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
Pass the Peace, Please
On striving for balance when up to your fanny in obligations!
Holidays are rough. The weather isn't that great and we spend our time dashing about-getting our homes ready for relatives and friends, buying presents, cooking special meals, etc. It's easy to neglect ourselves.
When I am feeling upset and out of sorts, I take the time to understand that this is my inner state. I can choose not to project these feelings on to the outside world, and especially not onto the people I love. However, I will share my feelings, above all when I'm feeling tired or needy.
Whether one day old or one hundred years of age, we all wish to be loved and respected, to feel nurtured and secure. And when our needs are met, we can get on with our business in the Universe, whatever it may be.
Take a moment to stop. Breathe. Take your emotional temperature. It all starts with you. Be sure that you get enough vitamins-studies show that low vitamin D levels happen from the lack of sunlight this time of year and leaves our immune system vulnerable to colds and the flu. Find novel ways to exercise to reduce your stress.
My child learns empathy and compassion through my example and part of this is reflected in how I treat myself.
Don't wait for the New Year to become proactive. Take stock now!
This little nugget is brought to you by the Eighth Principle of Attachment Parenting International!
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.
Editor's Note: Avril's article "Welcome to the Twilight Zone," is in the Special Needs Edition of API's The Journal. Head here to order this edition, filled with informative articles and heart warming stories (select vol. 10:4 on the drop down menu).
|That Sense of Satisfaction|
By Rachel Losey
Our son Tobin was born on November 7th. He is a happy and healthy baby. The contrast between his health and happiness and that of my daughter's is shocking. Our babies learn much about the world by experiencing that we respond to their cries and can make things better. We tried to establish this with my daughter Cora (now 3.5). Due to complicated food allergies that it took us 2.5 years to identify-I don't feel we ever really succeeded-despite all of our efforts we were not able to ease or eliminate her suffering when she cried. It still brings tears to my eyes to think about this. Her crying was not about a wet diaper or a hungry tummy. She was hurting and we simply couldn't fix it.
But with my son, for the first time as a mother, I am able to see the beauty of the trust cycle. He does not seem to have the same allergy issues and the beauty of this cycle is unfolding before our eyes. He does not cry. That is not to say that he does not let us know that something is bothering him-but his protests never escalate to a full blown cry. He stops whimpering when he hears my voice-before I have had a chance to fix whatever is bothering him because he KNOWS at 12 days old that we can and will make things better.
I simply can't express how satisfying seeing this is. After trying so hard and practicing attachment parenting with my daughter and not being able to create this cycle-the beauty of seeing this with my son is inexpressible. I am also struck with gratitude that we always held Cora when she cried, that we always tried to comfort her and that we never left her to suffer alone. Attachment parenting principles are crucial when a child is suffering from a medical condition-and incredibly satisfying when they are not and you can see the immediate benefits to the child.
Rachel's "Cora's Story," can be found in the Special Needs Issue
of The Journal of Attachment Parenting
, Vol. 10, No. 4 Autumn 2007. To obtain your copy go here
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." -Albert Einstein
The Gingerbread Chronicles
By Lu Hanessian
I'm making a gingerbread house with my five year-old at school. Moms and dads are seated around large tables while their children stand next to them. Grown-ups slather sugar goop while kindergartners strategically place graham crackers, gumdrops and marshmallows.
"Stop it!" says one mother to her boy who is hopping next to her and conducting an imaginary orchestra. "You're not even helping me!"
After he adds a peppermint candy, she sighs and thanks him begrudgingly.
Another mother at our table is doing the exuberant play-by-play, asking her son if he approves of her choices to place the candies here and there, talking him through his previous fear of events like these.
"I just don't want you to be afraid or scared of anything," she insists. "You're happy now, right?" He says nothing.
"Oh, he's feeling embarrassed now!" she says to me.
And another parent is sitting silently, frowning, while his daughter tends to the house. He checks his watch every few minutes. They exchange few words and fewer glances.
"Do you like it?" she asks the teacher, as her dad looked on.
And I confess, I fell into a brief reverie, while my son carefully positioned his crispy square shingles. I saw, once again, in these gingerbread vignettes that we parent according to our childhood attachments.
Were they ambivalent, filled with contradiction, offering love in fits and starts, conditionally based on our actions and reactions, parenting us hot and cold depending upon which buttons were unknowingly triggered? So that we can't make a gingerbread house without feeling the old resentment, unworthiness, guilt, and loneliness-making our child the parent whom we could never access fully no matter how many hoops we jumped?
Or we feel the need to fill in the blanks for our child because we can't bare to leave anything open, exposed, confused, terrified, like we were-leaving him little room to think or feel for himself and cope with the reality of his emotions?
Were our attachments avoidant, creating in us a constant sense of feeling outside, rejected, afraid but unable to feel our fear, invulnerable to our own vulnerability? So that we can't connect with the joy of play, the fleeting moments of togetherness with our child and a house made of candy?
In my mind, building the gingerbread houses was a metaphor for the homes we lived in years ago, some unstable and barren even if they looked good on the outside.
And for the homes we build now with our own children.
If we allow ourselves to step back and watch our child build his own foundation, we might find a new blueprint for our own childhood home-and trust in the renovation process.
Lu Hanessian © 2007.
Lu Hanessian is a TV and radio journalist, the author of Let the Baby Drive: Navigating the Road of New Motherhood (St. Martin's Press, 2004), host of "Make Room for Baby" on Discovery Health Channel, and a newspaper parenting columnist and national speaker. You can reach her at Let The Baby Drive.
Editor's Note: Lu is also a member of API's Advisory Board.
Keeping the Karmic Balance
Giving Back to a Great Group
Volunteer Positions Available
There's this saying: if you want to get something done, ask a busy person. Come on, admit it, we've got your dream job!
- Publicity Team Member - Research Coordinator
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For more information on the above, please go here. Other team positions are also available here.
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.
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.
Join API Today!
Dealing with Tantrums
Question from a reader, response from The API Information Team.
Q: I am dealing with a very challenging 5 year old (swearing, hitting, and throwing temper tantrums galore) and our family life (with two younger siblings) is suffering. I am an attachment parent at heart but do lose my temper (all too much) and I need some coaching to become the parent I want to be. Can you recommend someone? Any help would be appreciated.
A: We as attachment parents have such high expectations of ourselves that it sometimes really puts us in a pickle. We know we need to be gentle, empathetic, and approaching our child on a "working with" level instead of a "doing to" level and yet, we at times lose our balance and are not the best parent we can be. The thing to realize is that we and our child are being the best that we can be at that given moment.
Our children communicate to us through their actions and their behavior; our essential role as their parent is to help them realize what they are trying to communicate. At age five, your son is still young and even though he is verbal he is not ready developmentally to really place logic with his actions/behaviors. When we recognize this, it helps us to be a little more understanding of why he is throwing a tantrum instead of telling you what he is wanting or feeling. A great book to read is by Dr. Gissell titled "Your 5-Year Old"; the institute goes through a whole developmental work up to understand the workings of a five-year old. Have you read this book?
When you look back, do you recognize when the loss of your temper happens? Is it on a stressful day? Is it in a certain time of the day? Is it related to a specific type of situation (such as screaming, talking back, tantrums)?
I can only imagine that being a mother to three is quite a daily challenge that is mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting by the end of the day. What do you do on a consistent basis to give back to yourself? What ways do you nurture yourself? What community of support do you have for yourself?
At API, we have some great articles that you might find support in regards to balance and discipline: Articles Page at API.
At Attachment Parenting International you might find the following API Journal issues to be of additional help to you that you can purchase:
Some great books I can recommend for you as well are:
- Connection Parenting by Pam Leo
- Kids Are Worth It! By Barbara Coloroso
- Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
- Everyday Blessings by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Some great websites that have useful articles and information that are attachment oriented as well are included below:
We do have a host of AP-Friendly Professionals (they are professionals committed to being an attachment oriented) that indicate that they will offer consultations in person or through the phone, so maybe that might be an option for you. To look at our AP-Friendly Professionals, please visit the following page:
AP-Friendly Professionals Program
We also have members on Attachment Parenting International's Resource Advisory that are available for consults as well. You can click on their name and go to their website to see their pricing, etc.
API Advisory Board
You can also get in touch with one of our local leaders in your state to see if they or their members have any recommendations for you as well:
API Parenting Support Groups
In the end, please recognize that you are doing the best that you can in any given moment and so are your children, so be forgiving to yourself and to your child. By you modeling this to yourself and to them, you are teaching them self-acceptance and the power of forgiveness which are tools to carry them into adulthood. Take time to reflect on the behavior at hand and react to the need being communicated through the behavior. If this is hard to do, it might mean that a little balance is needed in your life and to use that opportunity to give yourself "five minutes" of breathing room.
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.
|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 Group Leaders
- Krystal & David MCDonald, API of Northern Virginia
- Kelly Bartlett, SW Portland API, Oregon
New Support Groups and Group Leaders
- Gjøvik Tilknytningsomsorg API (Norway), Elin Enger Mollestad
- Pioneer Valley API, Massachusetts, Gillian Daley
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.
Psssst! Looking for API Stuff for Your Loved ones?
Look no further. We have your jewelry, books, back issues of The Journal of API and API merchandise. We have it all. Just check it out here.
|Cool Deal from Platypus Media-You take advantage of their sale and API gets a 10% donation.
It's a Win/Win situation. You get the best prices on great books and we get some cold hard cash.
Platypus Media is offering great holiday pricing on their books. For those of you who aren't familiar with Platypus Media, the company was founded by Dia Michels, coauthor of "Milk, Money & Madness." It is an independent press creating and distributing materials that promote breastfeeding and attachment parenting. Their goal is to bring products to the market that parents love, children enjoy, teachers appreciate, and parenting professionals value. Their books have all been approved by Attachment Parenting, International and La Leche League. This is the perfect time to stock up on books for the holidays (and even pick up some extras for the gift box!).
From now until January 31, you can....
"101 Things Everyone Should Know About Science" for FREE
Buy 4 Hardback Books...
Pay Half Price!!
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Buy 10 Hardback Books...
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To order, just call 202-546-1674 or visit Platypus and enter coupon code HH0Y-SIGOAX when prompted. To get API their donation, put API in the order form under "company" or mention us on the phone.
|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.
And a special heart felt thanks to all of the people who have already sent us their views!
And In the Next Issue of the Journal
Attachment Parenting and Adoption
In this very informative issue, we have "Language of Play," an article by Virginia Keeler-Wolf. She writes of how play can open a window into your child's interests and concerns.
The article also explains "floor time", where the parent
takes a "spontaneous and unstructured role, following your child's lead". It gives tips parents can use to make this time a meaningful experience.
This edition of the journal is expected to be released by end of the first quarter in 2008.
(The Special Needs issue has already been shipped and all members should be receiving it by end of December.)
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
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