Attachment Parenting Is Feminism
April 30, 2012
Attachment parenting is an umbrella term coined by a pediatrician, William Sears, to describe a style of parenting that embraces the normal biology of pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding and bonding, all in the name of raising children who demonstrate the psychological classification of being securely attached. By definition, it eschews notions of perfection but instead seeks to educate women and families about the natural, organic and normal ways our bodies were made and how to best maximize the potential for securely attached children who live in harmony with parents who are not afraid to be imperfect.The women who pioneered attachment-parenting support groups and publications are not competitive celebrity divas with nannies on the side.
The women who pioneered groups supportive of attachment-parenting, like La Leche League International, and started publications like Mothering are not competitive corporate-minded trendy celebrity divas toting secret nannies on the side, nor are they perfection-driven bored subjugated barefoot lonely women setting feminism back 200 years. They are educated, humble and devoted women who believe it is just as much a feminist choice to be a parent as it is to not be one.
Here are examples of what mothers who practice attachment parenting are concerned about. We can about what hormonal contraception does to your body and your brain. We research why doctors prescribe birth control to teenagers and adults who don’t have a “regular” menstrual cycle. We object to routine inductions with pitocin and interventions during labor because of the risks to the mother and the baby. We believe that breast milk is biologically and nutritionally superior to anything formula manufacturers tell you is equal to it, and that sleeping next to your baby releases positive hormones that facilitate bonding. We have empowered ourselves and refuse to endure a male-centered obstetric history that has taken women’s bodies and molded them to their preferences for their convenience, their comfort and for their world view.
Now tell me how attachment parenting is inconsistent with feminism?
Ron Huxley Stirs It Up: Mayim’s views of attachment parenting is quite controversial which is why I have included it here on the Parenting Toolbox. What are your thoughts? Share them here or on our Facebook —> http://www.facebook.com/parentingtoolbox
University of Michigan Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, Brad Zebrack, Ph.D., MSW, offers some valuable insight and advice about parenting with cancer in the video below, which recently aired on the PBS show A Wider World. Dr. Zebrack is a Hodgkin lymphoma survivor since 1985 and has devoted his career to studying the impact of cancer on families and young adults.
In Ann Arbor, The Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor has programs for kids or teenagers who have a parent with cancer. Parents meet separately from kids to discuss their own concerns and share advice. Find more about the groups and see the May/June calender for meetings here or call Bonnie Dockham, program director, at 734-975-2500.
How to Tell Your Children About Your Cancer, from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
Parenting With Cancer, a website created by Jen Singer, a lymphoma survivor and mother of two.
The Children’s Treehouse Foundation provides tools for parents and support at hospitals throughout the country.
Helping Your Children Cope With Your Cancer, a collection of essays written by parents, their children and health care experts.
Ron Huxley: This is one of the those topics that no one really talks about…that is why it is here on the Parenting Toolbox.
© Jon Whittle
Two-year-olds get all the buzz, but the truth is, tantrums and mayhem can strike at any age, for a variety of reasons. “Most toddlers begin testing limits shortly after their first birthday and continue until about age four,” says Ari Brown, M.D., author of Toddler 411.
So how did the Terrible Twos become such a pop-parenting phenomenon? “It’s an old-fashioned idea and not supported by research,” says Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., director of the Parenting Center at Yale University. The term was coined in the 1950s, perhaps because so much pressure was put on families to be detergent-commercial perfect that the moment a child grew out of compliant infancy, moms were freaked out. But modern parents agree—every kid is different, and every year presents new joys and challenges. Read on for a fresh perspective on each stage.
What’s to Love: They can be wonderfully cuddly. And since many 1-year-olds haven’t yet realized the power of the word “no” to antagonize you, they can often be more compliant than their 2- to 4-year-old sibs. Their distractible nature means you can get them to stop fiddling with the oven knob by giving them a pot and a spoon to bang with.
What’s Tough About It: Establishing good sleep patterns is still a struggle throughout this year, as you drop the morning nap, lengthen the midday one, and solidify bedtime. All that snooze drama can make for an overtired, cranky kid. In addition, his limited vocabulary makes for misunderstandings. (He says “nana.” You put him on the phone with Nana Helen. He wanted a banana. Cue meltdown.)
How To Make the Most of It: They need about 13 hours of sleep (11 at night and 2 during the day), so try to make it happen, suggests Bronwyn Charlton, Ph.D., co-founder of SeedlingsGroup, a collective of child-development experts in New York City. Inadequate sleep stacks the deck against you: A tired toddler is a cranky toddler.
What’s to Love: There’s no denying it—2-year-olds are stinking cute! Their curiosity about the world is infectious. And while they certainly get into trouble, their mishaps feel accidental, making them easier to forgive.
What’s Tough About It: Two-year-olds are fully mobile. Translation: They’re into everything. And that means this is the first time you’ve had to set limits (no climbing the bookcase, crossing the street, or picking up cigarette butts off the sidewalk). Your child has never heard “no” so many times in her short life—and she doesn’t like it. To top it all off, 2-year-olds don’t yet have the language to express feelings, so they resort to pitching fits. Their young brains can’t handle extreme emotions without going a bit haywire.
How to Make The Most of It: Praise often: “You didn’t throw any toys today! Great job!” When she blows her stack, ignore her, as long as she isn’t hurting anyone. Yelling or attempts to subdue—even with affection—make tantrums last longer. Kazdin notes that a tantrum is a futile time for discipline. “Wait until your child is able to absorb what you say.”
Part of giving your child a healthy attitude about sex means teaching him or her to respect the body. The best way to do that is by example. Tease and tickle only in appropriate ways, not by pinching buttocks. Never tease a child when he or she asks you to stop or seems uncomfortable.
Play hard, wrestle some and cuddle, but remember that each part of the human body has a special purpose. Hands are for creating and doing tasks. Mouths are for talking and eating. The genitals are for excretion and ultimately for reproduction. They are not for finding excitement through the exploitation of a child.
Most people were horrified by the melee in Central Park in New York City. Some 50 young women were horribly mistreated and sexually abused in full view of the public, and no one came to the rescue of the victims.
A major part of the tragedy lies in the conduct of some of the young women. They were dressed provocatively, and initially they laughed and joined in the “fun.” But then the conduct of the young men got out of control. A “mob spirit” surged through the crowd and tragic atrocities were committed.
Sex is no longer discussed only behind closed doors and in privacy. Television, movies and talk shows have brought the discussion out in the open. In the sexually charged culture in which we live, parents can help abuse-proof their kids by teaching them what it means to be sexually responsible.
Sexual responsibility means that one never exploits another person for sexual excitement. It means that sex is saved for marital commitment and that one must show respect in this area to friends and, later, friends of the opposite sex.
What else should parents teach their children about sexual responsibility? Here’s a list to consider:
Years ago, a young friend told me how he approached every date: “I stand in front of my mirror and I say to myself, Steve, you stand in the shoes of Jane’s father until you take her home to him.’ With that in my mind, I have always been able to resist the strong temptation to get sexual with my date.” How I wish every young man thought and acted like Steve!
I know that providing good sex education for your kids is a challenging assignment, one that will take much time, energy, and vigilance on your part. Watch for those golden, teachable moments. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; kids will forgive mistakes. Just be faithful in teaching your children about sex, and especially in teaching the sacred value of sex and the need for respect and dignity toward all sexual issues. Later on, if not now, your children will love you for your efforts.
Parents, you can do it. You can do it best. So do it!
This article discusses the impact parenting had on couple relationships. I don’t believe that the “issues” weren’t there before children. It’s just that they never had a reason to surface till then. Share your thoughts on this sad statistic.
Join our ParentingToolbox “Inner Circle” club and get tools and tips on how to diagnose your child’s MISbehaviors and build prosocial dreaming!
Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult, especially for a child. When a child loses a loved one to death or incarceration, the loss can have a profound effect on the rest of his or her life.
Emotional, psychological and physical trauma that often come with loss challenge children’s well-being and school performance. Grieving children are likely to feel different, and very alone.
While concealing deep emotional pain, fear and loss of concentration, children are in the pressure cooker of expectations to grow emotionally and academically. They say that seeing friends with parents and parent/child school activities are daily reminders of their own loss.
Children express grief in a different way than adults. They tend to move in and out of intense feelings, rather than sustaining high levels of one emotion for long periods of time. When adults see a grieving child playing or laughing, they may mistakenly believe that the child is “over it”. This perception may influence how much grief support a child receives.
In the United States, approximately 4.8 million children under 18 are grieving the death loss of a parent.
1.5 million children in the US are grieving the loss of a parent to incarceration, sometimes for the duration of their childhood.
Community awareness and support help children heal from loss and excel in life.
The loss of a loved one is a universal human experience. How thoughts and feelings about the loss are expressed vary by culture. We encourage you to adapt information in this site to what fits for your beliefs and customs.
Ron Huxley Resources: I am preparing for some presentations to professionals who work with adoptive families and reminded about one of the most basic of all clinical tools: grief work. One of the most common assumptions is that children grieve in the same was as adults and therefore, the same tools work for them that work for big people. Each intervention should have individualized criteria built into them. Do you know of a child that has suffered a loss? What worked for them to help them cope and heal? Share with us on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/parentingtoolbox or leave a comment below.
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1. Wake up early. I know this one stinks, but it is the best way to get a jump on your day. Otherwise, the day seems to be in control rather than you controlling the day.
2. Waking up early starts with going to bed earlier. I know that you like the time after the kids have gone to bed for yourself, or for working on projects, or even for trying to catch up on housework. The fact is, shutting down and turning in earlier will make for a better morning and you will likely be more productive. This may not be accurate for the true night owls out there, but I urge you to give it a try.
3. Evening preparations. Make sure everything that is needed to leave the house in the morning is prepped and where it should be. Teach your children this habit as soon as you possibly can, it can make your life easier.
4. Institute meal-planning. Whether you have every meal for the week planned out, or you have 6 dinners to pick from each day, find a way to make meal planning work for you. I love Pinterest for ideas for meals! Look at your meal plan the evening before and see if you need to do any prep like take something out of the freezer, or prepare the crock pot.
5. Do one complete load of laundry a day. From start to finish. Build a habit of grabbing everyone’s clothes after bathtime and tossing in wash. and then toss in dryer before bed. Or in the morning when you get up. Take 5-10 minutes to fold and put away that load (or have your kids do it!) One load a day may or may not be enough for your family, but doing at least one load every day will help you stay on top of the pile.
6. Do your best to get your dishes done in the evening before going to bed. I know this can be hard sometimes, but think how much better it feels in the morning to come down to a clean sink. Build this habit and you will appreciate it. Again, if your kids are old enough to do the dishes or at least help, then let them! See: My strategy for getting the dishes done
7. Take 5 minutes and buzz through the bathrooms with a damp cloth. Straighten, wipe, and keep a toilet brush handy for swishing the toilet. Take any dirty towels and clothes to laundry room. Some days use a paper towel with windex to shine things up, including the mirror.
8. A place for everything and everything in its place. We have heard this our whole lives and it is true, it makes life a lot easier. One problem is that we have accumulated too much stuff so that we have a difficult time keeping things in their places. Work on clearing clutter and designating homes for regularly used items. And teach your children this as well. I know well how discouraging it can be to walk into a room and multiple things are sitting out. On the reverse, think how calming it is to walk into a room where everything is tidy and orderly. (notice I didn’t say spotless) See: How to magically make your house cleaner
9. Have a bedtime routine that includes putting away toys, books, dishes, trash, etc and picking out clothes for tomorrow. Having this routine in place will help your kids learn responsibility and know what is expected of them. We are their mom, not their maid.
10. Do not say YES immediately to new requests. Come up with a response, such as “Let me check my calendar and get back with you.” Or if you know you need to say NO, get it over with. And don’t feel like you have to explain why. A simple, “Due to other obligations, I won’t be able to ________”. See: You know you say YES too much if…
Okay, before you go feeling like a total failure, and wondering how will I ever be able to do all these things, listen to me.
Pick 1 or 2 things to start working on today.
Do them consistently and teach your family to do the same. Once they become habit, add 2 more things. Keep at it slowly and you will be surprised at how doing these little things will help relieve some of your stress, and lighten that burden that moms always seem to be carrying on their shoulders.
Ron Huxley: I am not a clean freak but I love these simple tips for keeping ahead of the chaos. The trick is that you have to do this everyday or it will overtake you.