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
by Avril Dannenbaum
As I write this I have the David Bowie song "Changes" going through my mind. It's September, and we are about to enter my favorite season. And my 51 year old body is going through changes, too, as all last week I discovered the meaning of the word "hot flash." I am poised to enter the autumn of my life.
And now another change; I'm your new editor for APILinks.
If there is one thing parenthood teaches us, it's to ride the waves of change. Turn around and that infant no longer than your forearm is now crawling and exploring his world. Then he's talking and telling you what he wants-very loudly in the middle of the grocery store. So quickly they grow. Every time you think you know the score, the rules get modified. Now, he's cutting out that afternoon nap, and is miserable because he is tired, just not tired enough.
How do we handle all these changes?
By staying attached! Tuning into your child's needs and keeping in touch with your instincts can help you ride out the changing tides of your child's development.
Schedules and nighttime rituals all have their place in creating a rich, nurturing environment for our children, but flexibility is the keyword. Our children go through rapid fire development. Staying aware of the different stages can help a parent handle the changes.
API is dedicated to helping you stay focused and aware of what is going on in your family. Heading to a meeting where you can chat and compare notes can give you great insight as to why-when everything was perfect last week- it all now seems to have gone to heck.
While my son is still a newborn in my heart, he's actually ten years old now, and learning the guitar. He's losing the baby fat and morphing into a teen before my eyes.
Thank goodness API will be there to help me with that change, too.
|Using NVC to Respond with Sensitivity|
Meet API Member Emily Milikow
When my son was about 18 months old and began to assert his autonomy, I started having difficulty upholding API's third principle (Respond with Sensitivity). Fortunately, I had read some about Nonviolent Communication (NVC) from my local API chapter. I attended a local workshop in May 2006 that taught me the basics of NVC and whetted my appetite for more.
NVC is a language of connection. It requires a shift away from evaluating in moralistic terms (right/wrong, good/bad) to a focus on needs. It teaches us first to use empathy to determine mother and child's feelings and needs and then to make a request of the child (NOT a demand!). So now, when my son refuses to go to the grocery store with me, I empathize with him. I am able to see that he *needs* to have fun. To meet both of our needs, I must find a way to allow him to have fun AND for me to get food. Perhaps he is willing to bring a toy along to the store; or perhaps he wants to play at home for five more minutes; or perhaps I can wait until my husband gets home to get the groceries. Whatever the case may be, I have learned to respond sensitively to my son and I am thankful to API for helping me find this path.
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!
By Jan Hunt
I am often asked if attachment parenting spoils children. This type of question stems from a basic misunderstanding of children's legitimate needs, and a misinterpretation of their behavior. There are three ways that a child's behavior can be misinterpreted:
1. We can make the false assumption that the child is deliberately attempting to take advantage of the parent.
Children learn through the example of our behavior, and the best behavior we can show by example is that of compassion for the suffering of others. If a child does not learn compassion by his parents' example, how will he learn it?
2. We mistakenly assume that the child's need for comfort is somehow less important or less urgent than an adult's need for emotional comfort.
A compassionate response to a child does not "spoil" him; it simply tells him loud and clear that he is loved and cherished. No human being of any age can be "overcherished".
3. We assume that by forcing a child to "handle" whatever needs led to his crying, we are helping him to mature.
A garden cannot grow without sunshine, nor should we expect a child to mature without unconditional love and trust. We have all met adults who are still trying to meet needs that should have been met in early childhood.
Babies and children who learn through experience to trust that their parents will take their needs seriously and will always "be there for them," have the greatest chance for retaining the love and trust present in every child at birth.
Excerpted with permission from "Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children" at www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/misunderstand.html
More than 60 percent of Americans allow their pets to sleep in bed with them on a regular basis, according to an extensive national survey. If only our babies were lucky enough to be treated like the majority of our pets!
From Good Nights by Jay Gordon, M.D., and Maria Goodavage
|Our Growing Team|
Welcome New API Leaders and Support Groups
API would like to welcome our newest Leaders to our team, and to thank them for their dedication to Attachment Parenting and API. Their efforts truly make a difference in the communities they serve.
The following new API Leaders formed new support groups:
For information on becoming an API Leader or starting a new API Support Group, please visit our website.
- Harrisburg API, Pennsylvania, New Leaders Shanna & Matt Filizzi
New Reading Requirements for Leader Applicants
We have revised API's reading requirements. We now refer to specific books in seven categories,
and we have introduced more individual flexibility at the discretion of Linda Dicus, Director of Leader Applicants. The new requirements are detailed on the Starting a Group page here Group Start
|When to Quit Co-sleeping?|
Question from a reader, response from The API Information Team.
If you have questions about Attachment Parenting e-mail them to us! 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.
Q: I have a 6-year old who continues to sleep in our bed. He gets very distressed if we suggest that he sleeps in his own bed. Is there an age by which you recommend that children should be in their own beds? My main problem with the situation is that his brother (age 9) sleeps in his own bed, and whilst he doesn't want to be in our bed (he likes he own space) I think that it causes some resentment.
A: Some attachment parents feel comfortable with letting their co-sleeping children decide when they will move from the shared bed to their own bed. Some parents are comfortable having their children in their bed up to a certain age. Ideally, the decision for a child to move to his or her own bed will be made mutually by parents and child. If the child is not ready to move but the parent, for whatever reason, needs the extra space, then the move will be made gradually and sensitively so that it is not traumatic for the child.
Most importantly, children need always have their parents available to them at any point during the night for comfort and reassurance.
You mentioned that you feel that the co-sleeping is possibly causing some resentment. You might look into making sure that your older son still feels he is welcome in the bed so that that is not a possible cause for resentment. Otherwise, there may be something else going on that would need your focused attention. For instance, do you think your son is receiving enough quality time with you during the day? You could try to give him some extra one-on-one time with him. Has he been stressed about something lately? If so, his stress may be playing out in part through the nighttime sleep arrangement.
You could simply try talking with your son to find out how he is feeling about the bed and sleep situation. He might be willing to describe what's bothering him, and, if you ask, he might be quite willing to help provide a reasonable solution for the nighttime sleep arrangement.
And In the Next Issue of the Journal
We will have an interview with Dr. Robert W. Sears who has authored The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, which is soon to be released.
In our interview we have a candid discussion about the risks and benefits of vaccinations, including the potential dangers of giving too many aluminum containing vaccines at one time. This article is neither pro-vaccine nor anti-vaccine, but is about making informed choices.
Join today so you get a copy!
Expected out in November 2007!
API has been given the honor of hosting a pre-conference symposium on Oct. 10th on Attachment Parenting in conjunction with the ATTAch conference that will be held from Oct. 10-13th in Providence, RI.
ATTACh is an organization for parents and professionals who have or work with adopted children. In the past, it has focused on children with attachment disorders. Now it has begun including sessions that focus on prevention and amelioration of these disorders in infancy. Sessions will be geared for professionals and parents who have adopted infants or are considering adopting infants. If you live or work in the area this is a great opportunity to meet the API founders and some board members as well as network with those in the adoption world. ATTACh board members have been very welcoming and supportive of API.
Guest speakers include:
- Barbara Nicholson & Lysa Parker- API Founders
- Isabelle Fox, Ph.D.-author of Being There and API advisory board member
- Reedy and P.J. Hickey- Reedy is a board member and both are supporters of API
- Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Ph.D.- API board member
- Heather Forbes- LCSW, is the co-founder of the Beyond Consequences Institute, LLC.
- Jody Wright- an Instructor Trainer for Infant Massage USA, past president of Mother Wear
- Lynne Lyon, MSW- Founder and moderator of Attach-China/International Parents Network
We are grateful for this unique opportunity and hope you will consider attending. You do not have to register for the entire conference to attend the pre-conference seminar but you do need to register online.
For more information visit their website.
|API Seeking Support|
Each quarter, API produces Attachment Parenting: The Journal of API. It is truly a labor of love, as nearly the entire team is comprised of volunteers. Even so, it costs $5,000 to produce, print, and distribute each issue. We deeply appreciate our advertisers, and in API's current financial situation these revenues are often needed to cover basic operating expenses for the organization. We are in need additional funding to deliver the Journal, and are asking for your help. If you have enjoyed the support and education offered through the Journal, and to the extent you are able, please consider supporting an upcoming issue. Each $5,000 donation will allow us to produce and deliver one issue of the Journal. We plan to produce two more issues before the end of the year:
- The first issue will include a fabulous interview with Dr. Bob Sears about vaccinations, and stories about special needs situations such as allergies, acid reflux, and autism.
- The second issue will explore the challenges of attachment after adoption, and will have heartwarming stories about accepting the differences between the fantasies and the realities of parenting.
Having support for each of these issues, and for each issue planned for 2008, will ensure that we are able to continue to deliver the stellar publication to which our members are accustomed. To support an issue, to see other support opportunities, or to make a donation to our general operations fund, please visit our website. We thank you for your consideration, and for forwarding this plea to anyone who might be in a position to help.
|API Membership |
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.
Avril Dannenbaum, Editor
Attachment Parenting International