Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Contrasting Attachment Parenting with Child Hate, Childism & Misoproliny

What Attachment-Style Parenting Isn’t

Attachment-style parenting is not mainstream parenting. 

Attachment-style parenting is also not gentle or peaceful parenting, which I will get to, I promise. . . after this:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lac-bac/sets/72157670640985154/By ‘mainstream’ I mean to encompass all the normal and traditional types of parenting people in the Western world think of as natural and automatic. Methods that are often practiced without thinking very much about, either the techniques or their effects.

While I was raised quite a lot inside the mainstream (and I'm not defending it —my parents don't: they knew they had no idea what they were doing) I would not recommend its methods for handling dogs or even chickens, because I find it deeply disrespectful of the value of life, quite beyond how it is disrespectful of the humanity of children.

Which brings me to one of the key differences between mainstream parenting and attachment-style parenting: the use of a single word, respect.

the key difference between mainstream parenting and attachment-style parenting is the use of a single word: 
Mainstream childcare (parenting, schools, daycare, babysitting, whatever) is obsessed with the word.

Mainstream Childrearing is Obsessed with the Word ‘Respect’

Children need to learn respect. They need to show respect. They need to be respectful. They need to be taught respect. And more often than not, at various predictable ages, the problem with the children is that they have no respect.

The means to fix the respect problem, in mainstream households and institutions, is force, coercion, bribery, punishment, nagging, shouting, withdrawal of affection, isolation, pain, shame, fear-mongering, emotional blackmail, and guilt. Et cetera.

https://bit.ly/2zwVqB7In a part of the world where 8-year-olds with nervous habits (eyelash pulling, nail biting, chewing, skin picking, lip licking, among a very wide variety of other things) are considered ‘normal’ and ‘sub-clinical,’ you can see how difficult this environment really is for kids.

Kids who protest their treatment (in words or behaviour) for any length of time have the tactics amplified first, and then are shopped around to professionals to be ‘fixed.’ When that inevitably doesn’t work, they’re often diagnosed and drugged.

Because for the mainstream, the problem is the child not the environment. The environment is ‘normal.’ The kid’s reaction to is the problem.

Of course, I disagree.

Child Hate

Other commentators extend their criticism of mainstream parenting to include systematic oppression of children, agism and childism (or my term, from way back when I was playing with either Latin or Greek, I don’t remember now: misoproliny, the hatred of children.

Some folks even declare that all of the maltreatment of children comes under the umbrella of the early psychological damage (from the childhoods of the people maltreating the children of now) called The Mother Wound. 

Since a lot of it is perpetuate at the behest (and often vehement insistence) of fathers and grandparents of all genders, school authorities, church authorities and elderly maiden aunts, I’d just leave off and call it all ‘traumatic childhood.’

Our world is filled with the maltreatment of children

Titled 'A spanking good time' on the image itself
https://bit.ly/2OtMPoohttps://bit.ly/2OsaAgsFrom Jay Leno encouraging parents to gaslight their children (pretending to have eaten all their Halloween candy or giving them things like gift wrapped onions for Christmas) and then filming their distress as ‘comedy'... 

to public shaming (cutting their hair like old men, making them wear signs declaring their mistakes, making them wear ugly clothes to school), physical torture (making them walk around with heavy books carried above their heads, or standing in corners without permission to move, eat, rest or urinate) ...

and stealing or holding hostage their possessions, bribery, withholding food or attention, and physically attacking or ridiculing them for expressing emotions (like pain, enthusiasm or grief, or sexist attacks on boys for crying and girls for being angry and, of course, for the grievous sin of making mistakes ever.)

And it is not only parents (grandparents, babysitters, daycare workers, maiden uncles, etc...)

Systematic maltreatment of children is embedded in systems like schools and medicine

Schools are where it is normal to be segregated based on age, to be compelled to socialize with people you mistrust or actively dislike (or have your grades affected by people who refuse to cooperate or who simply cannot do the work yet), where bullying is normal and unimportant background noise according to the people with the power to end it, and where witnessing bullying is not even acknowledged as a problem for children not victimized or perpetrating it. 

Within schools today there remains the same palpable belief that victims of bullying kind of invite it, and bullies are kind of cool, that was real when Great Expectations was written.

Doctors and nurses are not trained to speak to children like people. They consider it normal to talk about them to their parents as if they were not there, to assume they can’t or won’t understand, to use babyish language and dumbed-down euphemisms, and to perform procedures on them without explaining what will be done or why. 

It is not considered unreasonable to lie to children to gain compliance ('this won't hurt at all,' when it obviously will), and when that fails the next and only option considered is too often physical force, for which they usually coerce the parent’s participation.

The Child in Control of Parents: 1 more way to blame the kids

The ordinary maltreatment of children includes negative judgments of their intent, like declaring that children mean to harm others, choose to be bratty on purpose, or that their misbehaviour is wholly intentional, malicious and destructive. 

Please see So, What Is This Attachment-Style Parenting, Then? for the explanation around this:
children do not ‘misbehave’ –they just behave: 
they do the best they can with what they understand as far as they are developed at this point

The Noble Mother
People declare that children are not only trying to drive their parents crazy (or make them angry) but that children have more power over the emotions and reactions of their parents than the adults have over themselves, and that the children are abusing this power for their own benefit.

However you may feel about the inherent authority, or nobility, or goodness of the role or position of Mother or Father, the idea that the child is more in control over how the parent behaves than the parent is seriously twisted.

The assertion that a child is solely responsible for a parent’s response to what the child did is identical to the abuser’s assertion it was their victim’s fault for getting beaten, because they fought back. It is identical.

From the abuser comes the phrases ‘she was asking for it’ and ‘they made me do it,’ 'he is making me mad [on purpose]' and 'they are trying to drive me crazy.'

With the information in this section alone, I expect parents and childcarers to forever stop using that kind of language, for one simple reason:

Align with abusers (and use the same justifications, excuses and attitudes) or refuse to be in the same category.

The choice is not the child's.

What About Gentle and Peaceful Parenting?

As I began with it, it's probably time to get around to it: attachment-style parenting is also not ‘gentle’ or ‘peaceful’ parenting.

The time-out stair / control by isolation
While AP may actually be both gentle and peaceful, these terms (at least in the Western world) are used by parenting 'experts' to market a variety of command-and-control parenting / childcare methods that is different from mainstream parenting in only very specific ways.

Usually, the only distinction between mainstream and gentle / peaceful parenting is the absence of physical (corporal) punishment: spanking, swatting, popping, slapping, hitting, etc. Sometimes it includes the absence (or the goal of the absence) of shouting, but not always.

Let me first say that for some people, the extreme contrast between how they were raised and Peaceful / Gentle parenting is like the difference between a Russian gulag and minimum security prison in Sweden… which is still to say: the difference is very real, and the kids are still treated as if they are incarcerated, with only the kind of treatment of the inmates allowed being very, very different.

In all other ways it is as disrespectful as the rest of mainstream parenting.


Before I move on, I will address the number one objection to clearly identifying any of these tactics as problematic: mommy-shaming.

https://bit.ly/2JKhBZmMommy-shaming is not allowed. Mommies are loving, supportive, caring and wonderful human beings because they are mommies, and their individual parenting ‘choices’ are automatically unassailable, because they are, after all, the All Knowing, All Loving, Exalted Mommies. 

Mommies are bigger, stronger, smarter and better than children, so they automatically know best for their children because the natural result of having an egg fertilized within them carried long enough to survive int he air (or having an adoption agency approve their application) is the same as them being beatified: they are miraculously changed from ‘every kind of possible character and person people can be’ into something that is not possible to be wrong, about anything. Ever. Same for daddies.


Oh, my, the poisonous faces here . . .

What is actually happening here, with this 'no mommy-shaming' BS is that parents (moms and dads, both bio and otherwise) are defending their ancestors, usually someone who died so long ago no one knows their name anymore or even how far back they were. Ask anyone: why do you do this? Because it’s the way I was raised, and my parents were right. Okay, and who did they learn it from? Their parents. And… their parents. And? Their parents. Right. How long ago?

So, the best information you can find for how to treat children well and raise them in a healthy way is someone who thought the best way to avoid disease was not to leave the house with wet hair and by burning pitch to inhale the smoke, and a great way to get babies to sleep through the night was laudanum*?

The term for this kind of indefensible loyalty is Stockholm Syndrome, a term coined after the victims of a violent kidnapping startled everyone by not only fiercely defending their attackers, but also by marrying a few of them. 

The desperate need to stay on the same side as the people who have ultimate control over your continued existence is very real, and when the people in charge of you getting to keep breathing at 3 years old are your parents, some of that bonding can be pathological. 

This effect is also more generally called betrayal bonding. The bond is for survival, it is based entirely in fear (and if you having someone 12’ tall [Robert P. Wadlow, left, is only 8'11"] holding you still by one arm and shouting in your face, I promise you: fear is what you would be feeling, not respect) … which is used by parents because, frankly, it ‘works.’ Or it appears to work. 

Compliance is often swift. 

The fallout is nasty, but it takes longer to see, and in our culture—as noted—the side effects initially look totally normal. And we are kind of into 'instant' results without thought about the future...

The 'future' ...with drug addiction and violent crime, teen rebellion and sneaking out at night and stealing the car ... 

Mommy-Shaming & Lame Arguments

There are two arguments that will never change my mind about how command-and-control tactics harm children and that the tactics are wrong even if they work are:

You can’t shame parents for their own choices (oh, yes, actually, we certainly can because it harms children, and passes on the harm of generations of other children harmed with no better argument for doing so than ‘I was harmed this way, so must every other child be.’)
I was raised this way, and I turned out fine (no, you did not: being an advocate for child abuse is not ‘fine’ by any definition of the word.)

Well, That was Harsh

Yup, it is.

I know it will never change the mind of a single person who still believes that they will die if they betray their parents. 

These fine folk are raging and formulating their outraged comments and I am a terrible person and probably mentally ill and dangerous and a whole slough of other character flaws that are probably permanent, and possibly I’m a supernatural creature who feeds babies to some kind of furnace or tempts virgins to something or other. I know, I know –it’s all be said. (Do feel free to write it in the comments anyhow, I like a laugh —but do personally stand up for the beliefs you claim, nothing anonymous gets through.)

I’m cool with that: I’m not here to change people’s minds, not even about me and all of my character flaws. I am just here to help parents who want a different way to find a different way.

Advocates for those Peaceful / Gentle Parenting Tactics

Proponents of ‘peaceful’ parenting actually recommend locking children in isolation based on the time of day (or the parent’s preference for peace and quiet) and leaving them locked in regardless of the duration or intensity of the child’s protest, with instructions for parents like ‘clean up the puke in the morning,’ and with information that sounds like psychology but that is actually abuse, like ‘he just needs to be upset, and that’s okay.’ 

These people are wrong

Just to be really clear: there are no circumstances in the world when any human ‘needs’ to be upset. There are many when humans are upset, but that is not a need. Needs (when met) feed growth, health and happiness. The assertion that being upset is a ‘need’ is a guru making up stories to make followers feel better (than they naturally do) about causing or ignoring their children’s distress.

There is a reason people feel bad about treating children badly.

Other recommendation from the Gentle and Peaceful world (do, please, point out the gentle and the peaceful to me in any of this, I can't find it):  
  • bribery with food –one parenting commentator routinely recommends ‘promise a treat when they comply’
  • withholding food (and other necessities of life) for compliance, such as ‘send them to bed hungry and inform them that it is their decision to be hungry and they can eat in the morning if they comply then’ and ‘take away their food if they drop or throw it, declaring that they are no longer hungry and refuse to give in, they’ll learn very quickly’
  • stealing or holding their property hostage for compliance –-the usual and popular ‘take away all their electronics until they do what you demand’ akin to 'give the wifi password when the chores are done' bribe
  • threatening them (with everything from not having a birthday party this year to Santa not coming to being sent to boarding school) so they comply
  • get them used to being spied on by enemies so they will feel both hunted and guilty (omg, the horrible Elf on the Shelf, but also Santa ‘watching’ and judging, even angels or gods are used for this, which seems a little bit evil)
  • snoop through any and all of their stuff (they aren’t real people, they have no right to privacy of any kind, at any age, as long as they are living under ‘your roof’)
  • children need to learn that they are not the boss of parents / the household, and that lesson need not be gentle or kind in its delivery
  • children need to learn what the parents insist on them learning, when the parents are ready for them to learn with no reference at all to the developmental level or capabilities of the child
  • take away the bottle / pacifier / object of attachment because when parents are finished with their kids needing the self-soothing tools they introduced, the child must be finished needing it regardless of any protest or distress
  • children naturally protest growing up, taking on responsibility, and getting what they really need so any volume, intensity or duration of protest over parent’s methods is to be taken in stride because parents know best all the time, and it is up to them to be in charge and decide everything
What The Recommendations Read Like to Domestic Abuse Survivors

These experts in 'gentleness' and 'peacefulness' are so used to their place of privilege in this culture of agism and childism that they have no idea at all how their rationalizations, explanations, reasons, excuses and justifications really sound like.

What domestic violence abusers do:
  • locking their victim out of the house, in the house, or isolating them from family and friends teaches them who is in charge, and who knows best for them
  • give victims flowers or jewelry when they do what is wanted
  • threaten them when they don’t do what is wanted
  • withhold access to money, friends, family, their own phone, or anything else, so they know who is in charge –and ensure they know they are being watched so they behave
  • destroy the possessions they cherish, or give them away or sell them because they deserve it
  • victims need to learn who is in charge and that they are not the boss of the abuser, so whatever it takes to teach that is fine and necessary (violence may be off the table, but gaslighting, isolation, controlling their stuff, emotional blackmail, guilt, pouting, the silent treatment, ridiculing, criticizing, intimidating, public shaming… all totally fine)
  • victims may protest what is best for them, but abusers know better than what will make victims happy, healthy, mature, have a good character, or become socially acceptable, the abuser is just trying to help fix the victims flaws (and there are so many flaws…) 
these are all excuses and justifications used by bullies and abusers of all kinds
including parents

At Least Gentle / Peaceful Parenting is Better Than Mainstream Parenting??

The absence of spanking (or, sometimes, the absence of spanking and shouting) does not stop the damage mainstream parenting does, so I will agree with Alfie Kohn: 

a time out is better than a spanking the same way a spanking is better than being shot—none of them are kind or respectful treatment and none of them qualify as effective parenting tools
Removing one (or at the most, two) of the controlling tactics from the arsenal in the war on children is not at all like attachment-style parenting.

Attachment-style parenting seeks to end the war entirely.

     … to be continued

*opium dissolved in alcohol, in case you’re not up on your Victorian sleep cures


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