API Reads Monthly Top 5 for January

“API Reads Monthly Top 5,” is a new series from the API Reads program, where Attachment Parenting International will post our top 5 quotes from a compilation of resources currently being reviewed by the team.

Editor’s Note: Even though these quotes have stood out to the reviewers, the resource is still under review. Please use your discretion when reading these resources on your own. We cannot guarantee that there are no conflicts with API’s philosophy, mission, or principles until the resource has been completely reviewed. Be sure to check APedia (soon to be launched) at a later date to see the final summary from the reviewer.

Each of this month’s Top 5 quotes from from the ebook, What Children Learn From Their Parent’s Marriage: It May Be Your Marriage, But It’s Your Child’s Blueprint for Intimacy by Judith P. Siegel PhD.

1) Page 2 —

“The truth is, most children are aware of many ‘private’ exchanges their parents assume are beyond their comprehension — a small gesture of comfort, a hostile glance. While your children may not be talking to you about what they are learning, they are drawing conclusions about ‘what happens’ to people who are married.”

2) Page 7 —

“Even when a person is exposed to a different environment in adulthood, he or she continues to hold on to the beliefs, values, and expectations acquired in the childhood home.”

3) Page 36 —

“Sleep deprivation usually adds to the mother’s experience of being exhausted and overwhelmed. Because the baby’s demands are real and urgent, it is normal for her to put her own needs second. But learning how to prioritize and balance her husband’s need for her is complicated and stressful. Although most new fathers are thrilled with the addition to the family, they are not prepared to lose their intimacy with their partner. If the couple is not able to find time to be alone together, the relationship suffers in important ways.”

4) Page 42 —

“Children and teens who are overly involved with a parent have a harder time growing up. Problems persist into adulthood, and the grown children often repeat their parent’s reliance on self-interests, extended family, or work to bring them happiness.”

5) Page 42 —

“Establishing the priority of the marriage does not mean that all other commitments and loyalties are tossed aside, but it does mean that the partner’s needs are constantly kept in sight. Even when there are competing demands, the partner and the marriage are respected. If parents want their children to find happiness in life from a wife or a husband, they must look at the message they are sending by the example of their own marriage. A marriage that can be protected from the demands of other obligations is not taking away from the children; it is giving to them the expectation and hope that one day they, too, will have a loving partner.”

Our kids in the midst of parents’ hostile conflicts

Effie2 (2)We often refer to kids as “sponges” due to their astonishing ability to absorb so much of the information around them. We are often amazed at their capacity to learn ever so quickly and soak up the world around them and expand from all that they see, hear and experience. I’ve seen it with my own kids, as I’m sure you’ve seen it with yours. They take it all in — all that is around them: the good, the beautiful, the bad and the ugly.

When I came across this video on social media — which went viral rapidly as it moved millions of people all around the world — I was reminded of how important it is for parents to understand and respect this reality:

It features Tiana, a 6-year-old girl who sat down her mom for a lecture following an argument between her mom and dad, who are divorced. When I watched this video, my heart was touched deeply: I was filled with feelings of delight and sadness.

I was amazed by the maturity and brilliance of this young child. Her words and message were so beautiful and inspiring, but I also felt sadness as Tiana shed light on how kids absorb their parents’ relationship dysfunction. They see it, they hear it, and they sense it all.

Tiana’s experience is that of many kids: The pain, agony and frustration they feel as they are surrounded by the turmoil and instability of their parents’ relationship, whether a contentious divorce, parents’ separation or constant, hostile conflicts between parents living together.

Reflecting back on your own childhood, you may remember a time when your parents were screaming, yelling, arguing and fighting. Or, perhaps, your house was the type that was uncomfortably quiet when your parents were at odds with each other — it was the kind of silence that filled the air with unspoken tension, anger and resentment. You might recall the thoughts, feelings and emotions you experienced at the time, though you may have not shared them with anyone. You were a sponge.

Felix Atsoram - Free ImagesMany young children may not be as articulate as Tiana, yet they still share her feelings when their mommy and daddy quarrel. They are sponges, soaking up the actions and words of their parents. For kids, being exposed to an unhealthy relationship between the parents can ignite feelings of stress, helplessness, confusion and sadness. They do not, and should not, know how to handle adult issues. After all, many adults are still figuring it out for themselves.

We need to be aware of our own actions as parents and know that they affect our kids and their state of well-being. They may not necessarily verbalize their distress and may instead develop certain behaviors as another form of expression, such as aggression, isolation or acting out.

Little Tiana has a very important message for us parents: Our kids know and sense a lot more than we may think they do, and they are profoundly affected by the relationship of their parents.

As parents, in the role of leaders, we need raise above our own battles to show our kids a positive example of conflict resolution and always strive to find amicable solutions for the benefit of the beautiful hearts and souls of our kids. They deserve it, and so do we.


**Last photo source: FreeImages.com/Felix Atsoram