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
Raising Our Children
Crunchy granola folks in tie dye wearing
Birkenstocks and slinging their babies. What's wrong with this image? Nothing. However, those things are all lifestyle choices and not about attachment parenting.
Meeting a child's needs, well that's attachment parenting.
And meeting a child's needs doesn't mean that you are going to turn into a kumbaya singing, touchy feely, hippy type.
Meeting a child's needs is simple science. You don't get flowers without basic things like sun, water and nutrients, and raising a healthy, emotionally adjusted child requires many things, too. Children have needs just like flowers do, and meeting those needs are essential.
Yeah, we're touchy feely, only because all human beings have the need for touch, and connectedness. But that's not a lifestyle choice. It's science and it's on our side. Studies show that meeting the needs of children is necessary to their normal growth and development. We've got scientific studies, lot's of them.
I am committed to staying attached to my child and meeting his needs--not just for infancy and toddlerhood--but for his adolescence and beyond. Not as a lifestyle choice but because I want my son to have the best environment for healthy human development.
API helps create that environment. With its eight principles, we find positive solutions for parenting concerns.
If there isn't an API chapter where you are, please consider becoming a leader or co-leader. And if there is a group where you are, please do give it your support by becoming a member.
|On Feeling Good About Parenting|
By Lluvia Melendez
When I was pregnant, I began attending La Leche League meetings. It was there that I picked up a book by Dr. Sears, but I hadn't read the part about attachment parenting before my daughter, Sofia, was born.
We had a beautiful water birth, and breastfed without any major problems, but Sofia was a colicky infant, and I couldn't put her down even if I wanted to. It was exhausting. Showering and eating every day was a huge feat. Sleeping together and wearing her all day was the only way for us to get rest and get anything done. When I did finally read about attachment parenting, it was a "light bulb moment." Dr. Sears really validated what was already coming naturally to me. I finally knew not only was it okay to follow my God-given instincts, but it was what my daughter needed from me.
Sofia is now almost three years old. We are still practicing attachment parenting and very involved in our local API group, which has been such a tremendous amount of support and encouragement. Sofia is still a high needs child, but she has also blossomed into a witty, fun-loving toddler. My non-AP friends are so impressed with her. She is very well behaved, and is becoming more and more independent and social. They all ask me, "She's so smart and so good! What are you doing?" Seeing all these benefits lets me know in my heart that by practicing attachment parenting I am doing the best thing for my child.
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!
|Wise Words |
Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?
- Mary Manin Morrissey
Joint Custody--When is it too soon?
API is fortunate to have Dr. Susan Markel on its Resource Advisory Council. She is often asked to give her opinion to the courts regarding joint custody of infants and toddlers. Here's what she has to say.
Q: How feasible is it for the Courts to insist on shared custody of infants and toddlers?
A: "Fair and equitable distribution" is a concept that works with
property, but not with young children. In that case, the attachment to the primary caregiver (usually the mother) is the most important and overriding issue.
Maintaining a consistent, nurturing relationship cannot be reduced to a comparison of hours spent with either parent. This is even more critical in a situation where the toddler is breastfeeding (the norm in most areas of the world).
Most often it is the mother who feeds, rocks, diapers and comforts the baby from birth, responding consistently to the needs of the infant and thereby forming a strong emotional attachment. Toddlers and young children are in no way able to understand the concept of time and certainly have no awareness of the needs for a custody arrangement where there is a desire for an equitable arrangement that is satisfactory to both parents. Indeed, a child whose predictable routine has been altered without regard to the anxieties that would be engendered is under unimaginable stress, further compounded by the inability of the child to express verbally the distress that is being experienced.
Children who are attached to their mothers can simply not be expected to endure having that relationship disrupted. The situation between these children's parents regarding their own needs for satisfaction is simply not their burden to bear, and yet, if pursued, (by removing them from their mother for many hours at a time, particularly overnight), the children would be expected to lose their sense of trust. In the long term, any resulting anxiety and depression would then be the forbearers of later emotional problems during early school years, adolescence, and in adulthood.
Even if their parents both genuinely want what is best for these children, it is necessary that these parents, as well as the court system, be educated, enlightened and really committed to understanding the profound problems that will result if prolonged visits are allowed to occur away from the primary caregiver during this sensitive time in their development.
Susan Markel, M.D.
To learn more about Dr.Markel's work please click here and to visit her blog please click here.
|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.
New Leaders of existing Support Groups:
- Rebecca S. Boyer, API of St. Louis, Missouri
The following new API Leaders formed new support groups:
- Snohomish County API, WA., Marianne Ames
- Ohio Valley API, Elisa & Jonathan Barcalow
- DuPage County API, IL, Giselle Baturay
For information on becoming an API Leader or starting a new API Support Group, please visit our website.
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
More on Parenting Through Divorce
Question from a reader, response from The API Information Team.
Q: I am currently in the middle of a divorce and co-sleeping has become an issue with our custody battle. I am very dedicated to attachment parenting and know the benefits to co-sleeping with my child but my ex-husband feels differently and is using it against me in our custody case. Do you have any sources of support to offer to me?
A: It sounds as though you are going though a very stressful situation; I commend you for keeping the needs of your child in the forefront of your thoughts.
While API does not maintain a list of counselors for referral, I do have a few suggestions:
In addition to Dr. Markel, we also have Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, a member of our board of directors, and Dr. Isabelle Fox, a member of our advisory board, as API resources.
You can find a "letter to the court" by Dr. Isabelle Fox at our website. It is primarily written about custody and visitation for babies and young toddlers so I don't know if it will apply to your situation, but you may want to contact Dr. Fox. Although she is retired, she may be able to give you some names of some area counselors to check out. You can visit her website to find out more information.
Also, if you are breastfeeding, the La Leche League website has some information on "breastfeeding and the law" in the breastfeeding information section of the website.
Your own like-minded friends may be a great resource. If you don't mind them knowing about your search for a counselor, I suggest asking them for any recommendations or for any information that they may have about the attitudes of local counselors that they or their friends have encountered.
Often you will be able to get some names of counselors this way or maybe eliminate some names from your list of possibilities.
You may also be able to find out about a counselor's attitudes beforehand by having a few questions ready that you can ask over the phone.
(In many cases, this may mean asking their receptionist who can then relay the counselor's answers.) You could explain that you are practicing Attachment Parenting and are wondering if the counselor is familiar with this style of parenting. You may want to specifically ask about their opinion of co sleeping. It may take a bit of care to word your questions in a positive way that will give you a clear idea of the counselor's attitude.
If you can't do this on the phone, you may be able to schedule a very short preliminary visit to feel him or her out before you commit to more.
Another suggestion is to see if there are any certified IMAGO therapists in your area. These therapists seem to be more likely to be open to Attachment Parenting. I believe that there is a referral list at their websites.
Unfortunately, many in our society are not very informed about -- nor supportive of -- co sleeping. This is especially true when it comes to co sleeping with an older child. As you negotiate with your ex, listen to and acknowledge his concerns and try to reach an agreement or compromise. It might help to let him know that you expect that your child will move to his or her own bed in due time (when he or she is ready) and that you will not discourage that.
Sometimes, people are worried about co sleeping because they have wild fears that the child will never move out of the parent's bed or that the parent are somehow coercing your child into co sleeping for your own needs. It may be helpful if you can reassure your ex that this is not the case and try to proactively allay any other groundless fears that you think he may have about it.
- Kathleen Kendall-Tackett: here.
- Isabelle Fox's website: here
We also offer some resources and letters to the court here and hope to be able to offer more resources soon. You can also look at our AP-Friendly Professional listings to see if there are some professionals listed on there who might be able to help as well. You can find them here.
If you have questions about Attachment Parenting e-mail them here! 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.
|What does attachment parenting look like in action?
Can you think of examples of statements or behaviors you've heard/seen that made you think, "Now THERE'S someone who knows what attachment parenting is all about!"? If you can, we need your help.
As we begin developing curriculum based on the eight principles of attachment parenting, we are looking for real-life examples that will help us to identify important behaviors and beliefs of parents practicing AP with children from infancy through young adulthood. Any examples you're willing to share would be a great resource. If you have stories that will help us, please send them here.
Show how API has made a Difference in your Life
Do you have a favorite story that illustrates how your practice of Attachment Parenting, in an ordinary situation, helped you overcome a parenting challenge? Have you seen the differences that Attachment Parenting has made in the lives of your children or family? Have you or your children been complimented and you felt it was at least partially a result of Attachment Parenting? Does your local API group keep your AP batteries charged?
API wants to capture these moments in short written or recorded format with photos to help create an API montage. The montage will be displayed on the Web site as a beautiful testament to how API makes a difference. API needs your stories to make this happen.
Will you please send them to Stephanie?
We thank you in advance... every little bit makes a difference!
Shopping For Fun!
Looking for a special gift for someone you love?
We have recently created some fun gift membership packages to surprise someone you know!
Purchasing a Gift Membership for a friend or family member is a wonderful and inspiring gift of education and support that they will enjoy all year long!
These gifts are a fabulous way to share in the joy of a new birth, to celebrate the special older child in your family, or a way to celebrate and recognize the importance and special nature of the mother in your family! Whether you choose a gift membership certificate or a gift package your recipient will receive the benefits of becoming an Attachment Parenting International Member!
to view the various packages we have to offer and then use the left hand sidebar to navigate between them.
|Be an Angel!
API URGENTLY NEEDS YOUR DONATIONS!!!
API is in need of your donations. You may already know that API is in a transitional state as we plan for and create a parent education curriculum that will not only move us to financial stability, but truly support parents regardless of their path.
We've recently cut all operations to the bare minimum and our staff has graciously agreed to forfeit pay as long as individually possible. We are rapidly researching and applying for grants to help fund the new strategy, but the process is long and will not cover basic operations in the meantime. We're exhausting all avenues to survive.
We're committed to making this work because we're confident that our plans will take Attachment Parenting to a higher level and really deliver the means for parents to truly become and remain securely attached to their children. Our children's and future generations wellbeing are reliant on our success.
We need your monetary donations now more than ever. Do you or your friends annually give to a charity at the end of the year? 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:
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.
API Back Issues Available!
Each quarter API mails members our publication The Journal of Attachment Parenting. The Journal is a fabulous compilation of stories from members, Leaders, Directors and leading researchers in the field of attachment theory. Our publication has grown from a grassroots newsletter to a full blown black and white magazine with graphics and more articles than ever before!
Each month we will spotlight a former issue of The Journal of Attachment Parenting or API News (the former title of our newsletter through 2003). These issues will be for sale, along with additional volumes of API News and Journal.
The Journal of Attachment Parenting International, Volume 7:1 Spring 2004 Theme: Attachment Parenting the Older Child
This volume has some wonderful stories and informative articles when it comes to extending your attachment to older children. API's Co-Founders gave a wonderful interview on this very topic and is a must read for parents of older children.
Don't miss out on this fabulous issue! Once they are gone, they are gone!
- "Attachment Parenting the Older Child" Interview with Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker
- "Attachment Parenting a Premature Baby" by Kori Jones
- "Hardwired to Connect: The Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities"
To purchase your back issues and other wonderful items from our API store please click here.
And In the Next Issue of the Journal
We have an interview with Mark Browne (bass player for Melissa Etheridge), adoptive father of a child with Asperger's Syndrome. Mark discusses how he learned about attachment parenting and how this knowledge has affected his family.
The story he tells about his family's journey through adopting and gently parenting his daughter, Elena, is an inspiration to all parents struggling through the newborn phase, coping with the realities of a special-needs child, or hoping to parent their children in a more healthy way than they themselves were raised.
Join today so you get a copy!
And we are now accepting article submissions and advertising placements for our 2008 issues of The Journal.
Submission deadlines for articles:
- Annual New Baby Issue (growing families, sibling interactions) - January 11th
- AP in a Non-AP World (nurturing touch, criticism from family) - April 11th
- AP and the Growing Child (parenting children ages 5 through adult, school choices) - July 11th
- Healing Childhood Wounds (changing the patterns of our past, controlling anxiety and anger) - Oct 10th
If you are interested in submitting articles to The Journal please contact our editor.
Advertisers please go here.
|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:
- 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
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