Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quit acting like a brat!
Stop acting like a sissy!
I brought you into this world, I can take you out!
Shut up or I'll slap you to kingdom come!
And the worst
I wish you had never born.
You may have heard these horrible words from your own parents or heard other parent say similar things to their children. Sometimes we get so frustrated we slip into another reality and hear ourselves saying the very words we told ourselves we would never say to our child. You are not alone. Just this month, in the August 2012 issue of Pediatrics, the Journal for the American Academy of Pediatrics published a study that found that verbal maltreatment and abuse is the most challenging and "prevalent form of psychological and emotional abuse and neglect" in our country. Verbal abuse has been linked to attachment disorders, socialization and conduct disorders, as well as educational problems. Given given is ironic that they mention that there are no known universal interventions but write that
prevention before occurrence will require both the use of universal interventions aimed at promoting the type of parenting that is now recognized to be necessary for optimal child development, alongside the use of targeted interventions directed at improving parental sensitivity to a child’s cues during infancy and later parent-child interactions.
This has long been the goal of Attachment Parenting International, a nonprofit I cofounded with Barbara Nicholson eighteen years ago. Barbara and I spent many years sifting through and compiling the research that supported optimal child development for our book Attached at the Heart. Lo and behold, most of the research was supportive of the principles of attachment parenting (AP). There are mountains to climb yet because some researchers and academics claim it isn't so, which only speaks to their lack of knowledge about AP. The media's portrayal of AP as extreme only serves to harm and confuse parents. While the results of the studies in this article may seem obvious, we still have a long way to go in learning how to treat children with respect and kindness. There are many tools and many programs available to teach positive parenting and positive discipline, including our new curriculum based on our book (still in testing mode at this date.) As they say, "when we know better we do better." It's been a lifelong journey for me and although my sons are adults now I am still learning and wishing I had evolved faster. It takes several generations to make lasting changes in families so I've learned to be kinder to myself as I have grown as a parent and a person and I have every confidence you will too.

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