has been getting a lot of attention lately after debuting its most recent issue, showcasing a controversial picture of a mother breastfeeding an almost 4-year-old child. The picture relates to the magazine's feature story about Dr. William Sears, a pediatrician who advocates 'attachment parenting' - a technique that encourages mothers and fathers to fully embrace babies' dependency needs. Major components of this parenting style include responding attentively to your baby's cries, minimizing parent-child separation, sleeping with your baby, wearing your baby in a sling or cloth carrier and extended breastfeeding. Now I'm not a hypocrite - I do like some of the elements of Dr. Sears' attachment parenting."

Listen to Mayim Bialik and Lysa Parker (Co-Founder of API) Respond
Listen to Lysa and Mayim's interview on KPCC. Excellent listening.

API of Northern Virginia, Reston-area Support Group Responds
Mom Chelsea Scott says, "I just feel like we have to defend something that is so right for our kids and I hate that."

So ... What Does API Have to Say?
Attachment parenting parents have long been acquainted with criticism for uncommon practices. We know we are in the midst of a cultural shift, already witnessing progress as breastfeeding becomes more common and public, and spanking becomes less accessible, for example. Attachment parenting making the cover of TIME magazine is one more step forward as society wrestles with and warms up to seeing things a new way. We start with a question for TIME...

The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women
"A French PR billionaire is telling me I'm raising my children wrong. Who's undermining whom?"

Does AP "Destroy Feminism"?
In other words, motherhood is a light, part-time gig for French women - unlike their American counterparts, who are often 24/7 robots devoted solely to raising their young.
  Art Yuen, of the New York branch of Attachment Parenting International, says the moms she hears from seem to enjoy taking the plunge into parenthood (the group encourages breast-feeding, co-sleeping and "baby-wearing," which promotes slings over strollers). "I haven't had anyone come to us and say, 'What were you thinking when you wrote the API principles? Didn't you know women were going to be set back?'" she says.

Let's Not Pass Judgment
Attachment parenting does not do anything to us; it is simply an ideology we can use, says Maria Blois, API Resource Advisory Council Member.

Breastfeeding a 3-Year-Old Is Normal, Anthropologist Says
Despite the brouhaha over breastfeeding kicked off by a Time magazine cover photo, that's actually the norm worldwide, experts say. But breastfeeding children that old is practiced among a tiny sliver of mothers in the United States. Though some online are calling it "perverted" and "dangerous" to nurse a 3-year-old, "It's normal for our species. It's not perverted; it's not sex; it's not women doing it for some perverse need. It's normal like a nine-month pregnancy is normal."

Forget Child- or Parent-Centered ... Think Family-Centered
There's a lot of discussion about whether different parenting approaches are child centered or parent centered, and there's great contention about which is better for both children and parents. Child-centered, critics say, seriously compromises a parent's sense of balance and may lead to children feeling entitlement. Parent-centered, critics say, seriously compromises a child's need for parental attention and attunement. But is this polarization, this black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking reality? Should we be debating which is the better of the two "evils"?



Consistent and Loving Care

Hyperactivity and Other Behavioral Issues Linked with Before-School Care
Children who go to before-school care early in their first year of school have been found to have higher levels of hyperactivity and negative behavior such as hurting others, throwing tantrums, and fighting.

Fight or Flight: Violent Teens May Be Following Parents' Lead
While it may be cute when a 3-year-old imitates his parent's bad behavior, when adolescents do so, it's no longer a laughing matter.
Teens who fight may be modeling what they see adult relatives do or have parents with pro-fighting attitudes.

Go Ahead and Give That High Five - It Does More Than Feel Good
They might not seem like much - but studies show that small physical gestures, such as high fives and fist bumps, pats on the hand, and all sorts of little touches, result in surprisingly positive behavior changes.

Practice Positive Discipline

Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Washington, Tries New Approach to School Discipline - Suspensions Drop 85%
"The principal Jim Sporleder tried the New Approach to Student Discipline at Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, he was blown away. Because it worked. In fact, it worked so well that he never went back to the Old Approach to Student Discipline. This is how it went down:
  A student blows up at a teacher, drops the F-bomb. The usual approach at Lincoln - and, safe to say, at most high schools in this country - is automatic suspension. Instead, Sporleder sits the kid down and says quietly: 'Wow. Are you OK? This doesn't sound like you. What's going on?' He gets even more specific: 'You really looked stressed. On a scale of 1-10, where are you with your anger?'
  The kid was ready. Ready, man! For an anger blast to his face…. 'How could you do that?' 'What's wrong with you?' … and for the big boot out of school. But he was NOT ready for kindness. The armor-plated defenses melt like ice under a blowtorch and the words pour out: 'My dad's an alcoholic. He's promised me things my whole life and never keeps those promises.' The waterfall of words that go deep into his home life, which is no piece of breeze, end with this sentence: 'I shouldn't have blown up at the teacher.
  Whoa."

Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

Even Positive Stereotypes Can Hinder Performance
Does hearing that you are a member of an elite group - of chess players, say, or scholars - enhance your performance on tasks related to your alleged area of expertise? Not necessarily, say researchers who tested how sweeping pronouncements about the skills or likely success of social groups can influence children's performance.

Missed Connections in Our Digital Lives
At 5 o'clock on a weekday morning, the alarm sounds on Nicki Laffey's cellphone, cradled beside her pillow. Before getting ready for school, the 16-year-old checks for any text messages that came in while she was asleep. An hour later, her father, Kevin, turns on his bedroom television and exercises for 30 minutes. Her mother, Shelly, goes downstairs and makes breakfast while watching the news on her kitchen TV. The last in the family to rise is Nicki's 18-year-old brother, Chris, who sends and receives half a dozen texts before heading off to school.
What's the toll all this screen time takes on family life, as sit-down meals have become hit-and-miss affairs and even a weekend dinner out can raise the issue of who's watching what, and why?

USA Is 25th Best Place to Be a Mom
Just in time for Mother's Day, an annual ranking of the best and worst countries in which to be a mom puts the USA in 25th place, up from 31st last year.

Adolescent Tragedies and My Teenager
"The great majority of teenagers are growing up in this environment and not killing anyone. That doesn't mean we should ignore steps to reduce the negative influences on their lives and ours. It does mean that no matter what we do, there will always be tragedies. We simply do not have that much control over another person's life. That is a frightening reality for most parents to accept.
  But this doesn't mean that parents shouldn't be doing things that make it more likely that their children would turn out okay. Inside each home there are parents asking if their son or daughter could be in trouble and the parents might not know it. Or, even scarier, there are parents who see their children struggling and feel powerless to help. What do we know that will help?"

Just for Fun!

"Darth Vader And Son" Illustrations of Luke As A 4-Year-Old By Jeffrey Brown
In 2010, when Google wanted someone to draw an awkward family dinner with Luke and Darth Vader for a Google Doodle, Brown was a natural fit. And, when they approached him for the project, the artist got inspired; he decided to do a whole book of "Darth Vader and Son" drawings. In plenty of time to share with Dad for Father's Day.



 

Dear Supporter,

Twenty years ago a quiet revolution began. It wasn't met with vocal controversy like the current TIME article. It slipped into our cultural consciousness like a long-forgotten lullaby. Like a comfort food from generations back. Like a warm caress that we snuggled into with reawakening and newly remembered acceptance.

The Baby Book, by the Searses, was published twenty years ago, and our world hasn't been the same since. Dr. Sears changed the lives of so very many parents. Some of us were validated in what we'd staunchly believed. Some of us were given a new perspective from which to view parenting. Some of us were forced to question the advice that we received from all around us. And some us took a good hard look at our beliefs and were wise enough to revise them.

The Baby Book was given as gifts at countless baby showers. Dog-eared copies passed from hand to hand at API Support Group meetings. Cherished copies were hesitantly handed over to best friends. But the wisdom of the Searses could not be contained between its pages. It passed from mouth to mouth, from country to country, and from generation to generation.

One thing the Sears family impressed upon us was that we know our children. We'll do right by our families because we're safeguarding their best interests. We really do know best when we follow our hearts, rely on the wisdom of the ages, and parent in the way that countless mothers have done before us - but have recently lost.

So forget the hubbub about whether you're mom enough. (You know you are.) Forget worrying about whether French women have it all together. (It doesn't matter.) Forget about whether people are worrying if you're breastfeeding too long. (What do you care what they think?)

Just remember what you already know in your heart. Because you're a mother.

How many children have the Searses impacted? Theirs, yours, mine, and countless others. Thanks, Dr. Bill and Martha!

*****

Wow! In this month's Links, we have a ton of stuff to tell you about.

This month ...

- read up on the latest in the "scandalous" TIME cover article about Attachment Parenting in our Special Section,

- see what API has to say about it,

- look at how family life contributes to eating disorders,

- learn how even positive stereotypes can be detrimental,

- find out how being a mom in the US stacks up against the rest of the world, and

- read about how well our teens are doing.

Welcome our new Leaders! Annemarie McCaslin, API of Northern Virginia, Tiffany Hare, API of Cherry Hill, Angie Nolle, API of Duluth, Minnesota. Welcome!

Happy Mother's Day!

Camille North,
API Links Editor

Please let us know what you like and what could be better about Links.

API is a free enewsletter, dedicated to bringing you information to support you in your parenting journey.


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Great Reviews for
Attached at the Heart

A 4.2 star rating on GoodReads!

Check it out!



Yowsa!
API's New Membership Is Free!

API now offers a free API Membership!

Check out what comes with it - including receiving great newsletters and The Attached Family electronic magazine.

Families are free to print their magazine, or email it, sharing it with family, pediatricians, community centers, shelters, friends, and that particular person you really wanted to see that article.

You can help API really increase our impact and meet our mission. Back issues of the magazine and journal will be available free of charge too.

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Photo of Isis breastfeeding Osiris by Son of Groucho from here and by Beatrice Murch (blmurch) from here.


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