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The first 12 months determines much of the rest of our lives?


I.Dup.
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I am most of the way through this book and it has been really interesting and eye-opening for me. Most of the book deals with studies that have been done over the past 50+ years on infants and what kind of impact the first year has on the rest of their lives. Apparently, there is a huge formation that happens in the first 12 months regarding how attached the infant is to its mother (or primary caregiver, usually mother) and this tends to follow them throughout their lives. Simplified, there are 3 categories of babies/children/adults:

 

1. Securely attached

2. Ambivalently attached- the anxious, fearful, clingy kid who tends to have rage issues towards its parents while also being very needy with them

3. Avoidant- these are the children with severe behavioral problems that have pretty much given up and don't even try to form attachments anymore.

 

and much of this develops within the first 12 months.

 

I have had various issues throughout my life (severe problems with insecurity, phobias and fears that started in childhood that have transformed but stayed with me into adulthood, I was a miserable, anxious kid for the most part, boundary problems) and I never could figure out why I was/am like that. My home was dysfunctional but my parents weren't drug addicts or anything and they didn't neglect me horribly or abuse me. But reading this book gave me so many answers on why I most likely struggle with the things I do. I could totally see my mom being one of the "anxiously attached" mothers and I definitely fit in the category of "ambivalently attached."

 

Just wondering if anyone has read this book and/or what you think of the first 12 months determining and shaping so much of who we are? It's hard to believe, but it becomes more convincing once you read the studies that have followed infants from birth.

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Well, I spent the first 4 months of my life with a mentally ill bio mom, and then neglectful foster care....next part of my childhood was spent in the foster care system, and with very high strung , anxiety ridden parents..

No wonder I am dealing with so much now....haven't read the book, but being the mom of 7 kids tells me there is much to believing our personalities are formed well before our 1rst birthdays.

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It has been my argument regarding Monkey. A child with four placements by 9 months just shouldn't be moved again. She DEFINITELY has attachment concerns (did you read how she did when the people who are supposed to get her eventually came to visit in Nov?). Most people want to believe babies are clueless. They aren't THAT clueless. And pre-verbal neglect, abuse, and attachment issues wreak a havok that is hard to work through because they aren't chosen responses, but literally changed the brain.

 

It is also why T is my toughest. It seems like he should be the least effected because he was almost 3 when he got here (rather than 5 or whatever). He also hadn't lived in his biofamily's home most of his life prior to our home. So why is he most effected? Because he had NINE homes by 3yrs old. Because he didn't have a constant caregiver in those three years. He called every woman mommy. Because the care was spotty. Because he was also exposed to neglect and abuse in this key time. His siblings also have attachment concerns; but they had some real, though not probably the best, attachment possible (the oldest was an only the first year. The middle had a caregiver paid by the state).

 

So there are groups that discuss some of this. Obviously, we use some theraputic parenting (not solely though I think I need to work on that). But one thing you could do even as an adult is NeuroReorganization. On one group I was on, I was told of a senior doing it; so adults can do it. It's supposed to really help. There are various other things people are trying from supplements to EMDR to....Maybe even just reading Heather Forbes' materials would help because you could use the suggestions on yourself, being empathetic and healing. I know *I* need that!

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It has been my argument regarding Monkey. A child with four placements by 9 months just shouldn't be moved again. She DEFINITELY has attachment concerns (did you read how she did when the people who are supposed to get her eventually came to visit in Nov?). Most people want to believe babies are clueless. They aren't THAT clueless. And pre-verbal neglect, abuse, and attachment issues wreak a havok that is hard to work through because they aren't chosen responses, but literally changed the brain.

 

It is also why T is my toughest. It seems like he should be the least effected because he was almost 3 when he got here (rather than 5 or whatever). He also hadn't lived in his biofamily's home most of his life prior to our home. So why is he most effected? Because he had NINE homes by 3yrs old. Because he didn't have a constant caregiver in those three years. He called every woman mommy. Because the care was spotty. Because he was also exposed to neglect and abuse in this key time. His siblings also have attachment concerns; but they had some real, though not probably the best, attachment possible (the oldest was an only the first year. The middle had a caregiver paid by the state).

 

So there are groups that discuss some of this. Obviously, we use some theraputic parenting (not solely though I think I need to work on that). But one thing you could do even as an adult is NeuroReorganization. On one group I was on, I was told of a senior doing it; so adults can do it. It's supposed to really help. There are various other things people are trying from supplements to EMDR to....Maybe even just reading Heather Forbes' materials would help because you could use the suggestions on yourself, being empathetic and healing. I know *I* need that!

 

That's so sad. It's so sad what such little ones go through. :crying:

 

In one part of the book they talk about a study that was done over in Uganda. One of the most severely affected babies (avoidantly attached) had a mother who spent ALL of her time with him. She carried him on her back as she worked in the fields, slept with him at night, breastfed all throughout the day, etc. But she was anxious and hurried. She has no husband and a disabled daughter. One time her baby was crying really hard for a long while and she finally came in, ran over and just put him to the breast hurriedly, she didn't wipe his muddy face or dry his snotty nose. The researchers said that even though his mom spent the most time with him than the other moms he was still the most negatively affected. Of course separations weren't good either, though.

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I was definitely ambivalently attached to my parents. I had severe separation anxiety until I hit middle school, and even now I feel insecure in new situations.

 

I grew up with a very anxious mother who yelled at the drop of a hat. Still does. I have a father who grew up in a horribly alcoh*ol*ic and dysfunctional home, and is an alco*hol*ic himself.

 

Being told by my mother that I made them argue which resulted in my dad leaving for a few weeks messes with a kid's mind.

 

I believe it.

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I agree, babies are not clueless, but how many people go through 4 placements by 9 months? This to me is extreme. This isn't in the same category as "the one uptight mother you had in the first 12 months".

 

 

It's about how that uptightness comes out though. If a mother is resentful about the day to day bodily chores of the baby, internally they feel guilty and are over protective is one of the examples.

 

If a mother is disgusted by, say, breastfeeding. Not, mom can't produce milk, but wanted to breastfeed, but mom is disgusted at the mere thought of breastfeeding her child.

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I wish this book was available in my library system. Can you give me a general idea of what might cause type 2?

 

2. Ambivalently attached- the anxious, fearful, clingy kid who tends to have rage issues towards its parents while also being very needy with them

 

Thanks!

 

Ambivalently attached is caused by "chaotic or unpredictable" behavior on the part of the caregiver. The child goes to the mother for comfort and he may be comforted part of the time, but not the other. Or she may leave him crying for long periods of time sometimes, but not all the time. So he is never quite sure when or how often he will be comforted and helped. This leaves him feeling like he is desperate for any attachment he can get, clinging to mother, insecure, desperate for any kind of affirmation or connection (these are the "desperate" adults you may see) and this also leads to rage issues later on toward the mother (the rage can even be evident within the first year).

 

This was definitely true for me and finally explains so much of my behavior. I was SO dependent and desperate for my mother, to the point that it really didn't make sense. I slept in her closet during MIDDLE school just to be close to her (she wouldn't let me sleep in her bedroom b/c they wanted privacy so her closet was as close as I could get). Yet as I got into the pre-teen years, my rage started becoming more evident and I HATED her. Anorexia is also listed as being a symptom of "ambivalently attached" and I had that as well during my teen years.

 

Ok, but it still seems possible to me that you are simply genetically very much like your mother. If she is anxiously attached and you are anxiously attached...you are all just anxiously attached. It might not be her behavior specifically, but a genetic similarity you both have. Not so much that what she did caused you something, but that you both are just wired that way.

 

This is what I've always thought as well. But there could also be similarities between how she was parented and how she parented me (and in turn, how I am parenting my children, although I pray to God I'm there for them in the ways they need me since my own childhood was so chaotic). The book does say that people parented a certain way tend to parent the same way in return. Obviously it is much more eloquent and articulate than I am here.

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I haven't read the book.

 

Although I think the first 12 months are certainly critical, I question the premise that the first year determines much of the rest of our lives. That said, I haven't seen the studies that this book is based on - so maybe there is more to it.

 

From a purely anecdotal standpoint: my first year of life was fairly traumatic and I haven't had any residual issues from it. I don't care to go into the details, but it involved an alcoholic, physically abusive parent. The abuse wasn't directed at me, but I was apparently around it on an almost daily basis. My parents separated towards the end of my first year and I went on to have a normal, fairly happy childhood. I never had any attachment problems (I had and still have a wonderful relationship with my mom), and I have enjoyed a good life as an adult.

 

ETA: Perhaps my story is a testament to the incredible strength of my mother, and her efforts to hold things together as much as possible and provide great care for me despite the terrible circumstances that existed during my first year.

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It's about how that uptightness comes out though. If a mother is resentful about the day to day bodily chores of the baby, internally they feel guilty and are over protective is one of the examples.

 

If a mother is disgusted by, say, breastfeeding. Not, mom can't produce milk, but wanted to breastfeed, but mom is disgusted at the mere thought of breastfeeding her child.

 

Interestingly, it also talks about the baby's relationship with the breast and how the baby can have a love/hate relationship with the breast and projects all of its emotions onto the breast. It was rather funny to read about but I can see that after nursing so many children- sometimes they claw at me and scream (this is mainly during the newborn period), sometimes they are so comforted and pleased at the breast. It also talks about the intense emotional range that very young babies can have...at first that is projected onto the breast, then onto the mother and the child as its own identity. Interesting stuff, either way.

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Honestly this makes a lot of sense to me. I learned about attachment parenting when I was pregnant with my fourth child. I was very responsive to his needs. He slept with us for about a year, nursed on demand, worn in a sling, etc. He is my most confidant child. He doesn't have much fear at all. He is very trusting and is kind hearted. He is still a 10 year-old boy and is goofy and selfish at times but deep down he is one of the kindest souls I've ever met. I have no doubt that attachment parenting had something to do with that. I feel that I was securely attached to my other children but there is just something different about my fourth ds's confidence and overall attitude about life.

 

This sounds like a fascinating book.

 

Thanks,

Elise in NC

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Honestly this makes a lot of sense to me. I learned about attachment parenting when I was pregnant with my fourth child. I was very responsive to his needs. He slept with us for about a year, nursed on demand, worn in a sling, etc. He is my most confidant child. He doesn't have much fear at all. He is very trusting and is kind hearted. He is still a 10 year-old boy and is goofy and selfish at times but deep down he is one of the kindest souls I've ever met. I have no doubt that attachment parenting had something to do with that. I feel that I was securely attached to my other children but there is just something different about my fourth ds's confidence and overall attitude about life.

 

This sounds like a fascinating book.

 

Thanks,

Elise in NC

 

I've been looking at my own children a lot and wondering about this. I can see that they each definitely have their own unique personality and I could see evidence of that unique personality even in utero for some of them, so I know that is a big part of things as well.

 

My first child has tended to be defiant and difficult, and she did have a few disruptions during her first year of life, the biggest one being her dad going away on deployment for 13 months. Looking back, it is hard to believe that would have affected her greatly since he left when she was just 6 months old and I was with her 24/7 during that time, as well as 2 of her loving grandparents. But I was a young mom and distracted, esp. during her second year. We had marriage troubles at that time, etc.

 

Then my 3rd is also defiant and difficult, but to the extreme. There isn't much to account for this with him, other than it being an aspect of his personality or possibly the poor nutrition I had while pregnant with him? I did practice attachment parenting, co-sleeping and nursing on demand with all of mine.

 

My #4 is difficult but in a different way. He has been difficult from birth- incessant fussing, crying, just not a content kid. I do think I exacerbated this problem because I was very overwhelmed when he was born with #3 and how close they were in age, etc. I did not have the reserves of patience and unlimited attention like I had with the others. But from his very first night after being born he was difficult, so I'm not sure how much credit I can take.

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I didn't BF. Not because I was disgusted. And not because I couldn't.

 

It's not about breastfeeding, a woman can be very responsive and loving with a bottle as well. But I do think a mother and child can have a very volatile breastfeeding relationship that can have impacts, or not be responsive and loving with formula feedings (going too long in between and letting the baby cry and cry, propping up the bottle instead of holding the baby, that kind of thing are examples the books bring up).

 

We all could have done things differently. I know there are many things I wish I could go back and do differently. Hindsight is 20/20. I do think personality plays a big part, but learning about the attachment component has been helpful as well.

 

If nothing else, it can help us encourage new and young moms how important that first year is.

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I'm skeptical of the birth to three theories-- in fact wasn't there a recent article published about the lifelong effects of high school? It's a very egalitarian idea to think we are all born a blank slate-- and our competent or incompetent caregiver decides our fate in the first 0-3 years, but the truth is likely more nuanced than that, with many of our strengths and weaknesses being inherited genetically, and later years having a deep impact as well.

 

I have a lot of issues but I had a very loving grandmother in the home who was my primary caregiver from what I've been able to piece together. I imagine I would have been worse off without her, but in my heart I think my problems are ones i was programmed with, how my dna knit my brain together.

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Well and except for kids in circumstances where they were adopted after 12 months or had various foster parents within the first 12 months or after, how do you separate what happened in the first 12 months with any time after that? Where is the proof that it is in large part about the first 12 months?

 

Mainly what the book shares are all of the various studies that have been done, and how consistently the labels that a child was labeled with at 12 months stays true throughout their life, and how consistent the parenting was within those labels as well (avoidant-baby parents tended to act a certain way, ambivalent and secure also, etc)

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I've been looking at my own children a lot and wondering about this. I can see that they each definitely have their own unique personality and I could see evidence of that unique personality even in utero for some of them, so I know that is a big part of things as well.

 

My first child has tended to be defiant and difficult, and she did have a few disruptions during her first year of life, the biggest one being her dad going away on deployment for 13 months. Looking back, it is hard to believe that would have affected her greatly since he left when she was just 6 months old and I was with her 24/7 during that time, as well as 2 of her loving grandparents. But I was a young mom and distracted, esp. during her second year. We had marriage troubles at that time, etc.

 

Then my 3rd is also defiant and difficult, but to the extreme. There isn't much to account for this with him, other than it being an aspect of his personality or possibly the poor nutrition I had while pregnant with him? I did practice attachment parenting, co-sleeping and nursing on demand with all of mine.

 

My #4 is difficult but in a different way. He has been difficult from birth- incessant fussing, crying, just not a content kid. I do think I exacerbated this problem because I was very overwhelmed when he was born with #3 and how close they were in age, etc. I did not have the reserves of patience and unlimited attention like I had with the others. But from his very first night after being born he was difficult, so I'm not sure how much credit I can take.

 

 

I hope my post didn't come across as boastful. I think my son would have the same personality regardless of what I did but I do think attachment parenting played a role. I had a more "let them cry it out" mindset with my oldest two and I have seen more anxiety in them than my youngest. My third child had a stroke in utero that caused permanent brain damage. He is a fearful child and has anxiety/OCD issues. I think most of that has to do with his brain damage but also I was SO fearful with him when he was a baby. I thought he was going to die at any moment. I'm sure that played a part in his disposition.

 

Elise in NC

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I'm skeptical of the birth to three theories-- in fact wasn't there a recent article published about the lifelong effects of high school? It's a very egalitarian idea to think we are all born a blank slate-- and our competent or incompetent caregiver decides our fate in the first 0-3 years, but the truth is likely more nuanced than that, with many of our strengths and weaknesses being inherited genetically, and later years having a deep impact as well.

 

I have a lot of issues but I had a very loving grandmother in the home who was my primary caregiver from what I've been able to piece together. I imagine I would have been worse off without her, but in my heart I think my problems are ones i was programmed with, how my dna knit my brain together.

 

I can't remember where I heard about this also, maybe NPR. I think it's very interesting. It's actually comforting to think that as a parent you get another chance to make a big difference in the life of your child.

 

I agree that so much of who we are is DNA/genetics. My youngest dd is SO much like me it's scary. :svengo: I saw a news story years ago about identical twins separated at birth and how similar their lives ended up even though they were raised in two completely different families. I wonder how true that would be for just biological siblings not just twins.

 

Elise in NC

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I haven't read this book, but am skeptical. By all accounts, I had a pretty stable, normal babyhood, but a few years later, when my mother was overwhelmed with my younger sibs (she had four more after me, three of whom are a year apart), and my father sexually abused myself and one of my sisters, my personality dramatically changed. I'd say I'm definitely your description of ambivalently attached now, but don't think this is how I started out. In fact, while she doesn't want to acknowledge anything of what happened while we were growing, I ironically have evidence of this from what my own mother wrote in my baby book. At about age four, I had a dramatic personality change from a child who was outgoing and happy, to one who wouldn't talk to anyone outside the family and was labeled "painfully shy". So, nope, I don't think the first 12 months determines the course of your life.

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I have not read the book but there is definitely a link between strep infections and certain anxiety disorders.. Those strep infections don't have to be during the first year.

 

I also think that other things that may happen can cause personality changes. My middle was not anxious as a small child. She developed phobias and panic attacks later. A lot of her anxiety is actually hormonally related- not due to anything else. My son was fearful from an early age but he had so many ear infections, I wouldn't be surprised if some of them were strep.

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I've been looking at my own children a lot and wondering about this. I can see that they each definitely have their own unique personality and I could see evidence of that unique personality even in utero for some of them, so I know that is a big part of things as well.

 

My first child has tended to be defiant and difficult, and she did have a few disruptions during her first year of life, the biggest one being her dad going away on deployment for 13 months. Looking back, it is hard to believe that would have affected her greatly since he left when she was just 6 months old and I was with her 24/7 during that time, as well as 2 of her loving grandparents. But I was a young mom and distracted, esp. during her second year. We had marriage troubles at that time, etc.

 

Then my 3rd is also defiant and difficult, but to the extreme. There isn't much to account for this with him, other than it being an aspect of his personality or possibly the poor nutrition I had while pregnant with him? I did practice attachment parenting, co-sleeping and nursing on demand with all of mine.

 

My #4 is difficult but in a different way. He has been difficult from birth- incessant fussing, crying, just not a content kid. I do think I exacerbated this problem because I was very overwhelmed when he was born with #3 and how close they were in age, etc. I did not have the reserves of patience and unlimited attention like I had with the others. But from his very first night after being born he was difficult, so I'm not sure how much credit I can take.

 

 

Ok, so say this book is 100% accurate. Without reading the book, my uninformed opinion is close to WendyK's stance that outside of an exceptionally bad experience, we aren't going to cause that much variation with our parenting. Putting that aside, and buying into the book's theories though, what are you going to do about it? Can you "fix" it? Can you just feel incredibly guilty about it? Is it *useful* knowledge, or is it more likely to harm your future parenting because you feel like you're to blame for everything that isn't perfect?

 

I have 4 children. I've been obnoxiously crunchy with all of them. You know that "first-time mom will relax eventually" stuff? I'm still doing the same stuff with my fourth that I did with my first. I could drive myself crazy looking for ways to blame myself for every challenge that my children face, but it's not healthy FOR ME to view the parenting relationship in that light. If I did something "wrong" and I can fix it, I will try my best to do so. If I did something "wrong" with one child and can avoid doing it with another, I will try my best to do so. I can't look at everything through the lens of how my mistakes have led us here. Children are generally resilient, and we are trying to do our best because we love them.

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Hmm... I have to admit I'm a little skeptical. :) I lean more toward personalities being something that we're all born with, and while I believe a nurturing family is a good thing, I don't think it alone determines anything. Especially not in the first 12 months.

That said, from the looks of it, the book is sort of written for the AP crowd it looks like? (just guessing by the title and some of the reviews and description) ...which would explain why it doesn't really jibe with me. :) I'm totally not AP.

Eh, to each their own. :)

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I have not read the book but there is definitely a link between strep infections and certain anxiety disorders.. Those strep infections don't have to be during the first year.

 

I also think that other things that may happen can cause personality changes. My middle was not anxious as a small child. She developed phobias and panic attacks later. A lot of her anxiety is actually hormonally related- not due to anything else. My son was fearful from an early age but he had so many ear infections, I wouldn't be surprised if some of them were strep.

 

 

Really? Do you have any links on this? I had a lot of strep throat when I was growing up.

 

Ok, so say this book is 100% accurate. Without reading the book, my uninformed opinion is close to WendyK's stance that outside of an exceptionally bad experience, we aren't going to cause that much variation with our parenting. Putting that aside, and buying into the book's theories though, what are you going to do about it? Can you "fix" it? Can you just feel incredibly guilty about it? Is it *useful* knowledge, or is it more likely to harm your future parenting because you feel like you're to blame for everything that isn't perfect?

 

I have 4 children. I've been obnoxiously crunchy with all of them. You know that "first-time mom will relax eventually" stuff? I'm still doing the same stuff with my fourth that I did with my first. I could drive myself crazy looking for ways to blame myself for every challenge that my children face, but it's not healthy FOR ME to view the parenting relationship in that light. If I did something "wrong" and I can fix it, I will try my best to do so. If I did something "wrong" with one child and can avoid doing it with another, I will try my best to do so. I can't look at everything through the lens of how my mistakes have led us here. Children are generally resilient, and we are trying to do our best because we love them.

 

 

Maybe it's because I'm so interested in human nature in general, but I got so much more out of what I am reading than just having it relate to MY parenting. If this is true, it helps explain so many of the behaviors I've experienced throughout my life, and can see in other people. I think it always helps to understand the cause behind something.

 

Even the book makes it clear that not everything is related to that first 12 months, and not everything is the parent's fault. But the primary caregiver does play a pivotal role.

 

the book is sort of written for the AP crowd it looks like? (just guessing by the title and some of the reviews and description) ...which would explain why it doesn't really jibe with me. :) I'm totally not AP.

Eh, to each their own. :)

 

 

Well, it's written by a male M.D. so I doubt he has a lot of vested interest in the AP parenting movement, but the entire book is about how attachment bonds may develop and when.

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Maybe it's because I'm so interested in human nature in general, but I got so much more out of what I am reading than just having it relate to MY parenting. If this is true, it helps explain so many of the behaviors I've experienced throughout my life, and can see in other people. I think it always helps to understand the cause behind something.

 

Ah, well that sounds different than the way I was reading your other post! :)

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We're totally into the attachment parenting stuff, but I think much of this stuff has more to do with temper and genetics than uptight mommies. Obviously the first year is going to have some kind of an effect, but I don't think you're going to ruin a kid for life if you're a bit stressed or distracted but otherwise a normal parent that first year. I think the parenting industry that keeps telling us we need to look at ourselves and our parenting through a microscope does more harm than anything else.

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Isn't that the attachment parenting philosophy as put forward by Dr Sears? It doesn't seem particularly new or ground breaking to me. That is where we get the 3 Bs: breastfeeding, bedsharing and babywearing.

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Book-Revised-Edition/dp/0316198269/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359862117&sr=8-1&keywords=Dr+Sears+baby+book

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Do they mention with preemies if the "first" 12 months start in the hospital, or when they are developmentally 0 days instead of negative? Ds3.75 was in the hospital for 2 months before he came home. I couldn't even touch him for almost a week. Once we could hold him we did kangaroo time, but that was only for an hour or so a day.

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We're totally into the attachment parenting stuff, but I think much of this stuff has more to do with temper and genetics than uptight mommies. Obviously the first year is going to have some kind of an effect, but I don't think you're going to ruin a kid for life if you're a bit stressed or distracted but otherwise a normal parent that first year. I think the parenting industry that keeps telling us we need to look at ourselves and our parenting through a microscope does more harm than anything else.

I agree. I practiced attachment parenting with all my kids and their levels of anxieties are different. my child with a high degree of anxiety was probably the greatest recipient of attachment parenting. I think we can shape our little blessings, but I tend to thing nature has a greater role than nurture.

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Dr Sears has a preemie book that might have some of that info. FWIW, my first was a preemie and even though the first couple months were tough, I am sure he was very firmly attached.

 

Attachment and bonding are a process. It isn't something that happens in one fell swoop. It grows over time. For all that the first 12 months are important, we also know that people (especially babies) are very, very resilient. I don't think any one couple of weeks or days or moments matter as much as what happens over a long period of time.

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Yep, certainly nothing new, this just goes into the science behind attachment.

 

If you find the science part interesting, there are many, many more books on just that subject.

 

My favorite book on the subject is "Our babies Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way we Parent' by Meridith Small. It isn't brain science, but written by an anthropologist. I found it fascinating.

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Well, it's written by a male M.D. so I doubt he has a lot of vested interest in the AP parenting movement, but the entire book is about how attachment bonds may develop and when.

 

What?

 

Umm... have you read many AP books? I promise you that many men are actively involved in writing about and practicing AP.

 

Dr Sears is a man and he wrote "the baby book" a classic in the field of AP. His sons have followed in his footsteps.

 

I am not sure why biology would have anything to do with a vested interest in the AP parenting movement. Last time I checked, men had something to do with parenting. That is like saying that a woman wouldn't have a vested interest in economics. What does biology have to do to with it?

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I think people overestimate the amount of control we have over how our kids turn out, period. Genetics is huge. It seems to me that if a mom is extremely un-nurturing toward her baby, she probably has mental issues which can certainly pass to the child genetically.

 

While we can all point to examples of a lousy mother having troubled kids, the fact is that many kids have mothers who are just as lousy who come out differently, often just the same as children with awesome moms.

 

I don't really understand the point of these types of books. I mean, if you're the type to read this book before your kid is born and act on it, you are probably going to be a great mom regardless of the book. If you are the type to provide a not-so-hot environment during your child's first year, all that book is good for is guilting you (or giving others ammunition to shame you). And if, like me, you adopt your kid when she's a year old, what are you supposed to do? Throw in the towel?

 

People need to love their kids for who they are, not focus on jiggering this or that switch to avoid raising a reject.

 

ETA: another function of this book seems to be to give adults yet another reason to resent their parents. :\

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I'm sceptical. I have practiced AP, to some extent, but I just don't buy that Mom is to blame for every kid's every neurosis. Individual differences, genetics, the role of other caregivers (fathers, siblings, child caregivers-if one is allowed to even consider such a thing) all play a role in the confidence, security, and anxiety level of a person. I guess the argument against attachment as determinant of all future mental health is simply that limits, on parental indulgence, on resources, on access to material things, are also important determinants of character, in my observation. My exerience with AP was that it neglects limit-setting far too much to produce uniformly well-adjusted kids.

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What?

 

Umm... have you read many AP books? I promise you that many men are actively involved in writing about and practicing AP.

 

Dr Sears is a man and he wrote "the baby book" a classic in the field of AP. His sons have followed in his footsteps.

 

I am not sure why biology would have anything to do with a vested interest in the AP parenting movement. Last time I checked, men had something to do with parenting. That is like saying that a woman wouldn't have a vested interest in economics. What does biology have to do to with it?

 

yeah, that was a bad choice of words, sorry about it.

 

Look y'all, I just found the book interesting. Feel free not to read it if you don't want to. :tongue_smilie:

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I just read as much of the book on Amazon as was allowed - it is interesting, and not just an AP book.

 

It discusses the foundation of the theories of attachment in history (over the early 1900s).

 

It also gives an example of a very "AP" baby that was worn all the time and nursed tons that was in the "anxiously attached" category, because of how the mother emotionally responded to the child.

 

I couldn't read it all (obviously), and it does seem to favor AP in a number of ways, but it also does not. For instance, in one section it talks about the need for one primary caregiver not being as important as having quality caregivers and a good emotional relationship with the primary one.

 

Anyways, it does look interesting and I wish my library carried it.

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We're totally into the attachment parenting stuff, but I think much of this stuff has more to do with temper and genetics than uptight mommies. Obviously the first year is going to have some kind of an effect, but I don't think you're going to ruin a kid for life if you're a bit stressed or distracted but otherwise a normal parent that first year. I think the parenting industry that keeps telling us we need to look at ourselves and our parenting through a microscope does more harm than anything else.

 

 

There's a big difference between a mom who's "a bit stressed or distracted" and one who is abusive, wildly unpredictable or neglectful.

 

There's a concept called "the good enough mother" that comes into play here. Kids don't need perfection; they need a *pattern* of consistency and care. Being distracted or stressed won't create attachment issues by itself. But being distracted to the point there's of a pattern of neglect and/or abuse can lead to huge problems for the child. It's about the pattern: is mom caring and soothing? Does she feed him when he's hungry? Does she change his diapers in a reasonable period of time? Or does she sometimes change him and sometimes leave him in a wet diaper for hours or days? Does she "forget" to feed him or slap him for crying instead of feeding him?

 

There's a huge difference between a mom who has three small kids to care for (making it hard to jump the minute an infant cries) and a mom who is unable or unwilling to take consistent care of her newborn.

 

In your first year of life, your caregivers' reactions to you teach you about your worth as a human being. An newborn infant who's hungry thinks he's DYING of hunger. Newborns' hunger cries mean "My stomach hurts! I'm dying of hunger here!" If mom/caregiver feeds him, he learns, "My cries are heard. I exist. I am worth helping." If mom lets him cry and feeds him when she feels like it or if she sometimes comes when he cries, but sometimes ignores him or hits him or otherwise fails to meet his needs, he learns "It doesn't matter if I cry. No one will 'save' me. I am not worthy of care or love."

 

I know with 100% certainty that abuse and neglect by his birth family caused my son to be scared to trust his dad and me to take care of him. His internal monologue is, "Adults aren't reliable. When you cry, sometimes they laugh at you, and sometimes they hit you," because that's how his birth parents treated him, and that's the lens through which my son sees the world. He lived with his birth parents less than 18 months. He has lived with us nearly ten years. Yet even after TEN YEARS of love, care, safety and consistency in our home, he cannot completely change that infant "lens" on the world, because it was so ingrained in him at the age when he was developing his perceptions of the world.

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I think there is a vast difference between the idea of something controlling the rest of one's life and something influencing the rest of one's life. I definitely believe the first year has an influence, but not that it controls the rest of a person's life.

 

I used to be a marine biologist and put a lot of time into studying operant conditioning. (So forgive me for looking at the science and not the humanity here for a minute.) One of the steps of OC is to put the trainee on what is called a random reinforcement schedule. This results in the longest repetition of the behavior without reward until the behavior finally extinguishes. The common example is, if you have a new car and it always starts with the first turn of the key, the first time it does not start with the first turn, you go back in the house and call AAA. However, if you have an old junker that you have to play with and try multiple times to get started, if it doesn't start right away, you continue the behavior of turning the key for dozens more times - even though they are not rewarded - until you finally stop. And even then you might go try it every once in a while, just in case.

 

How might that have implications for the second type of attachment, the one "caused" by inconsistent reward? Could that help explain why related habits are so hard to break? Just wondering...I'm sitting here waiting to leave for church and we had a 2 hour snow delay, so my mind turns to pondering...

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There's a big difference between a mom who's "a bit stressed or distracted" and one who is abusive, wildly unpredictable or neglectful.

 

There's a concept called "the good enough mother" that comes into play here. Kids don't need perfection; they need a *pattern* of consistency and care. Being distracted or stressed won't create attachment issues by itself. But being distracted to the point there's of a pattern of neglect and/or abuse can lead to huge problems for the child. It's about the pattern: is mom caring and soothing? Does she feed him when he's hungry? Does she change his diapers in a reasonable period of time? Or does she sometimes change him and sometimes leave him in a wet diaper for hours or days? Does she "forget" to feed him or slap him for crying instead of feeding him?

 

There's a huge difference between a mom who has three small kids to care for (making it hard to jump the minute an infant cries) and a mom who is unable or unwilling to take consistent care of her newborn.

 

In your first year of life, your caregivers' reactions to you teach you about your worth as a human being. An newborn infant who's hungry thinks he's DYING of hunger. Newborns' hunger cries mean "My stomach hurts! I'm dying of hunger here!" If mom/caregiver feeds him, he learns, "My cries are heard. I exist. I am worth helping." If mom lets him cry and feeds him when she feels like it or if she sometimes comes when he cries, but sometimes ignores him or hits him or otherwise fails to meet his needs, he learns "It doesn't matter if I cry. No one will 'save' me. I am not worthy of care or love."

 

I know with 100% certainty that abuse and neglect by his birth family caused my son to be scared to trust his dad and me to take care of him. His internal monologue is, "Adults aren't reliable. When you cry, sometimes they laugh at you, and sometimes they hit you," because that's how his birth parents treated him, and that's the lens through which my son sees the world. He lived with his birth parents less than 18 months. He has lived with us nearly ten years. Yet even after TEN YEARS of love, care, safety and consistency in our home, he cannot completely change that infant "lens" on the world, because it was so ingrained in him at the age when he was developing his perceptions of the world.

 

 

I agree, and clearly that's not what I was referring to. From what the OP says of the book, it makes it sound as if an anxious or distracted mother is going to result in a child that has all kinds of issues. That, I don't agree with.

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