Wednesday, 21 November 2018

3 More Mistakes Critics Make About Attachment Parenting

The to-be-continue post (Contrasting Attachment-Parenting with Child Hate, Childism and Misoproliny) was all about the kind of mainstream parenting that attachment-style parenting isn’t. 

This one is about all the types of parenting it is often accused of being instead.
Permissive, Hippy-Flippy, Woo-woo Non-Parenting

Yeah, that. Attachment-style parenting isn’t that.

It is not permissive. It may look like it to the folks still living over there on the mainstream parenting channel, thinking that the only safe or sane way to get an infant to adulthood without turning them into axe murderers or basement trolls who never get a job is harsh treatment or 'tough love' … but since both of those results are far more common from the mainstream … let me explain the difference.

I am sitting at a playground, watching my kids. There are not many other kids around, because that’s not an accident –dinner time is a great time to be at the playground if you want to actually sit down and not be mediating the war over the sandbox toys. One of my children is climbing up the slide, down the ladder, up the slide, down the ladder. Some helpful and kind grandmotherly type wanders up behind me, protesting and asking me why I don’t stop her. I can’t remember now if the problem was that she was breaking the slide rules (no climbing the slide) or because of how lethal climbing down the ladder clearly was. I also don’t remember what I said to Nice Old Lady. It was polite, but I clearly disagreed with her.
My kids did not need any help at all in deciding how to use the children’s playthings. If the inventor of slides only meant them for going down, the design was seriously flawed –up was available, fun and absolutely something my kids were permitted to explore. Not safe when someone else is coming down, but notice I already arranged the playground visit for a lull: not an accident, as I said.

Ladders are definitely made for going up and down (for fairly obvious reasons once you detach the idea of ‘slide and’ from ‘ladder’) and she clearly felt completely confident in her ability to manage the task –she’d already done it at least 7 times.
My deranged (to others) playground rule was simple: you may never help them go beyond what they are comfortable doing, and they must be rescued the moment the indicate the need.

This rule was not ‘permissive’ –it was intelligent and carefully thought through: what kind of risks do I want my kids to feel safe to handle when they are alone?
The kind that needs a spotter? The kind that needs help from others to reach and that would be very dangerous for them, alone, to get to at all?

Gee, no.
There’s the first part of the rule: you can only explore your way to the edge of your own comfort zone, no further. This is easily enforced because adults are rational and will do what they’re told by the kid’s mom even when they don’t understand it (or they will become very uncomfortable and wander away… darn.) Kids will naturally stop when they no longer feel safe, so that doesn’t need any kind of compliance from the kid, it’s built in.

My favourite kind of rule: the kind that I don’t have to police.

And this natural limit results in the odd ‘omg, I have got myself into a pickle here’ experiences for the kid:

Do I want my kids to feel free to ask for help, and get it, when they need it?, yes.

Oooh, look, another goal met without me having to do anything at all to enforce it! They ask for help, they get it. Ta-da!

Watch me sit on the bench watching them police themselves and their exploration all by themselves… while they are building their confidence in their abilities, all by themselves.


This isn’t permissive parenting, it’s lazy. And quite intentionally so.

Just ask, it may not be what you think it looks like.


Regular people unfamiliar with attachment-style parenting will also look at how misbehaviour is handled and think ‘they’re permissive.’ They aren’t. That is, attachment-style parenting parents are not. Permissive that is.
It looks like it because of what they really aren’t: punitive, authoritarian, shouting, demanding, coercive, threatening, nagging … it’s a long list. It is a long list of things you can see happening from across a busy mall.

Since the mainstream is used to expecting kids to get attacked for making mistakes or expressing their emotions, when attachment-style parents don’t do that it looks permissive. The kids appear to be ‘getting away with’ something.

Remind me to write a post about ‘getting away with’… grrr…


Here’s a tip for onlookers: just because you don’t recognize what is happening doesn’t mean nothing is happening, k?


    ‘My 3yo just won’t listen!’

    ‘How do you get your kids to listen?’

    ‘They never do anything they need to do!’, in this context is code. So is ‘mind’ and ‘do anything they need to do.’

The word obedience is so militant and WWII-ish, so people shy away from it all the time.  

Too bad they don’t shy away from the idea of it rather than just the word for it.

Yes, your 3yo will listen. I promise. Get down on their level, touch them gently, make soft eye contact as soon as they look at you and very quietly say, 

‘would you like your very own giant chocolate bar?’

Promise: they listen just fine. 

What they don’t is obey.

How you ‘get’ your kids to listen is two-pronged. First, you listen to them (so they have any idea at all what it looks like) and second, say things you expect they wish to hear. ‘Go do this right now because I told you to’ is very unlikely to be anything anyone anywhere ever wants to hear.

The last one: they resist doing what they need to do.

No, they don’t.
They need to breathe … and they don’t hold their breath until, and unless, they are frantically frustrated at trying to get their other needs met.

They need to eat … and they don’t starve themselves or resist eating healthy food until the whole issue becomes fraught with drama and top-down control (everything that is fraught with drama and top-down control causes resistance, it’s completely natural and inevitable.)

They need to eliminate … and they don’t hold it or get weird about letting it go (bladder shy) until after they’ve been shamed about bodily functions (including uncontrollable noises and odours) or someone’s attempted to control that from the outside.
Obedience is not an attachment-parenting thing.

All 3 --No AP Anywhere In Them

Neither misbehaviour nor obedience, or permissiveness, are part of the way Attachment-Style (AP) parents think about this game.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

4 Easy Steps to Overcome Morning Terror: Kids and Daycare
‘My lad screams and freaks out whenever I have to go to work. I get up a whole extra hour early, to ease him through the process gently, but nothing I do makes it any better. I explain how important it is for me to work so we can live, and how I understand how he is feeling about it, but it doesn’t change his screaming in terror and trying to block my way to the door.’

A question like this comes up about every other day on parenting lists. 

That small children have a blatant preference for the company of their people, and sometimes one parent or the other for a phase of life, is as predictable as Monday morning coming after Sunday night.
While, obviously, it is ideal if kids have their needs met, and their need for their parents are as real as their need for food and air, I also live in the real world: the one where US healthcare costs cause more middle-class bankruptcies than any other factor; the world where millions of very real children are starving to death for real, every day. 

The one where single parents comprise a significant portion of the workforce.

The other day I said,

there is the ideal, the preferable, and the possible

Sometimes what parents get to choose from is in the last category. Reality really sucks sometimes.

This means, pragmatically, sometimes the child will continue to be wild with frustration and annoyance over a parent doing what parents get to do: work outside the home in an environment openly antagonistic to children (read: where kids ain’t going to be allowed to be.) We can argue for days about what’s wrong with that, and why it’s possibly unnecessary in the very many cases, and how children are as much a part of human life and the world as the grown-up. . . and here we are, today, anyhow. Are we having fun yet?

Back to the miserable parent with the frantic child. of people give lots of advice in this scenario –from ‘sneaking out’ (aka: destroy trust early, it’s simpler than waiting) to ‘make major lifestyle changes so you don’t have to go at all’ (underlying suggestion: please start again at the beginning and be born with more privilege next time) to bribes, threats, ignoring it, promises about later, using different words to explain it better, saying ‘parents always come home’ or ‘I’ll be back later’ (and other temptations for Fate) and all manner of other ineffective and unhelpful things.

In the History of Explaining Things to Upset People. . .

The thing is, in the history of explaining things to upset people, no one has ever been made less upset by any explanation. Sometimes they may be effectively silenced (because ‘this is the reason you’re not welcome to be upset’ can really be a powerful message) but the emotional response to the reality they dislike remains exactly where it is, only simmering perpetually in the background. Yay.

As a friend’s counsellor pointed out: 

people give hugs and tissues to crying people because they want them to stop crying,
not because they want them to let out all their big feelings for however long it takes right now
Actually, people really need to let it out and to feel felt, as Bessel Van Der Kolk puts it, not calmed.

The calming will come on its own, once the feelings are felt through. The feeling through the emotions part –we don’t like that.

The calming will come on its own, once the feelings are felt through

We Don't Like That

First, because it upsets us. We feel their feelings (natural empathy) and we dislike those powerful feelings even when they are not ours.

Second, because it feels like it is going to literally take forever. It won’t, because emotions are a passing chemical response in the body/mind, and those chemicals deplete over time … eventually. (The longer its been since anyone was effectively empathetic with the feeler, the longer it will take because the backlog is bigger and feeling felt is such a unique relief. . .  but that doesn’t have much to do with little kids.)

Third, because people having big emotions around us feels (often) like they’re saying it is our fault, and we often feel compelled to justify, explain, inform or convince them why they’re wrong. Not a lot about trying to tell an upset someone about how they are wrong is likely to improve their mood. . .
Fourth, because it’s not fair. Few people have ever had much experience with feeling felt themselves, especially as kids, and we are deeply agitated by kids ‘getting away with’ things we were banned from doing. This is very stark in people who were shamed as children (like ‘boys do not cry’ or ‘how dare you?!?’)

And you know what? It is not fair. Truly.

It is not fair that people ever treated children and their emotions that way. It is less fair to mindlessly pass it on to another generation of innocent children. Becoming aware of this impulse to seek revenge on the next available victims is often sufficient to stop the cycle: Oh, that’s just those nasty old voices of those old crones who were wrong then, too… I can do something differently this time.

What Do I Do Differently? 
4 Easy Steps to Handling Kids’ Objections to What is Happening

     Step one: empathy

     Step two: repeat step one

     Step three: resist the urge to explain, justify, inform or convince

     Step four: empathy

Not so Easy, Is It?

The urge to rush to explain, justify, inform or convince is powerful, because we feel like our kids’ reactions are blaming us, and there are few things our culture is less comfortable with than blame.

This is where the adulting gets hard.

Courage, dear.

Scene:   Bedroom, early morning, mother and child getting ready for the day

Mom:    You are feeling so angry and scared that I am going to work, because        you really need me to stay home

And . . .  scene.

What is happening here that is so different from the ‘usual’?

Two really big things:

     1.       no one is trying to dismiss or silence the child’s emotional reaction –quite the opposite. This is a parent saying ‘I hear you, and I am here with you hearing you’ which builds trust, and;

     2.       this is a completely neutral and blame-free response that does not personalize the child’s emotion as the adult’s fault, or suggest in any way that the child is to blame for either his feelings or the adult’s emotional reaction.
Notice, this doesn’t magically make the child’s feelings go away.

Why would it?

This is the child who is, in the child’s terms, losing their parent (for the moment, for the day, for the duration of the deployment, or, when the child is really young and can’t understand the parent leaving and still existing somewhere else, forever.)

So, the child starts with powerful feelings that don’t go away by the end, how does that ‘work’? How does that qualify as ‘working’?

In mainstream terms, where the goals is to control the child, their emotions and every aspect of their expression of emotions, it doesn’t work.

it does not work at all for that

We Are Not Seeking That Goal

We are not seeking that goal.

We are also not seeking the underlying goal embedded in that control: to stop the parent feeling anything about what is happening for their child.

One of the things mainstream advice is really resistant to is any suggestion that the parent’s actions might reasonably make the parent feel bad. the child feels bad, well, that’s just to be expected, but parents should be forever free of anything like guilt, regret, responsibility or even compassion for what their child is experiencing when they have no power to fix it.

That’s the thing that takes the courage: the ability to have compassion for a child’s genuine experience when they are suffering and the situation causing it is impossible for us to fix.

The parameters of interacting with humans (even small ones)

               You can’t control them
               You can’t control their feelings or emotions
               You can’t control how they express their feelings or emotions
               You can’t demand trust or respect

               You can control your words and actions
               You can understand your own feelings or emotions
               You can help them feel felt and heard and understood
               You can foster trust and respect

That is what that 4 step plan reaches toward: fostering trust and respect, by helping them feel felt, heard and understood.

I did say that it takes courage because it's hard.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Why No Child Should Ever Be Asked to Obey This Command
I saw it again on a movie yesterday, after having discussed it with a friend just a day or two before: the worst possible reason to do anything is “which human is asking.”

Specifically, the worst possible reason to do anything is ‘because it is your mother asking.’

Or your father, great-uncle, your pastor or your future self from 2289…

First, because it is the thinnest end of the desperate argument-to-comply that there is before you are utterly gutted of reasons and say ‘because I said so.’

Second, because guilt trips are so 1990. You didn’t like them, your kids will hate them, too.

And, finally, because in a climate of respect and mutual kind regard, cooperation is requested not required.

Cooperation is encouraged, not enforced

It is not cooperative or respectful to demand other people do things because of your status alone, rather than something sensible like ‘it’s a good idea’ or ‘because I think I can give you a compelling argument to agree that it is a good idea’ or even ‘because it is a good idea.’

Frankly, if you can’t even come up with a single sensible reason for someone to comply, clearly in the same position as them you would not do it. So, why, by the heart of any living creature beating, would anyone else do it?
Seriously, just stop.

If the only thing you can think of saying to get anyone at any age to do what you want them to do is ‘but it’s me asking’ you are bereft of reasons and you both want it done and do not want to do it.

In the world of ‘let’s pretend we’re grown up’ I always suggest to every adult everywhere: do what you want. If it is important to you that the curtains are perfectly pleated before you close your eyes each night (or before anyone sees them in the morning), do, please, pleat them. Yourself, if you think it is a good use of anyone’s time. you don’t want to do it, or think the work is beneath you, or think someone else should do it, please review the above recommendation: if you think it is important, do it. If it is important to you, you are the very first person on the list to get it done. If you want to hire someone else to do it, do that. If you can’t afford someone else to do it and it is too low on your priority list for you to (think it is important enough to) do… leave it.

No one else is here on this planet today to ensure that the priorities that are not important enough for you to do with your time, effort, energy or money are accomplished. If they are your priorities, they are yours.

...if they are your priorities, they are yours...

They are no one else’s. Nor should they be.
If someone else thinks the curtains need to be perfectly pleated before your eyes close for the night, that is their problem –-unless you have negotiated to be employed by them for what you agree is a fair value for your effort, it has nothing to do with you, no matter who they are.

A lot of people will dispute this, because they were raised in a different universe at another time. They were told ‘you have to’ and ‘you have no choice’ and ‘it must be this way.’ am sorry they were lied to. I am sorry that they believed it. 

I’m sorry it polluted their whole lives and now they are so angry about it that they’re trying to pass it on to other people like a venereal disease (if I have to suffer it’s not fair unless everyone else also has to) … but that is all between them and their therapists, which I strongly recommend they get for themselves, as they are clearly very unhappy people.

Please let this nonsense die with a previous generation. It is time.

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: ‘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. 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 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. 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