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Tag: attachment parenting

Helicopters Belong In The Sky, Not The Playground

I think I had one of those moments this morning.  You know, where you suddenly realize why you feel the way you do about something?

I read this article about helicopter parenting, and I realized that the reason I’ve never been a fan of the attachment parenting is because I’m afraid it leads to helicoptering.

Does it?  I’m not sure.  But what I’ve observed in this generation of children is hat they are a whole lot less independent and willing and capable of doing things for themselves.  There is an expectation that mom and dad will care of everything for them.  An inability to fuck it up and then figure it out.  I mean, the guy in the article called his child’s college professor and argued about his kid’s grade.  Are you kidding?

So.  Here’s the thing.  I don’t have a problem with breastfeeding and babywearing and all that stuff.  And the article makes no mention of parenting style used since birth, although I strongly suspect that these parents were attachment parents.  It doesn’t seem logical to me that someone would evolve from being a “cry it out” mom to a helicopter mom, does it?  But attachment parenting is supposed to lead to greater self-confidence and independence by them feeling secure all the time in infancy, is it not?  So how come some of the kids are turning out all needy and weird?

I talk to my parents almost daily, as the kids in the article do.  But I’m not asking them for shit.  They give me stuff all the time, especially now that I have baby(ies), because they feel that it is their right and duty as grandparents to do do.  Fair enough.  But the last time I actually asked them for anything?  Maybe to see if my dad could drive me to a doctor’s appointment when I was too pregnant with Destroyer to fit behind the wheel.

The hard part is that we all love our children so, so much.  I know that.  I see the panicked look on some women’s faces when they see their kid fall down across the playground. But if you go running every single time, how will they ever learn the difference between an inconvenience and a crisis?  Do you want you child to feel as though they are always in the midst of a crisis that they surely are incapable of solving on their own?  And it’s not that I’m not watching, and assessing the situation, but Destroyer know where I am, and knows that I am available.  And most of the time?  It’s too inconvenient for her to come over to where I am and interrupt her play.  So she figures out how to dust herself off.  My heart kinda breaks a little, but I am patting myself on the back at the same time.

I also find it interesting that as we have more split families and double income families, the more helicopter we become when we are around.  But I don’t think you can make up the lost hours.  Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I think kids just need us to spend time with them.  It’s enough.

Anyway, read the article.  It’s interesting.

I’m going back to gestating.  Sigh.


Hot on the Titties: Crying It Out



Hot on the  Titties Friday!  Who is ready for a healthy debate?  I’m beginning to observe that the topics that really get people talking are the ones that hit closest to home.  Often, they involve us feeling as though we need to defend our choices to others, and it can get quite passionate.  And as always, as parents, we feel the need to justify whatever choice we end up making to parent our children.

So, here is the kindling to today’s fire.  It’s sort of a lengthy article, and is written by someone with a PhD, presumably in some sort of neuroscience or child behaviour.  Basically, it spends most of it’s time explaining why letting a baby “cry it out”  is the evil of all evils.

It is a scientific, anthropological argument for attachment parenting.  Which we all know is a bit of a hot topic at times.  As usual, it explains that “giving babies what they need leads to greater independence later.”  Hmmmm.  No shit.

One interesting comment made was how the extended family unit and “village” so to speak was all involved in a child’s care and instrumental to promoting this happiness and independence in a child.  And I can totally see how the break down of these family units where the mother is doing it all by herself can be detrimental to a child’s behaviour later on.  Being a parent is really, really, tiring some days.

Anyway, the real meat of the debate today is whether or not you let your child “cry it out” sometimes.  Or all the times.  Or none of the times.

If you do, you probably won’t read the entire article because it will make you feel like shit.  There’s a lot of talk of neurons and psychological damage to the child that can’t be reversed and how neglectful it is.  How selfish it is to ignore a child’s needs based on your own and that the more you do it the more desensitized you get to the sounds.  It was a total bashing.  And even though the article had a scientific “smell” to it, it was fairly obvious to me how un-objective this scientist was when writing it.

letting babies get distressed is a practice that can damage children and their relational capacities in many ways for the long term.”

I’m not sure there are many parents who let their babies get distressed.  Nobody wants to allow their baby to cry, or feel hurt or not try their best to comfort them.  This is not a scientific statement.  It is an inflammatory one.

The fact is that caregivers who habitually respond to the needs of the baby before the baby gets distressed, preventing crying, are more likely to have children who are independent than the opposite (e.g., Stein & Newcomb, 1994). Soothing care is best from the outset. Once patterns get established, it’s much harder to change them.

This statements makes the assumption that Attachment Parents respond to their babies needs and parents who do not attachment parent do not.

I can’t disagree more.

Because I’m fairly certain that babies who are fed on demand and co-sleep or are rocked to sleep or whatever cry sometimes too.  In my experience and observation they fucking cry just as often.  That’s how they let you know what they need.

As someone who did not “feed on demand” and allowed their baby to “cry it out” on occasion, I find the above statement completely fucking ridiculous.  I got my kid on a schedule as soon as possible.  And it wasn’t just about me.  It was about watching her and anticipating her needs and creating a pattern where her needs were met before she needed to get upset about shit.  And you know what?  Sometimes she cried.  And then I figured out what she needed. And as she grew and her needs changed, I shifted things around according to what she needed.  Fucking Duh. Putting a baby on a “schedule” doesn’t mean you don’t adapt to the needs of your child.

As for the crying it out, yeah, we did that too from time to time.  It’s not like we got sick of hanging out with her so we put her to bed to cry herself to sleep every night.  There was feeding, and changing, and cuddling and rocking and singing and all the nurturing things you do for your child. And then we put her in her crib, once we knew she was comfortable and all her needs were met.  And sometimes,  there was some fussing.  Most of the time she went to sleep.  But on the nights she didn’t, we let her cry for a few minutes.  And it was fine.

So.  Is my now toddler damaged from this?  Is she dependent and clingy and whiny as the article suggests she would be?  Is she full of anxiety and stupidity and lacking confidence?   She couldn’t be the farthest thing from any of this.  Honestly.

So what I think is this.  There is a great difference between methods in determining and meeting your child’s needs and child neglect.  I believe that the negative outcomes described in this bullshit propaganda  psychology article is blurring the lines between parental choices and parental neglect.  I’m sure that all of these developmental and psychological outcomes are possible, but in the extreme form of non-parenting.  I ALSO think, that if you are going to publish in a scientific magazine or journal, you should be careful to write in a scientific manner, and not an obviously biased, inflammatory, and accusatory manner.

Over to you kids.


Safety In Numbers

Dana Fradon

Dana Fradon

Oh kiddies.  Last Friday I talked about Attachment Parenting in an effort to stir the pot a little and make us all think about the parenting choices we make.  I was sort of expecting a passionate response to some of the things I disagreed with, but all was quiet.

Until last night.  Talk about a delayed reaction.  I thought for a second I had been Freshly Pressed.  Alas, no.  Someone must have shared my link a lot on Facebook, because all of a sudden I was the most popular, (or unpopular) girl around.

Anyway, I was happy, because obviously the things I had to say made some people reevaluate, or become more determined in their choices, or pissed them right off.

I did receive a negative comment from someone about the article, but I’m not writing this entry to validate what I originally said, or berate that person for their opinion, or to defend my self in any way.  The truth is I don’t feel the need to defend myself because I am secure in my choices, and I don’t need everyone to see my side in order to respect theirs.

Instead, I’m going to write about crusades.  I’m not fucking joking.  I hope there are no history buffs in my audience, because then you will find me horribly inaccurate and kinda vague.

While I was chatting with Husband this morning, he told me that when people react hotly to something, it is because of their own insecurity of their beliefs.  (Disclaimer:  I am now talking about people in general)  Oh my God.  It’s like him and I have shared our seed and now our brains are fused.  Go on, I urged.  Think about the crusades…..he went on.  Oh my God.  I totally just was!

During the crusades, Christians decided that spreading the good word including invading other countries and giving you two choices:  Believe what I do or die.  Because the more people that believe what you do, the more secure you can be in knowing your beliefs are true.  Right?

Whatever.  Centuries later, nothing much has changed.  Religious wars still rage on.  We still persecute others for believing something different.  Or looking different. Or fucking someone different.  Because if everyone did it your way, you know your way is right.

But what I believe doesn’t change what you believe, unless something I say makes you think hard enough to change your mind.  Or vice versa.

This doesn’t mean don’t feel passionate.  It doesn’t mean don’t stand up for what you believe in.  It doesn’t mean allow others to be persecuted and stand by idly.  It means don’t be a crusader.  Don’t feel the need to defend something that doesn’t need defending.  Don’t bully other people into sharing your beliefs.  Having numbers on your side doesn’t make it so.  Feel confident in the choices you make because they are the right choices for you.

Know in your heart, that on any given day you are doing the very best you can.  And that’s good enough.


Non-Douchebag Rearing Parenting

from mamiverse.com

from mamiverse.com

Ahhh Friday.  I thought I’d leave you all on Friday with a nice controversial thought to ponder. Let’s get everyone all hot on the tits before the weekend.  Let’s talk about Attachment Parenting.

I don’t get it.  I mean, some of it I get.  The whole purpose behind it is to nurture a meaningful and lifetime bond between a parent and the child. You are supposed to achieve this by following eight principles.  Here we go (all information from http://www.attachmentparenting.org):

1. Emotionally Preparing for Pregnancy and Birth.

Umm.  Yeah.  Whatever.  I don’t give a shit how many classes you take, or what you think you have planned, or what you think you want to happen.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, will emotionally prepare you for a person coming out of your vanaynay.  Once late labor begins, everything you think you know doesn’t even exist.  My advice is to get over it, get a doula to yell at, and keep the bar stocked with rum for Daddy during, and some gin for you after.  Nothing will ever prepare you for the immediate joy and sense of completion you get once you hold your child for the first time either.  So just go with it.

2. Feed with Love and Respect.  IE:  Feed on demand.

I’m sorry. This will make your life a living hell.  As a woman you will feel like wearing a bell and calling someone over to brand you.  The baby is happy, and you want to die.  My advice, whether you breast or bottle feed, is get that little fucker on a schedule and stick to it.  Better sleep for everyone.  This ain’t no dairy farm, folks.

3. Respond with Sensitivity.

I think the intention here is to be in tune and sensitive to your baby’s needs.  But in practice it ends up being stick your tit in its mouth every time it cries.  The philosophy is that the parent is needed to regulate a child’s emotions, that it is impossible for a child to self-soothe.  I call bullshit. If you have checked to make sure all needs are met ( including a snuggle), let them cry it out for a bit. Unless my child and my baby-whisperer cousin’s children are all some sort of emotionally advanced aliens, and the only children to survive and thrive from such a thing.  Possible, I guess. I am half Irish, after all.

4. Nurturing Touch

This one I like.  I like the skin on skin, the baby likes the skin on skin.  Sometimes we take baths together and she loves it.  And the Snuggli did wonders when she was teeny.  I think with this next one I will invest in a baby wrap and wear him/her for reals.  It’s practical too…..when I need both hands to deal with the Destroyer while carting # 2 around.  1 point for API.

5.  Co-Sleeping.

Oh dear.  This could be a whole other post.  Destroyer never, ever even slept in our room, let alone our bed.  Oh my God.  With three dogs in the house, she would have been trampled for sure.  One of my friends asked me where the baby slept when she was brand new.  I was like,  “in her crib, where else?”  It hadn’t even occurred to me to bring her in our bed.  I could roll over on her.  I could smother her.  Oh my God.  It’s more than my neurotic self could handle.

Further more.  That’s our bed.  I have friends who now cannot get their toddler out of their room at night.  I can’t even.  No wonder people thought it was weird for us to be pregnant again so soon.  They probably haven’t even had sex since their first child was born.  That’s a lot of long showers, boys, while you take care of your business.

6.Consistent and Loving Care

Yeah.  Basically this means that Moms never leave their child’s side.  And if they do, make everything around them flexible so they don’t freak out from the separation.  Fuck that. There is this other person involved called Daddy.  And he is not a second class parent.  He is an equal partner.  It takes a goddamn village to raise a child, for reals.  And I think it’s important for a child to feel comfortable with someone other than me.  My daughter gets consistent and loving care.  With the village that is raising her.

7. Positive Discipline.

“Positive discipline helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others.”

So what if my kid is a little turd of a fucker who doesn’t have compassion for others yet?  I thought #3 said a child was incapable of even regulating their own emotions enough to self soothe, but you want me to trust them to self-fucking-discipline? I am at an absolute loss.  I have a great idea.  Let’s not teach a child any independence, any self-regulation, or ever leave their side.  Then let’s throw them in the world and expect them to make the right choices because they somehow are born with the ability to find it in their hearts to do the right thing.

I’m sorry.  Giant fail, Dr. Sears.

8. Strive for Balance.

Yes.  Don’t be afraid to say “no”. Check.  Be creative and fun. Yes.

I think no matter what parenting method you choose, this is the key.  Parenting is never easy.  We all make the choices that seem right for us.  But if you balance discipline with knowledge and routine and most of all love, your child probably won’t be an asshole. I think I’m going to start my own parenting method.  It’ll be called “Non-Douchebag Rearing Parenting.”

Expect it out this summer.  I’ll get on it.

Happy Friday, Bitches. x

The Millennial Pastor

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