Hinduism Today Magazine Issues and Articles
Love That Baby
Category : July/August 2000

PARENTING

Love That Baby

Staying up close and personal pays abundantly

Tara Katir, Kapaa, Hawaii



Have you searched for that perfect book initiating you into the mysteries of parenthood? Katie Allison Granju, author of Attachment Parenting, Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child (312 pages, Pocket Books, us$12.95), believes you won't find it and don't really need to. She teaches instead that "you yourself--in partnership with your child--are the real 'parenting experts' when it comes to your own family." Attachment parenting, writes Granju, is "a high-touch, responsive style of baby care that brings out the best both in baby and parents. When mothers and fathers stay physically close to their babies and learn to intuit their unique cues, babies are assured that they are being heard and understood. As a result, they are encouraged to continue trying to communicate with their parents. This delicate give and take teaches your child that she can trust you, and it empowers you in the knowledge that you truly understand her needs."

The philosophy of attachment parenting can be summarized in six simple practices: bonding with your baby in the early days; breast feeding and practicing "responsive care giving;" sleeping with or very near your baby or young child; and carrying, holding, or "wearing" your baby while respecting your child as an individual. These six are the core of attachment parenting's paradigm. Granju believes "parenting needs to be a flexible affair, adaptable to each child's individuality." Parents and children who find their needs met in cooperation create "a family-centered lifestyle." Therefore, "when the inevitable stresses and strains of daily family life come calling, everyone is better equipped to deal with them, together."

The book stresses breast feeding. Likewise, the World Health Organization, the authors explain, champions breast feeding for all babies. Both are especially concerned that baby formula manufacturers promote their product in developing countries as the "modern, sterile and Western" way to care for babies. Hospitals funded by manufacturers encourage impoverished mothers to offer their newborns a bottle of formula. Mothers and babies are then sent home with a small "free" supply of the infant formula. By the time the formula supply runs out, the baby refuses the breast, the mother has little of her own milk left, and the family is unable to pay for any more infant formula.

At the end of each chapter there is a huge array of resources from the internet, books and community organizations to assist parents in all aspects of child care. An outstanding source book, Attachment Parenting makes a great gift for mothers-to-be.

Attachment Parenting--Instinctive Care For Your Baby And Young Child by Katie Allison Granju,
Pocket Books
1230 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, New York 10020 USA

More Practical Child Raising

I was a wonderful parent before I had children." So begins an entertaining and exceptionally helpful parenting book, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (286 pages, Avon Books, us$12.50). They go on, "I was an expert on why everyone else was having problems with theirs. Then I had three of my own. Living with real children can be humbling. Every morning I would tell myself, 'Today is going to be different,' and every morning was a variation of the one before. 'You gave her more than me!' 'That's the pink cup. I want the blue cup.' 'He punched me.' 'I never touched him!' 'I won't go to my room. You're not the boss over me!'"

The book is chock-full of down-to-earth advice to help parents and children communicate with one another. If there is respectful communication between parent and child, Faber and Mazlish contend, children will respond with intelligent obedience and cooperation.

Topics include * How do I engage cooperation? * What are alternatives to punishment? * How do I encourage autonomy? * Isn't praise good? and * What roles are your children playing because of what you say and do? Faber and Mazlish address these relevant topics, which every parent grapples with, using humorous cartoons depicting real-life scenes everyone can relate to. On one page a cartoon depicts the yelling, threatening, spanking parent who gains cooperation through fears; while the opposite page shows a more thoughtful approach that trains and encourages obedience through firm guidelines and love. Additionally, there are vignettes where you create an imaginary dialog to practice your newly learned skills in a variety of real life situations. The book provides wonderful alternatives to yelling, threatening and spanking. It makes an outstanding companion to Dr. Jane Nelson's book, Positive Discipline. These are tools you can use to become a better parent and bring joy into parenting.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Avon Books, Inc.
1350 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10019 USA.
www.avonbooks.com. www.fabermazlish.com..