20 Years of Advocating for Families

By Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker, cofounders of Attachment Parenting International and coauthors of Attached at the Heart

We can hardly contain ourselves! Twenty years ago, we had a dream and this anniversary conference at Notre Dame this week is a fulfillment of that dream! This is a rare and exciting opportunity to meet and hear presentations by many of the influential and inspiring pioneers, both past and present, in the fields of attachment, child development and of course Attachment Parenting.

These are the people who influenced us, broadened our vision and helped raise the consciousness of a culture and shape the way we raise our children.

Our conference team has organized a day just for you, and most of the speakers you know and love will present on that day! Here are a few of our personal reflections about some of the speakers and why we know you don’t want to miss them:

  • Martha Sears, Lysa Parker, Bill Sears, Barbara NicholsonDr. William and Martha Sears… parents, authors, legends that wrote some of the first parenting books on Attachment Parenting. We were first introduced to their books as young mothers in La Leche League back in the early 1980s. Martha was a La Leche League Leader and she and Bill spoke at many state and international LLL conferences for many years. Some of their sons are carrying on their work in their pediatric practice , you can get a pediatric sleep consultant and on national television! Bill serves on the API Advisory Board and Martha sits on the API Board of Directors.
  • Dr. Isabelle Fox is a retired child psychologist, student of Dr. John Bowlby, author and tireless advocate for babies and young children. She continues to counsel parents on custody issues, focusing on the preverbal child’s need for consistent, predictable, responsive care. She is a member of the API Advisory Board.
  • Peggy O’Mara is Mothering magazine’s grand dame! Her warm and inspirational writing and articles were a source of great wisdom and comfort to many families for decades. We remember getting our first copies of Mothering when our babies were in arms and devouring each issue like it was manna from heaven! We consider Peggy a dear sister mentoring us from afar… Now her writings will live on in her books, new website and presentations all over the world. She is a member of the API Advisory Board.
  • Dr. Gabor Maté is a co-author with Dr. Gordon Neufeld of the classic book Hold On to Your Kids, a key API Leader applicant text. He is a gifted speaker who will illuminate us in the social and psychological stresses that children face today.
  • Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, author, La Leche League Leader, pioneer researcher in the field of maternal depression. Her experience as a mother and breastfeeding advocate have enriched and influenced her field of research in amazing and insightful ways. She is a member of the API Resource Advisory Council and was the Guest Editor of API’s 2013 Journal of Attachment Parenting.
  • Lu Hanessian, author, educator, TV host, founder of WYSH, is another dear friend and advocate that has served on the API Board of Directors and continues today on the API Advisory Board, now continuing her activism in so many areas, we can’t keep up! As the mother of teenage sons, she’s living in a new world of balancing a very active family and active career. We are blessed to have her moderating all of our panels, as well as contributing from her rich experiences as a true Renaissance woman!
  • Barbara Nicholson, Jim McKenna, Lysa ParkerDr. James McKenna, an anthropologist, researcher, author, professor, speaker and advocate for babies, mothers and fathers. His pioneering work in the field of infant sleep has changed the paradigm for modern parents, helping them understand that our babies come in to this world wired for a safe, protective sleep environment, mandated by the need to be in close proximity to their parents. He is a fearless advocate for truth in research and empowering parents to make their own decisions. He is a member of the API Advisory Board and is the Guest Editor of the 2014 Journal of Attachment Parenting to be released by API later this year.
  • Dr. Wendy Middlemiss, professor of child development and researcher on early infant stress, will share her research and the work she is pioneering at the University of North Texas. She is the coordinator of the API Research Group.
  • Dr. Darcia Narvaez, professor of psychology at Notre Dame University, and the catalyst and organizer of this amazing conference, will share her stunning research on the moral development of children and how she discovered Attachment Parenting through her research. She is a member of the API Board of Directors.
  • Michael Mendizza, filmmaker and author, founder of Touch the Future. We have been hearing of Michael’s work for years, especially in relationship to his amazing archives filming such legends as Dr. Ashley Montagu and Joseph Chilton Pearce. (If you don’t know these names, look them up as you’ll be amazed at their contributions to humanity.) When we met Micheal, we knew we had a met a “brother in the cause,” and his insights will be an amazing contribution to the conference.
  • Rebecca Thompson, marriage and family therapist, author, speaker and founder of Consciously Parenting Project Community will share her insights and experiences as a mother and professional in her work with families.
  • Janet Jendron, API Board President! It’s hard to describe the deep friendship and roots we have with Janet that come from our La Leche League (LLL) Leader beginnings. She has always been someone we had hoped and prayed would come on our board, as her experience as a former LLL International board member were invaluable. Her enthusiasm and love for people is an example to us all.
  • Barbara Nicholson, Richard Bowlby, Xenia Bowlby, Lysa ParkerSir Richard Bowlby Bt is the son of the “Father of Attachment Theory,” the late Dr. John Bowlby. He is an excellent speaker and advocate for his father’s legacy as well as an archivist of some of his father’s early writing and films. We first met Sir Richard at the home of Dr. Isabelle Fox in Los Angeles, California, USA, several years ago and he soon joined the API Advisory Board.

And that’s just the speakers! Put on your dancing shoes, because we will also have a live band with the Kennedy’s Kitchen. Plus, great videos of “Mr. Universe” with comedian Jim Gaffigan (an AP dad who may not know it) and “The Milky Way,” a powerful film about the ongoing breastfeeding movement. Not to mention, there will also be great food, exhibitors and poster sessions!

Lysa Parker, Bruce Perry, Barbara NicholsonAfter our day and a half of API celebration and sessions, Dr. Darcia Narvaez’s program will begin with world-renowned academics, including API Advisory Board member Dr. Bruce Perry, founder of the Child Trauma Academy, as the keynote.

For those of you who have always longed to come face-to-face with other professionals and families in this cultural movement to truly “change the world,” this is your opportunity. Join us!

We hope to see many of you at Notre Dame!

Author: API Blog

APtly Said, Formerly API Speaks launched in April of 2008 as part of Attachment Parenting International's larger effort to offer interactive content through their newly-redesigned web site: http://www.attachmentparenting.org. All contributors to APtly Said, as with so many of API's staff, are volunteers who donate their time and energy to promote Attachment Parenting world wide.

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