API's Mission Statement

****************Our New Address is**************** www.fredericksburgapi.blogspot.com

"Our mission is to promote parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents. We believe these practices nurture and fulfill a child's need for trust, empathy, and affection, providing a lifelong foundation for healthy, enduring relationships."

Feeding With Love and Respect

"Feeding is Parenting." What we put into our children's bodies, and the manner in which we do it, is just as important to their attachment to us as how we put what into their minds and hearts.

As with all relationships, the feeding relationship is a partnership of shared responsibilities. It is the parents responsibility to provide in a timely manner nutritions, delicious food choices. It is the responsibility of the child to decide as to the particular food, its quantity, and to a certain extent the frequency at which he feeds himself.

Just as the healthy breastfeeding relationship involves the mother attending to the child's signals and providing milk which she produces from her own healthy diet, and the baby taking of that food as often and as much as his body needs, so too does the feeding relationship beyond breastfeeding involve the mother's sensitive, loving response to her child's nutritional needs and preferences.

Below are some handouts regarding the philosophy and practice of Feeding With Love and Respect:

Principle Description

Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood Outline

Feeding With Love And Respect Recommended Reading List

Schamelot Green Smoothie Recipe

Provide Consistent, Loving Care (Formerly "Avoiding Separation")

Forcing or rushing independence doesn't make our children independent faster or sooner. In fact, it slows, or retards their growth toward independence. Children mature best in a securely attached relationship, like a tree grows bigger and stronger when firmly planted in rich, fertile soil.

However, there will come a day when our children are ready to be separated from us and the better we've prepared for that day, the more smooth will be the transition.

A Guide To Providing Consistent, Loving Care teaches parents how to go about paving the way for our children's emerging independence.

Striving For Balance In Personal And Family Life

Helpful Tips for Getting Yourself the Nurturing You Need to Be Fully Present to Your Children:
Take a warm bath
Rock or swing
Get a massage, haircut, manicure, pedicure, etc.
Take time and give yourself permission to just enjoy holding your baby
Seek out people who support you in your parenting
Avoid people who complain a lot
Avoid complaining yourself
Get outdoors
Dance with your baby
Enjoy nature
Sleep when your baby sleeps
Take your watch off permanently
Read a wonderful book
Listen to upbeat music
Limit TV watching
Prioritize housework
Forget housework
Set aside periods of time to do nothing to be fully present to yourself
Cook double when you're feeling strong and freeze one meal
Limit and coordinate errands
Don't answer the phone
Spend time with good friends
Treat yourself to an unusal gourmet food or some exotic fruit
Concentrate on the present moment
Take the "shoulds" and "have tos" out of your vocabulary
Meditate on the goodness of God in His creation

Positive Discipline

Highlights on Positive Discipline

  • True discipline develops from within the child. It is not imposed upon him from without. The goal of discipline is to foster in the child an environment in which his internal controls can develop and grow strong. When we constantly seek to control him with fear-inducing methods such as punishments, rewards, time-outs and frightening and threatening displays of temper, these internal controls do not develop.

  • When we focus on behavior instead of attachment we take risks that threaten the very basis of our power to parent: our relationship with our child. When we empathize, looking for the need the child is trying to get filled, albeit through inappropriate means, we preserve and strengthen the attachment, and foster our child’s natural maturing process.

  • Attachment based discipline is not a set of skills and strategies, which are far too definitive and limiting for a job as complex as raising children.

  • To learn to discipline our children based on our relationship with them (attachment), instead of on coercion and fear-inducing methods of control, we may have to struggle with our own impulsive reactions, our own immaturity, our own inner conflict, and feelings of futility. (Hold On To Your Kids, Drs. Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate)

  • The urge to control others in rooted in our innate fear that we do not have control of ourselves. A secure attachment with our children depends on our willingness to re-orient ourselves, horizontally, as it were, taking control of ourselves away from others and reclaiming it to ourselves. (Boundaries and Relationships, Charles Whitfield, M.D.)

  • Discipline should not and need not be adversarial—“us against them.” It is not our children’s fault that they are born uncivilized, immature; that their impulses rule them or that they fall short of our expectations. The discipline for parents is to work only in the context of connection. (Hold On To Your Kids, Drs. Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate)


Positive Discipline Principle Description from API

The Seven Principles of Natural Discipline, From Hold On To Your Kids, Drs. Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate

Positive Discipline and Attachment Parenting

List of Recommended Books and Articles on Positive Discipline

Responding With Sensitivity

Highlights on Responding with Sensitivity

• In order to respond sensitively to our children we have to learn to practice empathy

• Empathy mitigates anger both ways, on the part of the parent and on the part of the child, giving both a “right” feeling, a feeling of being o.k., as opposed to a guilty or shameful feeling.

• People who feel right act right, but hurting people tend to be hurtful people.

• Behavior is practically always needs driven. When we are in need of some good we devote ourselves entirely to getting it. Almost all undesirable behavior is indicative of some unfulfilled, legitimate need.

• For good to come out, good has to go in. When our children are “full” of goodness—specifically, good feelings—that goodness tends to radiate from within them toward others around them.

• One way to begin practicing empathy is in three parts: first connect physically (eye contact, touch, getting down on the same level), then connect mentally/emotionally (mirroring/validation), and finally, connect spiritually (empathize) by expressing a deep understanding of what your child is experiencing.

• Boundaries help us distinguish between our problems and others’, our feelings and others'. When we begin to look at our relationships in terms of boundaries (not too loose and not too rigid) we can begin to grasp where we end and our children begin, which they, in turn, internalize, individuating and creating for themselves healthy boundaries for healthy relationships.

• In other words, when it’s not your problem, don’t try to solve it unless you’re asked to, just try to be supportive and work to come to this deep understanding of the other’s experience.

• Avoid sympathy, suggestions and stories (which focus on yourself). Suggestions and stories can be offered after resonance has been achieved through empathy.

• Teaching our children a vocabulary for their inner life (just like “hot” and “owie” and “yucky” are to their exterior life) will facilitate their overall health and well-being. When they have this vocabulary they are better able to recognize the need their feelings are signaling to them, really feel it, really experience it, work it through, use it to get their needs filled, and then let go of it.

Here are the hand-outs:

Responding With Sensitivity Principle Description Summary from API

Highlights on Responding With Sensitivity

Center For Non-Violent Communication Feelings/Needs Exercise

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk Cheat Sheet (for the fridge!)

List of Books and Articles for Further Reading