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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Generation AP: An interview with Autumn McCarthy

API-Logo-20th-themeIn celebration of Attachment Parenting International’s 20th Anniversary, this second of the two-part “Generation AP” series (read the first part here) continues to recognize today’s second-generation Attachment Parenting parents:

 

“I like how my parents approached parenting. They never did anything to hurt us. They always did whatever they did out of love or with the best intentions. I don’t think there’s much to improve upon. I just hope I can be like them. “   ~Autumn McCarthy

 

For some parents, Attachment Parenting is a whole, new frontier of relating within the family. We are learning from the ground up. For others, Attachment Parenting (AP) comes as naturally as breathing. That’s how it was for Autumn McCarthy of Plano, Texas, USA, the API Leader of Collin County API in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and a second-generation AP parent. Additionally, she is a licensed clinic social worker, personal life coach and a La Leche League leader.

RITA: Thank you, Autumn, for your time. Let’s start by reviewing how your parents practiced AP.

AUTUMN: My parents have six living children. They practiced Attachment Parenting by having the family bed, breastfeeding, babywearing and practicing gentle discipline. They also pretty much took us with them wherever they went. They included us in whatever they had to do.

RITA: It sounds like your parents used many of the techniques associated with AP. How did your parents help you through strong emotions like anger and disappointment?

AUTUMN: They let my emotions be my own. They didn’t react. They didn’t take things personally. They let me express myself even if I wasn’t doing it in the “right” way or the healthiest way or the least destructive way.

I remember once telling my parents, “F*** YOU!” at age 15 right after my grandfather died. Crazy times! And they recognized it for what it was: a teenager full of crazy emotions not knowing how to express them. They didn’t flip out at me for being super disrespectful. They helped me to understand and express myself better.

RITA: That’s a wonderful example of allowing, empathizing and validating your emotions and then coaching and empowering you to be able to learn from the experience. Did you ever feel that the way your parents were raising you was different than how your peers were raised?

autumn_mccarthyAUTUMN: I knew from an early age that my parents raised me and my siblings differently from other parents. One of the most interesting things to me was seeing how my parents handled us growing up and turning 18 versus other parents.

I’d say, growing up, my parents were stricter in some areas. There were just more rules or expectations, like we weren’t allowed to spend the night at just anywhere. I think there were maybe two friends in all of growing up that I could stay the night with. But then as we got older, my parents really believed that we were able to be independent and that, although there was an expectation for mutual respect especially while living in the same house, there weren’t additional rules. Once we turned 18, we were considered adults and treated as such—trusted by my parents.

My friends tended to have a little more flexibility growing up—less rules—and then the second they turned 18, it was like their parents got super strict, placed a ton of rules on them like when and where they could go, when they had to be home, etc. Hanging on for dear life to their kid while my parents happily watched us independently fly on our own.

RITA: That’s an interesting observation. So did you find it natural to practice AP when you became a parent?

AUTUMN: Yes! When I was pregnant and working, I kept negotiating with myself and my husband for how much time I could stay home. I kept increasing the time line: “If he’s been with me, growing inside me, for 9 months, it would be crazy to not be with him for just as long once he’s born!” On paper, there was no way my staying at home could work, but it has worked in a practical way for almost four years. It hasn’t been easy, but the confidence in knowing I am meant to be right here with him has helped tremendously with the decision.

Attachment Parenting has been mostly intuitive for me. Being with my baby, feeding my baby from my breast despite the troubles I initially had, providing care based on his cues and needs. Attachment Parenting has so many parts to it, and it can look so many ways. For us, this has meant bedsharing, breastfeeding and trusting my son when he “tells” us what he needs from us.

The gentle discipline part is the most challenging for me.

RITA: How so?

AUTUMN: Gentle discipline is a challenge for me. I think I’m my own worst critic, of course.

We do gentle discipline, but I find it a challenge to not yell. We mess up all the time and apologize and explain what we did wrong and how we should have done it differently. I am trying to express my feelings and name my emotions for him. He’s now been able to do the same when he’s upset.

It’s a challenge for sure, and I wouldn’t want to use any other type of discipline. I just judge myself and whether I could have been better, more gentle.

RITA: Many parents feel they need to improve upon how they were parented in some way, but it sounds to me like how you were raised didn’t leave you with that impression?

AUTUMN: My son is almost 4. I feel like so far I’m parenting much like my parents did. Looking at all of us now, I can only hope that I parent Noah in such a way that he has a relationship similar to what my siblings and I have with my parents.

I think my parents did the best they could. I don’t think it was always right or necessarily wrong. It just was what it was. I see that now as a parent myself. Sometimes I mess up. Sometimes I could have done it better or differently, but it doesn’t mean I did it right or wrong in that moment.

I like how my parents approached parenting. They never did anything to hurt us. They always did whatever they did out of love or with the best intentions. I don’t think there’s much to improve upon. I just hope I can be like them.

RITA: Do you receive a lot of support from your parents?

AUTUMN: Yes! My parents are some of my biggest support people. They love seeing us raise Noah in a similar way to how they parented. They feel it is so beneficial to the child, so they are happy to see their grandchild benefitting from us raising him in this way!

RITA: And what about your partner—what does he think about AP?

AUTUMN: My husband did not grow up with Attachment Parenting. It was a new concept to him when we had our son.

My husband has been supportive of Attachment Parenting. He has seen the benefits to it for not only our son, but for us, too. When Noah was 1 1/2 years old, our wedding anniversary was coming up, and I told my husband that we should get a friend to watch him at our house so we could run up to dinner nearby or something. My husband replied, “No, that’s OK. I don’t see why we can’t just celebrate with him.” I had to laugh—my husband had become an AP parent!

My in-laws have been respectful of our parenting decisions even though the way we parent differs from the way they parented. We have addressed some of these differences by explaining why we parent the way we do and what would be most helpful to us in terms of ways to support our attached family.

RITA: Thank you, Autumn, for your insights. Parenting is such a journey, and I think every parent—no matter how experienced—is always learning. Plus, children are constantly changing and some development changes are harder or easier for some parents than others. How do you feel about parents who struggle with AP?

AUTUMN: In my experience, I find parents who are struggling are either basing Attachment Parenting off of misinformation of what it is or are putting too much pressure on themselves. Usually, they have an idea of what AP is and it’s usually a very defined, very specific picture of parenting.

I feel compassion and love for parents who are struggling with AP or anything else for that matter. I am a parent that struggles on a daily basis to parent my child how I want to. I think it’s part of parenting regardless of the type of parenting one follows. I will usually try to offer a different perspective or a tip or tools to try if they are open to ideas.

Parenting is hard, period.

The Truth About Spanking with Nadine Block

Register now for this next API LIVE! Teleseminar scheduled for Monday, August 30, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT – The Truth About Spanking: What Parents Must Know About Physical Discipline with special guest Nadine Block.

Register for this call to hear hosts Lu Hanessian and API cofounder Barbara Nicholson talk with Nadine Block

  • the practice and effect of spanking on cognitive and physical well-being
  • the confusion surrounding spanking and good behavior
  • how our own childhood experience drives our decision to spank or not
  • what to do if your spouse and you disagree on spanking
  • and more.

REGISTER NOW

The Gift of Being a Flawed Parent

Did you know that API hosts live teleseminars on important parenting topics with some of today’s most noted experts? In the past, the API Live teleseminars have featured Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett discussing parental depression, Dr. Bob Sears chatting about autism spectrum disorders, Mothering magazine editor Peggy O’Mara discussing how we can get real with ourselves and our children, Ina May Gaskin speaking on the topic of the gift of loving your best birth, and much more.

The next API Live teleseminar will be held on Monday, May 24th at 9pm ET where Lu Hanessian will be speaking about “The Gift of Being a Flawed Parent” – How to Use Our Mistakes, Conflicts and Fears to Raise Kids with Big Hearts, Emotional Security and Inner Resilience. Lu will be joined by API co-founders and authors of the book Attached at the Heart to discuss how:

  • our “flaws” are actually pathways to raising resilient, secure, connected kids
  • understanding the brain science of attachment can give us our roadmap for reconnection even if we came from a painful past with insecure attachments
  • we can create or “earn” a secure attachment so we can offer this to our kids

For more information or to register for this event, visit the following webpage: API Live – The Gift of Being a Flawed Parent with Lu Hanessian.

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