Raising children in a natural way

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by spiritofthewildernes, May 21, 2004.

  1. I'm not sure if anyone has already brought this up but I think the Continuum Concept offers one of the best starting places for raising a child according to it's instinctual freedom and raising the child in a way which will promote love and unity and physical, mental and spiritual development. This method and others like it are how many children have been brought up for thousands of years in indigenous and native cultures so it's nothing new, and that is the beauty of it to me, it's ancient wisdom in child-rearing practices. I'm not promoting sales of her book, and this is not the only book which has good advice on how to raise a child, and one can easily find it at many public libraries if they wish to study it further.

    Understanding The Continuum Concept

    According to Jean Liedloff, the continuum concept is the idea that in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings — especially babies — require the kind of experience to which our species adapted during the long process of our evolution. For an infant, these include such experiences as...

    * constant physical contact with his mother (or another familiar caregiver as needed) from birth;
    * sleeping in his parents' bed, in constant physical contact, until he leaves of his own volition (often about two years);
    * breastfeeding "on cue" — nursing in response to his own body's signals;
    * being constantly carried in arms or otherwise in contact with someone, usually his mother, and allowed to observe (or nurse, or sleep) while the person carrying him goes about his or her business — until the infant begins creeping, then crawling on his own impulse, usually at six to eight months;
    * having caregivers immediately respond to his signals (squirming, crying, etc.), without judgment, displeasure, or invalidation of his needs, yet showing no undue concern nor making him the constant center of attention;
    * sensing (and fulfilling) his elders' expectations that he is innately social and cooperative and has strong self-preservation instincts, and that he is welcome and worthy.
    In contrast, a baby subjected to modern Western childbirth and child-care practices often experiences...

    * traumatic separation from his mother at birth due to medical intervention and placement in maternity wards, in physical isolation except for the sound of other crying newborns, with the majority of male babies further traumatized by medically unnecessary circumcision surgery;
    * at home, sleeping alone and isolated, often after "crying himself to sleep";
    * scheduled feeding, with his natural nursing impulses often ignored or "pacified";
    * being excluded and separated from normal adult activities, relegated for hours on end to a nursery, crib or playpen where he is inadequately stimulated by toys and other inanimate objects;
    * caregivers often ignoring, discouraging, belittling or even punishing him when he cries or otherwise signals his needs; or else responding with excessive concern and anxiety, making him the center of attention;
    * sensing (and conforming to) his caregivers' expectations that he is incapable of self-preservation, is innately antisocial, and cannot learn correct behavior without strict controls, threats and a variety of manipulative "parenting techniques" that undermine his exquisitely evolved learning process.

    Evolution has not prepared the human infant for this kind of experience. He cannot comprehend why his desperate cries for the fulfillment of his innate expectations go unanswered, and he develops a sense of wrongness and shame about himself and his desires. If, however, his continuum expectations are fulfilled — precisely at first, with more variation possible as he matures — he will exhibit a natural state of self-assuredness, well-being and joy. Infants whose continuum needs are fulfilled during the early, in-arms phase grow up to have greater self-esteem and become more independent than those whose cries go unanswered for fear of "spoiling" them or making them too dependent.

    ©1977, 1985 by Jean Liedloff

    For more info see :http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading.html
  2. Sage-Phoenix

    Sage-Phoenix Imagine

    I totally agree with that concept. It is very similar to attachment parenting with which I am already familiar.

    The things in that second list are so sad. Some of which I experienced myself, although my parents did what they thought was right and the time and the best they could. My brother and I didn't turn out too bad.
    Not that I won't find a better way.


  3. TerrapinRose

    TerrapinRose Member

    Isn't it horrible how difficult our society makes it to raise children naturally?And we have all this violence in our society,and crime and just a general rudeness towards one another anymore. How much of that comes from our bizarre way of isolating our children from their mothers? I refuse to leave my kids home with someone else,and I pay for that with poverty. If our Gov't wanted to they could encourage and enable moms to be home,but I guess they'd rather get 3 sets of income tax from both parents AND a babysitter. Sorry to rant,just gets me all ticked off!
  4. skye*

    skye* Member

    My daughter is raised with love, and understanding!
    I would never leave her when shes crying and she still sleeps with us at night, i think its aweful putting a child in a huge crib and letting them cry for up to an hr before they fall asleep. What is that??my daughters never slept in a crib. She is very confident at 15 months, advanced and very independant.
    She talks already and knows 123,up, down, please, thank you,kitty, puppy, juice, nap, all gone,mommy daddy, come to me,open, shut, her name, lay down, sleepy time
    sounds animals make and purple, orange, yellow. She enjoys learning and isnt the type to let you hold her hand on the way. She crawls stairs and we are working on going down them still. She is a very happy baby girl, hardly ever cries. These things to me are normal, however i have a friend that has put her kid in her own room, with no monitor mind you and in her own crib since the day she came home. they are only 2 months apart and her child is very dependant on her mom, has to be by her every second. She dosent do any of the things my child does as far as exploring or laughing, having fun. Playing is only with her doll and she mainly sits and watches. My friend had the nerve to tell me my child is hyper, i was like what are you talking about? My child does things any other child i know with the upbringing the same as ours does. she never cried their or made a fuss, she was her active self. My friend said shed be pulling her hair out at the end of the day if she had my child and i said well than your lucky i guess that your girl is so passive. Makes me wonder if her child is that way because she fears not learning in case shell get into trouble.
    Her house isnt baby proof at all yet her child didnt touch anything my child did touch all of the things out of curiosity. hmmm it so made me wonder why. She put her down and let her cry for about an hr before she fell asleep, i was so distraut by this we had to leave shortly after. I dont hang out with her much anymore, and dont agree with the way she raises her child. Or should i say partially , shes in daycare for 10 hrs a day.
    Im a stay at home mom and i feel like my daughter is the way she is beacuse of love and understanding. She isnt punished for being curious, or ignored in any way. Hell i cant even let people sit her because im too scared theyll treat her wrong, or punish her for things i dont.
    I dont understand how people can raise their kids that way and i never will i guess.
  5. Interesting...some of the stuff I agree with but there's no way in hell my kid would ever sleep in my bed. It would make sex a chore! Besides, since I'm adopting my kid will probably already have his own habits, etc. I never went through attatchment parenting and I like who I am and I'm more close to my mother than most people my age.
  6. 7river

    7river on a distinguished path

    i also agree with this. but i do think there are other healthy ways.

    i have only been an observer/helper in infant rearing, but have observed both types of rearing from birth to age 3 or 5. i ask a lot of questions and find myself facinated with one family and how loving and balanced they are. it is a big family with kids from 25, 20, 15, 4, and 1. they are all great warm ingauging smart people. well balanced, so i councel the parents a lot.
    the 4 and 1 year have a different mother who is my age. the father is 55, good friends of mine.

    one thing that struck me odd when i asked about the babies crying (because theirs rarely do), the father said he thought it was essencial for the baby to cry once in a while...just let him/her cry (as long as you feel it is safe) this helps develop there lungs but also overall strength and character...maybe spirit. they also do not practice constant contact. the parents are farmers and the baby is either in the field exploring under supervision while mom/dad are working or at home with a sitter. they are amazingly well adjusted kids. very happy rarely cry, entertain themselves very well...however when they do seek parents attention they are given full attention but not for long and they seem to be very happy/satisfied with it. of course there is lots of family time when they are center of attention. i almost get teared up watching the four of them play/make music and such...very happy family.
    i guess i'm saying i don't think this natural way is the only good way without
    negative effects. actually i think this part could have negative effects if not practiced wisely.
    [q] * having caregivers immediately respond to his signals (squirming, crying, etc.), without judgment, displeasure, or invalidation of his needs, yet showing no undue concern nor making him the constant center of attention;[/q]
    sounds almost contradictory
  7. Maggie Sugar

    Maggie Sugar Senior Member

    I really like Jean Liedloff's ideas. She paved the way for Attachment Parenting's reintroduction into our society.

    Not everyone has what it takes to give their all to parenting. With 6 Billion people in the world, WHY parent, if you can't give it 100%?

    No, there are other theories of child rearing. But the Continuum Concept and Attachment Parenting have never been disproven, and have nothing but scientific and psychological support behind them, while methods like Ferber's and Ezzo's and that "baby whisperer" jerk's have been shown to be VERY harmful to children.

    There is nothing "conveneint" about raising children, nothing "easy" and there are NO shortcuts to healthy emotionally mature children. Continuum and Attachment are HARD to implement. Yet, there seems to be little else that has the 65,000 year or so track record that they have.
  8. Maggie Sugar

    Maggie Sugar Senior Member

    7river said:
    Not really. What this means is that responding to your baby should simply be innate, natural and not out of the ordinary. I could respond to my babies while cleaning, talking, taking care of other children, talking to my friends and even doing my job! My kids are not solely the center of attention, but they are certainly attachment parented. One doesn't have to make a spectacle of it, the child is cared for as if caring for the child's needs were the most natural thing in the world....because it is. It is not an "interruption" of your life, because it is part of your life. Life is never the same after children, people who are always talking about "getting back to normal" after their kids are born, make the most unhappy parents, because there is a NEW normal, and if one decides to parent, one's life will NEVER be the way it was before.

    As for babies "needing to cry." I have to disagree, sometimes babies cry, and there is simpy NO way to stop it, but we know from quite a few studies that babies who are either afraid to cry to get what they need (had it "Cried out of them") or who cry alone, with no response to thier crying and no company in their sadness, and a lot have very high cortisol levels, have immune systems which do not function properly, and do not develop normally. Now I have no idea how your freinds parent, (there are a series of mothers there, so who knows what those kids went through when the mother of the first batch of kids left!) but babies do NOT "exercise their lungs" by crying. They cry for a need, and in order to grow properly that call for help should be heeded. Again, I don't know your freinds, and I don't know how they parent, but the sold judge of how "Good" a parent is should not be whether their children cry or not, but HOW those cries are ANSWERED when they do occur.
  9. Maggie Sugar

    Maggie Sugar Senior Member

    sky said of an other parent:
    Probably. I, too, cannot associate with people who parent the way you describe this mother. WHY did she have children? Children are supposed to be curious, "naughty" and interested in their surroudings. She let that baby cry for an hour before she fell asleep? God, I can't stand that! Sad sad sad sad. I don't think I could continue with someone who is doing what I consider abuse. I understand why you don't want to spend much time with this womyn. TEN HOURS a day in day care and she still can't care for her child with the small amount of time she has left?

    A story. I was at my La Leche League Meeting last week. Sage was going to a picnic for her Nursery Schooll, and since I might be late due to the meeting, a freind was going to pick Sage up from the meeting and bring her to the picnic before I could get there. We were having the meeting, with some moms of babies, and somehow the subject of "how long" I nursed my children came up. Now, I don't think nursing is a contest, children will nurse as long as they need to (as long as artificiality of feeding or care isn't given to them) one of the womyn said she was worried if she nursed "too long" her child would become "too dependent" on her. I gave ballpark times of how long my kids nursed, trying not to make a big deal about it (with Sage being the longest at 4 and half) just then my freind came and said, "Hey, Sage, are you ready for the picnic?" ZOOOOM! Out the door, "Bye, mama! See you later" I didn't even get a kiss! One of the mothers, who nursed her children a long time started laughing. And I said, "So much for my relatives who said Sage would be 'too dependent' if I gave her too much attention and nursed her too long. This is my nursed for 4.5 year baby running out the door." I couldn't have invented a better illustration of the independence healthy children, who were given what they needed as babies act.

    If children are given what they need WHEN they need it, they won't keep looking for it for the rest of their lives.
  10. ForestDweller

    ForestDweller Member

    Maggie Sugar, thank you for being so brilliant.

    I learn so much from reading these threads in the parenting forum, but I learn and have my instinctive ideas about parenting confirmed more often by you and what you have to say than any other.

    If I ever decide to parent, Thank you. Thank you for helping me learn how, and reinforcing what I already know with solid experience and information.

    You rock.
  11. strawpuppy

    strawpuppy Member

    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined!

    I'm a grandmother and I brought my children up according to my natural instincts...Yes, they WON and slept with me. Now I have grandchildren, and Oh Boy ! It gets better..., maybe too good and too close, I have to create a distance because the recipe is so right...
    Advice, Do what you feel is right. The best way to bring children up is with confidence in yourself and your love for them, the rest is history as they will find themselves in the turmoil of life, just as you have, through good or bad.
    And if you want to know the real truth, it IS possible to get it right and do Tea ,Bath, Bed by a good time for young-un's....(they do need it, and it is good for them) A TRUE English nanny, with many happy children and memories behind her............
  12. Brighid

    Brighid Member

    Anybody who has had a crying baby knows the feeling; gut-wrenching, nerve wracking, distracting, heaviness in the pit of your stomach distress. There's a reason for that instinctual response! It's so you will try everything to make the baby stop crying!

    Somehow, we have been taught that listening to your instincts and responding appropriately is WRONG and will spoil your baby or child. Many young Moms think they're doing something wrong when a baby cries or think they need a book or so-called expert to tell them how to react. Unfortunately, there is a whole slew of self-proclaimed experts who profit from taking insecure, first time parent's money and tell them that the only way to raise a baby is THEIR way. How many new Mama's sit outside their baby's room door, weeping, feeling like they're going to throw up, listening to their new baby cry itself to sleep, but afraid to listen to their instincts and pick their baby up because some "expert" wrote a book devoted to undermining their powerful, natural, primal and maternal instinct to protect and nurture their baby? How many mother's shove a pacifier into a baby's mouth because she read that a baby only needs to nurse every 2, 3, or 4 hours?

    A newborn is innately dependent on it's mother for survival. It's natural instinct is to want to survive, and grow and thrive. A mother who isn;t afraid to listen to her instincts innately wants to protect and nurture her infant so it will survive, grow and thrive. These instincts are totally primal and defy logical explanation, and the mother who tries to ignore or suppress those instincts can become quite physically and emotionally ill, as can her baby. The very malaise that Crying It Out, Ferberizing and Ezzo parenting are supposed to prevent are excacerbated by suppressing natural instincts.
  13. Brighid

    Brighid Member

    LOL! Actually, that's quite a common misconception about co-sleeping with a baby or young child. In fact, sex can become quite interesting and exciting! There's an attachement parenting saying that goes something like "If the kids are in the bed, they're not on the couch, in the shower, on the kitchen table, sitting on the washing machine, or swinging in the hammock"
    Sex becomes more spontaneous, making love in the living room, on the rug, in front of a fire is very romantic; a quickie in the kitchen or shower can be quite a thrill. DH and I have even gone on to the roof to make love under the stars.

    Who says sex has to always be in the bedroom, on the bed? There's dozens, if not hundreds, of way more exciting places to have sex.
  14. sugrmag

    sugrmag Uber Nerd

    I do wonder when people say that you can spoil a baby by picking it up, or reacting to his/her cries. I don't understand how anyone in their right mind could let a tiny little baby scream and cry and think that its mother has abandoned it. I never let my daughters cry through the night when they woke up. virginia is now 16 mo. and she may wake up at midnight and cry every once in a while. all I have to do is pick her up and let her know that I am here. I lay her back down, and she is asleep before I can cover her up! It is much easier and stress-free.

    People seem to misunderstand that babies NEED to be held. It's not being spoiled. And who wouldn't want to hold their babies? I would cuddle mine all day long if they would let me! But, the little monkeys want to run around and play!
  15. Still, I need my space. Becoming a mother shouldn't mean throwing away your entire sense of self. If you had a newborn that was still waking up in the middle of the night to be nursed, it might make sense to have the crib right next to the bed. But to be in a bed with two other people (sometimes more)...ick! I'd feel smothered. And I wouldn't want to have sex all around the house--a bed is much more comfortable and practical. I'm not saying anyone on here is wrong, I'm just saying it would never work for me. My parents never raised me like that and I'm perfectly fine.

  16. Applespark

    Applespark Ingredients:*Sugar*

    I find it very sad that people are so dissconnected from their children. So un intuned from their needs as people. I find it very disturbing how many people find it so easy to lay a hand on a child ( among other objects) , I just cannot fathom being that kind of mother. I see people at the store with whining toddlers bribing them with trips to mcdonalds meanwhile hushing them with jellybeans and telling them to shut up. I can't stand it. I am glad to see otehr loving parents in here.
  17. lunar forest

    lunar forest Member

    I was raised this way, and I'm raising mine this way. I can't imagine another, and certainly not a better way to live!
    My feeling is that I am raising my children to be loving, peacful adults. This is my goal. They may be a little rough as children, at times, but that is how they are meant to be. We need to drasticly change our ideas and preconceptions about how children are supposed to be! It's not normal, or practical to expected these things from children.

    About sleep with babies and sex: Brighid, you said it well. Having sex in a bed is good, but exploring new ways and places is, IMO, vital to a healthy relationship. Who wants to do the same old thing everytime? But a bed is good! We have a bed in the "baby's room", and a king sized bed in our room. We can choose. We got the king size because there would be room to have make love, and feel alone with the baby at the other end. The baby is no where near us, but she is safe in bed with us - you know?

    There is just nothing better than cuddling my little ones at night! They need to be with me. I wouldn't want to be away from DH at night, and I love my children just as much as I do him, and they need me a whole lot more than he does! When you have a baby and fall in love with him/her you'll want them with you ALL the time. It's normal and natural!
    My baby doesn't wake up that much at night, and she never cries because I'm right there with her, and all she has to do is turn her head to nurse. Or if she woke up to pee I just sit up and let her pee in a bowl, and she goes right back to sleep.

    Hmmmm.... Has anyone thought about THAT aspect of TCC? In all natural cultures mothers respond/ed to their child's needs, even those of eliminating. There is no need to let your child unnatrually pee on themself (in a diaper) when you can take them to pee in a good place.
    Am I opening a can or worms here? Should I start a new thread for this? Or am I ok?
  18. mosaicthreads

    mosaicthreads Member

    In The Continum Concept you will remember that she observed the way the mothers of the tribe did not diaper their children. It always seemed odd to me, and I figured that we couldn't do that in our climate and society. I'm re-thinking that now. My children are all past that stage, but I have a grandchild that is being raised diaper free!

    My kids have all been raised in a relaxed TCC sort of way. We have always co-slept and haven't had any trouble finding the privacy for sex. (we have had 7 children!) ;) It has been a good and loving way of life for us. We have enjoyed our children and shared our lives with them in an unschooling enviroment. They have thrived and grown up to be thier own people. Well, some are still growing, our youngest is only 7. They are all very caring, compassionate, creative, and intelligent people.

    Just wanted to encourage you all in your TCC/Ap styles of parenting. Follow your heart, and you won't go wrong. I've not seen a parent that trusts their own instincts let a baby cry it out yet!

  19. LOVE!
    Gaea is being raised that way and it is beautiful. I am very fortunate to be able to stay at home with her and not have to put her in some daycare. Society today and how they raise children makes me sick to my stomach. Mothers are so confused, and they take advice from people who not even qualified. Some psychologist, or bullshit male doctor like Ezzo. The world is getting worse and it is because we treat our children like a burden, or some kind of object that takes away our liberties. Formula and pacifiers...Cribs that are cages. To much toys and television that distracts our baby and keeps them out of our hair. No wonder children these days are so detached and have attention deficit disorder.

    It is true that babies raised in tribal cultures cry less, and are so much at peace. Im tired of hearing the excuse that babies cry for no reason...There is a reason something is wrong. Weather it is colic due to food allergy in breastmilk or allergy to toxic formula....Or just the exposure of negative energies, and the mothers excess stress.

    I have done all those things mention OP and I am very happy with the results. My baby is not spoiled, or manipulative. She is loving, independent, intelligent, patient, and so much more.
    Mosaicthreads please tell me how the no diapering is going! I heard that no diapers actually help the baby to learn about their body quicker, and potty train sooner! :) I would like to do that with Gaea.

    Spirt of the Wilderness and other earthy mothers you should read check this out! Please read this!

    http://www.naturalchild.org/home/ This is the main website and please please please read this article:

  20. lunar forest

    lunar forest Member

    Cosmic Butterfly, I was thinking of starting a new thread about Natural Infant Hygene (of EC, or what you want to call it...) because I don't want to hijack this one.

    mosaicthreads is actually my mom! (Hi mom!) Her grandbaby who is diaper free is actually my daughter. ;) This is all still a little new to me as Lavinia is still young, and I didn't know about it with my son. I really would love to talk about it with you!

    So, here's the thread, if anyone is interested:


    See ya there!

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