Obeying out of fear

“A child who obeys out of fear will only do so as long as he or she is scared. A child like this never develops an internalized sense of right and wrong without being policed by a more powerful authority figure.” ~ Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma by Nancy Samlin

stephanie petters 2How do you feel about this statement? Did you find this to be true for you? Do you see this in those children around you?

For me, even though I was raised to obey out of fear, I still developed a sense of right and wrong because of the religious upbringing I had. But I do know that being punished meant that when I was younger I would hide things from my mom and that she and I didn’t develop a close connection because I was afraid of her and her reactions to my behavior and questions.

As parents, my husband and I don’t use punishments while setting boundaries for our daughter. We strive to be respectful in our discipline and to include my daughter in the process of problem-solving and guidance.

My daughter has a close connection with me but still hates to disappoint us. I have learned that you can set behavior limits in a loving way that isn’t the same as demanding obedience out of fear — that instead keeps the parent-child relationship intact — and still have your child learn right from wrong.

350691Editor’s note: Join this and other discussions on Goodreads through the API Reads online book club. You can read along in your own copy of Love and Anger, or even if you don’t have the book, you can follow the discussion and take away bits of parenting ideas to try in your home. Learn more about the API Reads program or join for free directly at Goodreads.

Sibling rivalry is natural

It is natural for our children to feel anger toward their siblings and to experience anger in their peer relationships. It is how we react to their anger in these situations that will determine the outcome of how well they manage these angry outbursts.

indexThe book, Siblings Without Rivalry, goes in depth about sibling conflict. As we learned during the API Reads discussion of this book, the author recommends allowing the siblings to problem-solve the matters themselves without your intervention, unless of course the interaction is physical and then separation is needed. It is also beneficial to reflect back to each child what their feelings are so that the other child “hears” the emotions. This book touches on the fact that no matter what you do as parents, your children are going to feel jealous or that things are unfair sometimes.

The peer relationship is one in which you want to remain empathetic to what is going on but to not take sides. You want to help your child problem-solve on his or her own about what is needed to be done. Your role is mainly to be a sounding board.

350691Here are some portions from the API Reads discussion on Love and Anger that I highlighted as points to remember in regards to sibling rivalry:

  • Parents have a right to want to discourage cruelty. But at the same time, they need to accept the fact that they won’t always be able to make their children kind to one another. Sibling rivalry drives parents crazy, but it is a natural state of affairs.
  • Children will fight no matter what and their arguing is inevitable. However, do not take sides. Firmly state the rule without blaming either child.
  • As children grow up and reach adulthood, the hostility and competition usually lessen and are gradually replaced by closeness and support.
  • Parents need to accept the feelings of jealousy, resentment or anger that a sibling might have, while setting limits on hurtful actions. “Sometimes Jeffrey annoys you. I know. But he’s not to be hit.”
  • Sometimes it’s helpful to indulge your children’s fantasies about a sibling.
  • Parents have to accept the fact that children won’t always perceive their actions as being fair.

stephanie petters 2I know for myself that siblings do tend to create connection when they are older. There was competition, jealousy, cruelty, tattle-tailing and so on in the sibling relationships I grew up with, but now we support one another as adults.

Editor’s note: Join this and other discussions on Goodreads through the API Reads online book club. You can read along in your own copy of Love and Anger, or even if you don’t have the book, you can follow the discussion and take away bits of parenting ideas to try in your home. Learn more about the API Reads program or join for free directly at Goodreads.

Saying “no” the Attachment Parenting way

“Many of us were brought up to feel that we were greedy or selfish if we wanted things. Our parents turned our wants into occasions for shame.” ~ Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma by Nancy Samalin

stephanie peters familyThis quote is completely true for me. Even now as an adult, sometimes I feel ashamed for wanting something I know isn’t possible to have at that moment.

Our children have a right to ask for things that they want. And we have a right to say “no.”

Our child will be unhappy with the “no” and likely feel angry, sad or disappointed. As the parent, our job is to allow them these emotions while setting limits.

350691Editor’s note: Join this and other discussions on Goodreads through the API Reads online book club. You can read along in your own copy of Love and Anger, or even if you don’t have the book, you can follow the discussion and take away bits of parenting ideas to try in your home. Learn more about the API Reads program or join for free directly at Goodreads.

 

Teens don’t rebel against parents

“I am now convinced that adolescents do not rebel against parents. They only rebel against certain destructive methods of discipline almost universally employed by parents. Turmoil and dissension in families can be the exception, not the rule, when parents learn to substitute a new method of resolving conflicts.” ~ Parent Effectiveness Training by Thomas Gordon

stephanie peters familyHow do you feel when you read this quote?

It made me reflect upon my own upbringing, and I agree with the statement. I think if I had had more open, respectful communication with my mother, we would have had a better relationship.

I wanted so much for her to trust me as a person and, at the same time, to feel close to her instead of feeling scared and like she was pushing me away.

I look forward to seeing how the teenage years will play out with my daughter and our family, even though it terrifies me to some extent at the same time based on my own memories of those years.

My daughter and I are very close at this point. At age 10, she keeps saying that she wants to stay close to us, even when she becomes an adult. She wants to live in the neighborhood even. We hope that mentality continues.

PET bookEditor’s note: Join this and other discussions on Goodreads through the API Reads online book club. You can read along in your own copy of Parent Effectiveness Training, or even if don’t yet have the book, you can follow the discussion and take away bits of parenting ideas to try in your home. Learn more about the API Reads program or join for free directly at Goodreads.

 

API Reads: Parenting from the Inside Out starting this month

The API Reads program is winding down a discussion of Attached at the Heart (2nd edition) by Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker. Join in on the last of the topics being discussed online at GoodReads:

  • Principle 8: Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life – Peace Within Creates Peace at Home
  • Chapter 10: Nurturing Children for a Compassionate World

Parenting from the Inside OutOn August 17, API Reads will begin a discussion of Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel. Read the Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2 to get started.

Then, in September, API Reads is launching a new and exciting opportunity: Participants will have the opportunity to read and discuss a book focused on the younger child (birth to preschool) and/or a second book focused on the older child (school-age and above). The books are to be read simultaneously, and parents can choose to participate in either or both book discussions. This will allow you to focus on the book that seems of the most interest to you at the time. We are truly excited about this new offering and hope you will be, too. Come check out API Reads on GoodReads to see what books are in the queue so far!

A program of Attachment Parenting International, API Reads is free to join so don’t hesitate to join in the conversation. We read a chapter a week. Even if you’re unable to get through the chapter, you may find you’ll still be able to participate in the conversation. So come join the other 400+ members who are already part of the conversation!

API now reading Attached at the Heart

Attached at the Heart, 2nd editionThe API Reads program has begun the discussion of Attached at the Heart (2nd edition) by Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker. The  topics we’ll be discussing in July will include:

  • Principle 3: Responding with Sensitivity – Learning the Language of Love
  • Principle 4: Use Nurturing Touch – The Healing Power of Physical Closeness
  • Principle 5: Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally – The Critical Importance of Nighttime Needs
  • Principle 6: Provide Consistent, Loving Care – Keeping Baby’s Attachment Secure

Join the discussion through GoodReads. We’ll be reading Attached at the Heart for the months of June, July, and and a part of August.

Meditating in the Shower & Balancing Technology Use…

This post is written by Stephanie Petters, coordinator of the API Reads program:

Nurturing the Soul image (2)Come on over to API Reads, on GoodReads, where we’re discussing the last few chapters of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family by Renée Peterson Trudeau.

API Reads is more than club for people who love to read books. It’s a place to share concerns and ideas to strengthen the connection to our children and families. For example, one reader posted the question, “Has the book inspired you to make any changes?” This is one of the responses:

“I’m also trying to take better care of myself. I have my first session with a personal trainer today! I’d like to start meditating, but with a baby who hates naps it’s hard to find time when I know I’ll be able to sit quietly, so I’ve been trying to make my showers meditative. We’ve also started having daily outdoor play time, and I’ve been trying to make sure we have some relaxed family time on the weekend.”

What else have we been discussing? How much technology can affect your family life, whether it is your friend or foe, and how can you help find a balance with it. Also how nature can play a role in balance.

“Yes, like you and Lex, it is harder for my husband to unplug. He loves video games and drawing, which he does on a tablet. During this, he usually has a movie or TV show in the background. There is nothing inherently wrong with these things; it’s how he enjoys himself. And he does take breaks to play with our one year old. We also have dinner together — tech free — and are making an effort to do the same with breakfast. At the same time, when we go on vacation and don’t have our machines, I do feel so much more connected.

I’m not sure how to deal with this imbalance in media use. I don’t find it ideal, but at the same time, my husband is at home, kind and attentive when he needs to be. It doesn’t seem worth a struggle. Thoughts?”

Share your ideas and join the discussion!

Our next book for discussion is for couples, Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix. It starts in September.

Nurturing the Soul of Your Family

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

 

If there’s one thing many Attachment Parenting families share, it’s a love of reading.

“Cultivating a sense of curiosity is so healthy, beautiful and eye-opening for me as a parent.” ~From the API Reads discussion of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family

 

Nurturing the Soul image (2)Join AP parents through July and August as we discuss Nurturing the Soul of Your Family by Renée Peterson Trudeau through Attachment Parenting International’s online book club, API Reads (on Goodreads).

“…this book guides you in exploring the most powerful, essential things you can do right now to bring more peace and harmony to your family, or what I consider the 10 paths to peace,” shares Renée. “I hope this book will help you realize you do have the answers you need. You just have to become quiet enough—and create the space—to hear them.”

In just the first couple weeks, we’ve started learning about shifting our perspective, where disequilibrium comes from, challenging the beliefs we’ve inherited from our families, how self-care supports us in being more present with our partner and children as well as how self-care translates into owning our personal power and that it’s about more than massages and pedicures, and that our families are our opportunities to heal and grow as a person.

~From the API Reads discussion of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family:

“Imagine exploring how to truly nurture our soul and the soul of our family in order to awaken to a deeper level of connection—to ourselves and others? THIS is the area I really want to ‘get.’ Nurturing my soul seems to take a back seat, and I tend to focus on what is happening in the moment that needs my immediate attention. I feel like I am in some survival mode mentality that I need to break from…”

“Agreed! I think it’s hard to make time for oneself as a parent. If I’m not with my daughter, I feel I should take that time to nurture other relationships. It’s easy to forget to spend time alone.”

What more can we expect from this book? With the remaining chapters, we can expect to cover:

  • Making time for spiritual renewal
  • Loving the ones you’re with—spending time together (like you mean it!)
  • Defining, celebrating, and honoring your family culture—learning what you stand for?
  • Slowing down—doing less to experience more
  • Exploring a new way of being—making hard choices, breaking free, and doing it different
  • Building your tribe—asking for and embracing help as you create your support network

“From page 187 on my IPad, ‘Everything you want to experience with your family, you already possess. There’s no need to create, craft, cook, farm, buy, or become something new in order to experience what’s available to you in the now, in everyday moments.’ Frankly, I have the time, it is just how I spend my time that I see as a problem. I am not always choosing to spend my time where my priorities actually are. My choices are often not made from a heartfelt place of being present. I allow the ‘urgent’ things to take precedent over the important. Add to that, when I picture what I see as a ‘perfect’ moment or day, it also often includes a ‘doing’ rather than a ‘being,’ such as baking, creating, buying, etc. The passage I quoted really struck me, because those things also involve a ‘doing’ that often takes time and focus off of the important. This focus on doing does not give me what I want and often takes from what I want. It struck me that if I come from a place of already being where I want to be with my family, then perhaps these activities could at times add to the joyful experience, but if my focus is on the activities, then I often do not get what I am looking for with my family.” ~From the API Reads discussion of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family

Getting ready for September, API Reads will be featuring a book for couples, Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix

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