Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dr Sear's thoughts on the Time Magazine article.

This article came out in Time Magazine, as I am sure a lot of you know as there has been a ton of internet buzz about it:

Here is what Dr Sears has to say! Excellent article!

Points I highly disagreed with from John Rosemond's article

**My thoughts in bold. His article in the lighter grey type. **

The cover story in last week's (May 21, 2012) Time Magazine is all about "why attachment parenting drives some mothers to extremes -- and how Dr. Bill Sears became their guru." That is the article's subtitle. All I can say, somewhat hopefully, is "at last."

For most AP parentings, Dr Sears is not their "Guru" but rather a respected dr who is a Christian, father to 8 and married to an RN/LC (just listing some reasons why I personally respect his parenting advice) 

Because my next book, due out in the fall, contains a chapter on attachment parenting's destructive propaganda, I have done considerable research of late on the subject. For those of you who are not familiar with this latest parenting trend (If he has researched as well as he thinks he'd realize AP might be a newish term but the parenting style has been around for centuries. In biblical times how/where did he think mothers fed, carried or laid their babies to sleep?)

attachment parenting is all about parents and children sleeping together, mothers "wearing" their infants (constantly carrying them around in slings), breastfeeding these same children until they are two or three, and generally centering their lives on their kids in perpetuity.

Not every mother who breastfeeds continues until their children are this age. Sadly Myles wanted nothing to do with it at 10.5 months and our breastfeeding was cut short. I know many babies who on their own wanted to be done before 2 or 3. I do however often wish he'd continued till at least 18 months if not 2, so that he could have continued getting all the wonderful nutriants and antibodies of breastmilk. As a parent who considers myself AP, we didn't bedshare, I wanted to but our bed was too small at the time he was an infant & he got used to sleeping in his own space. But Dr Sears even mentions in his book (if people chose to read it) that not all tentants of the AP style will fit each family. At the bottom of this, I will post what he really says about AP. 

Supposedly, all this fuss over children is essential to making suremother and child properly "bond." According to the movement's high priest (RUDE), California pediatrician Bill Sears, proper bonding is supposed to enhance the mother-child relationship, nurture better emotional health, and even make the child smarter and less likely to lie. Being attached to your child will make your child better able to communicate with his parents and create better emotional health. If a childs cries are always ignored and his needs shuffled to the side, how will he grow up with solid emotional health? Not saying jump every second your child whines or cries. 
That's right! On his website, in an essay titled "11 Ways to Raise a Truthful Child," Sears writes "Connected children do not become habitual liars. They trust their caregivers and have such a good self-image they don't need to lie." In the same article, he promises parents who choose to adopt his method that they will develop the wisdom they need to make proper decisions for their children and that their children will "turn out better" than children raised otherwise.
By "turn out better" Sears means a child who is more intelligent, calm, secure, socially confident, empathic and independent than a child raised according to prevailing Western norms. Mind you, he doesn't support this with any evidence obtained via the scientific method (an experiment involving both a control group and an experimental group) because he can't. There is no such evidence. To be blunt, Sears is making all this up. He's, well, let's just say he and his mother must not have properly bonded. I highly doubt he is making all this up, I am sure that in his many years as both father & dr he has seen both sides of things & is writing from his experiences every bit as much as the author of this article is with his bias against AP. 
In fact, no unbiased research has ever affirmed any emotional or behavioral advantage to parent-child co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, or "baby wearing." To cite but one example, James J. McKenna, director of the Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, says that he has yet to find any benefit to parents and children sleeping together. McKenna is widely regarded as the world's foremost authority on infant sleep issues.
The harm of attachment parenting is testified to by numerous ex-AP parents who have shared with me horror stories about the damage done to their marriages by co-sleeping and the problems they've had trying to get over-dependent children as old as eight out of their beds. In an Amazon consumer review of Sears' The Attachment Parenting Book, a mother who is trying to recover from his advice with two small children says, "This book ought to come with a warning!" Every parenting style or book should come with a warning, not all works the same way for every child. I could find many horror stories of non AP situations, like the girl I know who let her son CIO so hard and long that in the morning she found vomit all over his clothes and then felt bad. I could also find many storys of AP parents who bedshared & had amazing relationships with eachother & their children. There are many, many couples who don't bedshare & have awful relationships. So I find his opinion to be just that & not based on a lot of fact. You can fully co-sleep, baby wear & BF and still not do it for years & years but only for a period of time (1, 2 or 3 years) and then transition to their own bed, wean them & stop wearing them. 

When all is said and done, the only person who seems to have benefitted from attachment parenting is Dr. Bill Sears.

What Dr Sears really says:  
  • AP is a starter style. There may be medical or family circumstances why you are unable to practice all of these baby B's. Attachment parenting implies first opening your mind and heart to the individual needs of your baby, and eventually you will develop the wisdom on how to make on-the-spot decisions on what works best for both you and your baby. Do the best you can with the resources you have – that's all your child will ever expect of you. These baby B's help parents and baby get off to the right start. Use these as starter tips to work out your own parenting style – one that fits the individual needs of your child and your family. Attachment parenting helps you develop your own personal parenting style.
  • AP is an approach, rather than a strict set of rules. It's actually the style that many parents use instinctively. Parenting is too individual and baby too complex for there to be only one way. The important point is to get connected to your baby, and the baby B's of attachment parenting help. Once connected, stick with what is working and modify what is not. You will ultimately develop your own parenting style that helps parent and baby find a way to fit – the little word that so economically describes the relationship between parent and baby.
  • AP is responsive parenting. By becoming sensitive to the cues of your infant, you learn to read your baby's level of need. Because baby trusts that his needs will be met and his language listened to, the infant trusts in his ability to give cues. As a result, baby becomes a better cue-giver, parents become better cue-readers, and the whole parent-child communication network becomes easier.
  • AP is a tool. Tools are things you use to complete a job. The better the tools, the easier and the better you can do the job. Notice we use the term "tools" rather than "steps." With tools you can pick and choose which of those fit your personal parent-child relationship. Steps imply that you have to use all the steps to get the job done. Think of attachment parenting as connecting tools, interactions with your infant that help you and your child get connected. Once connected, the whole parent-child relationship (discipline, healthcare, and plain old having fun with your child) becomes more natural and enjoyable. Consider AP a discipline tool. The better you know your child, the more your child trusts you, and the more effective your discipline will be. You will find it easier to discipline your child and your child will be easier to discipline.

I agree with the above part by Dr Sears. I have friends who medically cannot breastfeed but are very attached to their children. Do the parts you can and if you are unable to do another (like us not being able to bedshare due to the size of our bed) then don't stress. it. Hopefully all I wrote helped convey my thoughts on what I thought of this article. I know I came off harsh saying I thought the guy who wrote it was an idiot on Facebook when I posted last night, but I really don't think he is as educated as he feels. For me AP parenting just seems like the oldest way of parenting and the most instinctual to me. It rubs me wrong when I read articles bashing it or written in a rude manor such as this. I do want to add by no means am I perfect, the perfect mother or anything. I try my hardest but have failed & messed up plenty. I don't want this to come off like I think I am better then anyone else.