Tag Archives: attachment parenting

Nurturing Genetically “At Risk” Children

James Fallon is a neuroscientist who has spent his career studying psychopaths.

On accident, he learned that his brain had revealed someone who had scan patterns indicative to a psychopath.

He later found out his family history had a long line of people with clear psychopathic behavior.

So what led Fallon away from becoming a diagnostic psychopath?

He says a nurturing environment during childhood.

This is what my friend Bridget said about Fallon’s conclusion:
This, right here, is why I advocate “attachment”-style parenting. Where you have a genetic predisposition for antisocial behavior, a nurturing, responsive, sensitive caregiver has the potential to mediate the possible harmful effects of those genetics. It’s not so much about breastfeeding or co-sleeping or shunning strollers as it is about treating a child with empathy from the very beginning, so that they learn firsthand how to treat other people.”

This is why we see some children can be conventionally parented without any issues, and some children (especially “high needs” children), need more physical touch and interaction to truly thrive. You know your child better than anyone – do what you know is right for their unique needs.

Real Men of AP: Zombie Edition

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Here is another (not so) Real Man of AP.

“Stranded in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, a man sets in motion an unlikely plan to protect the precious cargo he carries: his infant daughter.”

This short film was a Tropfest Australia 2013 finalist.

Watch the creative and heartfelt story below:

Rhett Butler is Anti-Cry It Out: (Not So) Real Men of AP

 

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One of my favorite movies of all time is Gone with the Wind (the book is even better). 

Clark Gable was dreamy enough on his own, but him playing Rhett Butler? *swoon*…

I always thought Brian was a bit like Rhett Butler’s character, but then that would make me Scarlett…
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So, I tend to avoid using that comparison.

But I digress…

The movie happened to by on TV tonight and I turned it on during a scene where Rhett had taken his daughter, Bonnie to London and left Scarlett behind.

Watch this, it seems Mr. Butler is not a fan of the “cry it out method”, and Clark Gable will be sure to charm the pants off of you in this scene:

Here is the dialogue in case you had trouble hearing it (it follows the moments before and during the above video clip):

Bonnie Blue Butler: Daddy, dark! Daddy, dark!
Rhett Butler: There. Yes, yes. What’s the matter with my Bonnie?
Bonnie Blue Butler: A bear.
Rhett Butler: Oh, a bear? A big bear?
Bonnie Blue Butler: Dreadful big. And he sat on my chest.
Rhett Butler: Well, I’ll stay here and shoot him if he comes back.
Nurse: Good evening, Mr. Butler.
Rhett Butler: Haven’t I told you never to leave her alone in the dark?
Nurse: If you’ll pardon me, sir, children are often afraid of the dark, but they get over it. Just let her scream for a night or two.
Rhett Butler: Let her scream! Either you’re a fool or the most inhuman woman I’ve ever seen!

Nurse: Of course, if you want her to grow up nervous and cowardly.
Rhett Butler: Cowardly! There isn’t a cowardly bone in her body. You’re discharged!
Nurse: As you say, sir.

The Real Men of Attachment Parenting – Week 5

This week’s Real Dad of Attachment Parenting:

Swoonable dad of attachment parenting

His wife, Stacy, said:

Home from the grocery store to realize you have to go back because you forgot diapers: $20

Awake until 1am assembling matching crib & changing table: $300.

Snapping a picture of your sexy husband passed out & bonding with your 4 month old: Priceless

The Real Men of Attachment Parenting – Week 4

We’re at week four and these stories of real attachment parenting dads have taken off! People are loving dads getting the accolades they deserve. A great aspect of this series is the lovely stories that the wives have been writing about their significant others. Verbalizing or putting into writing appreciation for one another is such a great thing for each spouse to do for the other, but it is also inspiring and beneficial to be able to read the heartfelt stories of love. Overall, this series has been really positive, so thank you! We have received hundreds of submissions, so if you don’t see your real man of attachment parenting be sure to keep checking back in the following months.

The following submission is from Jake and Laura Kidd.

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From Jake:
“wearing Sophia is as natural to me as breastfeeding is to you, I can see the positive affects of it all right in front of us…. this happy, content baby is the perfect advert for it all! Co-sleeping, bathing with her and carrying her is my way of bonding with our daughter, she is part of our family so I don’t see what the big deal is – of course I’m going to want her up here where I can see her, talk to her – show her my world…”
From Laura:
Jake gets home from work late afternoon  on week days then after his cup of tea they go for a long walk round the village together, just the two of them. He has done that every day since she was born, whatever the weather - and she loves it. Now when he gets home she drags the sling off the couch or where ever it has been left and passes it to him before reaching up to be put in it.

Brian’s Interview on Attachment Parenting

Well, it happened. Brian had his first interview.

 

 

An attachment parent or a badass? I am going with both.

We received an email a few weeks ago for an interview request. What made us excited was it wasn’t for me, it was for Brian! They wanted to get his views on AP. This is the first time anyone has ever asked to talk to him about it.

 

“It’s about damn time!” Brian said. I agreed. We were excited and said yes before we had time to really let it sink in. Here is the thing: Brian has a fear of interviews or speaking in public. Oddly enough, his job requires him to be really hands on with strangers every day, but when it comes to giving a specific set of responses and trying to get a message across- he freezes up. He’d never been asked for an interview like this before, but job interviews- ugh, those were stressful times in our house. He was so excited someone finally wanted to talk to him, a dad, about this subject, that he sucked it up and didn’t even mention his fear of interviews.

 

The day finally came and the interviewer came over to our apartment to interview Brian. It was very casual and I was invited to be there with him during his interview. Well, that was all of our first mistake. Brian is always the strong one of the two of us in the relationship, physically and emotionally- he is tough. Seeing him vulnerable made me get really protective over him. I saw the fear in his eyes, wanting to say the right thing and please the woman interviewing us (she was lovely)- he had the look I had during my Today Show interview- complete shellshock.

 

I did what I do best- talk…a lot. I was jumping into the conversation. I was used to answering a lot of these questions, but also Brian and I take to parenting differently and I think that is why I am more ready to jump in to answer questions. Brian is more “let’s do what feels right” kind of parenting. I’m more “let’s see what the science is behind why this feels right” kind of parenting. Complimentary to each other, but totally different. So, while Brian may not have detailed answers other than “It works for us and it is natural and easy for our family” I would want to jump into a monologue about why it works so well, which embarrassingly, I think I did.

 

I was sitting there attempting to bite my tongue while Brian was working through the interview. I felt like that annoying know-it-all kid in class that would wave their hand at the teacher while she asks another student to answer the question. Luckily, Brian wasn’t distracted by my well-intentioned hijack of his interview. He got much more comfortable as he progressed, which led to answers that were much more thoughtful and allowed his message to come through.

 

So, hopefully I didn’t ruin the interview and his bit will be used for the article because he really does have an important message that deserves to be heard. We are also excited about the article because they are interviewing multiple AP dads, which is brilliant. We can’t wait to read it…Although, I hope they leave out any of my butting in for everyone’s sake.

 

Overall, this experience made me think about the balance of our personalities in this marriage. Brian said it best when speaking about us at social events or parties. He lets me go like a wind up toy while he sits back. Once I’ve worn out, he collects me and we go home. It is a pretty funny analogy. It’s true in some respects. Brian is more mellow and quiet. When we go out he likes being more stationary, grabbing a drink and having really thorough and meaningful conversations with the people approaching him. I , however, take after my grandmother. I like to be where the action is. I’ll make my rounds around the party, wanting to get to hear about everyone and what they’ve been up to. I think what is great about being so different is that he is the ying to my yang. Neither one of us is better or right in the way we approach things, just different. I’ll dream big and he’ll pull me back just enough so that it can become a reality.

 

Not every happy marriage seems to be the same. I know some of our good friends literally married their other half – they could be twins. They are so alike it is crazy, and works! I guess that is the great thing about marriage. There are so many ways another person can uplift you and test your strength all at the same time.

 

What is your marriage like? Are you married to your twin, or your complete opposite? Or maybe something in-between?

A Dad’s Perspective on Attachment Parenting (Part 2)

This post was syndicated for iamnotthebabysitter.com. The views and opinions herein may or may not reflect the values of iamnotthebabysitter.com but we respect the opinions of all parents.

Attachment parenting and fathering go hand-in-hand.
Lori Dorman Photography

Attachment Parenting…So many people do this, some label it and some do not.  Just like in my previous post that I wrote with the influence from Jamie, Attachment Parenting starts between a husband and a wife but the most impact you can have is when you show your child / children that special kind of love.  Most of the times I read about Attachment Parenting it is based around the relationship of the mother and the child.

 

I want to be that dad that helps other dads learn how to have that bond with their baby.  I want to be that dad that has other dads saying “I learned a lot from that guy!”  Now, I will never admit to knowing all there is to being a dad.  Sometimes I even question if I am a good dad or not, but I will say that I am always at the head of the line when it comes to learning.

 

Dads here are some ways you can make that bond better between you and your child or children,

 

BabyWear..Man, I loved when the kids wanted me to wear them, I even had my own sling.  I felt like the biggest and baddest dad when I would walk around wearing my kids.  Think of that bonding time you get when you can carry your young child, that safe feeling they have.

 

Help your wife while she breastfeeds..I am a huge breastfeeding advocate.  A lactation consultant will tell any husband that he an important part of the feeding process.  In the beginning write down the feeding times and the pop and wet diapers.  Help relax your wife, get her a drink, if she wants a cover get that for her. Be supportive of her if she chooses to do so in public.  Act normal since what your wife is doing is normal.  You have no idea how much you will help if you just do the little simple things.

 

Change diapers..This is the hardest one for me.  Ohh how I hate diapers.  But if you are better than me and man enough to change a dirty diaper then I applaud you.

 

Bath time with your babies..Make it fun. Your babies will smile so much more if you make bath time a fun time.

 

Co-Sleep..I love the fact that each of our children have and still sleep with us.  They will move and did move on their own.  C1 and C2 have cool bunk beds.  C3 and C4 have bunk beds and when C3 is ready to go to his own bed he can and he will.  I am not one that will shut our door in order to keep the kids out.

 

Love and Logic..I am a huge Love and Logic fan.  I am so hardcore against spanking and hitting your child the negative style of discipline.  There are so many better ways to teach your child and educate them on behavior and how to act and learn from mistakes and bad choices.  Would you have learned more in school while getting yelled at by your teachers?  No, so why yell at your kids, they wont learn from that.  Be sweet and gentle.

 

I think we as men feel that sometimes we need to be this hard ass, tough, mean figure and stand over our kids in order for them to listen and learn from us.  That is so wrong. There is nothing wrong with being that soft, gentle parent that can deliver that strong message.

 

Attachment Parenting is something that comes under fire STILL, but to be honest there are so many parenting practices that do.  It just so happens that I am on the positive side of the Attachment Parenting conversation and I support this and will continue to write about it and show my support.  I think more men need to do the same and stop leaving this in the hands of our wives.  Our wives are big girls and can handle themselves but when our children are involved and how we care for them, sometimes our wives need that teammate.

Kiss The Baby

Scott

 

This post was syndicated from This Daddy’s Blog. Scott is a married father of four children. He is judgmental, opinionated, straight-forward, and open minded.

Parenting for the Needs of Your Child- Johnny’s Story


I was talking to my friend the other day about how she was led to her career as a social worker because of her heart for children. It evolved into a conversation about what life experiences helped to shape our passions in life. Unlike my friend, my passion is not as much for children as it is for mothers – which ultimately benefits children. With my own children, or children living at the center without parents, I have a close connection, like some people have with all children. However, when a child has parents, I am not as hands-on. I now believe this is because I subconsciously am aware this child has a parent, and that his or her need is met. My heart lies with supporting mothers (and fathers) to be confident in their parenting choices (and to choose what is best for their families).

 

I believe that, like anyone who has been given a love for a group of people or a cause, my passion is God-given. I also believe that experiences in our life shape our interests and who we become. In an attempt to look back on my life to find out why I have a desire to serve this community, I found it came from watching my own mother.  The story I’m about to share is extremely personal and was not something I wanted to share without knowing the message would help others, which I believe it will.

 

Johnny and me in 1986

I’ve written before about my mother’s experiences with her parenting. I am focusing on my mother here as well, not because my father was not a present figure in our lives (quite the contrary) but rather because, as my husband said a couple weeks ago, “mom gets all the bashing, and dad gets no credit.”  The pressure of parenting is intense for mothers, and it has been for far too long.

 

My brother, Johnny, and my sister, Ali, were born three years apart in the 1970s. My mother speaks about hiding in the closet to breastfeed my sister when unsupportive family and friends were over. Weaning occurred very early with both my brother and sister because of poor medical information at the time and an unsupportive society. My parents felt the desire to co-sleep with their children, and keep close contact with their babies. However, the culture of mainstream parenting was not supportive of the tenants of “attachment parenting” (this was years before Dr. Sears introduced an AP type of parenting into modern culture). My mom felt the pressure to parent the way society was telling her to parent. So, that is what she did. My brother and sister were “conventionally” parented. My mom said that with my brother, more than my sister, she felt the need to follow her instincts and parent in a more AP style, but she didn’t because of pressure to parent one way by the mainstream culture. My brother came out of the womb vastly different than my sister or me. Many years after my brother’s childhood, Dr. Sears wrote a book about parenting a high-needs/special-needs child and about the importance of parenting according to the needs of the child.

 

My parents had me when Ali was 14, and Johnny was 11. My mom was now 35 years old and more confident as a mother. Times were changing and she parented me the way she felt was right for me. She fought against criticism to parent me intuitively.   My siblings grew up watching how my mother and father parented me and saw the benefits of parenting for the child’s needs, rather than society’s wants, and my sister parented her children in the same way because of witnessing my upbringing.

 

My mother also believes my brother would have benefited from homeschooling. Ali (who was parented in the same way as my brother) was doing fine in a conventional school setting. Johnny’s personality and way of learning were more compatible with an independent study structure and less distractions. Homeschooling, at the time, was highly criticized by society. It wasn’t until his last year or two of high school that my parents decided to enroll my brother into independent study courses and saw the difference their child, but he soon graduated, so he didn’t reap as many of the benefits as he could have if he had started earlier.

 

Johnny was extremely sociable and loving. He had many friends, some great ones, and some that were not leading him into a healthy environment. Drug experimentation started, which (as many of us know) is very common practice with teenagers. Johnny’s ADHD and OCD brain along with an addictive personality became a recipe for disaster. Partying with his friends and self-medicating led to a full-fledged drug addiction.

 

I think people without personal experience have misconceptions about drug addicts. In their minds, every addict is a loser, someone who can’t get their act together, without self restraint, alone, careless. Some of those attributes can definitely be true, but from my experience, I just see someone broken. My brother was blessed in the fact that he had a family who was close to him and stayed by him through multiple hospital stays from overdoses (where he had 50% chance of living each time). We were blessed to have Johnny in our lives, as well. Empathy was something he was not lacking, and I think attributed to some of his depression and self-medicating. His absolute love for our family was overwhelming. My brother proves that even if you don’t practice attachment parenting, children can be loving, empathetic, and well-attached. He loved and looked up to my dad, and was protective of my mother, trying to shield her as best he could from his destructive lifestyle, because he knew how painful it was for her to watch. My sister was three years older, but they were so close that they were like twins. I was younger, but doted on. I still, to this day, have not found more devoted or loving siblings as I had in mine (still have in my sister). They were always excited to play with me and loved that I was part of their lives. This was not a story of a child addicted to drugs and estranged from his family… we were present daily.

 

Unfortunately, drugs are mind altering and can warp your perception of life. Hopeless, having done rehab and feeling his mind and body were literally broken, he decided to be extremely selfish.

Johnny used the police as a means to end his life. He was shot and killed by the police on June 11, 2000.

Such a violent death brought cameras and journalists to our door. It was my first experience with the press, and set the tone for what I know about the media today. I learned that some media outlets can handle issues with respect, while others just want the sensational story. “Blue Suicide” was not a common occurrence where we lived, and it was a heartbreaking lesson of what can happen to a life lost in addiction.

 

My mother will never say the police killed her child. If it somehow comes up, she says drugs killed him, and it is the truth. Watching my parents handle losing a child, respectfully approaching the police and apologizing to them that they had to do something so awful because it was necessary, was heartbreaking. I was 14 when my brother was killed and the statistics of marriages ending in divorce after something so horrific as the loss of a child is extremely high. My parents’ marriage was always strong, but they ended up leaning on each other after this in a bond that seemed even stronger than before.

 

It gave me a surreal feeling to turn 26 this year. My brother died at 25. It felt like I was on borrowed time. Even though my life is my own, I realize I am now older than my sibling was at the time of his death. This is devastating and motivating at the same time. I started thinking a lot about my parents recently, because I am a mother now. They carry sadness daily. It becomes a new sense of normal for the whole family. Always in the back of our minds is a thought that one of our own is missing. I think a lot about the fact that my children will never get to meet their uncle, and Brian will never get to know who Johnny was, but must understand his personality through our stories. Seeing the similarities of my brother in my nephews and my own children is hard enough, but to know my parents are watching their son in their grandchildren is bittersweet. Losing a child is a wound I understand cannot be compared to anything in this world. It is a very unfair part of life that my parents have to experience. Even what should be joyful occasions will remind my mother of her senseless loss.  I unexpectedly ran into my brother’s best childhood friend at Disneyland (it had been years since we last saw each other) a couple days ago and I texted a photo of all of us together and sent it to my mom. As happy as she was to see time moving on and the rest of us thriving, it was a painful reminder to her.

 

The most troublesome thing for me is the guilt involved in the loss of a child. It is a toxic and undeserving guilt but, no matter what, your mind goes to what you could have done differently when an outcome so tragic like this occurs. As parents, we are all going to make mistakes. There should be no guilt in this because it is part of life, and as long as we are trying our best and making thoughtful, loving decisions we need to accept that we are not perfect and life isn’t perfect. However, my mom also has to live with the guilt that she didn’t get to parent the way she felt was right because of societal pressures. She should be able to look back and think, “I made every decision based off of what I thought was right for my child at that time.” She and my dad can’t say that because we live in a bullying culture. That infuriates me. Would the outcome have been different if she had felt free to make the choices she and my dad felt were right for my brother? I don’t think so. There are so many factors that led to what happened, but that is not the point. The point is that there is unnecessary guilt from giving in to pressure from strangers and a society that does not know who you or your children are on a personal level. Blanket statements about parenting are destructive. We need to start realizing this as a culture.

 

Daily, mothers are shamed, pressured, and guilted into making parenting choices they don’t feel are right for their children. Anyone who ridicules parenting styles they don’t understand is speaking out of total  ignorance. The most obnoxious make the most noise. Unfortunately criticism and ignorant statements can cause mothers to make choices that are not for the good of their child or their family, but rather because they are so ostracized by their communities.

I am outspoken about issues like normalizing breastfeeding and a parenting style that is very misunderstood in our culture because I don’t want to watch another mother have a “what if” moment because she didn’t listen to her own instincts. We are all going to make mistakes, but we should not let society dictate what they will be. It goes much farther than normalizing just one style of parenting. It is about acceptance of meeting the needs of each individual child.

 

To parents: society does not know your children, and you know them better than anyone on this planet. Do not let hateful, bigoted, or ignorant comments shame you into parenting in a way you know is not right for your family. You are supported, whether you realize it or not. You owe it to yourselves and your children to be strong and move forward with the right decisions for your family. From feeding choices to the very structure of your family (I received an email today from a gay couple questioning whether to adopt or not because of what they feel is society’s deep hatred for same-sex couples starting a family). Just know there is an army of parents behind you. Some with similar parenting styles as you and some differing, but all supporting your thoughtful and loving decisions for your family.

You are not alone.

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