Choose Compassion

API-EmailProductIt’s likely, as a reader of the APtly Said blog, you’ve done it. You looked at the world, at families, at children, and said, “I choose compassion.”

In choosing compassion, you really have made so many choices. A choice to become educated about parenting and prepare to welcome your child into the world; a choice to try to respond with sensitivity to your child and others; a choice to be present with your child and nurture your child’s health and emotional well-being; and a choice to live out compassion in many other ways that are intentional and meaningful to you. You practice compassion. Now here is a chance to wear it.

Selfless apparel approached API to say they have a mission to help nonprofits, and they want to support our mission. As their charity beneficiary, we are excited to have teamed up with them to bring you the “Choose Compassion” campaign.

Beautifully designed by their talented team, a Choose Compassion shirt represents so much opportunity!


  • Wearing your Choose Compassion shirt means you helped to financially sustain and develop parenting support networks benefiting caregivers and children.
  • It represents a chance to create awareness about Attachment Parenting every time someone compliments you, asks what it means to you, or asks where you purchased it.
  • It encourages the volunteer Leaders, staff, donors, and all those freely giving their time on behalf of others.
  • It generates a connection and supports a movement as together we take this one week to visibly Choose Compassion in unison.

Already we have reached our initial goal, and we are thrilled! We thank those who have made purchases and who’ve been so complimentary about the campaign.

But let’s do something extraordinary. Just visit the site and check out the shirts–see if you can help us push beyond to a new goal. Each shirt represents so much more than clothing each time you wear it–together we are all choosing compassion.

API-Female-Scoop-Royal-541There are two more days to purchase your shirt or purchase gifts before the campaign is over. We hope you will seize the moment and show your support. After that? Wear your shirt, continue to support the movement for compassionate parenting and raising children with healthy, secure attachment, and make a difference in your home and in the world.

Thank you for your support!

Purchased your shirt? Remember the API 2013 Annual Appeal, vital for meeting its 2014 budget, and consider your donation today.

The Gift Is You

This post was written by contributor Stacy Jagger, MMFT, owner of Sunnybrook Counseling,

Many parents I see in my counseling office are spending thousands of dollars on a variety of technological devices for their children each year–gaming systems, digital cameras, cell phones, etc.–while the children, who are displaying maladaptive behaviors and internal turmoil, are truly missing the parents themselves. Kidnapped by technology and the busyness of life, these parents and children often do not even realize what is happening to them until an outside source brings the truth to their attention.

1092533_41672492The best gift you can give your child is yourself. Living in a split-attention society, many children have rarely experienced the full, uninterrupted attention of a parent. We are so wrapped up in culture, jobs and keeping up with the Joneses that we have forgotten that the true meaning of life is connection. What we all want and need is true connection: connection with life, nature, our neighbors, our loved ones and ourselves.

Whether married or co-parenting, single parenting or fostering, mothers and fathers have the choice to model healthy, forgiving, mutually respectful relationships full of unconditional positive regard to enhance their family life. This creates an atmosphere where the children feel safe to receive the attention and care they need. True lasting security and positive relational skills are given parent to child, not Xbox to child.

Give your child the gifts of security and well-being that come from your time and undivided attention. Turn off the phone, television and computer. Go for a walk. Play with Play-Doh. Cook a meal. Play a round of Crazy Eights. Camp in the backyard. Have 5 minutes of special playtime where you paint fingernails, throw a football or teach a hand-clap game like “Say Say, Little Playmate.” Laugh. Play in the leaves.

Get in touch with the child within you. Let it be OK–because it is OK. You are connecting with the child Love placed in your care, and there is no richness greater than that. You are their leader. They are following you, watching you, learning from you. It is worth the time, the frustrations, the joys and the sorrows. Feel the fullness of your feelings and, at the end of the day, fall in your bed exhausted with a heart full of gratitude for the richness of life, as you live in the blend of the beautiful and the challenging.

Children are truly a treasure and the greatest gift you can give them is you.

Click here to read API’s white paper on giving children presence.


Empathy: The Foundation of Emotion Coaching

This post was written by Stephanie Petters, coordinator of the API Reads program.

The discussion of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child  by John Gottman, PhD is continuing to unfold as we near the end of the book.  An excerpt from the book:

“When children feel emotionally connected to their parents and the parents use this bond to help kids regulate their feelings and solve problems, good things happen … our studies show that children who are Emotion-Coached do better in terms of academic achievement, health, and peer relationships. They have fewer behavior problems, and are better able to bounce back from distressing experiences. With emotional intelligence, they are well prepared to handle the risks and challenges that lie ahead.”

Raising and Emotionally Intelligent Child book coverAPI Reads is Attachment Parenting International’s online book club on Goodreads, but it’s more than a club for people who love to read books—it’s a place to share concerns and ideas to strengthen the connection to our children and families as well as share our own personal experiences.

For example, in Chapter 4 of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, the author explores the topic of avoiding criticizing, humiliating or mocking your child:

“Minute by minute, well-intentioned parents chip away at their kids’ self-confidence by constantly correcting their manners, deriding their mistakes, and unnecessarily intruding as kids try to perform the simplest tasks. They absent-mindedly describe their children with labels that stick like glue to the child’s self-concept. (Bobby is “hyperactive.” Karie is “the quiet one.” Bill is “lazy.” Angie is “our little Puddin’ Head.”) It’s also common to hear parents make jokes for other adults at a child’s expense, or to see parents mock their children’s sadness, using worlds like, ‘Don’t be such a baby.’ “

Here are reader responses to the above:

    • I loved this chapter and underlined so much of it!
    • As a former piano teacher, I have observed a lot of “constantly correcting their manners, deriding their mistakes, and unnecessarily intruding as kids try to perform the simplest tasks.” I make every attempt not to label a child–my own or a student.
    • A HUGE pet peeve of mine is lazy compliments! “Good!” Oh please! I am so glad the author address this on page 112. It’s about specific, not global, praise for an action.
    • I miss Mr. Rogers (page 113), and I do think the busy style of many children’s shows is just silly and talks down to the children.
    • I do find myself wanting to give sermons to correct any kind of vices that could be long-lasting, such as speaking disrespectfully or lying.
    • I appreciate giving my son as many opportunities as possible to make choices and decisions. I think this is such a great building step for self-regulation and the ability to take care of himself as he grows older. I give him lots of say over food, clothing and sometimes time. We do limit computers and video games to the weekends. I agree it can make such obedient and cooperative children whose sense of purpose gets stunted when they bump into pleasing others as an adult. I’m working through this now as an adult!
    • I’m a big hugger and back rubber. It’s amazing to see my son’s tension melt when he is touched with tenderness. (page 124)
    • “It is the parent who determines what behavior is permissible.” (page 126) This is where I struggle. I struggle to know what I should be expecting of my son and what I should allow as part of his growing and development.

What else have we been discussing? We’ve been discussing empowering your child with choices, the scaffolding technique for praise, not imposing solutions and more!

Everyone is welcome to join the discussion—or simply to follow the conversation—at API Reads on GoodReads. We’ll be discussing Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child for the remainder of December. Our next book for discussion starting on January 1 is The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland. Support API by using this link to purchase The Science of Parenting for January.


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