I am a present father

thiago queiroz 1Attachment Parenting (AP) helps me every day to be a present father.

I am the father of 2 little boys: Dante, almost 3, and Gael, a 6-month-old baby. Right after my first son was born, I discovered Attachment Parenting. It made so much sense to me that it inspired me to not only become an API Leader and create an API Support Group here in Brazil — API Rio — but also to write and speak about Attachment Parenting.

Personally, the greatest thing about Attachment Parenting is that it helped me to find my way in my own parenthood. AP helped to show me how I could be the father I wanted to be. AP guided me to where I could find my place as an active and conscious father — an attached father.

I obviously can’t give birth or breastfeed, but I can foster the secure attachment I want to build with my sons through a whole lot of other actions. I can listen to my child’s cry and take his needs seriously, especially because a baby cries not only because he is hungry but also scared, too cold, too hot, tired, hurting or anything else. I can also carry my son in slings and sleep next to him at night.

Everything I learn about Attachment Parenting helps me understand my role as an involved father, not a mere helper. Being a father is way beyond just performing tasks and helping out. It is all about caregiving.

As kids grow, discipline starts taking a major place in our daily lives. I could do like other men and delegate the responsibility to the mothers and other caregivers, but Attachment Parenting shows me how I could take responsibility through positive discipline instead. I participate in understanding how the behavior of my kids reflect their needs and feelings. I get to genuinely help my older son get through frustration and temper tantrums. I get to be an empathic human being.

This is why I am so grateful to Attachment Parenting: It helps me to assume my real role and responsibilities as a father.

The sunrise of balance

first-sunrise-1257802It was a Tuesday morning, years ago.

And like many other mornings, I awoke and started into my day. Awaiting me was housework to be completed, emails to be answered, errands to be accomplished and deadlines to be met. If not for my then 6-year-old son, I likely would have stayed in this state of mind.

He woke after me, ready to begin his own day. Within moments of waking, I saw him approach the window and look toward the sky. He then spoke, offering words to describe what he was seeing. In awe, he exclaimed, “Mama, the sky! It’s so colorful!” I turned to him, and seeing his exuberant joy, my heart flooded with deep gratitude. I looked out the window, too. It was indeed colorful. In fact, in that moment, it became the most spectacular sunrise I’d ever seen. My son’s gentle reminder, gifted to me in one sentence, had given me so much.

My sweet son is older now. He’s almost as tall as me, and calling me Mama has been replaced with Mom. However, I’ve never forgotten his message of that morning. To this day, years later, I still carry those words with me: “Mama, the sky! It’s so colorful!” — six words encompassing the gentle reminder to move a little slower, appreciate a little more and pause long enough to enjoy the moments of delight our days have to offer us.

I have served as an API Leader for almost 10 years. In this time, I’ve supported parents in learning more about and practicing API’s Eight Principles of Parenting. One of the principles is Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life. In a busy life, balance may appear out of reach. We all know the importance of balance, but grasping it for ourselves is seemingly elusive.

On an unassuming Tuesday morning, my son showed me where balance can be found. Balance doesn’t have to be a big fanfare. It may come quietly, simply and in the moments you’re least expecting it. It may be found in nature’s beauty, in the laughter of a child or in an impromptu living room dance party.

Wherever it may be for you, I believe it’s there, waiting to be uncovered…a moment, a simple moment, where you’re able to pause long enough to truly enjoy the beauty that surrounds you…a moment to regain perspective on what is truly important. Today, see if you can capture a moment of delight for yourself, and take one step closer to balance.

15 years

alissa tschetter siedschlawFifteen years — a lot can happen in that length of time. Marriages, divorces, births, deaths, adoptions, new jobs and big adventures can paint their way through a life like mine when so many days have gone by.

It truly seems like it was just the other day that a small group of dear friends and I decided to start a local group affiliated with Attachment Parenting International (API) in Des Moines, Iowa, USA — only the second one in the Midwest.

We were all in need of building our intentional village.

Having been a leader of a breastfeeding support group prior, I now found myself facing a new challenge of not only re-lactating to nurse a micro-preemie, but an adopted, drug- and alcohol-affected baby with a plethora of special needs. I finally needed to call in favors for support for myself. But those supports didn’t exist in my community at the time.

My parenting was evolving, and I longed for a group where I could speak more openly and find honest and straightforward, yet gentle and kind friends, while offering the same to others. I wanted us to be the kind of people you trust around your children, because you know we believe in nurturing and validating each other and we want the best for all of our kids collectively, not only individually.

I had been doing Attachment Parenting (AP) for many years before I knew there was a word, but once I realized that we could begin offering support, information and encouragement to others, I was excited to get going. From very early on, we had a few very regular families and we bonded into such a natural support that it wasn’t unusual to see us with one dad pushing someone else’s child on a swing while a mom wore two babies at once, hers and her dear friend’s. We viewed Attachment Parenting not only as our choice in a parenting style but in our broader approach as to how we faced the world.

Later, when some coleaders moved away, my current co-leader of somewhere close to a decade, Laurie Belin, stepped forward and agreed to assist, support, advocate, nurture and encourage so many here in Des Moines — along with me. Other organizations were envious that I had such a phenomenal coleader, but as I moved into a place of single parenting my five children, with many special needs, while trying to provide financially for them, she took on so much more of the responsibility so that our group could not only survive, but thrive and I could just show up and help lead meetings.

Many families have passed through our doors through the years, and many more find support through our private online support group that Laurie moderates with grace and knowledge like few could. We have had a diverse group, and I have been privileged to witness some beautiful parenting and some thought-provoking conversations, and to be a part in some parents’ growth. I have heard myself quoted and am honored to have a positive impact on our AP community.

I have been blessed to lead API of Central Iowa for 15 years. My children are now nearly 23, 19, 15, 12 and 7. My Attachment Parenting journey is far from over, as I believe we carry API’s Eight Principles of Parenting throughout life. I am tremendously thankful for all I have learned, how I myself have grown and for all Laura, other coleaders and I have been allowed to share with families throughout these 15 years.

Thank you, API. I have received so much more than I ever gave.

Mirroring

angry“I see your hand is squeezing his toy. Your face is getting very red. Your feet are stomping the ground.”

There’s something very reassuring about being seen and affirmed like this.

Describing what you observe is happening in a non-dramatic, non-judgmental tone of voice is called mirroring, and can be used as a positive discipline technique as well as an attunement exercise in learning how to respond with sensitivity.

The simple act of mirroring can be very helpful to prompt someone out of their “reptilian” midbrain and into more rational thinking and behavior.

We can also mirror what our child says: “So you’re extremely angry because he got a bigger bowl? I heard you say that you want the same size as he gets. Is that right? You feel he always gets better things.”

Reflecting back to someone what they’ve said is a quick way to help them feel heard and understood. And when we feel that way, we have less reason to do big, disruptive things to get our needs met.

Like any positive discipline technique, mirroring shouldn’t be the only tool in the parenting toolbox and it shouldn’t be used too early during a meltdown, or too often. After all, we want our children to fully feel their feelings and process them. But at a certain point — discerned by a connected parent — mirroring can really de-escalate a blow-up.

Mirroring works so well in my family, that I even appreciate it when my spouse does it for me! I probably wouldn’t appreciate it very much if a stranger or mere acquaintance began giving me their view of my play-by-play, but in an intimate, trusting relationship, one or two observations can generate just enough of a pause for calmness to get a foot in edgewise. Or it might prompt the last explosive outburst and then calmness.

Mirroring also encourages self-reflection. Self-reflection could be described as mirroring for oneself.

I sometimes forget to do it, but I’m training myself to remember: When I’m feeling big, bad feelings, I need to stop. And access the feeling. And name the feeling. And acknowledge the feeling. Then go on. It’s like the feelings are trapped inside, zinging and pinging around, but naming them gives them an escape route. Very cool.

kara cardenAs someone who has practiced meditation for a long time — another excellent parenting tool! — I’ve always benefited from attempting to become a “witness” or “observer” to my life. I think mirroring is helping my kids develop this mentally healthy ability, too.

Emotions and feelings can get very big and amorphous. Getting grounded in our bodies is a “state-regulating” tool that will help me and my children for our lifetimes.

API-Inspired Leadership: An interview with Thiago Queiroz

API-Logo-20th-themeIn celebration of Attachment Parenting International’s 20th Anniversary, the four-part “API-Inspired Leadership” series honors the unique paths that inspired parents to pursue API Leadership. Read the first, second and third parts of the series, recognizing Lauren Osborne of Alabama, USA; Candice Garrison of Tennessee, USA; and Kelly Shealer of Maryland, USA. Following is the fourth part of the series:

Involved fathers are a pivotal part of the Attachment Parenting (AP) family, and the passion of Thiago Queiroz of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is contagious! He now serves as the leader of API Rio.

He also blogs for APtly Said and volunteers with the Attachment Parenting International (API) team creating the Tribute Presentation, to be narrated by Sir Richard Bowlby Bt (API Advisory Board member and son of John Bowlby, the “Father of Attachment Theory”) at API’s 2014 “Cherishing Families, Flourishing Children” Conference on September 26-28 at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, USA.

RITA: Thank you, Thiago, for your time. Let’s start by learning how you discovered AP.

thiago queiroz 1THIAGO: My inspiration to start practicing AP with my son was bedsharing. At first, it was the logical thing to do, considering the amount of caring we had to give to him at night. But then I started reading more on this subject and ended up finding about AP and falling in love with it.

Now, what inspires me is how it feels so right to have such a strong and deep connection with my son.

RITA: We are all introduced to AP in our own unique way and certain parenting practices will facilitate that close relationship with our children more than others. Sleeping in close proximity is one of my favorites, too. Have you encountered any challenges in practicing AP?

THIAGO: Oh, I found all sorts of problems! To start with, my mother didn’t understand very well what my wife and I were doing. I had to be very firm and confident when explaining to my family why we see AP as a better option for our reality [rather than the authoritarian parenting style he grew up with].

Besides that, I received some bullying at work for the choices I made in parenting. For my colleagues, I was the “weirdo, organic hippie” who had a son born at home and who talked about weird things like exclusive breastfeeding, positive discipline, babywearing and things like that.

RITA: Did you seek out Attachment Parenting International out of the need for parent support yourself?

THIAGO: I found API by Googling on AP. I was so excited about AP that I wanted to read more and more, so I Googled it and found API and API’s Eight Principles of Parenting. My first contact with API’s staff was to offer help in translating the Eight Principles of Parenting into my language, Brazilian Portuguese. I thought it was so important to have this information available for people in Brazil that I did the translation.

RITA: And from there, you decided to become an API Leader?

THIAGO: If AP is not exactly something widely known and practiced in the United States, you can imagine how it would be in Brazil, where we can find so little material available in our language and so little local support for parents. I’ve always thought I had to be one of the people who would help make AP known in Brazil, so over a year ago, I created an AP Facebook group in Brazil. I started writing a blog about my experiences as a securely attached father, and then I decided it was time to prepare myself to become an API Leader.

It was seeing how people needed and wanted support related to a more sensible and respectful way to raise their kids that inspired me along the way.

RITA: How did you find the API Leadership process?

thiago queiroz 2THIAGO: Oh, boy, the API Leader Applicant process was such a beautiful journey to self-acknowledgement! I absolutely loved being an applicant, as I was learning more not just about AP but about being a better human being. I learned so many things that I’m using in my life now that I could never thank API enough for this opportunity.

RITA: Now that you’re an API Leader, what are your plans of how to support parents locally?

THIAGO: I’m sure I’m going to love the meetings. Being able to share experiences and learn from other realities is a blessing. And on top of that, being able to see the babies that attend to the meetings grow up is going to be priceless.

RITA: Are there any challenges of being an API Leader?

THIAGO: I believe the challenges of being an API Leader involve the relationships with other people. The ability to connect to other people, to be empathetic to their feelings and to be able to hear without judging is the key challenge for anyone who wants to truly help other parents.

RITA: What of API’s resources do you think you’ll find most helpful as an API Leader in supporting other parents?

THIAGO: I have no doubt it will be the repository for the meetings. Meeting ideas and handouts are the sort of resources from API that will help me a lot in my position.

RITA: Thank you, Thiago, for your insights. I have one final question. You have already shared about projects that you started before becoming an API Leader. Has API Leadership inspired additional projects in your life to raise AP awareness?

THIAGO: The way I live and breathe AP inspires me to become a book writer and a positive discipline educator, but only time will tell!

API-Inspired Leadership: An interview with Kelly Shealer

API-Logo-20th-themeIn celebration of Attachment Parenting International’s 20th Anniversary, the four-part “API-Inspired Leadership” series honors the unique paths that inspired parents to pursue API Leadership. Read the first and second part of the series, recognizing Lauren Osborne of Alabama, USA, and Candice Garrison of Tennessee, USA. Following is the third part of the series:

There are many paths that lead parents to Attachment Parenting (AP). For many, like Kelly Shealer of Frederick, Maryland, USA, it was as natural as breathing but finding like-minded parent support isn’t always as easy. Kelly now serves as a leader of API of Frederick.

She also blogs for APtly Said and volunteers with the Attachment Parenting International (API) team creating the Tribute Presentation, to be narrated by Sir Richard Bowlby Bt (API Advisory Board member and son of John Bowlby, the “Father of Attachment Theory”) at API’s 2014 “Cherishing Families, Flourishing Children” Conference on September 26-28 at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, USA.

RITA: Thank you, Kelly, for your time. Let’s start by learning how you discovered AP.

Kelly ShealerKELLY: I first learned about Attachment Parenting from reading an article by Dr. [William] Sears (API Advisory Board member) during my first pregnancy. The article talked about different ways to practice Attachment Parenting, and as I read it, everything seemed so obvious to me. I couldn’t imagine doing anything differently!

As my son got older, I learned about new aspects of AP, such as positive discipline, which fit with my beliefs and just seemed right for me.

RITA: It sounds like AP was an easy choice for you. Do you find any aspects of AP to be challenging?

KELLY: The biggest challenges I’ve encountered have to do with my belief in positive discipline as opposed to traditional discipline. It’s difficult at times to watch how family members who aren’t familiar with AP interact with my children and are quick to use threats and punishments.

Also, when my children and I attend non-API playgroups, I feel like there’s something different about my parenting style that sets me apart from other people. Reading a lot of books and articles that come from an AP perspective has helped me to feel confident enough in my parenting style that this doesn’t bother me so much anymore.

RITA: So how did you come to API?

KELLY: I first learned about API at a La Leche League (LLL) meeting from one of our leaders who was also an LLL leader. I became involved with the local API group after a negative experience at a non-API playgroup where I felt I didn’t fit in with the other mothers. At the time, I was fairly new to the area and didn’t have any friends who also had children. It was important for me to find other mothers who I felt that I could connect with. Through API, I was able to meet like-minded moms and have made some of my closest mom friends.

RITA: What inspired you to become an API Leader?

KELLY: My API group had been so meaningful and helpful to me when my first son was very young. I had a real need for the support and friendship I found within the group, and as my son got older, I really wanted to be able to be more involved with the group. When our leader mentioned that she was looking for others to co-lead, it really felt right for me to take on the role of API Leader. I’d been looking for a way to help other moms, and this felt like the perfect way for me to do that since our group and API’s Eight Principles of Parenting are so close to my heart.

RITA: How did you find the API Leadership process?

KELLY: I enjoyed going through the process, because it helped me to reflect on my parenting beliefs and experiences, especially when considering how the Eight Principles of Parenting applied to me.

It was also through this process that I found some of my favorite parenting books, including The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland and Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting, which have had a big impact on my parenting.

Editor’s Note: Follow the discussion on these and more books through the API Reads program

RITA: Has API Leadership been as fulfilling as you were hoping?

KELLY: We live in a somewhat transient area, and a lot of the moms who find our group are rather new to the area and don’t know many other moms. I like providing an opportunity to help these new moms get to know others with similar parenting styles. I like that, through meetings and online support, being an API Leader allows me to help new parents with some of the more challenging parts of babyhood and early childhood.

At a recent meeting, one member talked about how good it felt to be around parents with similar viewpoints. I was really struck by her saying, “It’s been really hard constantly defending myself to others.” But at our meeting and with our group, she felt comfortable, normal and accepted. I’m so glad that our group can provide that sort of comfort and support to parents who may not have much support from their friends or family.

API-Inspired Leadership: An interview with Candice Garrison

In celebration of Attachment Parenting International’s 20th Anniversary, the four-part “API-Inspired Leadership” series honors the unique paths that inspired parents to pursue API Leadership. Read the first part of the series, recognizing Lauren Osborne of Alabama, USA, here. Following is the second part of the series:

API-Logo-20th-themeI can relate to so much to what Candice Garrison of Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, has to say about stumbling upon Attachment Parenting (AP), finding local parent support and discovering Attachment Parenting International (API). Candice now serves as the leader of API of Knoxville. API is grateful to all of our API Leaders working on the “front lines” of the Attachment Parenting movement, providing attachment-minded education and support to families in their local communities.

RITA: Thank you, Candice, for your time. Let’s start by learning how you discovered AP.

Candice GarrisonCANDICE: Prior to having children, I was full of ideas about what kids needed and how I would parent. Once I actually became pregnant, the sheer amount of overwhelming love I felt towards my unborn child radically shifted my entire world. My perspective on parenting and children was altered in a way I could not have foreseen prior to my son’s arrival. I realized that all of my ideas were the result of societal influence and the way that I was parented. Once I had this realization, I knew that I wanted something different for my children. I approached my new shift on parenting with three foundations:

  1. Love
  2. Intuition
  3. Science.

These foundations ultimately led me to Attachment Parenting.

RITA: That sounds a lot like my journey to AP and, like you, giving birth to my first child turned everything upside-down. Have you found any aspects of Attachment Parenting to be challenging?

CANDICE: I was not raised in an AP environment, and changing behaviors ingrained since my own infancy has proved, at times, to be quite challenging. The advice that you are given from well-meaning family and friends is often a direct counter to the AP approach. The number of times that I heard I was spoiling my son or was asked when would we wean, what daycare were we choosing, did he sleep through the night yet and so on was immense. During this time, when I shared openly my own research and countered much of what I was told, I found that my choices were often met with a surprising amount of aggression. I found that people took my choices as a personal challenge to their own decisions. This was, and sometimes still is, ultimately the biggest challenge of parenting in a non-mainstream way.

RITA: When did you find API?

CANDICE: When I decided to stay at home, I left my eight-year career with the same company and quickly lost my social circle. My work friends who had children and chose to stay home weren’t always comfortable with my parenting decisions, and vice versa, leading to awkward play dates and social interactions. Most of my other friends didn’t have children at all, and I wasn’t up for ladies’ night out anymore. My own family isn’t close enough to be a part of our daily lives, and I was starting to feel surprisingly lonely despite never being alone. This is when I reached out to my local API group and found a sense of community for the first time since leaving my job.

RITA: What inspired you to become an API Leader?

CANDICE: Less than a year after I joined API, the existing group’s leadership retired and there was a hiatus while a new leader applicant began the API Leadership process. During that time, I reached out to some mainstream mommy groups and was uncomfortable participating in their activities. There was a near constant level of disrespect toward children in the forms of yelling, ignoring and even openly spanking that I couldn’t tolerate and was very uncomfortable for my young son.

Once I left my second mommy group, I decided to undertake API Leadership myself. My son and I needed a community, and I was ready to help create it if needed. I met with several other ladies who were still considering the process, and we started our group.

RITA: How did you find the API Leader Applicant process?

CANDICE: I was quite nervous to undertake it. Ultimately while long and sometimes intense, it was a great process. I learned a vast amount about parenting and communication, and it was incredibly beneficial in my personal family life.

Reading Nonviolent Communication [by Marshall Rosenberg] was an amazingly therapeutic experience for me. I grew up in an environment where almost all communication was violent at some level, and I didn’t realize how much of that carried into my adult life and interactions. I wish that book was required reading at a public education level, because I think it has the potential to change our society in such a positive way.

RITA: So many parents who go through the API Leadership process say that it helped them grow as a person and a parent as much as a parent support leader, myself included. I’m glad you found it beneficial. So, now as an API Leader, what do you enjoy about providing local parent support?

CANDICE: I love everything about it. I didn’t think I would enjoy it quite as much as I do, being an introvert with social anxiety, but if anything, it’s given my social life a purpose that helps to calm my nerves. I feel like I am making a difference and have found purpose, something lacking at a personal level in my previous job as an accountant.

RITA: Do you have any stories you can share?

CANDICE: Just yesterday I came full circle in my API experience, from member to leader.

At the very first meeting I attended, I was anxiously waiting for Q&A time at the end. I asked about my son’s sleep habits, hoping for some words of wisdom that would fix what I perceived as our problem. I was having to stay with my 10 month old at all times while he was sleeping. If I tried to get up after he fell asleep, he woke up and we had a hard time getting him back to sleep. So I was anxiously anticipating some instruction on how I could sneak away and what I got were a lot of “Oh, I’ve been there” and “Don’t worry, it will pass.”

These weren’t the answers I anticipated, but it was exactly what I needed. Since no one in my family had a family bed and I had no references for normal sleep behaviors without crying-it-out, I felt like I must be doing something wrong. All I needed was someone to say “Me, too” and “I’ve been there,” and I got the validation I was needing to keep meeting my son’s needs.

So last night, while my now 3-year-old son was asleep beside me but not yet asleep enough for me to leave his side, I gave a first-time mom the same advice I’d been given at my first meeting. I assured her that there was nothing wrong with her 9 month old needing her constant presence, that I had been there, too, and that this would pass all too quickly.

RITA: Have you encountered any challenges to being an API Leader?

CANDICE: As of now, I am mostly a solo leader. Our group took off and grew quickly and has taken on a lot of activity at a very young age. If I’m not careful, I can get caught up in my desire to do more than I am capable of balancing.

I also feel that I struggle to lead a formal study of topics during our support group meetings. I was assured during training that this is something that gets better with practice, and it has, but I am excited to add some more leaders to our group and find people who can help balance that.

RITA: Have you found any API resources helpful?

CANDICE: We have a very active Facebook group, and I link back to the API website quite often.

I also fall back quite a lot on the training process I went through and particularly NVC (Nonviolent Communication). It’s incredibly useful to go through the NVC process when giving advice and helping someone in their parenting journey. All too often, people have reached a high level of frustration before they reach out for help. Recognizing that and giving a sense of validation with that acknowledgement of someone’s feelings has proven to be incredibly important in opening up people to API’s Eight Principles of Parenting.

RITA: Thank you, Candice, for your insights. A final question: Has API Leadership inspired any other projects in your life to raise AP awareness?

CANDICE: I certainly hope it does in the future! I am very new in my position as a leader with API, so as of now, I am just enjoying the experience of taking on this role and working with my group. I am hopeful that once my family is complete and my children are older, I can use this experience to take on a career with AP or pursue something that will utilize all of the skills I am excited to build.

API-Inspired Leadership: An interview with Lauren Osborne

In celebration of Attachment Parenting International’s 20th Anniversary, the four-part “API-Inspired Leadership” series honors the unique paths that inspired parents to pursue API Leadership. This series will run on Fridays. Here is the first part of the series:

API-Logo-20th-themeAPI’s Leadership program is an opportunity for passionate parents, like Lauren Osborne of Huntsville-Madison, Alabama, USA, to “pay it forward” by providing attachment-minded education and support to families in their local communities. Lauren is serving as Attachment Parenting International‘s Communications Team Coordinator and volunteers with API of Huntsville-Madison. API is grateful to all of our API Leaders working on the “front lines” the Attachment Parenting movement, as well as the API Leader Applicants working to join them, including Lauren.

RITA: Thank you, Lauren, for your time. Let’s start by learning how you discovered Attachment Parenting (AP).

lauren osborneLAUREN: AP actually just happened to us.

We had never heard of AP before having our first child. Our doula gave us a copy of Attached at the Heart [by API cofounders Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson] as part of our gift basket. A few days after bringing our son home, my husband began reading it and said he thought I’d enjoy it.

It just made so much sense! We began cosleeping after coming home from the hospital, because we felt more comfortable having our baby near us and it made breastfeeding—and getting sleep—easier. As we read the book, we realized so much of what we felt was biologically normal. It was wonderful.

RITA: I’m glad that Attached at the Heart was validating for you and your husband. For all parents, some aspects of AP come easier than others. What have you found to be challenging about AP?

LAUREN: With what we faced with family when they heard we let the baby sleep in our room and breastfeeding past six months. People make comments, but we learned quickly to just let it go because our babies are happy and doing well and we’re confident in our parenting.

RITA: So how did you come to Attachment Parenting International (API)?

LAUREN: Lysa Parker spoke at one of our new moms’ groups, and I was instantly interested in learning about this organization.

RITA: And what inspired you to become an API Leader?

LAUREN: I just felt like giving back, in a sense. I am so glad I discovered AP and API with my first baby, and feel like I need to do my best at informing and helping other parents and caregivers. I’m passionate in things I truly believe in.

RITA: You are currently going through the API Leader Applicant process. How have you found it so far?

LAUREN: It has taken me too long. I’ve been through a lot the past two years: husband lost his job, we moved, and then I got pregnant and had a newborn. Otherwise, it’s great. You really do have to read and study and truly know what AP is and how to help others.

RITA: Thank you, Lauren, for your insights. As you have found, true to API’s Eighth Principle of Parenting—Strive for Personal and Family Balance—API allows plenty of flexibility for busy parents going through the API Leader Applicant process. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

LAUREN: I’ve been helping a mother with her two year old. The mother is just now learning about positive discipline and wanting to implement new tools in responding to her child. Thankfully she’s seeing her daughter in a better light and seeing where the daughter is responding positively.

I enjoy spreading the good news of API! I like helping others see a different way other than what their family and friends may be pushing on them. I really just want the best for children and families. I feel like API is just a wonderful resource and help for families.

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