Staying centered despite your child’s public meltdown

pixabay - hands holding tantrumming childYou can tell a lot about a person by their shopping cart — and also how they deal with their toddler’s tantrum in the middle of the store.

Clean-up needed in Aisle 9 — 3 year old having a meltdown after being in the store for 2 hours while Mom is looking for gravy packets. Wouldn’t it make sense to put the gravy packets next to the instant potatoes and boxed stuffing?!

The clean-up needed isn’t from the once-nicely stacked boxed pasta now strewn across the floor from the flailing arms and legs of the child. It’s needed to unclog the aisle from passersby, so Mom can fully focus on her child without the distraction of what can seem like annoyed, judging looks of others.

I have seen many a stressed-out parent in the store try to keep their patience with a tired-out, hungry child in the store. Even timing shopping trips between naps and snacks doesn’t always work to prevent public tantrums. How much more patience parents might have if they didn’t feel pressure — real or perceived — from others to do something now with their seemingly out-of-control child!

I have been that parent, who is otherwise able to empathize with my child’s strong emotions but who second-guessed herself after a decade of Attachment Parenting, because of an old lady’s furrowed brow when my kid — with an especially high whine — complained about the length of the grocery trip.

The good new is, though we may sometimes still second-guess ourselves, the longer we practice Attachment Parenting, the easier it is to get back to the values we strive to espouse and pass down to our children, such as that responding with sensitivity and positive discipline is more important than pleasing a disapproving stranger.

It helps me to think that others aren’t necessarily disapproving. We don’t know each other after all. We don’t talk to each other, other than the polite “excuse me” when passing in front of the chips shelf she’s studying. There is no appropriate opportunity to get deep with the person to ask why that person has such a seemingly unhappy disposition at that moment. It very well could be that it has nothing to do with my child — even if the person, if asked, would disagree. Each of our world perspectives is made up of countless factors — current environmental stimuli are actually a small fraction of how we perceive the world at any one time. So much of it depends instead on our values, our background, if we’re hungry or tired or feeling unwell, our relationship health with others, and so on.

I learned this through Nonviolent Communication. Learning the premise of this communications style can be life-changing.

Another life-changing skill is mindfulness — the art of being present in our lives.

API Live logo - newjon and myla kabat-zinnAttachment Parenting International (API) is offering you an opportunity to learn more about mindfulness and mindful parenting on Monday, September 12, through an API Live! teleseminar with Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, and his wife Myla, mindfulness experts and coauthors of Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. It’s as easy as listening in on your phone. The live teleseminar starts at 9 pm EST, and all registrants will receive a downloadable recording after the event. Register here.

Research shows that being mindful can reduce stress and have profound effects on physical and mental well-being through a greater sense of balance, empathy, clarity, and peace.

Peace seems over-rated sometimes, with how much the word is used, but it’s actually underestimated in how much striving toward peace can improve your life. Peace implies that you feel content with your life — a nice, constant happiness — rather than riding life’s ups and downs in the search for the peak of happiness…which of course feels good, but it never lasts. But peace lasts.

Peace makes it easier to get through the grocery store with a cranky child, and easier to look past that stranger’s glare to empathize with her unknown situation, and easier to stick to your values of Attachment Parenting.

Kim John Payne is tonight!

APM 2015 logoToday is the day! Kim John Payne is speaking on “Simplicity Parenting” tonight at 9:00 pm EST/6:00 pm PST during a special API Live teleseminar as part of the 2015 Attachment Parenting Month: “Parental Presence: Birthing Families, Strengthening Society” — helping families worldwide put in practice what we know is critical for investing in early secure attachment.

Very basically, our lives cannot be too busy for our children. But in our very busy lives, what can we do to slow down and simplify in order to give our children the presence they need to thrive?

Kim John PayneKim John Payne, world-renown author of Simplicity Parenting, is the very expert to inspire any family — no matter their life circumstances — on how to give a bit more presence to their children. He helps parents look at 4 realms of their home life to reduce stress on both children and their parents, allowing room for connection, creativity and relaxation:

  1. Decluttering
  2. Increasing predictability
  3. Soothing schedules
  4. Unplugging.

e4aee175-1115-4d03-bb68-c3009e6c4d4fKim John Payne and his Simplicity Parenting is a vital link in connected parenting. This API Live teleseminar promises to renew your focus on life balance, both for yourself and your family!

Enjoy this huge value for only $9 for API Members. (It’s free to join Attachment Parenting International (API), and you can join before you register for the API Live teleseminar to enjoy the discount!)

Register now to get a “seat” to tonight’s event — from the comfort of your own home or wherever you happen to be, as you join the audience via your phone. And if you can’t be on the teleseminar tonight, register anyway — everyone who registers gets a recording of this API Live teleseminar to listen to at their convenience.

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Who is Kim John Payne? And why I want you to join me on his API Teleseminar

“Imagine your life with a sense of ease as you begin to limit distractions and say ‘no’ to too much, too fast, too soon. …For those who want to slow their children’s lives down but don’t know where to start, [Kim John Payne] offers both inspiration and a blueprint for change.” ~Simplicity Parenting.com

basketball-1442709It’s hard not to over-schedule our children. There are so many classes, teams and other activities offered at younger and younger ages. As parents, we believe that our children will benefit by becoming involved in a wide range of endeavors, mastering as many of them as possible. Perhaps, we say, our children can find their talents early and have the opportunity to develop their skills sets — and self-confidence — sooner than we did ourselves.

We want our children to be happy and successful. We want to give them the very best start in life. But maybe encouraging our children to fill up their days with activities isn’t the way to do this.

I’m contemplating this right now. My 9-year-old daughter — who is already involved in 4-H, church, a monthly science day camp and occasional community service projects — brought home a school flyer about joining a 3rd-grade basketball team. She wants to do it. I don’t.

I am not taking this decision lightly. I don’t want to prevent my child from an activity she may enjoy, but I also feel that what she has going on is enough for now.

I want her to be able to fully enjoy her childhood, unfettered by the pressures and stress of a packed schedule. I would rather she be able to enjoy a few activities to the fullest. I know that the number of possible activities will only increase as she grows older, and I don’t want her to burn out. I don’t want practices and classes and busyness to get in the way of our strong attachment and intentionally slow lifestyle at home. I want to continue maximizing parental presence as she grows into the more turbulent preteen and teen years, being able to provide gentle guidance aligned with our family values as she finds who she is as a unique person.

I feel like our lives are balanced well right now, and I don’t want to upset that balance with nightly practices and weekly games on top of full days of school and after-school homework.

She is my oldest daughter, so we’ve been figuring out Attachment Parenting (AP) together — paving the way for the rest of the family — since her birth. And while we’ve been doing AP for 9 years, each stage of development opens up new challenges in navigating her attachment needs.

So I’ve been wrestling with what to do about 3rd-grade basketball. Go ahead and sign her up, and upset the balance we have with an intense schedule of practices and games? Or say “no” to another activity at this time? Perhaps I should say “no” and instead substitute an activity with a more flexible schedule, such as music lessons? I could teach her to play the clarinet myself, even.

e4aee175-1115-4d03-bb68-c3009e6c4d4fAs I continue on my parenting journey, I am glad to have access to the network of AP experts offered by Attachment Parenting International (API) through the API Live teleseminars. And how timely is it that the next API Live teleseminar — on Monday, October 19, at 9:00 pm EST/6:00 pm PST — is with Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting!

You may have been following along with API Reads discussions on Simplicity Parenting. But even if you’ve never heard his name before, you’ve likely heard about Kim John Payne’s concepts on simplifying — which are becoming more and more influential as parents try to slow down in our fast-paced culture — in order to reduce stress on children and their parents and allow room for connection, creativity and relaxation:

  1. Declutter the home environment
  2. Increase predictability and rhythms of connection and calm
  3. Soothe schedules
  4. Unplug from media, consumerism and adult concerns.

This is exactly what I need at this moment in my parenting journey! I very much look forward to listening to Kim John Payne’s teleseminar on October 19 — to find validation and gain perspective on the direction I should take with my daughter and the increasingly overscheduled childhood that our society promotes. Register to join in!

Kim John PayneAre you wondering who this Kim John Payne is?

My introduction was this 2012 Huffington Post article about how simplicity parenting is the better way to prepare kids for the future, rather than getting our children in as many activities as humanly possible.

Aside from reading his book, Kim John Payne’s biography from his website speaks volumes about both his experience as a parent educator and his heart as someone who truly wants to help families to slow down so parents can enjoy their children and children can enjoy their childhood — and grow up to be successful adults in our society:

519zubFyxUL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Kim John Payne, M.Ed, is the author of the #1 Best Selling book, Simplicity Parenting. A consultant and trainer to more than 200 North American independent and public schools, Kim has been a school counselor, adult educator, consultant, researcher, educator and a private family counselor for 27 years. He regularly gives keynote addresses at international conferences for educators, parents and therapists, and runs workshops and trainings around the world. In each role, he has been helping children, adolescents and families explore issues, such as social difficulties with siblings and classmates, attention and behavioral issues at home and school, emotional issues such as defiance, aggression, addiction and self-esteem, and the vital role living a balanced and simple life brings. He has also consulted for educational associations in South Africa, Hungary, Israel, Russia, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Kim has worked extensively with the North American and United Kingdom Waldorf educational movements. He has served as Director of the Collaborative Counseling program at Antioch University New England. He is Co-Director of the Simplicity Project, a multi-media social network that explores what really connects and disconnects us to ourselves and to the world. Kim is the Founding Director of The Center for Social Sustainability.

In addition to authoring Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kid, he also authored The Games Children Play and The Soul of Discipline, and coauthored Beyond Winning: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment.

He has appeared frequently on television including ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox; on radio with the BBC, Sirius/XM, CBC and NPR; and in print including being featured in Time Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Parenting, Mothering, TimesUnion and the LA Times.

Kim strives to deepen understanding and give practical tools for life questions that arise out of the burning social issues of our time. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, with his wife and 2 children.

I hope you’ll join me in the audience — on our personal phones from the comfort of our living rooms, mini-vans, benches outside of our child’s sports or dance practice, or wherever we are on October 19 — to learn more about, and inspired by, what Kim John Payne says about simplicity parenting. Register today!

(Oh, and if you can’t make the teleseminar on October 19, or just want to listen to it again, everyone who signs up for this API teleseminar gets a recording to listen to at their convenience. Register for the recording here.)

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Practical wisdom and encouragement, engaging conversation, at your fingertips!

Martha Sears, Lysa Parker, Bill Sears, Barbara NicholsonPractical wisdom and encouragement. Engaging conversation.

Your favorite authors and speakers in a rare chat with host Lu Hanessian and API’s Cofounders.

Martha Sears… Bill Sears… Peggy O’Mara… Gordon Neufield… Jim McKenna… Ina May Gaskin… Scott Noelle… and 21 more.

In their own voices, style and humor, with their parenting insights for you on… Tantrums… Play… Needs vs. Wants… Parenting Myths… Relationships… Balance… Permissive Parenting… Cosleeping… Peaceful Homes… Birth… and much more.

$9 supports API and supports you in your parenting journey.

Listen at your convenience — on a run, in the car, doing chores — or gift one to a friend!

“API Live” podcast downloads share the great connections and information from our API community. We invite you to check them out and listen today!

A Bundle of AP Resources

If you love great AP resources, this is the opportunity for you! A team of gentle/ mindful/ attachment parenting bloggers, writers and professionals from around the world have come together to create one amazing set of resources. Ebooks, audio recordings, tele-seminars, workshops, and e-zines…there are a variety of topics and materials brought to you in this bundle of materials from positive/ gentle/ attachment parenting leaders around the world. Our in-house ebook formatters have been helping authors make sure each eBook is personally reviewed and formatted for publishing. It is a chance to get a lot of great content at a really great price. Take a look at just a few of the contributors and resources you will get in the bundle:

Teleseminar:
The 8 Principles of Attachment Parenting; a 2-hour panel discussion put on by API Live (a $38 teleseminar by itself!)

Ebook:
Encouraging Words for Kids, by Kelly Bartlett

Ebook:
Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting, by Rebecca Eanes

Audio recording:
Stress Relief for Parentsby Genevive Simperingham

Ebook:
Mommy Overwhelm; a Holistic Approach to Parental Stress and Depressionby Laura Schuerwegen

Online course:
Connecting Family Through Creative Playgiven through Creative Playhouse and Connecting Family and Seoul

Ebook:
The Parenting Primer; A Guide to Positive Parenting in the First 6 Years, by Michelle Carchrae

Audio recording:
Getting Back on Track–Why We Explode and What to Do About It, by Genevieve Simperingham

Ebook:
Mindset for Moms: From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking on Just 30 Days, by Jaimie Martin

Audio + workbook:
Children and Foodfrom The Organic Sister

Ebook:
42 Rules for Divorcing With Children, by Melinda Roberts

Audio recording:
Relaxation Meditationby Amy Phoenix

Ebook:
The Playful Family, by Shawn Fink

Ezine:
Play Grow Learnfrom Childhood 101

Ebook:
Parenting for Social Change; Transform Childhood, Transform the World, by Teresa Graham Brett

Ebook:
Raising a Creative Kid, by Jilian Riley

You can go to the Mindful Parenting eBundle site  to learn more about the bundle and see the complete list of contributions.

If you were going to buy each product separately, you’d spend close to $300.00 for all of these resources. The bundle is being sold for $24.95…that’s about $1.00 for each item! The sale goes on for just the next two weeks.

API is excited to be a part of this resource package and offer its teleseminar on the 8 Principles of AP to so many attachment-minded parents around the world! Take a look at what else is available; this is sure to be a valuable resource for any family.

Click here to Buy the Mindful Parenting ebundle.

 

What Is Attachment Parenting?

API invites you to understand what Attachment Parenting is really about, and hear Dr. William Sears (featured in Time magazine) in his own words, along with other experts on the topic of Attachment Parenting, in this two-hour API Live Teleseminar, available for listening online or for download.

What is Attachment Parenting?

Maybe you never knew there was a name for it – the unique way you raise your child – but it’s in tune with your child’s needs and with your own needs, and your family lives it out daily. Or, perhaps, you do know there is a name for it, with many synonyms and variations, but you live it out without being defined.

It’s hit the news, blogs, social media, and forums where parenting approaches are more contentious than politics or religion.

Some may know what they know about it from a critique or a comment. But, every day, growing numbers of parents find the name and the communities that come with it – and breathe a sigh of relief to find welcome, encouragement, information, and freedom from judgment.

From professionals to media, it’s not just parents who are discussing Attachment Parenting.

The Latest Fad, or Something More?

The international dialogue about Attachment Parenting is enveloped in confusion and opinion; meanwhile, parents who practice it, knowingly or unknowingly, are simply following their instincts for attunement with their child.

Nearly 17 years ago, Attachment Parenting International was founded by two educators and mothers, Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker in Nashville, Tennessee. Both were teachers who noticed a growing need among their students for, greater family security and caregiver availability.

This was the generation of latch-key children – the first generation of dual-income families where both parents work outside the home. It was a dynamic change to the family structure in the United States, one that was not supportive of parent-child relationships. Attachment Parenting International was founded as a way to bring information and support to parents through a centralized collection of resources.

At the time, “attachment parenting” was a term known only to a small percentage of parents – many mothers learned about attachment-oriented parenting techniques, like breastfeeding, through La Leche League International and books authored by Dr. William and Martha Sears. Other parents sought out the support of Attachment Parenting International when cultural childrearing advice conflicted with their natural parenting instincts. Steadily, Attachment Parenting International grew, now stretching its reach around the globe, and awareness of attachment parenting has blossomed.

Today, “attachment parenting” has become a buzzword. The Attachment Parenting movement is well established in our culture and influences more and more of our parenting – though not often identified as so. More parents recognize the power of touch, positive discipline and other practices associated with “attachment parenting.” While a secure parent-child attachment remains just as beneficial now as ever, the essence of Attachment Parenting has been muddled. It is often confused with such parenting styles as permissive parenting, helicopter parenting, and natural parenting. API approaches parenting in ways that can be adapted by any parent with the mutual goal and desire of helping children reach their fullest, individual potential.

What is Attachment Parenting?

Attachment Parenting is an approach to childrearing that promotes a secure attachment bond between parents and their children. Attachment is a scientific term for the emotional bond in a relationship. The attachment quality that forms between parents and children, learned from the relational patterns with caregivers from birth on, correlates with how a child perceives – and ultimately is able to experience – relationships. Attachment quality is correlated with lifelong effects and often much more profound an impact than people understand. A person with a secure attachment is generally able to respond to stress in healthy ways and establish more meaningful and close relationships more often; a person with an insecure attachment style may be more susceptible to stress and less healthy relationships. A greater number of insecurely attached individuals are at risk for more serious mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety.

How parents develop a secure attachment with their child lies in the parent’s ability to fulfill that child’s need for trust, empathy, and affection by providing consistent, loving, and responsive care. By demonstrating healthy and positive relationship skills, the parent Provides critical emotional scaffolding for the child to learn about essential self-regulatory skills.

Attachment Parenting International’s Eight Principles of Parenting are designed to give parents the science-backed “tools” – valuable, practical insights for everyday parenting – that they can use to apply the concept behind Attachment Parenting. These tools guide parents as they incorporate attachment into their individual parenting styles:

  1. Prepare for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenting — The overarching message within this principle is the importance of parents to research their decisions regarding pregnancy care, childbirth choices, and parenting styles; childbirth without the use of interventions shows the best start to the parent-infant bond. However, there are ways to modify the initial bonding experience for mothers who do encounter complications.
  2. Feed with Love and Respect — Research shows unequivocal evidence for breastfeeding for infants along with gentle weaning into nutritious food choices. Breastfeeding is the healthiest infant-feeding choice. The physiology of breastfeeding promotes a high degree of maternal responsiveness and is associated with several other positive outcomes. In the case breastfeeding is not possible, bottle-nursing — attentive bottle-feeding — should emulate the closeness of breastfeeding.
  3. Respond with Sensitivity — This Principle is a central element in all of the Principles; it is viewed by many parents as the cornerstone to Attachment Parenting. It encompasses a timely response by a nurturing caregiver. Baby-training systems, such as the commonly referred-to “cry it out,” are inconsistent with this Principle. The foundation of responding with sensitivity in the early years prepares parents for all their years of parenting, by modeling respect and caring.
  4. Provide Nurturing Touch — Parents who “wear” their babies in a sling or wrap are applying this Principle. Infants who are opposed to babywearing enjoy being held in-arms. Touch remains important throughout childhood and can be done through massage, hugs, hand-holding, and cuddling.
  5. Ensure Safe Sleep — This principle is the basis for one of the more controversial subjects in parenting. Many attachment parents share a room with their young children; those who exclusively breastfeed and who take necessary safety precautions may prefer to share their bed. However, this principle can be just as easily applied to crib-sleeping situations. The point is not the sleeping surface but that parents remain responsive to their children during sleep.
  6. Use Consistent and Loving Care — Secure attachment depends on continuity of care by a single, primary caregiver. Ideally, this is the parent. However, if both parents must work outside the home, this principle can be applied by ensuring that the child is being cared for by one childcare provider who embodies a responsive, empathic caregiver over the long-term; for example, an in-home nanny versus a large daycare center with rotating staff.
  7. Practice Positive Discipline — There is a strong push against physical punishment in recent years, but research shows that all forms of punishment, including punitive timeouts, can not only be ineffective in teaching children boundaries in their behavior but also harmful to psychological and emotional development. Parents are encouraged to teach by example and to use non-punitive discipline techniques such as substitution, distraction, problem solving, and playful parenting. Parents do not set rules so that their child obeys for the sake of structure, but rather to be the teacher, the coach, the cheerleader, and the guidepost as the child develops his or her own sense of moral responsibility within the construct of the family value system.
  8. Strive for Personal and Family Balance — Attachment Parenting is a family-centered approach in that all members of the family have equal value. The parent is not a tyrant, yet also not a martyr. Parents need balance between their parenting role and their personal life in order to continue having the energy and motivation to maintain a healthy relationship and to model healthy lifestyles for their children, for this reason is important to know how to prevent yourself from getting into christmas debt.

Attachment Parenting is not exclusive. Every parent – every socioeconomic class, every ethnicity, every culture – can incorporate attachment-minded techniques into their childrearing philosophy. Moreover, while the basis of Attachment Theory is rooted in studies involving infants and toddlers, research in adult relationships is increasingly showing that attachment quality is an important feature of development and the effects persist over the lifetime, beyond these early years. Children of all ages and developmental stages can benefit from parenting that takes attachment into account. For example, school-age children and teenagers benefit from sit-down meals of nutritious foods over which family members discuss the happenings of the day or play a game. Frequent hugs or shoulder massages or even a light touch on the shoulder can provide moments of sensitive responsiveness that only deepen as children mature and parents’ connection with their children remains critical for providing them guidance.

Attachment Parenting May Be Different, but Not Necessarily Difficult

It’s important to remember that the relationships established and maintained through Attachment Parenting are healthy parent-child relationships; any relationship based on secure attachment is healthy, but it can seem to require more energy than a relationship developed out of unhealthy patterns. A common misconception of Attachment Parenting is that it is time-consuming and a child-centered approach that neglects the needs of the parent. In fact, Attachment Parenting may be different, sometimes very different, from other approaches to childrearing but the level of difficulty is a matter of subjectivity. Providing for a child’s emotional, as well as physical, needs requires time and energy as any healthy relationship does. The difference between a parent-child relationship and an adult-adult relationship, such as marriage, is that the child is at a dissimilar developmental stage and is psychologically unable to provide equal relationship give-and-take. For this reason, Attachment Parenting can seem more intense than other parenting approaches.

Most parents who incorporate attachment-orientation into their parenting style comment that Attachment Parenting actually makes their lives smoother: Attachment Parenting requires more time and energy than other parenting approaches during the infant stage, or the initial period of time if this approach is introduced to an older child, but the results are actually an easier relationship long-term because the parent and child are cooperating rather than engaging in power struggles. Even with infants, many families report more sleep and less crying – without sacrificing a parent’s sense of satisfaction – with breastfeeding, babywearing, and cosleeping. When it comes to a parent’s happiness, the role that parenting plays is a matter of subjectivity, as well: Attachment-minded parents are happy to give their children more attention than not, whereas parents of other parenting approaches may argue that a child seeking attention is being manipulative; attachment parents simply do not view children, or their choices, in this way.

There is a wide spectrum of what Attachment Parenting looks like within each family. Attachment Parenting International encourages parents to embrace all of API’s Eight Principles of Parenting, but there is no one way within these Principles to apply the attachment concept. Parents are advised to “take what works and leave the rest,” meaning that not every attachment-minded family must choose all of the parenting practices within a certain Principle. For example, some families may prefer homebirths and midwives; others, birthing centers or hospitals and obstetricians. Most families strive to breastfeed, but there are fortunately alternatives when this option cannot happen. Many families enjoy babywearing, and others would rather forgo the sling. A lot of families fight for the right to cosleep, but for others, other sleeping arrangements work best. Many families prefer to have one parent at home full time, but others rely on attachment parenting practices as beneficial family supports when both parents are employed full time. Some families are more structured than others.

What differentiates Attachment Parenting from other childrearing approaches is the parent’s desire to treat children with equal dignity, love, and respect as he or she would afford an adult. To put this in everyday terms, parents treat their children as they would a new coworker or employee, a new member of their church or community club, or their friends and adult family members – they would come from a place of great compassion, forgiveness, and patience as the child is learning about their place in the world.

There are some parenting choices that Attachment Parenting International does not take a stance on. Vaccinating, cloth diapering, circumcising, educational choices, elimination communication, and others are often quoted by some parents as part and parcel to Attachment Parenting. Attachment Parenting, itself is not a checklist of practices but encompasses parenting that promotes and are most likely to positively influence the parent-child attachment quality.

Ways to Incorporate the Benefits of Attachment Parenting

Attachment Parenting practices can be incorporated by any parent. Here are 10 ideas to incorporate more attachment-minded principles into your home life:

  1. Research all of the types of prenatal care providers and birthing options in your area, as well as tests and procedures considered standard or voluntary for prenatal checkups, childbirth, and newborn care. Make your choices based on what’s best for your baby, as well as yourself. Take a pregnancy/childbirth education class.
  2. Learn as much as you can about various parenting styles and approaches, and then discuss them with your parenting partner to work out differences. Read books and articles, visit websites, attend teleseminars and support groups, and talk to other parents to learn more about adding attachment-minded principles into your parenting techniques.
  3. Plan on breastfeeding, and get support early on to head off any problems that arise. If you will need to return back to work, try to pump your breastmilk to be bottled in your absence so you can reconnect with your baby or toddler after the workday. If breastfeeding is not an option, bottle-nurse – meaning that you hold your baby and give him or her eye contact and interaction while bottlefeeding, as a way to simulate breastfeeding behaviors.
  4. Feed your infant, whether breast- or bottle-feeding, on demand. This means that the baby eats when he or she wants to eat, rather than on a parent-mandated schedule. On-demand breastfeeding actually stimulates a stronger supply.
  5. Have a sit-down family meal as often as possible. It may be the only time that you’re able to reconnect with a busy teen.
  6. Cosleep – if not in the same bed (which is advised only for exclusively breastfeeding mothers taking appropriate safety precautions), then in the same room. If this arrangement doesn’t work for your family, create an atmosphere where the child feels welcome to seek comfort at night.
  7. If you use spanking, punitive timeouts, logical consequences, or other forms of punishments, try to move toward non-punitive discipline. Because discipline is often emotionally charged, it may help to take a parental “timeout” when you feel stressed, such as closing your eyes and taking deep breaths or counting, or even going to another room until you’re calmed down (only briefly if your child is an infant or toddler), to discuss the situation. Learn effective conflict resolution skills, such as Nonviolent Communication and playful parenting. Learn child development and try not to expect more from a child than he or she is developmentally able to give.
  8. Learn to see infant crying as his or her communicating of needs, and then learn how to decipher those needs. Learn to see a child’s tantrums as an expression of a need for understanding, rather than manipulation, and then learn how to teach your child how to handle his or her strong emotions through example. Know your child and learn to anticipate and help them express their needs.
  9. Honor your child’s separation anxiety. You are likely feeling pressure to separate from your child, as a test of independence and healthy development. However, outside of unusual circumstances, you will find that if you wait to leave your child in the care of another person until your child is developmentally ready, you won’t second-guess this decision.
  10. If you’re working, consider ways to work from home or to work part time. If this isn’t an option, seek out a childcare provider that will provide consistent, loving, and attachment-minded care in your stead.

For More Information

Attachment Parenting International’s Eight Principles of Parenting
Attached at the Heart by Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker
API Live! Teleseminars

API Live! July 25 – Playful Parenting: More Than Fun! with Dr. Larry Cohen

Join the API Live July 25 Teleseminar Featuring “Playful Parenting: More Than Fun” with special guest Dr. Larry Cohen. Register now to attend live or receive the mp3 recording. Submit your questions in advance to apilive@attachmentparenting.org. Sponsored in part by the Million Minute Family Challenge.

Register now for this API Live! teleseminar event and hear hosts Lu Hanessian, author of the new playful book for parents and children: Picnic on a Cloud, and API co-founder Lysa Parker talk with Dr. Larry Cohen about:

  • What is Playful Parenting and what does it have to do with attachment security?
  • Will my children know how to take life, or take me, seriously if we’re playful?
  • What does playful parenting have to do with confidence building and helping children resolve problems?
  • What is the impact of parent playfulness on my child’s development and emotion?
  • Can being playful make me a better parent?
  • Can it make parenting more satisfying, more fun for me?
  • I’m not so playful naturally. What do I do?
  • When roughhousing, how do we help it end on a happy note?
  • And Larry Cohen’s favorite playful parenting ideas you don’t want to miss!

API Live! How Much is Enough?

Join us for the next API Live! Teleseminar scheduled for November 15, 2010 at 9pm EST/6pm PST: How Much is Enough? Attachment Parenting, Permissive Parenting and Overindulgence with special guest Jean Illsley Clarke.

Register now for this upcoming live teleseminar to hear hosts Lu Hanessian and API co-founder Barbara Nicholson talk with Jean Illsley Clarke as they talk about current information regarding parenting and tough traits like greed, helplessness, and self-centeredness, and discuss:

  • Can I give my children too much?
  • How do I recognize overindulgence?
  • Toys, events, and activities: meeting the child’s needs or the parent’s needs?
  • What effect does overindulgence have on effort, learning, and potential and my child’s life aspirations?
  • Overindulgence and common parenting challenges like television/screen time and chores

This call will take place on Monday, November 15th at 9PM EST/ 6PM EST.

Please submit your questions to API Live (apilive AT attachmentparenting DOT org) and we will make every effort to address them during the call.

Click for more information about Jean Illsley Clarke and to register for the event.

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