My Life as a Mom

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With 6 happy kids, life can be really fun around here! This blog is dedicated to the joys and sometimes chaos of having a large family. Okay, so it's always chaos around here, but fortunately, it's almost always fun, too!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

There is a lovely organization that provides support groups and leadership training for those who practice attachment parenting. It's Peacefun Parenting for a Peaceful World.

They are holding workshops in D.C. soon to train support group leaders.

When I was a new parent, I had no support group - and no one I knew who practiced attachment parenting. In fact, it wasn't even called that, or at least I'd never heard the term back then.

But I had studied anthropology in college, and parented my children in a way that seemed natural to me. The anthropology study I'd done only served to verify that my instincts were probably correct - because these people in non-industrialized societies treated their children the way I wanted to treat mine. And these societies did not have the same problems with criminality, suicide, drug addiction, insanity, etc., that we see in the U.S. Not at all! So I knew they were onto something.

I believe that giving children ALL the affection they want from the time they are born, is the key to raising a really happy, confident child.

That was my thought at first, and now that my older children are in or approaching their teen years, I can see that this was a successful approach. My kids are VERY confident. They're interested in meeting new people, they're not afraid to do just about anything. They are secure children.

It is my full belief that raising a secure child is simply a matter of practicing attachment parenting.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

One thing our family can do together is volunteer work. This has been really enjoyable. Not only has it been fun, and given us a great sense of accomplishment, but it has helped the children develop a moral code and sense of the larger world about us.

Developing this as a family has been an amazing experience. The children are very aware of others, and their own ability to help. I don't think most children really feel that they should or can make a difference. But my children - and the children they've volunteered with - do have this sense. They don't feel victimized by their environment, but rather, they feel they can make a difference.

It is an amazing thing to see.

My children are Scientologists, as their father and I are. Having a Scientology family is part of our social responsibility - Scientologists tend to be socially responsible, with a great sense of volunteerism.

Some of the projects we've volunteered for include drug awareness programs, such as Church of Scientology Drug-Free Marshals and the World Literacy Crusade. While the World Literacy Crusade is not a religious organization, it does utilize the Study Technology created by L. Ron Hubbard and promoted by Applied Scholastics.

Some links regarding Scientology and volunteerism:

Scientology - Freeing Society from Drugs

Get off Drugs

Volunteer Ministers

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Difference Between "Attachment Therapy" and "Attachment Parenting."

An article in a recent paper mentioned something called "Attachment Therapy". Which is not to be confused with Attachment Parenting.

"Attachment Therapy" is used by psychologists to treat what they call "attachment disorder". It's not based on any studies, and to anyone witnessing the "therapy" it actually looks extremely abusive.

It is a new practice, and something that goes against the grain of natural parenting.

Attachment Parenting, on the other hand, is the practice of giving your babies and children as much love and attention as they need. When the baby cries, you address and handle whatever is causing discomfort or unhappiness - whether it's a hungry tummy, a diaper pin sticking in the baby's skin, a wet diaper, a gas bubble, or simply the need to feel loved and sheltered.

It can also include practicing the "family bed" which is just an American name for what most families do in most of the world - letting the babies sleep with Mommy. This makes breastfeeding very much easier, and also greatly reduces the risk of SIDS. (Partly, because when the baby stops breathing, the Mother instinctively knows it, asleep or not, and moves in her sleep, thus jiggling the baby enough that he or she remembers to breathe again!)

It can include extended breastfeeding, and self-led weaning. Which means that the baby nurses into toddlerhood, and until she just stops on her own. (While I did practice extended breastfeeding, I never managed to nurse so long that the child could self-wean. But weaning was always easy when my babies had something better than packaged reconstituted pharmacy-company baby formula offered to them.)

It can also include carrying the infant around in a sling, up against mother, most of the day. While this is the way that most hunter/gatherer and unindustrialized communities care for their infants while Mother is working in the fields, I had back problems and couldn't even begin to do this. But we did have a baby carrier that Daddy would wear when we went out - seeing the baby up against his chest was really very sweet and wonderful!

Some call Attachment Parenting "Instinctive Parenting" - because, as any mother knows, comforting your crying child is instinctive. Putting the baby to bed in his own crib, in his own room, and ignoring his cries for half an hour is NOT instinctive!

We have a friend who practices this with her baby, and during one visit, the child was laid down for nap and immediately began this heart-wrenching cry, which was ignored by the parents. My 11-year-old daughter looked at me and said, "Mom, did you let us cry like that when we were babies?" She had tears in her eyes and a look of shock on her face. Since she is the oldest girl with 4 younger siblings, she knows we didn't, but thought perhaps she'd forgotten. I assured her that we didn't, and she said, "I'm never going to do that to my baby."

And children raised this way are not overly needy. On the contrary, they are generally very independent. My kids have never - not once - suffered from separation anxiety during a sleep-over. Their grandparents, who only see them once every few years, always remark that the kids come to them happily, immediately, with no shyness. The kids are actually remarkably NOT shy. They are all comfortable in their own skins and very self-assured. And 5 of the children have had small acting jobs and been very easy to work with - they are very, very confident and expressive children.

So, while Attachment Parenting is based on instinctively parenting our children, and is kind, and cares for the infant's needs, and creates independent, secure children, "Attachment Therapy" is completely different. Its effects are almost wholly opposite, creating needy, unhappy children, as the result of definitely unkind, non-instinctive handlings by the parents.

Attachment Therapy was created by psychologists, with the intent to create a bond with an older child that is missing with the parent.

To do this, the idea is to completely destroy the child's sense of independence, ability, and self worth, and once the child is completely vanquished - no longer willing to fight for her own right to exist and be an independent human being - then the parent cuddles and comforts the child.

It has resulted in death, and is considered criminal activity in some areas, as it is surely abusive to the child.

To read more on "Attachment Therapy":
Candace Newmaker and other tragedies.

To read more on the positive "Attachment Parenting":
Attachment Parenting.

Google Attachment Parenting Pages.

How the birth process may affect child's behavior.

Monday, June 21, 2004

I was talking to a lady the other day who said her brother is now on Ritalin. She figured it out, when she went home to visit, and her little brother was mellow. TOO mellow. He just sort of sat there, watching tv, not interested in anything. She said she told her mother, "Well, I guess you've got him on Ritalin now." Her mother asked her how she could tell, and she said, "Look at him! He looks like he's on drugs."

It was very sad!

Apparently, he only "needs" the drug so he can sit still 6 hours a day at a desk, in school. At home he's "just fine". Funny how in our society, it's the kid who is broken if he can't sit still all day long, following instructions.

Rather than amend our school systems and approaches to education, we amend the brains of our children with drugs.

And then we wonder why drug addiction is a problem in life!!!!

Who are the kids learning about drugs from? From the teachers, psychologists, tv advertisers, and parents who push the drugs on them, or their friends and classmates!

Gotta problem? Take a drug.

I wonder that they don't just give alcohol to those rambunctious little kids. Certainly they're less likely to become suicidal with alcohol than with Ritalin. Both are addicting. But of course I'm not serious. It would be highly irresponsible to give kids alcohol which can be bought over-the-counter. Instead, we give them Schedule II narcotics, controlled substances, which are apparently so dangerous that they can only be purchased by prescription, and which are tightly regulated by the FDA.

If you're being pushed to drug your child, please visit the following websites:

Fight for Kids
Get off Drugs
Learn about the U.S. Constitution - Protect Your Rights to not drug your child.
Society Issues - Homeschooling
Learn in Freedom!
Quotes about Education.
Luvox and legislation
Youth Volunteer
Citizens Commission on Human Rights
Alternative Mental Health
The Truth about Prozac
Freedom Magazine Investigations
The Truth - for a Change
Creation of Senseless Violence - Psychiatric Drugs and Kids Who Kill
Ritalin Deaths

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Bush plans to screen whole US population for mental illness
Jeanne Lenzer
New York

A sweeping mental health initiative will be unveiled by President George W Bush in July. The plan promises to integrate mentally ill patients fully into the community by providing "services in the community, rather than institutions," according to a March 2004 progress report entitled New Freedom Initiative ( While some praise the plan's goals, others say it protects the profits of drug companies at the expense of the public.

Bush established the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in April 2002 to conduct a "comprehensive study of the United States mental health service delivery system." The commission issued its recommendations in July 2003. Bush instructed more than 25 federal agencies to develop an implementation plan based on those recommendations.

The president's commission found that "despite their prevalence, mental disorders often go undiagnosed" and recommended comprehensive mental health screening for "consumers of all ages," including preschool children. According to the commission, "Each year, young children are expelled from preschools and childcare facilities for severely disruptive behaviours and emotional disorders." Schools, wrote the commission, are in a "key position" to screen the 52 million students and 6 million adults who work at the schools.

The commission also recommended "Linkage [of screening] with treatment and supports" including "state-of-the-art treatments" using "specific medications for specific conditions." The commission commended the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) as a "model" medication treatment plan that "illustrates an evidence-based practice that results in better consumer outcomes."

Dr Darrel Regier, director of research at the American Psychiatric Association (APA), lauded the president's initiative and the Texas project model saying, "What's nice about TMAP is that this is a logical plan based on efficacy data from clinical trials."

He said the association has called for increased funding for implementation of the overall plan.

But the Texas project, which promotes the use of newer, more expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, sparked off controversy when Allen Jones, an employee of the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General, revealed that key officials with influence over the medication plan in his state received money and perks from drug companies with a stake in the medication algorithm (15 May, p1153). He was sacked this week for speaking to the BMJ and the New York Times.

The Texas project started in 1995 as an alliance of individuals from the pharmaceutical industry, the University of Texas, and the mental health and corrections systems of Texas. The project was funded by a Robert Wood Johnson grant—and by several drug companies.

Mr Jones told the BMJ that the same "political/pharmaceutical alliance" that generated the Texas project was behind the recommendations of the New Freedom Commission, which, according to his whistleblower report, were "poised to consolidate the TMAP effort into a comprehensive national policy to treat mental illness with expensive, patented medications of questionable benefit and deadly side effects, and to force private insurers to pick up more of the tab" (

Larry D Sasich, research associate with Public Citizen in Washington, DC, told the BMJ that studies in both the United States and Great Britain suggest that "using the older drugs first makes sense. There's nothing in the labeling of the newer atypical antipsychotic drugs that suggests they are superior in efficacy to haloperidol [an older "typical" antipsychotic]. There has to be an enormous amount of unnecessary expenditures for the newer drugs."

Olanzapine (trade name Zyprexa), one of the atypical antipsychotic drugs recommended as a first line drug in the Texas algorithm, grossed $4.28bn (£2.35bn; 3.56bn) worldwide in 2003 and is Eli Lilly's top selling drug. A 2003 New York Times article by Gardiner Harris reported that 70% of olanzapine sales are paid for by government agencies, such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Eli Lilly, manufacturer of olanzapine, has multiple ties to the Bush administration. George Bush Sr was a member of Lilly's board of directors and Bush Jr appointed Lilly's chief executive officer, Sidney Taurel, to a seat on the Homeland Security Council. Lilly made $1.6m in political contributions in 2000—82% of which went to Bush and the Republican Party.

Jones points out that the companies that helped to start up the Texas project have been, and still are, big contributors to the election funds of George W Bush. In addition, some members of the New Freedom Commission have served on advisory boards for these same companies, while others have direct ties to the Texas Medication Algorithm Project.

Bush was the governor of Texas during the development of the Texas project, and, during his 2000 presidential campaign, he boasted of his support for the project and the fact that the legislation he passed expanded Medicaid coverage of psychotropic drugs.

Bush is the clear front runner when it comes to drug company contributions. According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), manufacturers of drugs and health products have contributed $764 274 to the 2004 Bush campaign through their political action committees and employees—far outstripping the $149 400 given to his chief rival, John Kerry, by 26 April.

Drug companies have fared exceedingly well under the Bush administration, according to the centre's spokesperson, Steven Weiss.

The commission's recommendation for increased screening has also been questioned. Robert Whitaker, journalist and author of Mad in America, says that while increased screening "may seem defensible," it could also be seen as "fishing for customers," and that exorbitant spending on new drugs "robs from other forms of care such as job training and shelter programmes."

But Dr Graham Emslie, who helped develop the Texas project, defends screening: "There are good data showing that if you identify kids at an earlier age who are aggressive, you can intervene... and change their trajectory."

Fight for Kids

Citizens Commission on Human Rights