Meeting My Family's Needs
by Melle Randall
Melle is a member of NYCHEA (New York City Home Educators' Alliance) and the founder of ROC (Resource and Opportunity Center) for Homeschoolers
For me, a large part of parenting encompasses first assessing what my children's needs are, each of them as individuals, and then organizing our lives as a family around meeting those needs. For two years I researched schools for my oldest daughter, looking for just the right place to educate her, and nurture her development in a holistic manner. Sadly, after two months I realized that my best choice of a school was not as beneficial to my child as I had hoped it would be. I removed her without really having a plan.
While at home, my daughter learned to read organically, and through homeschool meetings and activities she was able to flourish socially, and best of all, this within the nurturing bosom of her family. Seeing her needs being easily met, while also watching the entire family's needs being met as well, revealed to me that homeschooling was the right way to go. However, I dislike the word "homeschooling" since it's more about providing an environment where children can learn, discover and explore in organic ways and be inspired to reach their potential, rather than actually being "schooled." A large part of our "homeschool" involves going to world class institutions (museums, theatre, opera, libraries, etc.) for learning, finding teachers who are passionate about certain subjects and who love sharing their knowledge of their specialties with children, and also discovering programs and organizations that help me in my quest to nurture the whole child.
My creating the ROC (Resource and Opportunity Center) for Homeschoolers was a natural outgrowth of our style of homeschooling. The ROC serves as a meeting place and a resource center where New York City homeschooling families can come together to engage in classes, workshops, and activities, and enjoy playing, socializing, sharing (information, projects, opinions, snacks, and otherwise) and learning together. Children meet up with their old friends, make new friends and parents and families can connect with other parents and families. My vision actually extends beyond the physical space, for me, the ROC for Homeschoolers is about creating environments that support strong connections, nurture solid development, and strengthen, even a fluid, community.
A simple desire to meet my children's needs led to meeting the needs of home schooling families all over the New York City area. Providing opportunities for homeschooling children to grow and learn together while simultaneously aiding parents in their children's academic pursuits, and overall development is both rewarding for me, fulfilling to my children, and wholesomely beneficial for my entire family. Organizing the ROC is hard work, but it is also a lot of fun!
Thank you Melle for sharing with us how you found a way to balance all your family's needs while helping your community!
Parenting our Teens
Q: How can a parent respond sensitively to a teenager?
A: Most teenagers display a lot of "normal" transitioning behavior. Some call it "the process of individuation." The main issue with being a parent of a teenager is to realize that we have moved from a manager's role to a consultant's role. The greatest influence we have is helping our teens trust us, and our judgments, and encouraging them to come to us for advice.
Many parents have found that making time to do things together regularly creates an environment for communication. It's also important to not take things personally. If, during this period of individuation, your children need space, it's fine. If they are angry, down, or any other place in between, it's probably not because of anything you have or have not done and is rather due to their emotional development.
Reminding your teenager that you are there for him if and when he would like to chat with you is sometimes all he needs to hear. He may open up to you immediately, or it may take some time. Remember that when does come to you, he does so with the hopes that you will be open to hearing what he has to say, that you will reserve your immediate judgments, and that you will simply be a safe person to discuss whatever's on his mind. You have worked hard to raise him with that idea in mind, and he looks to you to continue to maintain that level of empathy and compassion.
There are some wonderful books for parents of teens. One we particularly like is Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers by Michael Riera.
The above is just one of many FAQs which can be found at our website. But for greater in depth discussion on this matter and others we suggest posting to our forums!
The Attachment Cycle
by Barbara Nicholson
Learning about our early attachment relationships with our parents can give us insight into our own adult relationships, and especially into our marital relationship. It can also shed light on how the relationship that we strive to foster with our children now will help to provide a solid foundation for their future adult relationships. This "attachment cycle" is brought out by two authors who have linked the patterns of adult relationships to the earliest relationships we form: baby and parent. In his article "Will Your Child be Happy in Love?" which appeared in the February 1995 issue of Child magazine, Robert Karen, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Becoming Attached (Warner Books, 1994), states that attachment theory offers some answers to this question. He states, "Researchers now know that 'secure attachment' between infant and mother (or father, or other primary caregiver) is crucial to a child's psychological development, and that a certain style of caregiving - one that's warm, responsive, and dependable - is the key to bringing this about."
What is "secure attachment?" To a child, it is the feeling of confidence that his or her needs will be met consistently, sensitively, and lovingly. It is the knowledge that he is loved and appreciated for who he is, not on condition of how well he is behaving, or other conditions of approval. In most families the primary attachment figure in the early years is the mother, but the father also has a critical role. Children who are securely attached to both parents grow up with an emotional advantage as they grow into adult relationships. The father is a role model for his son, and in an innocent way is also the first romantic figure for his daughter. The father is the first stepping stone to the outside world for his child and his relationship with the child's mother is a powerful model for choices the child will make when picking a spouse. According to Karen's article, as adults, children who were securely attached are "more likely to love, trust, and open up to romantic partners. They will feel comfortable depending on others and having others depend on them. They have a free range of feelings and memories, both positive and negative."
Please go here to read the entire article.
|In The News
API protests NBC's planned airing of "The Baby Borrowers"
June 21, 2008 - API has informed NBC of our strong objection to the airing of the so-called reality program, "The Baby Borrowers," a so-called reality program placing infants and toddlers in the care of unfamiliar teens with limited to no childcare experience, and without the supervision of the child's parent or another caregiver. API calls for the cancellation of the show scheduled to air June 25 based on its treatment of infants and toddlers and its violations of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959). See the API Research Group response
and find information to voice your personal response, too.
There's always someone to put you down no matter what you do. So ultimately you have to base your choices on your own experiences and beliefs as on the deep feeling and inner needs which influence each person's belief.
|And In The Next Issue of The Journal...
The Science Behind Comforting your Baby's Cries...
Look for the Summer issue of The Journal of API by the end of the month. Inside, you'll read tips on how to handle criticism on your parenting style, an inspiring story of an Australian mother's challenges of practicing AP in a Western society, the importance of finding support, the challenge of raising children in a violent world, and the science supporting the AP approach to crying.
In "Crying and Comforting," API Leader Pam Stone effectively sums up the science behind the importance of appropriately and compassionately comforting a crying baby, and why "crying it out" methods as well as techniques to encourage a baby to rage are harmful not only to the parent-child relationship but also to the baby's developing brain.
Join today to receive a copy of this issue of The Journal of API.
Members that were current as of May and that chose postal delivery will receive a copy of this issue of The Journal of API in July. For members who joined after May and chose postal delivery you will receive a copy of the upcoming issue to be released in October. Members' current as of June 27 who choose or chose to receive The Journal of API in electronic format will receive their electronic edition of "AP in a Non AP World" at the beginning of July. If you are not receiving your journal and believe you should be, please contact our Member Liaison Stephanie Petters. Not a member, join today to receive upcoming editions of The Journal of API.
Interested in writing about your experiences as an Attachment Parent? The Journal of API is now accepting article submissions and advertising placements for the following issues. Submission deadlines are:
- Winter 2008-2009 - Healing Childhood Wounds (using AP to change the patterns of our past, controlling anger and anxiety) - October 10th
- Spring 2009 - annual New Baby issue (procedures, interventions, and decisions during pregnancy, childbirth, and the early newborn days) - January 11th
- Summer 2009 - Feeding with Love & Respect (breastfeeding, bottlefeeding, introducing solids, helping older children learn to choose nutritious foods) - April 11th
- Fall 2009 - annual Growing Child issue (positive discipline for toddlers, preschoolers, young children, tweens, and teens) - July 11th, 2009
If you're interested in submitting an article, contact Editor Rita Brhel.
If you're interested in advertising in The Journal of API, contact Advertising Manager Corrina Milito.
Have you joined our discussion of Hold on to Your Kids by Dr. Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate on the forums as of yet?! If not, below are some snippets of the discussions and votes you've been missing. We'll be discussing Hold on to Your Kids for the remainder of July.
'"An even scarier thought is that if peers have replaced adults as the ones who matter most, what is missing in those peer relationships is going to have the most profound impact." So, I ask you, when we think about this, what is going to be missing?' - Member Liaison
"This is exactly how I felt at that age, I barely remember spending time with my mother (single mom, worked a lot) or even meeting any of my cohorts parents. I was desperately searching for something--understanding, company, love, attention!
The most calming girl, lived near me and spent a lot of time with her family, but I think I seemed too needy. Her house had such a nice loving environment--too bad we didn't 'click' as friends. (5-6th grade)" - Naomi Dwyer
"So, I thought it would be interesting to see when we looked back into our own lives when do we think that our peers started to matter more than our parents?" - Member Liaison
"Mind you though, I grew up in Asia. Perhaps the peer orientation pressure was not as strong as here? I remember most of my friends have secure home base. It was no longer the case for the next generation kids (we call them the 80's or 90's kids, I'm the 70's). The newer generation children seem to be more peer oriented than the 70's. And the trend cont'd. I guess the rate of replacement is directly related to your surroundings too. What do you think?" - kiamcai
Upcoming books to be read:
- August/September we'll be reading The Natural Child by Jan Hunt
- October/November we'll be reading Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zin
- December/January we'll be reading Parenting from the Heart by Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson
To purchase book please go here. And to participate in lively and insightful discussions on our new book, please go here.
Volunteer with API!
Our organization functions based on a wonderful, enthusiastic staff of volunteers. If you are interested in helping us to promote the good work of attachment based parenting, see the positions listed below, visit the volunteer section volunteer section on our site, or contact Brandy Lance Volunteer Liaison, to receive complete job descriptions.
Do you enjoy keeping and recording accurate financial records? If so, you would surely enjoy volunteering with Attachment Parenting International as our Bookkeeper! Hours are minimal and flexible.
Retail Affiliate Coordinator
As the Retail Affiliate Coordinator, you will work together with API's Business Management Director to launch API's budding Retail Affiliate Program. This program will ultimately give AP friendly businesses additional exposure while assisting API with an additional source of revenue. If you are interested and excited about creating a new, comprehensive and exciting revenue-generating program, this may be the position for you!
Have you worked with an online shopping cart or do you wish to gain experience doing so? Our API Sales Coordinator will manage and maintain our online shopping cart. Join our team to help us develop our store and keep it fresh and exciting!
Note: The Sales Coordinator is not expected to ship store items.
Web Content ManagerAPI is looking for someone with a background in web-based communication to drive the content and style of the new API Web site. Excellent written communication and organizational skills a must. Specific experience with designing information for the web, design, navigation, news feeds, promoting web content is also a plus.
For other team positions go here.
Father's Day Dedications
We want to thank all of our AP families who honored their mother's, father's, and special people in their lives with an API dedication as well as an API gift membership.
If you were honored, please tell us how you felt by emailing Stephanie Petters, Member Liaison. Do you have a wonderful suggestion or idea that you would have loved to see available from API next year as an option to honor your mother, father, or special person? Write Stephanie and tell her about it--she'd welcome your suggestions and creative ideas!
Check our Father's Day page now to see your dedication listed!
Our world needs a fundamental shift in the way it treats its children. Attachment Parenting International represents a global effort to protect the parent-child connection and create future generations of compassionate, healthy children.
Please join us in this monumental and critical mission by becoming an API member. Your membership benefits your family, your professional career, your local community, and the community at large. We look forward to enjoying the journey with you!
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: Stephanie Petters.
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.
|You Can Help Other Moms By Filling Out This Survey And Speading The Word.
We are pleased to announce our new online survey of mothers' sleep and fatigue. Please tell mothers you work with about our study. The more mothers we can get to participate, the more valid our findings. This study is open to all mothers with babies 0-12 months old. We would like to include breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding women, and women of all ethnicities and income levels.
We hope to document:
- Where and how much do babies sleep?
- Are mothers who breastfeed and co-sleep more or less tired than mothers who don't?
- Are mothers telling their friends, relatives and health care providers where their babies sleep?
- Are there ethnic group differences in where babies sleep?
- What is the role of depression, psychological trauma and difficult birth in mothers' ongoing daytime fatigue?
The questionnaire takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete and is confidential. It has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Amarillo, Texas.
To participate in this valuable survey please go here.
|Founders' Book Soon To Be Released!
API is proud to announce that the co-founders' long-awaited book will be available in the fall! The book by Barbara Nicholson & Lysa Parker is titled Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children. This text book for AP families offers research, personal anecdotes, tips and techniques for incorporating attachment-promoting activities into family life.
Barbara reflects, "The important message of our book is the title: Attached at the Heart. We want people to trust their heart when all else fails. When it's the middle of the night and the baby's crying, and the pediatrician and the mother-in-law have both said to let the baby cry, we want parents to trust their instincts. Instead of worrying "Is my baby going to be messed up if I hold her for 15 more minutes?" we want them to trust their heart. Mothers wouldn't be in a cold sweat or crying when their children were hurting if they didn't really instinctually know to always default to the most loving connected thing to do."
Look for Attached at the Heart in API's online shop and request it from local retailers this fall! API Co-Founders Barbara & Lysa discuss their New Book and a New Vision for API here.
|With Great Appreciation
We would like to take time in this edition of our eNewsletter to thank Barb Lattin for her time and donation to API through her creativity in making the "Connections" pendant that was launched as an offering to API last year. There are many of our API supporters who were able to receive this pendant as a wonderful gift or who were able to give it to someone else as a lovely gift.
The "Connections" pendant will no longer be offered at API anymore as Barb needs to move onto other creative endeavors to help API. We look forward to what wonderful creativity she brings to us next. Thank you Barb for donating your time and a portion of the funds to API as an ongoing fundraiser--it was greatly appreciated and will be greatly missed.
|New API Brochures Available
Help API spread the word about its new offerings, from the online Forum to the Parent education program, with a new brochure available through the API Web site.
Click here to see a sample of the full-color, glossy, and information-packed handout that would be great for your next Support Group meeting, parenting conference, or to give out anywhere local where families frequently visit.
|We Honorthe Following Special Fathers
John Gerard Hordyk
Dan Gray Sr.
API Advisory Board
To see your Father's Day dedications please click on the link. There is still time to order a dedication for your special father before the month is out. We'll send them a specialized email taking them to their online dedication!
To order your dedication, please visit our API store.
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.
Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting