Are you Mom enough?

From Time Magazine this week

IMAGE(http://i.thestar.com/images/b1/b2/2d1b66984d6e863a462dd4419435.jpg)

Yeah, this got a "little" discussion in my house today.

http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/10/extended-breast-feeding-is-it-more-common-than-we-think/

Is this a case of eww... crazy mommy with separation issues or is it that society is wrong for judging them?

Or is the magazine industry just desperate to drive sales by stirring controversy?

This raised a whole bunch of discussion in my house, as well. I can effectively sum up that conversation in this sentence:

"What kind of adult do you want your child to be?"

I recognize that the above sentence opens up the door to even further discussion, and that's totally intended. For my wife and I, we want to raise our children to be like us. Intelligent, driven, and independent. We want them to solve their own problems and find their own way. To us, "attachment" and/or "helicopter" parenting will not reach that goal. So, we don't do it. When our kid falls down (and he falls down a lot), we literally just say "stand up and rub it off, Kiddo!" Meanwhile when my nephew falls, my sister-in-law rush to his side and begin cooing. "It's okay. Oh, poor baby," etc. Already we see the proof in these diverse tactics. When something happens to our son on the playground, he stands up for himself and deals with it. When something happens to our nephew, he cries, throws fits and tantrums and runs for his Mom.

Now, for the Devil's Advocate side, I will say the only real wrong thing you can do as a parent is neglect or abuse your kid. If attachment parenting is really working for you and your family, then go for it. I recognize that some parents want there to be a deep emotional bond between themselves and their children, and that both attachment parenting and helicopter parenting can reach that goal. These are the parents who really want to be best friends with their kid. If you think that it will help your child become the adult you want him to be, then have at it. I don't mind if you want to breast feed your 3-5 year old, I don't even mind if you do it in public. What I do mind is if your child is an adult and he/she doesn't know how to live on their own because their parents have always done everything for them.

I know that there are a lot of definitions out there, but what i think of as Attachment parenting isn't what you describe. AP tries to instill confidence and self reliance that doesn't equate with your example. And it's quite different from so-called Helicopter parents.

ThatGuy42 wrote:

This raised a whole bunch of discussion in my house, as well. I can effectively sum up that conversation in this sentence:

"What kind of adult do you want your child to be?"

I recognize that the above sentence opens up the door to even further discussion, and that's totally intended. For my wife and I, we want to raise our children to be like us. Intelligent, driven, and independent. We want them to solve their own problems and find their own way. To us, "attachment" and/or "helicopter" parenting will not reach that goal. So, we don't do it. When our kid falls down (and he falls down a lot), we literally just say "stand up and rub it off, Kiddo!" Meanwhile when my nephew falls, my sister-in-law rush to his side and begin cooing. "It's okay. Oh, poor baby," etc. Already we see the proof in these diverse tactics. When something happens to our son on the playground, he stands up for himself and deals with it. When something happens to our nephew, he cries, throws fits and tantrums and runs for his Mom.

I think this is along the lines of where I would stand, with one big caveat, and that being that I want to be emotionally available and supportive of my kids. My parents raised me to be very independent, which worked out for me in a lot of ways, except for the fact that I have a hard time relying on anyone for anything and telling people how I feel about stuff. When I was a kid, being bullied at school, etc., I never told my parents about my problems or how I felt because I didn't feel like they were there for me, and I think I suffered more as a result.

So I don't think you need to go to the extreme with attachment parenting in terms of being at their side and taking care of them at all times, but I think it's important that when my kid is feeling upset or sad about something, he/she will feel like I am always available to talk and be supportive, if not drop everything to fix the problem for them.

...and the Mommy Wars comes to GWJ : D

jonnypolite wrote:

Or is the magazine industry just desperate to drive sales by stirring controversy?

This. One of the single most effective, efficient ways to drum up notoriety and sales is to start mining the "Mommy Wars" for eyeballs.

We have a friend who still breastfeeds her son at 3 years old because she has attachment issues with her kids. He has teeth and asks for the milk - the idea of that is really weird.

eah Game of Thrones was far more disturbing but this Time Magazine still made me feel bad for the kid. I recognize that I'm a product of my upbringing, but my Dad always pushed me to be tough and independent while my Mom was a bit overprotective. That's why I think this Mom is acting far too attached to her son at his age.

Talking about husbands, I wonder how all this extreme parenting has to do with their married life. Raising a toddler already plays havoc on your relationship - I can only imagine how breastfeeding a 3-year-old and meeting their every need leaves zero time or energy for you and your spouse. That's incredibly unhealthy. You need to have time as grown-ups and as a couple.

Let's not let this get hot with this important caveat, and I hope we all understand that this precedes all further posts with exceptions:

My commentary here is reflective of my parents and my parenting as well as my own kids and the kids in my household when I was growing up. There are other people and other households - each child is his or her own individual, and strategies and tactics that may work for one may not work for another equally well (or at all). What I say is commentary and suggestions, not critique. I don't think it is for any of us to interfere with the raising of anyone's child unless there are absolutely clear signs of abusive treatment (multiple fractures, untreated schizophrenia - the child has literally gone insane, brain trauma and the like).

I am of the opinion that the household is the basic unit in society - just as we derive some of our identities and idiosyncracies from how we were raised. More - I think that the household is the basic unit in all respects - it is the government, the church, society, and friends in a microcosm.

Thus, education in all of these aspects is dependent on the parents and the siblings. The most important and influential educators in all aspects of a person's life is his or her parents, regardless of whether or not they realize it.

I do not know the whole of what is meant by "helicopter parenting," but the suggestion is that the parenting style is based on involvement and 24/7 supervision. I am for that. Regardless of intervention strategies, it is my opinion that parents of all stripes should be aware of what their children are doing, where, and for what reasons every minute of their waking lives, until they are deemed mature enough to not require continuous supervision.

In my mind, children are like newly-booted humans. They don't have social apps, they don't have anything other than basic fact-finding software, and some of their hardware isn't even fully installed yet. Of course, some of them come with more apps or better hardware than others, but I think it's important to find out and supply software or hardware support where the new human is lacking.

That said, you can't run a beta test or a full practical test of installed apps and hardware without getting the human out of alpha stage. At some point, you have to allow the hardware to run the software to see if it really works. Indeed, current studies of humans at the adolescent stages suggest that failure to run beta testing can cause the system to rewrite functional code into buggy software.

EDIT:

More on topic - I agree with the article's thesis that it may be that the entire kerfuffle over breastfeeding kids over one year of age in the US probably has more to do with adults (men?) seeing breasts almost exclusively as sex objects rather than as food dispensers. You won't see that kind of issue in societies where the breast is not as sexualized or if sex were not taboo.

Just out of interest, are there any societies where prolonged breast feeding is the norm, or is this a modern Western world phenomenon?

Both of our children lost interest in breast feeding between 6 months and one year.

spider_j wrote:

Just out of interest, are there any societies where prolonged breast feeding is the norm, or is this a modern Western world phenomenon?

Both of our children lost interest in breast feeding between 6 months and one year.

I was talking about this with my fiancee. In my experience it tends to be more impoverished countries where this is the norm. Breastfeeding up to 6 or 7 is common in many African nations. And if the choice is starving the kid or breastfeeding, this is a no brainer.

Even here in the US, breast milk is often given to toddlers, up to 2 or 3. It is just that our expectation is that it will be a bottle or cup at a certain point.

jdzappa wrote:

Talking about husbands, I wonder how all this extreme parenting has to do with their married life. Raising a toddler already plays havoc on your relationship - I can only imagine how breastfeeding a 3-year-old and meeting their every need leaves zero time or energy for you and your spouse. That's incredibly unhealthy. You need to have time as grown-ups and as a couple.

Coincidentally enough:

Park Slope is already infamous for its anxiety-ridden, helicoptering parents. It appears that all of that obsessiveness isn't just bad for the kids growing up around Prospect Park. It's also wreaking havoc on their parents' marriages. According to Ashley Madison –- the website devoted to enabling adultery — Brooklyn's most desirable community is home to more cheating spouses than any other neighborhood in New York City.
http://jezebel.com/5907468/the-cheat...

of course, that may have to do with the fact that you can't exactly bang the secretary if you're one of these guys, and you have to get on the internet lest you run into your mistress at the co-op.

also, an interesting reaction to the Time story:

Women’s rising social and economic power has not squelched their desire to be mothers. Quite the opposite: it has enabled women to mother with ferocity. They research; they seek out best practices; they join a group, form a committee and agitate for their version of feeding/disciplining/sleeping. If you don’t believe me, just visit a breast-feeding support group with former litigators, marketing executives and investment bankers. Reluctant sucklers don’t stand a chance.

...

But as women have brought more education and commitment to their careers, they have also brought those qualities to their other job: having and raising children. From the labor room onward, women strive to overdeliver. Attachment parenting requires sacrifice, dedication, strategizing and a lot of long hours doing thankless tasks. In other words, it’s exactly like climbing the corporate ladder. Except there is no glass ceiling. Or annual bonus.
LINK

I thought about creating this thread myself.

The mom is hot. If you can get past her kid starting at you....

Yeah, I find this creepy. I can't look at the cover and not think of Game of Thrones.

Edit: Oops, fixed my triple negative.

I find the OP picture less disturbing than the suggestion that dads do not engage in parenting and that parenting is "a woman's other job."

In fact, I don't find the OP pic to be very disturbing at all. I see bigger kids getting nursed, I see a lot of boobs, and I am perfectly comfortable with both my body and my sexuality.

Why is this anyone's business other than the parents? I just don't understand.

Edwin wrote:

Why is this anyone's business other than the parents? I just don't understand.

This is a case where the outspoken attachment parents are judging all other parenting styles in the court of public opinion. For example, I'll admit that my son wasn't breastfed beyond a month. My wife was on new medications and on doctor's orders was told it was best to switch to formula. We would sometimes get nasty stares in public and snide comments from friends.

Not enough parenting is bad, but IMHO overprotective parenting is equally bad. It doesn't prepare kids for the real world, especially if those kids venture out of academia/upper middle class corporate jobs into fields like the military, law enforcement, construction, etc.

jdzappa:

I find that a little strange. Sexual orientation, sure (meaning, I get why people gun down other people for being different that way), but breastfeeding? None of my colleagues give their patients a hard time about it. It's a personal decision, each choice having pros and cons. And we're paid for giving this advice, too! How can a layman presume to condemn his own family and friends for things professionals won't give a definite thumbs down?

LarryC wrote:

How can a layman presume to condemn his own family and friends for things professionals won't give a definite thumbs down?

Because this is America, where the thumbs of elites belong in their butt with their heads!

We have attachment parenting. We have free-range parenting. We had some other parenting, I forget but it was basically the lazy-indulgent parenting, where you indulge your kids in your time until they get bored of you, and then you disturb them as little as possible as they figure out how to make their own fun. We had the Tiger Mom. We had the Finnish retort to the Tiger Mom. This is a political issue, where we see the problems America faces in the choices parents make.

I find it especially interesting because there was a recent book that explored a very strict, very conservative version of parenting. It caused a stir in the Mommy Wars (which I guess this Time article is bringing to the mainstream). The book? Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers The Wisdom Of French Parenting. That's right: the country Americans like to characterize as cheeze-eating surrender monkeys is reported as having the kind of parenting culture that many Americans think needs to come back to America lest we become a weak country full of entitlement issues and rude adults who look to the government to solve all our problems.

Hmm...

One last thing: while trying to find that article about the indulgent-lazy parenting style, I happened upon this piece from 2008:

By the time of the latest survey, parenting styles were a better indicator of political affiliation than income.

The two academics also measured those who favored spanking as discipline for children. They found that the "correlation between traditional parenting practices—the 'spare the rod, spoil the child' approach—and voting for President Bush in 2004 is remarkably strong."

And those styles had a geography. Massachusetts has the lowest percentage of people who favor the switch and the lowest percentage of voters for Bush. Those in Vermont, Rhode Island, and New York were also unlikely to spank and were very likely to vote for John Kerry.

Meanwhile, the spanking states—Idaho, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Montana, Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee, and Indiana—are, for the most part, reliably Republican even in this year's Democratic-trending election.

...

White women in Democratic Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, California, Maryland, Illinois, Minneapolis, New Hampshire, and Delaware were both marrying and starting families later in life, more like women in Nordic countries than those in Utah, Kansas, and Wyoming. In particular, Lesthaeghe found, the higher the rates of cohabitation before marriage—i.e., shacking—the higher the vote for Kerry.

...

Lesthaeghe, Weiler, and Hetherington aren't saying propensity to spank or to shack cause people to vote one way or the other. Their point is that family formation and child-rearing attitudes are part of a worldview. Our politics today are divided by worldview, not by demographic type. And those divisions are real and deep, as this increasingly bitter campaign attests.

You guys sure love to get into each other's businesses.

LarryC wrote:

You guys sure love to get into each other's businesses.

Like you said:

I am of the opinion that the household is the basic unit in society - just as we derive some of our identities and idiosyncracies from how we were raised. More - I think that the household is the basic unit in all respects - it is the government, the church, society, and friends in a microcosm.

people here are too, only we're in the midst of a 30+ year long culture war, with roots going back even further than that. Looking up those two researchers, I found this about a book they went on to write:

For Americanist political scientists, authoritarianism does not necessarily denote hostility to democracy. Instead, it refers to a syndrome of attitudes which emphasize traditional authority, depicts politics in black and white terms as a struggle between good and evil, and involves hostility towards groups (gays, immigrants) who are seen as disrupting the social order. Hetherington and Weiler argue that it is best measured by looking at how people think about family and child rearing. Those who emphasize discipline and obedience are likely to be authoritarians. Those who instead want to encourage their kids to be curious and self-reliant are likely to be non-authoritarian.And there are lots of authoritarians in America – there are more strong authoritarians than there are strong non-authoritarians. For Hetherington and Weiler, the story of American politics over the last several decades has been one of a political realignment around the differences between authoritarians and non-authoritarians. It used to be as best as we can tell (the opinion survey research that this book relies on doesn’t have good data before the early 1970s) that authoritarians were not especially associated with any one party. Indeed, the kinds of politics that emphasizes authoritarianism was submerged by the New Deal and debates around it. However, Nixon and his successors saw that it was possible to build a new political coalition, which would make Democratic-leaning authoritarians into reliable Republican voters. They did this by emphasizing race, law and order and ‘strength’ in foreign policy. The last few decades have seen this strategy work out. Authoritarian Democrats – especially in the South, but among white ethnic voters in the North too – became Reagan Republicans.

The offensive thing about that cover is that the "God of cricket" they are referring to is Sachin. The God of cricket died in 1997.

The God of cricket died in 1997.

Nonsense, Jiminy will live forever.

LarryC wrote:

I do not know the whole of what is meant by "helicopter parenting," but the suggestion is that the parenting style is based on involvement and 24/7 supervision. I am for that. Regardless of intervention strategies, it is my opinion that parents of all stripes should be aware of what their children are doing, where, and for what reasons every minute of their waking lives, until they are deemed mature enough to not require continuous supervision.

I generally agree with you Larry, but I believe there can be a line between being aware of what your children are doing every waking minute and over enrolling your kids in every conceivable sport, activity, etc. so that almost every one of those waking minutes is scheduled and controlled. In no way am I implying that you do this, but I see plenty of children who's parents sign them up for so many things I wonder when they have time to actually, you know, play and just be a kid for a while.

MacBrave wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I do not know the whole of what is meant by "helicopter parenting," but the suggestion is that the parenting style is based on involvement and 24/7 supervision. I am for that. Regardless of intervention strategies, it is my opinion that parents of all stripes should be aware of what their children are doing, where, and for what reasons every minute of their waking lives, until they are deemed mature enough to not require continuous supervision.

I generally agree with you Larry, but I believe there can be a line between being aware of what your children are doing every waking minute and over enrolling your kids in every conceivable sport, activity, etc. so that almost every one of those waking minutes is scheduled and controlled. In no way am I implying that you do this, but I see plenty of children who's parents sign them up for so many things I wonder when they have time to actually, you know, play and just be a kid for a while.

Precisely.

I read an article that posited that the lack of unstructured play time really is tremendously destructive because that is how kids learn the process and consequences of rules making and negotiation. Watch a group of kids playing and they create their own games and change the rules constantly. When I babysat my nephews, I used to say they were playing Calvinball.

LarryC wrote:

You guys sure love to get into each other's businesses.

This is definitely one of the better observations you've made about American culture.

MacBrave:

I come from a more desperate place. Nobody has time to play and be a kid for a while. Every waking moment is training. Kids love to learn and they train and experiment for fun. The only question is, what are you training your kids for?

A child who does not have free socialization practice in order to test out new ideas and confirm teachings will be correspondingly weaker in that category of ability. If he or she does not have a natural inclination to improvise or rebel, he or she may be rendered fatally indecisive when authority is unavailable or unsuitable. In short, you are training such a kid to be a follower, not a leader.

Children don't stop learning, even when unsupervised. That is still training, and supervised free time should ideally still be scheduled and controlled, lest that part of development be overlooked.

I realize that you are referring to parents who schedule every waking moment of their children in formal classes or activities. I do not agree with the content of such a scheme, but I like the engagement and active participation.

There is point to "playing and being a kid." I think that the passive phrasing of this activity belies the amount of parental supervision that should be taking place during this "unstructured" event compared to formal classes - the same or more!

Edwin wrote:

Why is this anyone's business other than the parents? I just don't understand.

I care about how parents raise their kids only is as much as someday in the future I may have to interact with said children.

Thinking about another thread on here, maybe it's that some people first figured out a way to get women to spend their money on fashion magazines and diet books when they were maidens, then weddings which have gone from a party to an "industry," next comes baby and another way to get rich off of making women feel insecure?

Oh man, the Mommy Wars. Yay!

Dear Women of America,

Woman your battle stations, prepare to defend your choices. Over the hill are the Nipple Nazis and across the dale are the Tiger Moms. Look out! Beware! Everything you do is wrong! Your choices are bad choices. You, yes you, with the womb...you're a bad person who does everything wrong. Also, you're fat. Love, Big Media.