Attachment Parenting International
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July 2007
API Links
A Monthly eNewsletter from
Attachment Parenting International
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
In This Issue
A Place of Comfort
Going... Going... Almost Gone!
Strong Connections and Strong Families
Wise Words: Behavior as Language
Babywearing and Backpacks
Q&A: Too Much of a Good Thing?
On the API Website
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  Thank you to our July APILinks sponsors:
New Native

Summer brings festivals and fairs, beaches and playgrounds, and unfortunately, ample opportunities to reaffirm the importance of educating families about Attachment Parenting. In the past several weeks, my husband and I have witnessed numerous stressed-out parents with unrealistic expectations unleashing their frustrations on the children they love. After one particularly disturbing event, my daughter, who often listens to my API related conversations, turned to me and said, "that mommy should go to that class to teach her how to be nice to her babies."

API has begun the process of developing a parent education curriculum based on our Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting. Although it isn't quite as simple as learning to "be nice", education it is something that is desperately needed within our culture. Our vision is that this curriculum will be taught by parent educators spanning the globe. My three year old daughter has faith that we can make a difference, and so do I.

As you will read below, Dr. Sears has declared July "Attachment Parenting Month". We are asking for your support to help make our vision a reality. Please join with us in Protecting the Parent-Child Connection.
A Place of Comfort
Meet API Member Dr. Natalie

Dr EmeryDr. Natalie and her husband discovered attachment parenting while she was pregnant with their daughter, now 21 months old. Both educated as doctors of psychology, the couple was familiar with the research of attachment theory.  "My research focused on the adult personality issues resulting from a lack of a secure attachment," says Natalie, "but it wasn't until I started reading books by Dr. Sears that I realized that attachment theory had been applied to a parenting philosophy."

From the Sears' Parenting Library, Natalie discovered Attachment Parenting International, and she has been attending her local support group ever since. "It's comforting to be surrounded by people who think and parent the same way", says Natalie, "my family and my pre-baby friends do not practice attachment parenting."  In addition to providing an environment where nobody looks at her oddly because she's co-sleeping and breastfeeding, Natalie finds that she is able to learn from parents of children who are a year or two older than her own. "I can see the norm for different developmental stages", she says.

As her daughter grows, Natalie finds that she receives more and more comments from her mainstream parenting friends about how "well-behaved" her daughter is and how "patient" she is as a mother.  "We've reached a developmental period where discipline is an outward thing people can see," Natalie says, "and it elicits more questions and provides more opportunity to share attachment parenting with others".  Natalie often refers parents to Dr. Sears books and other resources on the API Bibliography.

Attachment Parenting resonated with Natalie from the moment she first learned of it.  "My training in psychology taught me the importance of a secure attachment," explains Natalie, "seeing the clinical aftermath of not having that base of attachment impacts how we choose to parent our daughter."For Natalie, API is a place of comfort for a style of parenting that is both natural and supported by research.

Visit out our support group pages to find a group near you. If there isn't a group in your community, consider volunteering to start a new group. Your contribution makes a difference!
Going... Going.... Almost Gone!
Last chance to visit the API Auction!

Time is running out for the 2007 API Auction! With over 200 items ready for bidding, and more being added every day, there is truly something for everyone! There are exotic trips such as a cabin for two on the "Cruising with Delbert McClinton and Friends"  cruise to the beaches of Mexico, a weekend in the Virginia mountains, and a four night stay in Orlando.  There are more than 20 baby carriers and a variety of cloth diapering covers. There are autographed books and original works of art.  There is music and there are children's items, and that's only the beginning! Whether you are shopping for yourself, looking for a new baby gift, or getting a head start on the holidays, you're sure to find that perfect "something" at the API auction!

The auction is part of "Project Staying Power", a fundraising campaign to allow API to elevate our operations to the next level.  We've set an aggressive goal of raising $100,000 by the end of July, which will:
  • Fund API's 2007 General Operations Budget - Funding the remainder of our 2007 budget now will allow us to strengthen our organization and its efforts by fortifying our reputation and outreach, and will place API in a more secure financial position.
  • Renovate the API Web Site - Our strategic plancalls for a complete renovation of our Web site to make it the premier source of information on attachment-theory based parenting information for parents and professionals.

  • Develop the "Eight Principles of AP" Parent Education Curriculum - Our strategic plan calls for the development of a comprehensive parent education curriculum based on the Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting This will allow API leaders and other professionals to be certified as API Parent Educators in their communities, further spreading the understanding of parenting practices grounded in attachment theory.

The auction closes on July 21st, so place your bids today. Thank you for contributing to the success of API Project Staying Power!
Strong Connections and Strong Families
The Sears Family and API

Tired MomThe Sears, including Dr. Bill and Martha and their sons Dr. Jim and Dr. Bob, are longtime proponents of Attachment Parenting. "Throughout our 30 years of working with parents and babies", says Dr Bill, "we have grown to appreciate the correlation between how well children thrive (emotionally and physically) and the style of parenting they receive."

The Sears believe there are many benefits to Attachment Parenting, both for the child and for the parents, and describe it as "like immunizing your child against emotional diseases". Dr Bill explains that babies who are "trained" not to express their needs may appear to be docile, compliant, or "good" babies. Yet these babies could be depressed babies who are shutting down the expression of their needs, and they may become children who don't ever speak up to get their needs met and eventually become the highest-need adults.

The Sears have declared July "Attachment Parenting Month". "We have devoted our lives to helping parents and children build strong connections and strong families," say the members of the Dr. Sears family in a statement on their website. "Now there is an organization of parents and professionals working toward the same goals and one we strongly believe in and support - Attachment Parenting International. We invite you to visit the API website and read about their programs that are affecting families worldwide. It is our hope that API is one cause that captures your heart and inspires you to join or make a contribution. Every family that is touched by Attachment Parenting truly does make a difference for each one of us and future generations."
Wise Words
from Connection Parenting by Pam Leo

"Children do not always have the language to tell us what they need, so they must communicate their needs through their behavior. If we don't recognize behavior as a communication of need, we try to change the behavior instead of meeting the need being expressed by the behavior. When we address only the behavior we deal with the symptom instead of the cause. Though we may get temporary compliance by punishing negative behavior or rewarding positive behavior, if the need still exists, some form of "needy" behavior will persist."

Connection Parenting is one of many wonderful resources in the API Bibliography. To purchase this or other books about practicing positive discipline, visit the API Bookstore.
Babywearing and Backpacks
New Items in the API Store

Tummy2Tummy DVDDue to a generous donation from API Leader Sharon Pickersgill, a limited number of her Tummy2Tummy Babywearing Instructional DVDs
are now available in the API Store, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting API. This DVD is not specific to any brand of carriers, and covers ring slings, pouches, Asian carriers, and simple pieces of cloth. It covers beginning to advanced baby wearing positions from newborns to toddlers, with safety instructions, trouble shooting, and much more.  Get yours while they last!

API has also added playful and convenient draw-string backpacks for youths to the store.  They are available in yellow, blue, orange, green, and pink. At just $6 each, you'll want one in ever color!  Quantities are limited, so order yours today!
Too Much of a Good Thing?
Question from a reader, response from the editor
Q:  Is it possible to do "too much" attachment parenting?

Because the cornerstone of attachment parenting is being responsive to the child's physical and emotional needs, it is virtually impossible to "overly" attachment parent. However, many confuse a responsive parent with a "smother" parent, an "enmeshed" parent, or an "indulgent" parent.  All four have similar characteristics -- the parent is very involved with the child -- but responsive parenting is the one described by attachment parenting.

A "smother" parent is not being responsive to the child's needs, but instead is imposing her own will.  The "smother" parent tells the child when to eat, what to eat, when to sleep, what to play, and what to think. In contrast, the "responsive" parent follows the child's lead; feeding him when he is hungry, helping him to sleep when he is tired, encouraging him to follow his own interests and passions, and so on.

The "enmeshed" parent is trying to live her life through their child. It is not the child's dreams and wishes that are being considered, but those of the parent. An "enmeshed" parent seeks what she would be best for her, while a "responsive" parent seeks what would be best for the child.

The "indulgent" parent is one who does not know how to set limits.  Many parents confuse "indulgence" with Attachment Parenting, but it is not the same at all. Attachment Parenting involves exploring needs and setting limits in a warm loving way, without the threat of physical violence or cruelty.

Remember that there is no such thing as being too responsive to your child's needs. By learning about the needs and developmental stages of children, and staying entuned to the unique needs of your own child, you can consistently meet his needs without becoming a "smother", "enmeshed", or "indulgent" parent.

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.
API Membership
Join Today!

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:
  •  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.  Benefits include:
  • 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.
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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