We often hear the importance of treating children fairly, but at Attachment Parenting International (API), we advocate rather to love each of our children uniquely. Because every child—just like every adult—is one of a kind, each individual parent-child relationship forms to the distinctive shape of each other’s differences in temperament, interests, opinions, aversions, conversions and other subtle nuances of what makes each person and their interactions unique.
API celebrates every person’s unique traits, but some children’s differences set them apart from societal expectations enough that daily interactions—whether at home, childcare or school—can be challenging. Rather than viewing our children through the lens of understanding, however, our society’s response is often to see these differences as “symptoms” of a disorder and to follow up with treatments that may not resolve the problem.
I am excited to share a discussion with Barbara Probst, PhD, LCSW, author of When the Labels Don’t Fit, on her approach to facilitate understanding among parents and teachers in order to discover a new relationship with sometimes-challenging children based on appreciation and respect instead of illness.
RITA: What inspired your alternative approach to “treating” children whose differences often lead them to being diagnosed with disorder?
DR. PROBST: I feel quite strongly about the way our culture seems to be viewing every difference, difficulty, struggle and quirk—every extreme or unusual behavior—as a disorder, especially when it comes to kids!
Part of the core of Attachment Parenting is teaching our children about emotions—what they’re feeling and what to do about it, as well as how to empathize with others—a skill referred to as “emotional literacy” by parenting consultants like Ann Corwin, PhD, MEd, of Laguna Niguel, California, USA.
We know more than ever that emotional literacy is critical for healthy human development. Unfortunately it’s a skill that was not regularly nurtured in past generations, and many parents are learning about difficult emotions like jealousy and disappointment alongside their children. It was evident as I talked with Ann, mother to two grown children, that her life’s passion is in empowering parents in strengthening their relationships with their children and that emotional literacy is very much central to her work.
RITA: Thank you, Ann, for your time. Let’s start by learning how you came into your line of work?
If you are passionate about parent-child attachment or adult attachment — perhaps you’re an author, a fellow blogger, a parent educator or child psychologist, a parent, or anyone interested in sharing an experience, suggesting a resource, offering a webinar or teleseminar, and so on — I welcome your contributions.
I am seeking guest blog posts from experts as well as parents. Word count should be no more than 500 words per post; high-quality articles that are longer can be broken up into a series. Posts should be informational, not promoting a certain program or book. Post submissions should be accompanied by a bio and photo of the author, with any link backs included in a “for more information” blurb.
Books, DVDs, websites, online or home-study courses, and so forth can be submitted for review and consideration to be featured.
Authors, experts, and others who have something interesting to share in the discussion of attachment can request a question-and-answer interview form via e-mail.
Events — both online such as webinars and teleseminars, as well as community-based such as conferences and parent support group meetings — can be submitted for inclusion. It is appreciated if you contact me at least one month in advance of the pre-registration date (event date if no pre-registrations are necessary). This gives me enough time to promote your event.