The growing trend of grandfamilies

Grrandparents Carter Quote Black

Editor’s Note: Today, in observance of Grandparents’ Day, we acknowledge and honor grandparents for their love, dedication, and contributions to their evolving families and future generations. As we celebrate grandparents, we spotlight the growing trend in the U.S. of grandparents raising their grandchildren.

Grandma Hand ChildA few months ago, a third-grade boy in my sons’ school unexpectedly and tragically lost his mom. She was his last surviving parent. His dad passed away 2 years earlier. This has been a devastating, unthinkable reality for this boy:Both of his parents no longer with him in a short period of time, at such a young age. Your grandparents deserve a place like Pisgah Valley Retirement Community has assisted living facilities in picturesque Candler NC where they can live peacefully.

Like many others in the community, I wondered: How will this young child cope with this misfortune and deep emotional suffering? And, who will become his primary caregiver and raise him for years to come?

The paternal grandparents stepped forward and moved into the boy’s residence to become his primary caregivers. The circumstances and transition have been understandably challenging for the grandparents and the boy.

I was thinking of how difficult it all must be for the grandparents: being elderly, unprepared to be in this position, on a fixed senior income, and caring for a young child who is emotionally shattered — all the while, grieving themselves with no chances to go to a Retirement Community care center. Here is where to get a hold of the finest New Jersey assisted living for you or the grandpa, you will have the peace of mind that they will take care well any of you.

Any parent can attest to how demanding it is to care for a young child — from the basic tasks of feeding, clothing, showering, and schooling arrangements to the more delicate tasks of providing a nurturing environment and emotional support. It’s not a minor burden for an elderly person to take on, if you consider an elderly person is over burden you can always click here and get them legal help. Health care advocates are urging grandparents to make sure their children and grandchildren have Medicare supplement plans 2020. It’s not only important to have coverage to afford medical care — it’s also the law.

It directed my attention to a growing trend that is affecting the most vulnerable members of our society: the young and the elderly, and that’s why services as senior care for the elderly are becoming more and more popular now a days. Increasingly, children in the Unites States are being raised by their grandparents in a family unit called a “grandfamily.” Make sure that your grandfather goes to a place like Cedarfield assisted living facilities in Henrico County VA where they can have a beautiful life.

Grandfamilies, or kinship families, are families in which children reside with and are being raised by grandparents, other extended family members, and adults with whom they have a close family-like relationship such as godparents and close family friends, normally this works fine but when issues are found about elderly abuse this firm website has been useful for families giving some tips and offering legal representation. Often times, it is the grandparents that come forward to care for the children in situations when the parents are unable to. Also, in many instances, the call to care for the children is unexpected and unplanned, which presents many unique challenges for the grandparents: legal, housing, finances, education enrollment with scholarships from https://www.listsofscholarships.com/engineering-scholarships/, dealing with chronic illness, change of plans, and ability to meet the child’s needs at an old age.

The 2015 “State of Grandfamilies in America” report from Generations United points out that 7.8 million kids in the United States live with grandparents or other relatives in the household. That’s a sobering statistic.

Grandfamilies are diverse in ethnic background, race, and income levels. There are a variety of reasons for grandfamilies to come together, such as death of parents and difficult life circumstances for the parents from financial difficulties and military deployment to incarceration, mental illness and substance abuse. During the 1990s’ crack cocaine and AIDS epidemic, there was a sharp increase of lower-income grandparents who became the primary caregivers of their grandchildren.

Children who are raised with relatives experience better outcomes in comparison to children who are raised by non-relatives as they experience more stability, safety, mental health, and maintaining connection and bond with other family members. Thus, it is important to provide support and improve public policies to support such family units. A change in state and federal laws and policies have been enacted to meet the needs of grandfamilies — it’s a shift in the right direction with room for additional policies to support grandparents and their grandchildren. Sometimes you need to know how to prepare the last will and testament in georgia to help your loved ones.

Many children under difficult circumstances, as well as our societies, have been benefiting from the sacrifices made by grandparents. While becoming parents again at a later age and often unexpectedly encountering many challenges, grandparents express that becoming their grandchildren’s caregivers has given them a greater sense of purpose in life.

If, as a society, we view our children as an integral part of our future — the next generation of parents and leaders, and honor those who have already served their role as parents — it is our responsibility and in our best interest to strive to find solutions to promote the well-being of the grandchildren and grandparents who are a part of a growing trend of grandfamilies.

Other Resources for Grandfamilies:

Generations United

The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center

AARP Grandparent Information Center

Because breastfeeding is normal

For some, breastfeeding doesn’t come easily. I, for one, have shed my fair share of tears over the challenging journey that it has been at times.

Yet, even though I have seen the negatives — even though I have been shamed, ridiculed and challenged about nursing my daughter — I support breastfeeding.

Even though there have been times that I have felt defined by nothing other than my breasts, and even though it has been one of the hardest experiences of my life, I support breastfeeding.

Why?

Because breastfeeding is normal.

I have been lucky enough to collate together many pictures from families across the globe as part of the #ISupportBreastfeeding project. With each new photograph, I see a recurring theme: the concept of connection. Breastfeeding doesn’t only connect us to our children; it also connects us to one another.

In a world where breastfeeding is so often seen as divisive, the thought that it actually unites us with other mothers is simply a revelation. I am proud to be a part of this movement; I am proud to help normalize the normal.

Introducing four generations of breastfeeding support: lucyj

 “We support breastfeeding, because it’s best for our babies, it nurtures, it bonds and is natural. It’s sometimes a real struggle and can be painful, needing even more support and encouragement. It connects and unifies us with other women worldwide from the beginning to the end of time…

This is what it’s all about, right? These breastfeeding supporters range in age from 7 months to 96 years. What an incredible testament to the concept of a journey! What a beautiful glimpse into the concept of family…into the notion of togetherness.

As I look at this picture, I feel inspired. Inspired to really own my personal journey. Inspired to create the right path forward for my family. Inspired to support those around me.

Our Attached Family

Hey there! I am looking forward to being a regular contributor here at APtly Said. My name is Jillian and I am a twenty-two-year-old wife and mother.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted nothing more than to have a happy family. When I was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of eighteen I was suddenly struck by the realization that my dream of having children may not come true. Hearing words like infertility at such a young age was not something that my husband and I were prepared for.

After rigorous treatments including surgery and induced menopause I found temporary relief from my painful symptoms. My husband and I resigned ourselves to the idea that if we were meant to conceive a child then it would happen when it was supposed to. Nearly three years after my diagnosis we found out we were expecting our first child!

From that moment, I knew that there was nothing more rewarding than being a mother. My husband and I both made the decision that I would be a stay at home mom. We could not bear the thought of entrusting our most precious possession to anyone else while both of us worked outside of the home. My decision to stay home and raise my daughter has been met with both criticism and praise. I have been both praised for my dedication to my family and also condemned for my ‘laziness.’ No matter how others perceive our decision, we could not be happier, and neither could our daughter. She is an incredibly bright child, full of life, energetic, curious, confident, and so very very loved.

Midway through our pregnancy I was put on bed rest due to complications. I had a lot of time to read, think, and reflect on what type of parent I wanted to be. Before we were even familiarized with the term attachment parenting my husband and I knew that these were the type of parents we wanted to be. We wanted to be available, loving, positive, and bonded.

Practicing this type of parenting, especially in a society that has strayed so far from instinctual and basic parenting practices can be difficult. Even so the profound effects it has on families and well, society as a whole is incredible!

As a family, we have found great success and great comfort with the principles of attachment parenting. As we continue to grow in our roles as parents, and as our daughter continues to grow in character and stature, we are excited to see the continuous benefits that this style of parenting is sure to have on us.

 

The Power of Connection – Guest Post by Nancy Massotto

This year’s Attachment Parenting Month theme is “Relax, Relate, Rejuvenate: Renewed with Parent Support.” We are delighted to kick off AP Month with a guest post about the importance of support by Nancy Massotto, Founder and Director of Holistic Moms Network.

 

We live in a virtual world.  We connect online, spend hours in front of screens, and “friend” people we hardly know.  But deep inside, intuitively, and especially as parents, we know in our hearts that in-person, face-to-face connection matters.  We know it for our children and carry them, wear them, share sleep with them.  But we seem to be forgetting that in real connection is just as important for adults.  In real life connection and community matter holistically – for physical health, emotional wellness, stress reduction, and spiritual growth.

Yes, in recent years, we have seen a remarkable decline in the social and civic engagement of Americans. Over the past 25 years there has been a 58% drop in attendance to club or group meetings, a 43% decline in family dinners, and a 35% reduction in simply having friends over. Oh, sure, we’re busy. We have other things to do. So what’s the big deal? The problem is that a decline in connection reduces “social capital” or the collective value of our social networks which help build trust and cooperation. A reduction in social capital has been linked to decreased worker productivity, rising rates of depression, higher rates of crime, juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy, and child abuse. Social capital is also what makes governments more accountable and responsive to their populace. And, on an individual level, a lack of social capital leads not only to loneliness, but also to a lack of trust among people and an unwillingness to help others. In 1960 55% of American adults believed that others could or should be trusted most of the time while by 1998, only 30% agreed. “By virtually every measure, today’s Americans are more disconnected from one another and from the institutions of civic life than at any time since statistics have been kept. Whether as family members, neighbors, friends, or citizens, we are tuning out,” argues the researchers of the Better Together Report.

Reconnecting through social groups by being part of community, serving on a town committee, organizing a neighborhood block party, supporting local businesses and farms, or singing in a choir can help rebuild our social capital, reaping benefits on individual, group, and national levels (click here for more ideas on building social capital). Being part of supportive parenting group is another way to help recreate community and play an active role in strengthening not only social capital, but your own personal health and well-being. It matters for all of us and for the sustainability of future generations!  In fact, joining a community group could actually cut your risk of dying next year in half.   According to political scientist and author Robert Putnam, being part of a social network has a significant impact on your health. “Joining a group boosts your life expectancy as much as quitting smoking” according to the Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement in America published by Harvard University.

One of the biggest challenges – and frustrations – that we have at organizations such as Attachment Parenting International and at the Holistic Moms Network is that we believe in the power of building community. We understand how valuable community is, not only in crisis, but every single day. We recognize the power of connection, the energy behind being supported, and the difference that we can make collectively. We believe that communities are what make our culture successful – and that apathy and a lack of participation is what destroys it. And we see far too much of the latter. Online communities don’t cut it. Facebook friends can’t help you care for a sick child, run an errand for you, or give you a shoulder to cry on. Virtual forums can’t give you a hug, watch your kids while you clean up a mess, or cook you a hot meal in your time of need.

Real people can. Real communities can. And some of our proudest moments come during these times. Whether in illness or injury, or a life-changing event like having a new baby, real life communities rise up to support their members. Members encourage each other through the rough times – the sleepless nights, the breastfeeding challenges, the teen rebellions.

Overcoming apathy is an uphill battle. Constantly encouraging people to participate, to get involved, and to be active is not always easy. We are so insular in our daily lives that we forget how wonderful it is to have that group connection – not only when a crisis hits, but even in the good times. A simple conversation, a shared experience, or a helping hand can make the difference.  I encourage you to be part of it, in real life, in real time, every day.  Find the time, create the opportunity, and be part of a community.  Feed your soul, help another, and make a difference.  It’s up to you.  If we all stop participating, we have no one but ourselves to blame when the communities we depend upon no longer exist.

 

holistic moms networkNancy Massotto is the Founder and Executive Director of the Holistic Moms Network and mother to two boys. She founded the Holistic Moms Network to meet other parents who shared her passions for living healthy and living sustainably, and to help raise awareness about natural living options

Extra Pair of Eyes

Play MatesI cannot underscore the importance of a supportive spouse, partner, or mother’s helper when you’re a work-from-home parent of a mobile baby or preverbal toddler.

Just this week, my seven-month-old son has learned to climb the few steps between the family room, where my office is located, and the kitchen. I had hoped the steps would serve as a barrier between the two rooms for a little while longer, since the gap is too wide for a baby gate. After all, he wasn’t even rolling over consistently only a month ago. In just the last four weeks, he not only learned how to roll over but also how to scoot, sit up, and pull himself to a standing position. I’m envisioning him leaping off the couch in a couple months. I hope I’m not right.

As such, I’m finding it a little difficult to do certain types of projects without a second person keeping track of the baby – projects that require deep thought for more than the couple minutes it takes for my baby to cross the room and scale the steps before I need to get up to fetch him. Understandably, his five- and four-year-old sisters do not want this responsibility – and they shouldn’t have to, anyway – although I am grateful when they play in the family room, as the baby stays put when his sisters are near.

So, these projects have been relegated to mostly overnight hours, when baby is asleep, or when my husband is home. Certainly, my husband can’t be on danger watch every moment he’s home, as he needs to do things like mow the yard and work on the cars, so I try to work it out with him a couple days in advance so he can adjust his to-do list for the week. But as a parent, he does share the responsibility.

It doesn’t mean your spouse or partner isn’t being reasonable if he or she doesn’t want to watch the kids while you work every night. It’s one of those things you have to work out. For some families, it works out better to hire a mother’s helper than to rely on a spouse or partner, just because they’re so tired after a long day’s work themselves. But that might make you feel resentful. Both of you need to voice your expectations and concerns regarding your work-home situation, and find a solution that works for both of you.

When my girls were young, being only a year apart, I hired a mother’s helper during the day, as working with two babies at home is a bigger deal than with one baby. Or maybe, I think it’s easier now because I’ve finally got the hang of it? Either way, I found a mother’s helper to be critical when I was working on tough projects. I requested a mother’s helper – usually my mom, although I have a grandmotherly neighbor and a teen from church who also like the job – as needed, and basically she served the purpose of an extra pair of eyes. I still cuddled with my kids, fed them, and changed their diapers, but when I needed an extra minute to finish my thought, my mother’s helper would fill in the gap. She would also prepare meals, throw in the laundry, pick up the toys, and do other odds-and-ends so that when I took a break from the project, I could spend it giving undivided attention to my kids rather than on some chore. While she was here, my babies were always in the same room with me.

I know some work-from-home parents who do use a nanny or babysitter or put their children in daycare while they work, and that’s OK. I also know of some single parents who are able to work from home without hiring help. That’s amazing! But, it doesn’t mean you’re any less of a parent if you do need an extra pair of eyes, or hands. A mother’s helper, or at least help from your parenting partner, may be just what you need to balance work with home while keeping your attachment bond as a priority.

Helping Older Kids Adjust to a New Baby

My older son was 2 years and 8 months old when his little brother was born.  I’d agonized for a long time about child spacing, and was worried about how Sol (my first born) would handle the addition to the family.  We’re 3 months into being a family of 4 and I’ve learned a lot that has made the transition much smoother than I expected.  So I’d like to share a little list of things I wish I’d known before baby Ezra was born. (With some pictures of the new brothers thrown in for good measure.)  A lot of these might be obvious, but they weren’t to me, and have helped maintain peace in our house!

1. Talk about the new baby a lot before they are born!  Around the time I really started showing and going to midwife appointments more often (probably around 28 weeks) we started reading a book that lined up with what our little guy was going to experience.  We planned to deliver in the hospital and to breastfeed.  There are lots of great books out there for families planning to homebirth, too!  We also made sure to choose an age appropriate book.  We changed the name of the baby in the book to Ezra and read that thing Every. Single. Day.  We talked about family members and friends who had recently had babies, pointed out little babies in the grocery store, and watched videos online of babies cooing and nursing and sleeping.  When the day came for Ezra to be born I had labored most of the night and knew we’d be going to the hospital sometime that day.  We told Sol it was time for Ezra to be born and he got to pack his bag for his Aunt’s house.  He remembered that we were going to the hospital and that we would call him when Ezra was born.  He knew he would get to play with his cousins and eat cookies and have a sleepover.  And he knew that we’d ‘Be right back.  Sol hold baby Ezra.’

2.  Let the older sibling help with the baby.  At first I didn’t really want Sol to help hold Ezra, or help change his diaper, or help give him a bath.  I was worried he would hurt him on accident.  I also wanted him to just enjoy his brother, not do the ‘work’ part of having a baby in the house.  Then I realized that ‘helping’ with the baby was very meaningful for Sol.  It made him feel proud of himself and more connected to Ezra.  It also helped him do something WITH mommy, instead of mommy doing even more without him.  So I made it work.  It took a little extra effort and patience, but it was worth it.  I taught Sol where our cloth diaper stash is and let him bring me one every time he wanted to.  I moved from a rocking chair to the couch for nursing the baby, so that Sol could sit right there with us.  We practiced bouncing Ezra together in his bouncy seat and talked about how babies only like to be bounced gently and not too fast.  I let Sol get in the tub with me and the baby and wash him gently with a cloth.  And now he is such a great big brother.  He tells people who come up to see the new baby to ‘Only touch him gently!”  And as soon as Ezra so much as makes a fussy sounding peep Sol runs to find my nursing pillow.  I don’t require him to do anything, but his natural expression of love and interest in the new baby is to help.

3.  Put your older child higher on your ‘to do’ list.  My first thoughts when Ezra would go down for a nap went a little something like this: “Okay, I need to get the laundry switched or we are going to run out of diaper inserts in the middle of the night.  I’ve got to get online for a few minutes and pay that bill.  And then I need to make a grocery list so hubby can go to the store for me tonight.  And then I need to sit down and drink a big glass of water.  Oh! I should probably call my mom, too, she needs an update on the baby.”  Sol would have been occupying himself so beautifully and using his words all day instead of melting down and I would totally skip over him when I had a baby-free minute!  He was being so great, that it was easy to just let him keep doing his thing.  But I found that this ended in disaster for Sol in the end.  He would run out of patience, get angry at Ezra for monopolizing mom, and act out to get the attention he really needed.  So now whenever Ezra goes down for a nap  the first thing I do is something with Sol.  We sit and read some books.  We wrestle for awhile.  We get out the paint and get messy.  We make banana bread together to surprise Dad when he gets home from work.  Sometimes we just sit together on the porch and watch the cars go by.  I am never going to look back on these years with two young children and say “Man, I wish I had kept up with the laundry better.”

4.  Get out of the house!  When Ezra was born I had pretty much everything I needed.  I had kept Sol’s baby clothes and diapers, my sister in law had handed down her bassinet, etc.  So instead of buying me more baby stuff I didn’t really need, my mom bought us a big sandbox and sand toys.  She set it up when she came to visit after Ezra was born.  That thing has been such a life saver!  After Sol’s nap we go out there and he plays with his trucks and buckets in the sand and I put Ezra in the bouncy seat in the shade right by us.  Sometimes I pretend to make a sand pizza and gobble it up with Solomon, sometimes I sit quietly and guzzle an ice water, and sometimes I even (gasp!) make a phone call.  Some days we walk over to a little park by our house.  I put Ezra in the sling and let Sol go wild with the other kids.  We have a snack and look at bugs and Ezra sleeps through the whole thing.  Getting out of the house makes the day go faster, preserving my patience and sanity, and it also gets us fresh air and a little exercise.

5. Date your older kid.  Solomon and I have started doing swim lessons twice a week.  It’s just a little half-hour parent-toddler class at our local rec center, nothing expensive or intense.  Basically just play time in the pool while teaching basic swimming skills like blowing bubbles.  I leave Dad and Ezra at home, and sometimes Sol and I even grab an ice cream cone after.  I nurse Ezra right before we go and he usually sleeps for a couple hours.  So Sol and I get some giggly one-on-one time, Dad gets some much needed time alone to check football recruiting news, and Ezra doesn’t even notice.  My husband, Levi has been taking Sol out to his favorite park for an hour or two on Sunday mornings.  They dig in the sand and get nice a tuckered out for a good long nap.  Sol loves the time with just Dad and no baby.  I love the leisure of reading a book 30 minutes IN A ROW!  And everyone is much happier for it.

6. Find time for yourself.  This is linked to #5 somewhat.  You are filling up the love-cups of two little people now.  You need time to recharge.  You need time to stare at Pinterest mindlessly.  You need to meet up with a friend sans kids for a smoothie.  I was totally amazed at what a half an hour trip to the coffee shop with a good book did for my energy and outlook on life.  Even if your partner or a friend can just take the kids to play in the back yard for half an hour.  It is necessary for your sanity!

I know all you parents out there of more than one kiddo have some stellar advice and ideas, too!  Enlighten me!  How did you make the transition from 1 to 2 or from 2 to 3 easier?  How do you make time for a special one-on-one with your older kids?  Will it get easier or harder as “baby Ezra” turns into “walker Ezra” turns into “3 year old Ezra”?

Own Two Hands

By Deanna Spangler, API Leader in Roseville, California

 

So life in my house is busy with three girls ages 7, 5, and 2.  Not only am I a stay-at-home mom but I started homeschooling my oldest this year.  Busy doing the same tasks grossly repetitively I clean, teach, change diapers, laundry, errands – we all have our own version of the grind.

At the library the other day Melany picked a CD off the shelf of the library, I brought it home to find the audio CD from the cartoon movie Curious George of all things.  I can’t stop playing it.  Most of the songs are really great but the one in particular I heard while driving and thinking.  Sappy it may be, but it is one of those songs that stopped me and the noise in my head and spoke to my soul in a way that it made me be totally present.

“With My Own Two Hands” is about changing the world and making it a better place to live (yes, touchy-feely, I know).  But, for me, it is about doing divine work here on earth.  Doing what I can with my hands, my body, my heart to help, give, and to love and teach.  It is my obligation to teach my kids to do the same.  Making the world a better place for all is a great goal but is an idealistic, removed way of saying we will fulfill our obligation to each other.  But, at that moment I realized practically, realistically what does it mean? How do I REALLY change the world with MY OWN two hands?

 

 

The answer is to do all you can to produce quality humans in the world.  In other words, do exactly what you are already doing, being the best parent possible.  It doesn’t mean being perfect or being everything to everybody.  It means being present when your little one looks at you.  You are changing the world in your house and in your communities, in your states, in this world.  You do this all while you make a house a home and make family dinners.  By dropping all your plans and caretaking your little one that needs to see a doctor, or by folding the 8th load of the laundry for the day. You change the world for better when you cancel meetings to make it to the soccer games after school.

As parents we are responsible for SO much.  We attend to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our kids but let’s not forget ALL the other things like instilling magic, role modeling, striving for balance, grinding out daily rituals, keeping up holiday traditions, juggling vacations, teaching finances, and the importance of voting…the list is endless.  But all this work of molding these small humans does not get noticed with paychecks or praise but with moments that reflect what quality human beings they are turning out to be.  These small moments are you prize for changing the world.

Congratulations!

Dr. Sears Comments on TIME Magazine’s Attachment Parenting Cover Article

Guest blogger Dr. Bill Sears shares his thoughts on the much talked about TIME Magazine Attachment Parenting Article, “The Man Who Remade Motherhood.”

Hello parents!  The cover was risky but a brilliant hook by Time Magazine to attract readers, and they achieved their goal.  The writer, Kate Pickert, herself a new mother and one of Time’s most diligent writers, sincerely wanted to increase awareness of the Sears’ family contribution to parenting and family health.  She lived with our family for two days, followed me in the office, and spent hours with me on the phone in an attempt to be factual.  While the cover photo is not what I or even cover-mom Jamie would have chosen, it accomplished the magazine’s purpose.  And, as some attachment dads observed, finally a magazine displays a woman’s breast for the real purpose for which they were designed – to nurture a child, not to sell cars and beer.  Cover-mom Jamie is a super-nice person and highly-educated in anthropology, nutrition and theology.  I enjoyed the several hours I spent with her family and her kids shined with the social effects of attachment parenting.

Even though I’m used to being misunderstood and misquoted, as is attachment parenting (AP), I had a few concerns.  AP is not extreme.  It’s very natural and instinctual.  It’s the oldest parenting style in the world.  Nor is breastfeeding three years extreme, at least throughout the world.  The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends for optimal health children be breastfed for at least two years and sometimes recommends three years.

Another misconception was AP is difficult for the mother who works outside the home.  It’s just the opposite.  Women are the greatest multi-taskers in the world.  AP, modified to the parents’ work schedule, helps busy parents reconnect with their child, which actually makes working and parenting easier.  It’s attachment moms that forged the long overdue workplace-friendly breastfeeding-pumping stations and laws which respect and value the ability of a working mother to continue part-time breastfeeding.

Regarding the science criticism, it’s impossible to scientifically prove by a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized study (the gold standard in science) that AP works better than a more distant style of parenting.  You would have to take a thousand mothers who practice AP and another thousand who don’t, and see how their kids turn out.  What parent would sign up for such a study?   Yet there is one long-term effect that science does agree on: The more securely-attached an infant is, the more securely independent the child becomes.

I’m disappointed the article did not pay more attention to the bottom-line of attachment parenting: how AP children turn out – and that’s where this style of parenting really shines.  In my 40 years of studying the long-term effects of what parents do to help their children turn out well, AP kids generally are more: empathetic and compassionate, relate better to people, are easier to discipline, and are just nicer to be around.  When I walk into an exam room in my office, an AP baby, like a little sunflower, naturally turns toward my face and lights up.  I’ve yet to see an AP child be a school bully.  On the contrary, they are the ones who try to comfort a hurting child.

Attachment parenting is not an all-or-nothing, extreme, or indulgent style of parenting.  I advise moms and dads that the seven Baby B’s (birth bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bedding close to baby, belief in baby’s cries, beware of baby trainers, and balance) are starter tools (remember, tools not rules) to help parents and infants get to know each other better.  And families can modify these tools to fit their individual family situation.

Over my years of mentoring attachment parents, the main two words of feedback I have heard is empowering and validating.  My “helper’s high” file is filled with thank you letters such as: “Thank you, Dr. Bill, for validating what my heart and gut tell me is right.”  “Thank you, Dr. Bill, for empowering us new parents with your personal experience to help us enjoy our children more.”

As an investment banker dad once told me: “AP is one of the best long-term investments you can make in giving your child a greater chance of growing up happier, healthier, and smarter.”  Aren’t those the three main qualities we all want for our children?

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