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“That’s what Attachment Parenting International is trying to do – to change culture from one that ignores the critical importance of attachment to one that embraces the normality of healthy family relationships, securely attached children and connected communities.” ~2014 Conference: Life Giving, Mindful Beginnings” on APtly Said

API-Logo-20th-themeHaving just arrived home from API and Notre Dame University’s 2014 conference in South Bend, Indiana, USA, my head is spinning with all that was shared by researchers and experts in the Attachment Parenting (AP) field.

It was a wonderful way to celebrate API‘s 20th Anniversary with some really special bonus events, like Friday night’s showing of “The Milky Way” film with live Q&A with the lactation consultants who produced the documentary on the U.S. cultural view of breastfeeding support as well as Saturday night’s anniversary celebration reception with Irish music provided by Kennedy’s Kitchen.

george holden on positive parenting at the 2014 conferenceI am only sorry that I had to duck out early due to health reasons. But, like many of you, I have been keeping up on the final days of the conference via API’s Facebook page. I would have loved to have been there when George Holden, a psychologist and parenting expert at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, USA, made the comment how “Attachment Parenting International is one of the largest positive parenting organizations in the world.”

For those who were unable to attend the conference — as well as for those who, like me, did attend but were blown away by the amount of really great information — API is planning to release video of the speakers at “Cherishing Parents, Flourishing Children” portion of the conference in a few weeks.

apm logoIn the mean time, I would like to point you to AP Month. Every year, during the month of October, API and this year’s sponsors — Peter Haiman, Kindred, Ergobaby, Tummy Calm/Colic Calm and Lamaze International — challenge parents to re-examine their daily activities, routines, beliefs, habits and traditions and learn new ways to engage with their children to grow with each other and remain close while promoting opportunities for healthy exploration, individuation and development.

This year’s AP Month, which begins today, centers on the same theme as API’s portion of the 2014 conference: “Cherishing Parents, Flourishing Children.” You can follow along each day of October on 2014 AP Month Calendar.

You can also participate in the 2014 AP Month blogging and photo events, read the research supporting this year’s theme and watch for special activities in other API resources, including here on APtly Said and API’s Facebook page.

Happy Attachment Parenting Month, everyone!

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2014 Conference: Life Giving, Mindful Beginnings

by Rita Brhel on September 27, 2014

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darcia“Attachment is not only a benefit to kids but is the gateway, the whole gateway. But its a complicated topic.” ~ Lu Hanessian, API Advisory Board and speaker at the 2014 API Conference

So let’s get the conversation rolling.

I’m here at the 2014 Attachment Parenting International conference, “Pathways to Child Flourishing,” at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, USA. It is amazing and humbling to be in the presence, the audience, of these speakers. It’s mind blowing.

In the first session, this morning, we heard from Lu Hanessian, author, educator and founder of WYSH; Darcia Narvaez, psychology researcher at Notre Dame and co-coordinator for this conference; Kathy Kendall-Tackett, psychologist and founder of Praeclarus Press; and Lysa Parker, founder of API. Peggy O’Mara, longtime editor of Mothering, founder of Mothering.com and founder of PeggyOMara.com, was unable to come due to the widespread flight cancellations yesterday.

Darcia opened this first session, “Life Giving: Mindful Beginnings,” with a very interesting introduction to her new book, Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality, particularly the early body-mind co-construction of the infant by caregivers.

She talked about how the human infant is born really 9-18 months too early, compared to other animals. And that for most of our time on earth, secure attachment has been essential to our survival as mankind.

Those survival tools have been: nurturing touch, sensitive response, breastfeeding through toddlerhood, alloparenting (raising children in a community with multiple trusted caregivers), free play (especially with multi-age peer group), positive social support (the feeling of being wanted) and soothing perinatal experiences.

Through these experiences, children developed not only secure attachment and healthy family relationships, but also exceptional right brain development. Well, I shouldn’t say “exceptional,” because in reality, the results of Attachment Parenting are normal.

What is the right brain responsible for? Self-regulation, introsubjectivity and social pleasure, emotional intelligence, empathy beingness, self trancendance, higher consciousness.

And in normal human development, these right-brain features are able to control our brain’s survival systems, which include stress response. For many in Western society, however, as infants, they are exposed to toxic stress such as long-term mother-baby separation or insensitive response. As a response, the brain’s stress response takes over the mind.

“What you’re left with is this very self-protected, easily stressed brain. It changes development,” Darcia continued.

And it changes culture. It’s a closed loop, actually, so that our childrearing practices dictates culture and our culture dictates childrearing. And that’s why much of the Western culture is competitive, self-contained, autonomous and disconnected rather than the connected communities that healthy right brain development promotes.

That’s what Attachment Parenting International is trying to do — to change culture from one that ignores the critical importance of attachment to one that embraces the normality of healthy family relationships, securely attached children and connected communities.

“We’re all trying to get back on track,” as Darcia concluded.

Yes, we are — one family at a time.

 

 

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2014 Conference: The Milky Way

September 27, 2014
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This has been seven years in the making. I had seen “The Milky Way” film before during a local 2014 World Breastfeeding Week event. It was powerful then, and it was no less powerful this second time around, here in South Bend, Indiana, USA, at Notre Dame University at the 2014 Attachment Parenting International conference, […]

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20 Years of Advocating for Families

September 24, 2014
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By Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker, cofounders of Attachment Parenting International and coauthors of Attached at the Heart We can hardly contain ourselves! Twenty years ago, we had a dream and this anniversary conference at Notre Dame this week is a fulfillment of that dream! This is a rare and exciting opportunity to meet and […]

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Spanking and the Golden Rule

September 23, 2014
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By Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker, cofounders of Attachment Parenting International and coauthors of Attached at the Heart “Adults teach children in three important ways: The first is by example, the second is by example, the third is by example.” ~ Albert Schweitzer At one point in our own lives, we have spanked at least […]

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The Clown is Sometimes Serious

September 22, 2014
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The clown, the astronaut, the chatterbox, the complainer, the “slob” and many more stereotypes all appear in our families and in our classrooms. These are the characters that can disturb, annoy, frustrate and anger us, because they interrupt and spoil our agendas. We are convinced that this is how they always are. They make us […]

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The House of Timothy, an Attachment Parenting Inspiration

September 21, 2014
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As a mother of seven, and former therapeutic foster parent to 51 children, attachment and Attachment Parenting have been a constant in my life for the last 28 years. My children range in age from 7 to 28. Three of my children were adopted at the age of 4 years, 2 years and 7 months. […]

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An Adopted Daughter Reflects on Her Birth Mother’s Decision

September 20, 2014
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By Juliette Oase, retired API Leader from Portland, Oregon, USA My adoptive dad spent years regretting that they had me call them “Mom” and “Dad.” He always said they should have just stayed “Uncle” and “Aunt.” He felt it would have made it easier. I recently explained to my dad that I feel that was […]

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