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Putting that Backfield in Motion since 2003

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Attachment Parenting = Negligence? Social Abuse?

Warning: extreme examples ahead but come on, what else would they make a television story about?

That said, I'm no AP expert (although if I had to pick a parenting philosphy my views most fall in line with it would probably be AP... but still, I own three neglectomatics so what do I know?) but I'm not even sure if these extreme examples are, in fact, of attachment parenting. Last I checked, attachment parenting wasn't about forgoing a career or discipline in favor of demand nursing "forever" or home schooling. Besides, since when is it AP to give a 5 year old a binky? Hell, even the AP god himself- Dr. Sears- describes "balance" as one of the 7 B's of attachment parenting. I didn't see much balance in either video but then again, the media is not one to air balanced stories so perhaps that is only percption.

I have to say that the one dad cracked me up with his "I've noticed Lizz has had her tits out a lot lately, and it's not for me very often. I've tried standing in queue and pretending to be one of the girls, but she never falls for that!"

Hmmmm, do I smell a new Babycenter siggy???

Interestingly enough, this is the second story of the day I have come across that discusses 5 year olds nursing. The other was a blog post that featured- surprise surprise- an extreme (and by extreme, I mean effing crazy) example of a 5 year old nursing. One of the commenters, however, questioned if a 5 year old nursing was even legal and that, of course, pissed me off but sadly, I'm not surprised. Extended nursing is so very foreign to many and therefore, people are plain, flat out ignorant on the subject. It's no wonder that extended nursing is a foreign concept when so few 5 year olds are still nursing. Hence my surprise over stumbling across not one but two stories featuring 5 year olds and nursing.

Anyhoo, never mind the gratuitous poop shcts and displays of massive boobages and check out the clips and tell me what you think.

Part ONE

Part TWO

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Blogger K said...

I kind of get angry when folks call what those parents practice "attachment parenting." Perhaps "Extreme Parenting" or Extreme Attachemnt" would be more appropriate.

I think those of us who believe in meeting our babies needs, who believe that you cannot spoil babies and children with too much attention and love, and who affirm the phsical and emotional benefits of breastfeeding need to reclaim attachment parenting from loons like these.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Abby said...


Well, I breastfed one child to 11 months. I do stay at home, and I am currently homeschooling my daughter. I also used a binky, did not co-sleep and do believe in firm discipline.

What am I?

I do not think those in this video are AP. They seem to be more on the extreme side, IMO.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Pottymomma said...

I totally agree. It pisses me off when the world sees *this* as AP. To me this is extreme and I feel sorry for the kids as I feel that they aren't getting their needs met. Children also have a need for boundaries. I would have a hard time seeing my 3 year old scream like that all the time and not feel that I maybe wasn't doing the best I could to raise a secure happy child. I think these type of documentaries like to show the extreme and probably also edit it to show the most negative parts of the day for those parents, but I still think that seeing this gives people a bad taste in their mouths of what ap really is.

Also, that first blog link with the mom masturbating is seriously disturbing...I don't even know what to say!

3:28 PM  
Blogger Kind of Crunchy Mama said...

The extremists ruin it for everyone. They make anyone who does any combination of those practices look like freaks as well.

I have to admit that dad cracked me up though. That lady does have her breasts out an awful lot. I'm all for NIP, but I could never hang out with someone who literally lets it all hang loose all the time. Imagine that getting aired in the US.

And I felt a little bad for the Aussie mom. My toddler would be throwing tantrums all day too if there were strangers with cameras following us around all day, especially while trying to go down for a nap. But no way should dad be sleeping in another bed.

WRT the masturbater, it was probably a troll.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I am confused on so many levels. There are things I agree with and then there are things that I just say, NO!. The discipline is the big one. I have tried the talking, explaining and validating feelings, but it still got me no where. For tantrums, I just walked away. I found that Amber just needed some space and then was fine. I still do this to some extent, now. I, also, explain that it is fine to have her feelings but there are appropriate actions. I mean you cant have a bunch of adults running around punching someone because they are angry. Hello, road rage.

I have heard of the elimnation communication and I dont have the energy for that. I can barely read Sam's tired and hungry cues, until recently, much less when he had to go pee or poop. I know I wouldnt make it to the bathroom. You would notice me by the pee stain on my shirt and the poop smell.

I think with everything there needs to be balance. I think as parents you find your strong points and try to do your best with the weak ones. I could never homeschool, because I dont have the patience nor teaching ability. I do, however, breastfeed and stay home with my kids.

Isnt there a saying: "It takes a villiage to raise a child" ? Our villiage is just way bigger and is regulated. I say if the parents dont like what is going on with schools or other areas where their kids are under someone else responsibilty than get involve and change what you dont like. I am discovery that there are usually other parents with the same concerns and the schools and such are open to discussion.

Interesing post.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

If the result of AP and home schooling is my 5 y.o calling me an "idiot," then I pass!!!

I think "K" said it best in her comment -- I, too, believe in meeting my baby's needs, believe I can't spoil my children with too much attention and love and I affirm the physical and emotional benefits of breastfeeding.

After watching these videos, I don't know where to begin!!! Besides attending to my children's emotional and physical needs, I breastfeed, co-sleep and sling my baby, but I also say "no" to them, set clear limits and send them to "school". And I would bet my house that my kids are actually in a better place than those poor souls in the video....

I try to live my life keeping in mind "to each his own," but these fanatics/extremists are on a whole other level. They really do give true AP followers a bad name.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Maria P. said...

I basically agree with everyone above. The videos were extreme as you said the media usually is.

I AP'd both of children but I didn't know that to be letting them call me an idiot and not giving them boundaries.

WE co-slept, not mommy co-slept and daddy got the boot. I also owned a crib, a playpen, a swing and bouncer.

I doubt my children are damaged socially by being breastfed, carried in a sling and co-sleeping for the first couple years of their lives.

4:50 AM  
Blogger Amanda. said...

Hmmm, I posted a comment last night and it never showed up.

I'm glad to read that I'm not the only one who found these videos extreme AND questionable examples of AP.

Someone on Babycenter brought up that Natural Parenting and Attachment Parenting are two different things although they often go hand in hand. One does not have to be NP to be AP but more often than not, NPers are APers. While these parents may have been good- albeit extreme- examples of NP, I don't think they were very AP.

Also, what is with the not teaching kids to repsect their elders becuase some elders don't deserve respect... or something like that. I hope to teach my kids to respect EVERYONE regardless of whether or not the "deserve" it. You know, the golden rule and all that. The whole not teaching respect thing really turned me off.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Mandi said...

I only watched Part 1, but This was not AP. At least not the AP that is endorsed by Dr Sears and I hope that he gets wind of that news report and is able to clarify some shit!

I would like to know how on earth did that first couple "quit their jobs" and be able to afford their house, and food, and that handy plastic playhouse? If they REALLY wanted to be "attatched", wouldn't they have cut down a tree together and built it by hand? C'mon people, if you're gonna go as far as to quit your jobs, you need to go all the way ;)

3:46 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Another mom with the same idea as me!

Seriously, I wrote a similar entry in my blog a while back about that same piece. I own numerous "neglectomatics" because sometimes I need for my own sanity to shower alone (or at least without someone ON me) or do things, like cooking, that aren't safe for babies to be *right there.* My child was also born in a hospital (my entire family works in the medical field so there is no possibility of home birth in my future). And we use diapers... not to mention I wouldn't be clapping about cleaninng poop off the floor.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Ok, I don't disagree with extended breastfeeding. Two years is the limit for me, any longer than that and you are indeed getting into some issues with your child developing unwanted attachment behaviors. I think the type of folks in the above videos are an exception and not the rule. Thanks goodness.

9:15 PM  
Blogger anna kiss said...

The videos were completely skewed towards a total acceptance of Western parenting ideals as normal. There was no mention of the fact that these practices are perfectly acceptable the world over and lead to well-adjusted, fully-functioning adults or that dettached parenting tends to result in children who lack trust and empathy, are also spoiled, or in some cases, sociopathic. Additionally, the editing was such that some of the worst moments were left to be seen without context or explanation.

The Australian 3 year-old was clearly uncomfortable with strangers in his house.

The poop-on-the floor was a split second and seemed to me a mom trying to keep a sense of humor about an accident rather than punish an infant for an uncontrollable urge.

The "idiot" comment was made where a lot of noise was going on and the father looked a little like he either didn't hear it or was again trying to maintain a sense of humor and not lose his cool with the total discomfort of having a camera crew on his family, seeing the complete wildness of very small children, which, incidentally, is not at all unique to children raised in an attachment parenting model. What if all the crap your kids did was intentionally edited to make you look bad? I know they'd have no problem finding flaws in my life.

I saw really nothing to indicate that these parents were necessarily doing harm to their children. Cosleeping without dad sometimes happens, especially when dad has to get up early or has problems with insomnia. Sometimes where and how families share sleep changes over the years. I doubt that the Australian mother wouldn't try out a new bed for her older child without first waiting for the spontaneous decision from him. Such a decision would hardly be spontaneous. It would have to be suggested first. However, it also seems perfectly evident that if he weren't ready, she wouldn't force it on him either. I have heard so many variations on sleep sharing over the years from people with perfectly reasonable needs and desires that this example doesn't make me flinch in the least.

For the "expert" to suggest a "no" for tantrums is tantamount to "Don't cry!" or "Don't feel!" "Don't be sad!" and none of that would get you anywhere either. Children often have feelings that are big. They lack empathy and wear their emotions openly. There's nothing really wrong with that, as it's part of having immature brain development. Honoring those feelings and using them to teach empathy, cooperation, and patience is truly gentle discipline, not to mention helpful for a foundation of attachment leading to inter-dependence rather than independence, meaning a fostering of cooperative skills over cutthroat selfishness. I suppose ultimately the discussion depends on what you value for your children.

As for "extreme attachment," I'm not certain I saw any here because the information was non-contextualized and clearly manipulated. Extreme attachment would, however, look like co-dependence, which I am pretty certain is not the direct result for nursing for a long time or being a bratty child.

2:03 PM  

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