API Links - July 2012


API Links you to...

News on fathers (and a special tribute to Dr. Sears); API's new YouTube channel, Great Nonprofits, and LinkedIn; rules for raising terrific kids; how to help API through the online auction; and much more...

Editor's Picks

10 Rules to Raise Terrific Kids
The kids who act most ethically come from families with strong values, lots of discussion, and - surprise! - fewer rules!  That's because when kids just get used to following rules, they aren't thinking. If, instead, parents model behavior that expresses their values, children come to value those things - and they act accordingly.

Where's the Worst Place for Breastfeeding Mothers?
Wow. It's the United States.
The thirteenth annual State of the World's Mothers report measuring the likelihood of death due to childbirth and other motherhood-related causes lists Niger as a mother's worst location; the U.S. is the worst industrialized country for breastfeeding.

The Wonder of Breasts
Our culture is obsessed with breasts, yet we know remarkably little about them. But their secrets are starting to be unravelled, and nothing is more astonishing than breastmilk.

Mother and Child Are Linked at the Cellular Level
"Today is my youngest child's birthday. As my mother used to tell me, we always carry our children in our hearts. I know this is true emotionally. Apparently itís also true on the physical level.
Sometimes science is filled with transcendent meaning more beautiful than any poem. To me, this new research shows the poetry packed in the people all around us.
Itís now known that cells from a developing fetus cross the placenta, allowing the babyís DNA to become part of the mother's body. These fetal cells persist in a womanís body into her old age. (If she has been pregnant with a male child itís likely sheíll have some Y-chromosomes drifting around for a few decades too). This is true even if the baby she carried didnít live to be born. The cells of that child stay with her, resonating in ways that mothers have known intuitively throughout time."


Is Attachment Parenting for You?

This article features two API Leaders: Deanna Spangler and Katryne Lukens Bull!

A child has a need and a parent responds. Itís a fundamental component of parenting. One way to ensure prompt recognition and response is Attachment Parenting - so what's the controversy?

Real-life moms and dads who practice AP view extended breastfeeding, babywearing, and co-sleeping as normal everyday activities. A common thread in news stories about AP always ends with an indignant response from individuals who feel AP parents are ruining their childrenís lives, followed by a claim from AP parents that the stories are inaccurate.

Whoís right? What is Attachment Parenting, exactly? Do AP parents never let their children cry? Never leave their children with a child care provider? Breastfeed and co-sleep for years except on rare occasions? Is AP a rigid protocol that often makes already stressed-out moms feel inadequate and kids feel entitled?


Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

Elective Induction at Term Reduces Perinatal Mortality without Increasing Operative Delivery?
Looking behind the Curtain

A recent study of elective induction at term purports to show that it would reduce perinatal mortality without affecting spontaneous birth rates, although it would increase admission to a special neonatal care unit if done before 41 weeks, which contradicts the current belief that elective delivery at 39 weeks poses no excess risk. 



API Has a YouTube Channel!

Check out all the cool new videos on the channel.



Responding with Sensitivity

When Empathy Doesn't "Work"
Empathy isn't a tactic to control the other person. It's a means of connection, and of helping our child process emotion. So when empathy doesn't "work," consider whether you're really connecting, and whether you're helping your child with her emotions.


What Attachment Parenting Is ... (Part 2)

Attachment Parenting is an approach to childrearing that promotes a secure attachment bond between parents and their children. Attachment is a scientific term for the emotional bond in a relationship. The attachment quality that forms between parents and children, learned from the relational patterns with caregivers from birth on, correlates with how a child perceives Ė and ultimately is able to experience Ė relationships.


Ensure Safe Sleep, Emotionally and Physically

"Donít Sleep with Big Knives":
Interesting (and Promising) Developments in the Mother-Infant Sleep Debate

While the AAP will probably never come straight out and recommend bedsharing, it would be helpful if they acknowledged that it will likely continue, and that our role is to help all parents sleep as safely as possible - either with or near their infants. Such a statement is possible.



Take the AP Survey! Forward It to Your Friends!

This may be the first survey of attachment parenting practices by attachment parents aimed at helping medical professionals understand the AP culture. We encourage all AP to take the survey and forward it to other AP far and wide! Responses are confidential and will serve as an opportunity to establish a more accurate set of descriptions about who AP are and our motivations in choosing the parenting practices we do. The research is being conducted through the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and responses are confidential.



Special Section: The Magic of Fathers

Video: "Sears' Father's Day: Stories of Attachment Parenting Families"
From Martha Sears: "Hey API, I hope you have 17 minutes to spare to watch this delightful tribute to Bill: Dr. Sears' AP! This sure made Bill's day. Just beautiful Ö"
Short on time? Start watching at 3:07. (Watch in Google Chrome, and it will translate the webpage and comments.)

Daughters Need Fathers Too
We hear a lot about the importance of male role models in a boy's life. It is indeed important. But whatís often missing from the conversation is the importance of fathers in a daughter's life as well. Letís consider the psychology of father-daughter relationships.

Research Punctures "Modern" Fathers Myth - Except for Diapers, That Is
"Modern" fathers have been around for far longer than we think, but they have only recently started to change diapers.

Persistence Is Learned from Fathers
When the going gets tough, the tough ought to thank their fathers. New research shows that dads are in a unique position to help their adolescent children develop persistence.

A Father's Love Is One of the Greatest Influences on Personality Development
A father's love contributes as much - and sometimes more - to a child's development as does a mother's love. That is one of many findings in a new large-scale analysis of research about the power of parental rejection and acceptance in shaping our personalities as children and into adulthood.



Consistent and Loving Care

"I Don't Own My Child's Body"
"My daughter occasionally goes on a hugging and kissing strike.
She's 4. Her parents could get a hug or a kiss, but many people who know her cannot, at least right now. And I won't make her.
'I would like you to hug Grandma, but I won't make you do it,' I told her recently.
'I don't have to?' she asked, cuddling up to me at bedtime, confirming the facts to be sure.
No, she doesn't have to. And just to be clear, there is no passive-aggressive, conditional, manipulative nonsense behind my statement. I mean what I say. She doesn't have to hug or kiss anyone just because I say so, not even me. I will not override my own child's currently strong instincts to back off from touching someone who she chooses not to touch.
I figure her body is actually hers, not mine."

Practice Positive Discipline

Spanking Linked to Mental Illness
Although the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages spanking, at least half of parents admit to physically punishing their children. Some research suggests that as many as 70 to 90 percent of mothers have resorted to spanking at one time or another. A new study may cause parents to think more carefully before laying a hand on their little ones.

Spanking: Parenthood's Dirty Little (and Common) Secret
This week a study was released saying when children are disciplined using harsh physical punishment like spanking, they are at higher risk of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health problems - even if they aren't otherwise abused or maltreated. This is scary, because an article in the Boston Globe said that 70 percent of Americans think that spanking is sometimes necessary - and 90 percent of parents of toddlers spank them.

Eliminate Shame and Blame from Parenting:
New Study Sheds Light

A parent's early life stress, such as abuse, emotional neglect, or emotional abandonment, lives in the parent's body. The reactions mothers may have in the face of a child's aggressive or clingy behavior are biologically based. It is not simply that they are hitting because they were hit.

Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

Power of Playtime: Single Mothers Can Reduce Stress by Playing, Engaging with Children
Single mothers who engage with children in daily activities - such as reading stories or playing games - may experience lower levels of stress.

Why Humanism, Feminism, and Attachment Parenting Are Compatible
Last week a new study found that the principles of attachment parenting are more popular with feminists than with other women. The study looked at the attitudes of four groups of women towards various parenting practices.

Are Feminism and Attachment Parenting Practices Compatible?
What kind of mothers do feminists make? According to a new study, feminist mothers endorse the importance of the time-intensive, hands-on parenting practices associated with attachment parenting.

Free-Range Kids and Attachment Parenting
"What I always try to explain is that Free-Range is not a 'type of parenting.' Itís an outlook that tries to resist the rampant fear being foisted upon us by marketers, politicians, 'experts,' and the media, all of whom have a vested interest in making us worried that our kids will be killed.
Or not get into Harvard."

Parents Are Happier People: Parents Experience Greater Happiness and Meaning in Life Than Nonparents
Contrary to recent scholarship and popular belief, parents experience greater levels of happiness and meaning in life than people without children. Parents also are happier during the day when they are caring for their children than during their other daily activities.

More U.S. Teens Hide Online Activity from Parents
More and more teenagers are hiding their online activity from their parents. If you've tried to foster a healthy parent-child relationship and strive to keep open the lines of communication, you can go a long way in avoiding or minimizing the damage. 

Is the Family Dinner Overrated?
Dozens of studies in the past decade have found that teenagers who regularly eat dinner with their families are healthier, are happier, do better in school, and engage in fewer risky behaviors than teenagers who donít regularly eat family dinners. These findings have helped give dinnertime an almost magical aura and have led to no small amount of stress and guilt among busy moms and dads. But is it true?


Attachment Parenting Continues with Older Children

There is a pervasive myth that Attachment Parenting is finished once the child has left the baby stage, when breastfeeding and babywearing are no longer appropriate or even possible to do. This is related to the same myth that prescribes only certain parenting techniques Ė namely breastfeeding, babywearing, bedsharing, and others Ė to parenting with secure attachment in mind.


Also of Interest ...

Beyond Standardized Tests Ė Teaching Empathy
More than ever children need skills in how to work with changing teams of collaborators and how to seek solutions rooted in the needs of others.

Nature or Nurture? It May Depend on Where You Live
The extent to which our development is affected by nature or nurture - our genetic make-up or our environment - may differ depending on where we live.

Parenting Desi Style
"Attachment parenting is what comes to us naturally, we just didn't know the name for it until now. No wonder our Hindi movies are full of references to Maa ka anchal/maa ka pallu and so on."

A Therapist Comes to AP through the Caribbean
"When I first saw the cover, with the limited information that I had, I was at first shocked by the concept of attachment parenting and I protested that a child older than two was far too old to breastfeed....
Then I took this argument to some Caribbean mothers who poured a cold dose of reality on my ideals. Until then, while I was very vocal about my personal views, I had given little thought to my own childhood when it was not uncommon to see a mother breastfeeding an older child and chatting easily with friends and family about the age she should stop breastfeeding or about a child's reluctance to 'wean.' Back then, though it may not have been defined in such eloquent terms, no one was shocked by attachment parenting. No newspaper plastered pictures of a breastfeeding parent and child across its cover. No parents were offended.
Times have certainly changed."




 

Dear Supporter,

I've written a lot about how Attachment Parenting - contrary to mainstream belief - actually fosters healthy independence, rather than unhealthy dependence (or even unhealthy independence).

But having had three extremely attached little ones (including one whose nickname was Velcro Boy) very close in age, I know just how elusive that independence seems when you're in the thick of it.

With all the headlines and controversy lately regarding AP, it's easy to get swayed by the naysayers who insist that we're damaging our children or, at the very least, dooming them to a life of living in our basement (or our game room, as the case may be, since we don't have basements in Texas).

So here's another short story for the "AP fosters independence" files:

Yesterday my two oldest kids (14 and 15) flew to North Carolina where they'll be at camp for three weeks. They navigated security, unfamiliar airports, layovers, and plane changes with ease, with simple texts telling us they'd arrived safely. Surely independent.

But that's not the story.

When they arrived, my oldest found that his beloved guitar - the one he saved and saved for and bought with his own money - had been ruined, the neck snapped during inspection. He was suddenly faced with having no guitar during his long camp and having to save another $700 to replace it, which will take a very long time.

But he didn't panic. He talked with the people at the airline and figured out how to file a claim. This is a kid who, as a preschooler, couldn't be more than arm's length from us. Who could never be dropped off at a friend's birthday party. Who had to have one of us in the water with him during swim lessons.

He's learning to handle adult-size problems now. And while he isn't exactly comfortable doing so (who is?), he's capable. And it's because he's secure in his roots. Because we let him make his own decisions, let him fail, let him succeed, and were always there to hug him.

Later on the phone, I commiserated with him and told him how sorry I was and how much I knew he'd miss his guitar.

And you know what he said? "It's just a thing, Mom." What hung in the air were the unspoken words - "We're safe, and that's all that matters."

Gotta love that.

*****

This month we have an enormous amount of news for you. Read about:
- spanking and mental illness,
- empathy and
what to do when it doesn't work,
- a new AP survey,
- a bunch of cool stuff about fathers (see our Special Section),
- the family dinner (does it work?),
- feminism, and
- the happiness of parents (are they happier than nonparents?).

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.


We're Top Rated on
"Great Nonprofits"!

Attachment Parenting International is pleased to announce that thanks to the dedication of our supporters, we've been named a Top-Rated nonprofit on @GreatNonprofits!
Thank you for taking the time to write a review for us.
You can continue to read and write reviews for us at any time.


A Three-fer Good Deed
You Canít Pass Up

Help your friends and favorite business get valuable exposure, help API raise funds and,
come October, get great shopping deals yourself!

We need your help
collecting donated items for the upcoming API annual online auction in October! 
Businesses love opportunities to give to a good cause Ė
charitable PR is the best kind
- but they need your help getting their items to us! 
Tell them about API and what it means to you, and ask for a product or service donation.
Click here to make your donations to the 2012 auction.

Need ideas or inspiration?
Browse the items from last yearís auction.


What's in Store for You
in Our Store?

Beyond the Sling: A Real Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way
by
Mayim Bialik 

Just $15 and in limited quantities!

*****

Available Now!
The Attached Family:
Caring for Our Children

18 years of service,
13 years of publishing!

The Attached Family magazine, "Caring for Our Children" 2012 issue, is available now. Featuring "Beyond the Mommy Wars,"
"Breastfeeding and Family Leave Is a Right, Not a Privilege,"
"Is Preschool Necessary?,"
"Daddy Matters,"
and much more. 
View a free digital version,
download a free pdf for printing,
or order a bound copy.


API Is on LinkedIn!

Help us spread the word about the importance of Attachment Parenting International by listing API as one of the causes that matter to you, a new LinkedIn feature. When your connections see how important API is to you,  they're more likely to find out more about API and support our work as well.

While you're on LinkedIn,
stop by and follow API's company page as well.


Do Well and Do Good...

Support the mission of API and connect with your target audience.

Contact us
to help you create an advertising package to fit your message and budget.


API is proactively engaged with organizations with diverse missions and activities in order to leverage and expand our work in supporting all parents, children and families to promote secure attachments and strong, positive relationships.


Want to change a life?
You can now apply online
and learn more about
becoming an API Leader!


Did You Have an Aha! Moment Reading One of These Links?

If so, we couldn't be more pleased to serve you. Help us serve others too. Please consider donating $20, $10, or even $5. API is a non-profit organization and it depends on your tax-deductible donations.


Photos by Rodrigo Amorim (Rodrigo_Amorim) from here and by Mike Baird (mikebaird) from here.


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