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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What's a mama s'posed to do?

Annika has started asking me a lot of questions I don't know how to answer. Not because they are complex philosophical questions about God, or where babies come from, but because I can't understand what she's talking about.

She's in a phase where the questions in her brain are apparently more complex than she knows the words for. One of her favorite questions lately is: "Mama, what we're s'persed (supposed) to do?"

For a while I was just answering her with a lot of "I don't knows." I thought that honesty was the best way to approach a conversation with a toddler. And I honestly had no idea. But then she started responding to all my questions with "I don't know Mama."


So yesterday, as we were driving to drop her off at Toyin's for the evening, she said to me, "Mama, what we're s'persed to do Daddy, Mama, Ahnka?"

I tried to guess what she was trying to say. "Mommy is taking you to Daddy's house." I said.

Her response" "Mama, what we're s'persed to do Daddy, Mama, Ahnka?"

"Do you want to go see Baltar?" I said, hoping to distract her.

"Mama, what we're s'persed to do Daddy, Mama, Ahnka?"

"That's not proper phrasing Annika, I don't understand what you're asking."

"Mama, what we're s'persed to do Daddy, Mama, Ahnka?"

I wonder what she's asking me. Is she wondering why Toyin and I don't live together anymore? Is she wondered what the meaning of life is? Is she wondering what we're literally going to do? Or is she just practicing a phrase that she picked up?

So, what we're s'persed to do? I guess just keep trying to figure out what she's asking, and when I figure it out, try to find the answer that she needs. 

I knew it was time to get Annika a toy sling for her dolls when she started using underwear and bras to sling her babies up.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Part V: A Series on Attachment Theory, a summary of A Secure Base

And now, on to Chapter three of A Secure Base, by John Bowlby. Since I started reading this book, I am feeling even more certain that I have made a  good choice for Annika and myself when choosing to parent this way. It's not important just for her, but for me, that I parent this way. I am starting to see how my own childhood has affected my adult life and I want something different for Annika.

Chapter Three: Psychoanalysis As Art and Science:

Bowlby starts off this chapter by pointing out the distinction between psychoanalytic therapy and the science of psychoanalytic psychology. Quoting Freud, he notes that psychoanalysis was originally the name of a therapeutic method, but it has now become the name of the science of unconscious mental processes.

At this point you (reader) are probably yawning a little bit, and wondering why the hell I am boring you with this stuff. But I am anal retentive and I can't skip part of the book. If Bowlby thought it was important, by god, I am going to put it in here. But I might get a little creative for this section because quite frankly, after a few paragraphs of this I am seriously thinking about packing it in a watching the next episode of Breaking Bad, season 2 on my Netflix disc.

Okay, forward march!

Shrinks (psychologists) are even more anal than I am and they analyze the crap out of their patients before they start making a diagnosis.

Psychoanalysis is similar to that of a surgeon, cutting open and examining the mind. Even so, they are limited in the knowledge they can attain using psychoanalysis.

Scientists should be constantly skeptical of their own work and theories. But in putting their work into practice, one must work upon the notion that certain ideas and theories are accurate.

Scientists need to have faith. Yes, faith in the application of scientific method.

Some scientists believe that certain problems lie beyond the help or scope of science. Bowlby notes that neither he nor Freud were of this belief. Even so, any scientific practitioner should acknowledge that there are some problems that they will not be able to solve.

There are two roles that one can fill. Scientist and practitioner. A scientist strives to simplify. A practitioner deals with complexity.While these are two roles, they can be filled by one person. Theory guides the practitioner. Scientists must challenge theory. Practitioners restrict modes. Scientists employ every one that they can.

This feels like a good stopping place. And it wasn't nearly as boring as I thought it would be. It felt a little zen. I liked it. Two ideas, one person. Kind of like motherhood. You can be wild and crazy one minute, yet responsible and nurturing the minute your child walks in the door. Obnoxious and vulgar in a heated moment of road rage, and yet, soft and gentle with your child when she pees on the floor. Yin and Yang.

If you like this series, and want to catch up you can click on the tag cloud under Attachment Theory.

If you aren't crazy about theory and reading about psychoanalysis, just wait, I have some really cute pictures of Annika with her new doll sling.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

When you know you're really grown up: The third installation of Drlogging

The other day I was trying to figure out how I would take off the tags from one of Annika's toys while out in public and I thought, "Maybe I need to get a pocketknife." This is one of those thoughts that stems from having grown up in west Texas on a ranch. Yeah. I don't know if I've mentioned that before. My family lived on a ranch in Trent, Texas for seven years, during some of my formative years (7-14). 

I know I've gotten old because I can remember a time when it wasn't an unusual thought for a mother of four to see pocketknives at the local five-and-dime and go, "Hey, those would make nice stocking stuffers for the kids!"

Yep, I really did own more than one personal pocketknife before the age of 10. You can't make this shit up people.

I know I'm getting older because the world has changed so dramatically since I was a kid.

When I was a child I swear to all that is holy I was certain that by the time I was the age I am now (38) we would have flying cars. I am still a little pissed that we don't. I'm sure the technology is there, but can you imagine the bureaucratic bullshit we'd have to go through to get them in the air? Think of the traffic laws.

People would have to learn how to read longitude and latitude. We'd have hologram Stop signs. There would be airplanes constantly buzzing around drawing traffic lines and when you get pulled over, you could be all, "But officer, the white line was fading, it's not my fault the crop duster ran out of gas!"

The thought of it reminds me a little of learning how to drive when I lived in Okinawa, Japan.

My ex was in the Air Force and we lived there for three years. In Japan, they drive on the other side of the road, because of the British occupation and all after WWII. That wasn't the scary part. Although, I won't deny having had plenty of brain fart moments where I accidentally drove on the right (wrong) side of the road. Luckily, it only happened on base, and the military police were pretty forgiving about that kind of stuff.

No, the scary part about learning to drive in Okinawa was the way Japanese people drive. If you've ever been to New York City, multiply that times 1000 and then add in the fact that the people who are screaming and honking at you speak another language and you don't understand the street signs. Okinawa is extremely hilly too, which means if you are not on a main road, chances are you can't see much more than 50 feet in front of you. Add in the fact that most of the roads are only about a car-and-a-half wide. That means that when you're driving, you're essentially playing chicken and as soon as you both get to a about 10 feet from hitting each other, you both swerve (and scream the first 20 times) and then keep on going.

It's fucking nerve wracking at first. But then after awhile, you get used to it and it seems pretty normal. Then you move back to the United States and you're all, "Wow, these roads are HUGE!" And then you feel sad because you feel like you bonded a little with those people you came close to dying with over and over again.

My point is, and I will admit here that I really don't have one. I'm a little drunk. For the past few nights I've fallen asleep with Annika and not gotten to drink from the three bottles of wine I found on sale at CVS. Needless to say, when I awoke at 2:30 this morning, I was kind of peeved and yearning for a drink. I laid (is is that right? I don't know) in bed for about half an hour reading Facebook and Twitter then I decided, WTF, I'm 38-effing-years old. I can get up and have a glass of wine if I want to. It'll help me sleep. So I did.

The End.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Deep In the Heart of Annika

I love Texas. It's my home. Even though I moved to Japan, then Montana, then settled in Detroit for nine years, I always knew that I would come back to Texas someday. As much as I love Texas and feel like it is my home, there has always been this little bit of me that feels like I don't quite belong here. See, Texans, at least, small-town Texans, believe that you are only a "true" Texan if you're born in Texas.

I have a feeling that Annika will travel a lot during her life, but I'm glad that she was born in Texas, so that she will always have someplace to call home.

She's already got loyalty toward her home state. Check this out (My apologies to my Facebook friends for the repeat):

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Part IV: A Series on Attachment Theory, a summary of A Secure Base

This is the fourth part in a series on attachment theory. I am summarizing my reading of A Secure Base, by John Bowlby. Bowlby was one of the premier researchers on attachment theory, which is the basis for attachment parenting.

This is the second part of Chapter 2. If you need to catch up you can read the first three parts here, here and here.

Chapter 2, A Secure Base

We left off with a new finding of an alternative theory to why babies seek to be close to their mothers. An alternative model had been found. Ducklings and goslings who clearly were attached to their mothers and yet, the need for food was not an issue.

Using this new framework to define attachment, Bowlby began to examine traditional psychoanalysis regarding the phenomena that Freud pointed to: love relations, separation anxiety, mourning, defense, anger, guilt, depression, trauma, emotional detachment, sensitive periods in early life, etc.

Instead of working backward, from adults with these diagnoses, Bowlby began to trace childhood traumas toward these adult states. Additionally, instead of making leaps from his subjects' thoughts and feelings, Bowlby instead made observations of children in certain settings, including their own expressions and from there built a theory of personality development.

In formulating a new theory, Bowlby added to his research a study by Harlow that said in a study of Macaque monkeys, a soft doll was preferred over a hard one, the only noticeable difference was the texture of the doll. 

While attachment behavior is most obvious during childhood and more clearly articulated during times of sickness, fatigue or stress, it is always present. Knowing that a there is another person available who will be sensitive and responsive gives a secure feeling, thus allowing world exploration without anxiety. At any age, it is an important part of human development and acts like an insurance policy.

Because Bowlby approached his new theory with observation of behavior, it was regarded by some as simply another form of behaviorism. One reason for this is that attachment and attachment behavior is not always distinguished. Attachment is the predisposition by one person to seek proximity to another person and especially under certain conditions. Attachment behavior is any behavior that is engaged in order to maintain that proximity. Attachment behavior may change based on differing conditions, but an enduring attachment is usually reserved to only a few people. When children fail to show discrimination with attachment behavior that is a clear sign that the child is disturbed. The reason for this is that the behavior is not being activated. This results in an emotionally detached child and, eventually, adult.

This emotional detachment results in what cognitive psychologists call a "false self" or narcissism. This behavior is caused by certain information being blocked, thus leaving the person without the use of attachment behavior and results in the inability to love or experience the feeling of being loved.

While developing his new framework, Bowlby learned of another physician, Margaret Mahler,who was interested in how people arrive at the self. Not comparing the two frameworks, but instead, using her theories to strengthen his own, Bowlby noticed the closeness in which they related. Mahler's theories include some of Bowlby's that children need to "refuel" in order to develop.

Bowlby describes his research on maternal deprivation as extremely rewarding and finds that the amount is not just ample, but extensive. In the late 1970s, a principal finding was the two or more adverse events multiplied many times over the potential for psychological disturbance. One example was a study of depressive disorders in women. The group of researchers, Brown and Harris, continued this research on into the 1980s. The findings showed that not only were numerous adverse events likely to cause psychological disturbance, but they just continue to multiply. For example, people brought up in unhappy or disrupted homes were more likely to have illegitimate children, become teen mothers, or have unhappy marriages and/or get divorced. These adverse events snowball, one making the next one more likely. While the earlier events were set apart from the later ones, they were found to be the cause of personality disturbances that caused the adverse events to happen initially.

These patterns of maternal deprivation were traced to psychological disturbances from generations past. For example, a mother who grows up to be anxiously attached, would likely seek care from her own child, thus causing that child to become anxious, guilty and perhaps, phobic. These generational leaps were found to be most serious.

Research on how parents' childhood experiences effect the way they treat their own children began in the 1980s, but Bowlby estimated that it seemed likely to be one of the most fruitful areas of research.

Bowlby spent much time developing his theory because, as a peer told him, "'There is nothing so practical as a good theory, and, of course, nothing so handicapping as a poor one.'" His hope was that eventually his theory would prove useful in helping parents learn, for certain, how to best promote healthy personality development. Once that is known, then parents will know what is best for their children and then society will be able to provide it.

Woo hoo. That is some heavy stuff. Good, but heavy. Sorry I'm a day late. I'm off to go find something silly to even this out with.    

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My sexy muffin top

Yep, she isn't happy about it either.
I have never been overly concerned with my body --until now. Having a baby has definitely changed me, and not all of it is pretty. In fact, one particular part of it is extremely gross.

I consider myself to be lucky that I've never had a weight problem and with relatively little effort I can used to be able to maintain my average-but-good-enough-body.

Like most American women, I have certain parts of my body that I hate. My stomach, has always been what I've considered my "problem" area. But let me tell you ladies, (and men, if you're still reading, by the way, does this blog make my ass look fat?) I have a fupa!

A fupa, you know, the fat upper pussy area. 

You know what I mean. The bulgy little area right above your lady bits where that pooch juts out when you sit down, and the part that folds over your panties or two-piece swimsuit after you've had a baby.

And let me tell you, it is hot.


And it's not just that. It extends upward and meets up with the muffin top that's been slowing expanding over the past few months.

Before I had Annika I always heard how your body changes after a baby. I was expecting this big dramatic shift in my body parts. When that didn't happen, I considered myself lucky. I breastfed, so the first 30 pounds (out of 40) of baby weight pretty much dropped right off within a few weeks (yeah, it was crazy) even though I was eating everything in sight. I still had  bit of a muffin top, but I figured that would eventually go away.

Well, it didn't.

It got bigger and flabbier.

I don't have any serious body image issues, and because I'm sorta lazy, I go through phases where I don't exercise a lot.

Pre-baby, this was no big deal. I might gain a few pounds, but it dropped right back off after taking back up with my old exercise regime of walking a few miles and doing a few sit ups.

Well, over the winter, I got lazy for the first time since Annika was born. And now, I have a fucking fupa. And it doesn't stop at the pooch area, it extends into nice fat rolls around my midsection.

Yeah, fupa plus muffin top, equals GROSS!


It's been there for awhile. But I've been in denial. I kept telling myself that with a little bit of walking and some sit ups, it would melt right off. But I've been doing that for a couple of months now and it's still there.

For the first time in my life I'm going to have to step up my exercise game.

It's either that or resign myself to keeping this fupa and buy a whole bunch of new pants. But that's not really an option. For one, it's ugly. For two, it's uncomfortable. And three, I ain't made of money.

I know some women complain about big butts. Not to belittle anyone whose problem area is a big butt, but personally, I would prefer a big butt. It's more socially acceptable and easier to complain about. And as far as I know, it doesn't fold over anything, it just sticks out further.

And at least some men find big butts attractive. I don't think I've ever met a man who said, "Hey baby, nice fupa! Oooh, that is one sexy muffin top!"

Monday, August 9, 2010

Part III: A Series on Attachment Theory, a summary of A Secure Base

I've finished chapter one of A Secure Base, by John Bowlby and I'm looking forward to getting started on chapter two. Hope y'all are enjoying this with me. I know it's a bit dense, but I think the information is good and solid. I already feel more secure in my parenting having read some of this and I think it will continue to enlighten me.

Chapter 2 A Secure Base:

The Origins of Attachment Theory

In the 1930s and 40s, a number of clinicians made independent observations about the negative effects in on personality because of institutionalization and/or frequent changes of a mother figure

In 1949 the chief of the mental health section of the World Health Organization (WHO) requested to contribute to a United Nations study of the needs of homeless children. Bowlby was asked to be a consultant for the project. He wrote a report called Maternal Care and Mental Health, which offered enormous evidence regarding the adverse influences on personality development of inadequate maternal care during early childhood. In his report, Bowlby recommended ways to avoid or mitigate long-term ill effects. The report was translated into a dozen other languages in addition to English.

In the 1950s, two movies were released, Grief: A Peril in Infancy and A Two-Year-Old Goes to Hospital. These movies had much influence in the professional world where infant care was involved. 

Because of the changes implemented, controversy over attachment theory continued, which had initially stemmed from early publications.

Critics trained in more traditional psychology and in the learning-theory approach pointed to lack of evidence and proper explanation as to how these experiences could effect personality development.

Research continued and the field continued to change.

In 1963, a WHO publication was released with several articles that reassessed the term, deprivation of maternal care. One articles by Mary Ainsworth pointed to some controversial evidence that needed more research.

Around the same time, another study was released by Harry Harlow on maternal deprivation in rhesus monkeys. In the UK, Robert Hinde released complementary studies.

Between these two scientists and Mary Ainsworth's work, the opposition was undermined. After that, criticism became more constructive.

Questions remained, however. Uncertainties like: Why do these ill-effects persist throughout life? Which features or combination of features cause the distress? Is there a way to account for persistent ill-effects? Why do some children come through negative life experiences relatively unharmed, while others do not? How important is a principal caregiver? Some critics pointed out that it was common in some less developed societies to find multiple mothering (although, this turned out to be untrue).

In addition to the questions raised by its own researchers, there were common misconceptions surrounding attachment theory. A common inaccuracy was that the primary caregiver must be the child's natural mother (the blood-tie theory). Another wrongly held account of the theory was that the mother must be with her child 24 hours a day with no relief.

A new look at the theory was necessary. This was pointed out by several reviewers of Bowlby's publication, Maternal Care and Mental Health, who said that the term maternal care was too broad. At the time it was assumed that the reason children are attached to their mothers because they feed them. Food was considered a primary drive, with dependency being a secondary drive.

Bowlby did not believe this theory to be accurate. Another theory posited that food, being the primary drive, and dependency at the mother's breast, were interwoven. Bowlby did not accept either theory because, he said, that if these were true, children would easily cling to anyone who fed them. This was not his experience with any children.

He learned of a new theory by Lorenz on the responses of ducklings and goslings. This study caught his interest because these animals were obviously particular to their mothers, and yet, they fed themselves.

I'm going to stop there, because, well, I love a good cliffhanger. Have a lovely week! (And yes, that is one of my bras. She likes to use it as a sling.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Check this box please, and deny half of your identity

When I was pregnant one of my biggest fears regarding becoming the mother of a Bi-racial child was the thought that she would identify with one half of her racial identity. I worried (for obvious reasons) that the half she identified with would not be mine, thus denying our mother/child bond.

I don't think this is an unfounded fear. In this country, if you look Black, you are Black. No matter if you are half, or one quarter, Black is Black. White is White. I'm White. As far as I know, the majority of my ancestry is British, with a little German, French and Irish, but most likely 100 percent European. Except that there was a suspicion amongst my mother's family that my great grandfather may or may not have been at least partially Native American. He was suspected of "passing." The only reason anyone thought that, though, was because he never grew facial hair. He didn't look the part and he didn't pass on any ethnic qualities to his children.

In addition to this country's history of dividing the races by color, even the Black community doesn't let Bi-racial folks get away with being a mixture of both.

It's pretty common to hear Black people make fun of Bi-racial folks, saying they aren't insert-other-half here, they're just Black. A couple of high profile Bi-racial men come to mind, our president, Barack Obama and golfer Tiger Woods.

Even though President Obama was raised by a White mother and his White grandparents, he enlisted his Black/African half while running for president.

Tiger Woods has been given a lot of shit by Black people for saying he's Cablinasian, (half Asian -- one-quarter Chinese and one-quarter Thai --, one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch) thus standing up for his Bi-racial identity. Technically, he's more Asian than anything else.

I don't blame Obama for using his skin color to get votes. Hell, he was just playing the game. And he played it well. Even though Tiger Woods is no longer America's sweetheart because he turned out to be a flawed human being, I still give him props for insisting that he not deny his Asian roots.

Now that Annika is here, my old pregnancy fears have lessened because I have started thinking about how I will talk to her about her roots and her skin color.

I think the world is more tolerant now than it was when I was growing up. And I think as Annika ages, it will become even more so. Kids today are more tolerant and open-minded than my generation. Today we have people who refuse to identify with a gender identity, people who identify with both, people who look one way and feel another.

I see racial identity following the same trends as sexual identity heading toward more gray (or should I say, tan) areas. More and more people will refuse to pick one or the other. More and more people are refusing to say they are simply one thing.

Human beings are complex to the core. Using color to identify people, is, in my opinion, just as antiquated as defining life roles and fashion choices based on a person's genitalia.

Choosing a more complex racial identity is a common thought process amongst plenty of mothers of Bi-racial children.

I was browsing a Bi-racial mom forum recently, and the topic of choosing racial identity at school caught my attention. Will my daughter feel pressured to choose a racial identity that isn't consistent with who she really is?

One mom said when she signed her daughter up for school, instead of choosing one of the pre-filled racial identities, she chose Other and wrote in Bi-racial. She was told that she was not allowed to do that and must choose only one race.

Those boxes may seem insignificant, if you fit into one of them, but if you don't, they are not boxes anymore, they are fences.

Ever since Annika was born, I've thought a lot about a boy I knew in high school.

His name was Charles. He was a Bi-racial boy being raised by a single White mother, his father was Mexican. Charles' skin was as white as snow. He had thick black hair, straight as a board. He did not speak with an accent in class. But when surrounded by his Spanish friends, he laid it on thick, using Spanish slang and affecting an accent. Even back then, I knew this kid wasn't confused. He was ashamed. I could see it in his eyes. He was defensive about anyone calling him White. He was damn proud of being a Mexican and he did all he could to make sure everyone knew he was proud of his heritage.

The only problem was, it was only part of his heritage.

I used to wonder how it made his mother feel that he was so ashamed of his White half, especially since she was the one raising him, alone. He was forced to choose. For whatever reason, he felt that his Latin roots were the better choice.

I don't see why anyone has to choose. That's not a choice I want Annika to have to make. That's like asking someone to choose between an arm or a leg. It's like asking someone to choose air or water.

It's asking someone to choose, mother or father.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Part II: A Series on Attachment Theory, a summary of A Secure Base

As part of my (personal) study on attachment, I am reviewing the book, A Secure Base, by John Bowlby. Bowlby was the premier researcher on attachment theory. His research spanned approximately five decades. His work is the basis for the parenting style, Attachment Parenting. This post is a summary of the second half of chapter one.

(The second half of) Chapter One, a summary of A Secure Base:

We have made dramatic advances in our knowledge of the importance of early interaction between mother and child. The famous studies of Klaus and Kennell observe how mothers interact with their newborns when allowed to proceed naturally. Immediately after birth, mothers tend to hold her child close, stroking the baby's face, and touching the baby's body with her hands and palm. Within a few minutes, she will  put the baby to her breast. Mother's tend to be in a state of ecstasy and observers also tend to become elated simply by watching them. Mother's often spend the next few days cuddling her baby and she will typically have a moment when she feels the baby is her very own, usually within moments after birth, but this feeling can be delayed by as much as a week for some (typically a minority).

Within the first few weeks, the mother and her child will alternate between lively interaction and phases of disengagement. The sensitive mother will adjust her behavior according to her child's movements, creating a dialogue that fits the baby's pace. The baby also joins in spontaneously, responding to the mother. These behaviors show that the mother and child are developing a partnership. During feeding time, the same type of pace develops. During heavy suckling, the mother is generally silent, but will engage with her child during pauses at the breast.

As the child ages, and begins to play with toys, the relationship continues, with mother following the baby's lead. When a child shows interest in a toy, the mother will follow suit, commenting on the toy, naming it, playing with it, thereby promoting a shared experience.

In another example, pre-verbal vocal exchange shows the ability to take turns and avoid overlapping within very young infants and continues as they age up to age 2. The evidence shows that the mother's interaction plays a major part as the leader in smooth transitions between speakers.

Most of this stuff seems like common sense. But the next part is pretty exciting. It says, essentially, that how we treat babies sets the stage for their personalities and how they treat us, as they age. It's one piece of evidence that proves, in my mind, that attachment parenting advocates aren't a bunch of wackos, like we are portrayed in the media.

Bowlby says that what has emerged from all these studies is the evidence that by responding with sensitivity (a principle of API) the mother has already begun to enlist the cooperation of her child. Babies are pre-programmed to be socially adaptable, but (and here's the BIG but) "whether they do so or not turns in high degree on how they are treated." Of course, this finding means that the way mainstream parenting has been taught for centuries is wrong on many counts, additionally, it means that the role of the parents must change dramatically in order to instill a solid attachment.

The role of each parent is typically that of the mother being the primary attachment figure and the father being more of a playmate. However, the child can be firmly attached to both parents if both parents make the effort to fill the role of attachment figure. In several studies, the findings showed that the approach to new people and new tasks were based on confidence and security. The children studied were graded on levels of confidence and security. The children who graded highest on confidence and security were attached to both parents. The next down were children who were only attached to one parent. And the children with the lowest confidence and security were attached to neither parent.

In providing a secure base, (the basic premise of Bowlby's entire work) the role of the parent must be similar to that of an officer at a military base where one can retreat in the event of a setback. (Bowlby's analogy, not mine.) Basically, the parent must BE the base. The place where the child can go to be welcomed, nourished, both physically and emotionally, and helped out, but only if actively needed.

Bowlby goes to say that unless a parent has an intuitive understanding of their child's attachment behavior, they will not be able to provide the secure base. Attachment behavior is often seen as dependency and the mainstream dubbing dependency as regressive is not only incorrect, but an "appalling misjudgment."

There are certain conditions that foster satisfying relationships between parent and child. One condition that fosters a mutually satisfied relationship is an atmosphere where the mother (or main attachment figure) is supported so that she (or he) can focus solely on the child. Another condition is the support a woman receives during her labor. Women who had another female figure with her during labor were shown to have labors lasting half as long as women who were left to labor alone. An easier and supported labor provides better conditions for a mother to bond with her baby for a longer period after labor, thereby giving a good start to a healthy lifelong bond.

The influence of the mother's own mother also influences the relationship between the mother and her new child. Children whose mothers responded with sensitivity to them, were more likely to respond with sensitivity to their own children.

Further studies show that women whose families were disrupted before age 11interact less with their newborns.

Parents who come from physically abusive families were more likely to have a number of parenting problems, such as becoming batterers themselves or have negative views about parenting. One of the most disturbing trends among mothers who had been abused was the tendency to expect their children to care for them, thus inverting the relationship. Children who come from homes where the mother inverts the relationship experience such psychological problems as school refusal, agoraphobia and depression.

Bowlby recommends one way to stop these abusive trends is to set up programs where new parents can observe first-hand how to parent with sensitivity.

That's the end of chapter one. I think I'm totally addicted to this book and I can't wait to delve into it further. I will start on chapter two next Monday.