Kids and Race (A list of sources)

If you are reading this and didn’t come from Natural Mother Magazine, this article is a list of resources I used in my May 2016 article. I’ll link when the article goes live. Until then, this will seem disjointed and is basically a list of great reading if you are interested in the topic of children and race.

  1.  Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Cambridge,
    MA: Perseus Publishing.
  2. Aboud, F. E. (2008). A social-cognitive developmental
    theory of prejudice. In S. M. Quintana & C. McKown (Eds.),
    Handbook of race, racism, and the developing child (pp.
    55–71). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  3. Aboud, F. E. (2005). The development of prejudice in
    childhood and adolescence. In J. F. Dovidio, P. S. Glick, &
    L. A. Rudman (Eds.), On the nature of prejudice: Fifty years
    after Allport (pp. 310–326). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  4. Bigler, R. S., & Liben, L.S. (2007). Developmental
    intergroup theory: Explaining and reducing children’s
    social stereotyping and prejudice. Current Directions in
    Psychological Science, 16, 162–166. Abstract.
  5. Boykin, A. W., & Ellison, C. M. (1995). The multiple ecologies
    of black youth socialization: An Afrographic analysis. In R.
    L. Taylor (Ed.), African-American youth: Their social and
    economic status in the United States (pp. 93–128). Westport,
    CT: Praeger.
  6. DeCaroli, M.E., Falanga, R., Sagone, E.(2013)Ethical Awareness, Self-identification, and Attitudes Toward Ingroup and Outgroup in Italian, Chinese and African Pupils. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Volume 93, 21 October 2013, Pages 444–448

  7. Hale-Benson, J. (1990). Visions for children: Educating black
    children in the context of their culture. In K. Lomotey (Ed.),
    Going to school: The African-American experience (pp.
    209–222). Buffalo, NY: State University of New York Press.
  8. Hirschfeld, L. A. (2008). Children’s developing conceptions
    of race. In S. M. Quintana & C. McKown (Eds.), Handbook
    of race, racism, and the developing child (pp. 37–54).
    Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  9. Hughes, D., & Chen, L. (1999). The nature of parents’ race related
    communications to children: A developmental
    perspective. In L. Balter & C. S. Tamis-LeMonda (Eds.), Child
    psychology: A handbook of contemporary issues (pp.
    467–490). Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
  10. Hughes, D., Rodriguez, J., Smith, E. P., Johnson, D. J.,
    Stevenson, H. C., & Spicer, P. (2006). Parents’ ethnic/racial
    socialization practices: A review of research and directions
    for future study. Developmental Psychology, 42(5), 747–770.
  11. Johnson, A. G. (2006). Privilege, power, and difference (2nd
    ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
  12. Katz, P. A. (2003). Racists or tolerant multiculturalists? How do
    they begin? American Psychologist, 58(11), 897–909. Abstract.
  13. Katz, P. A., & Kofkin, J. A. (1997). Race, gender, and young
    children. In S. S. Luthar & J. A. Burack (Eds.), Developmental
    psychopathology: Perspectives on adjustment, risk, and
    disorder (pp. 51–74). New York, NY: Cambridge University
    Press.
  14. Lesane-Brown, C. L. (2006). A review of race socialization
    within black families. Developmental Review, 26, 400–426.
  15. Lewis, A. E. (2003). Race in the schoolyard: Negotiating the
    color line in classrooms and communities. New Brunswick,
    NJ: Rutgers University Press. Abstract.
  16. McIntosh, P. (1990). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible
    knapsack. Independent School, 49, 31–36.
  17. Murray, C. B., & Mandara, J. (2002). Racial identity
    development in African American children: Cognitive and
    experiential antecedents. In H. P. McAdoo (Ed.), Black
    children: Social, educational, and parental environments
    (pp. 73–96). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  18. Patterson, M. M., & Bigler, R. S. (2006). Preschool children’s
    attention to environmental messages about groups: Social
    categorization and the origins of intergroup bias. Child
    Development, 77, 847–860.
  19. Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2006). A meta-analytic test of
    intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social
    Psychology, 90, 751–783.
  20. Tatum, B. D. (1997). Why are all the black kids sitting
    together in the cafeteria? And other conversations about
    race. New York, NY: Basic Books.
  21. Van Ausdale, D., & Feagin, J. R. (2001). The first R: How
    children learn race and racism. Lanham, MD: Rowman &
    Littlefield.

If you need help finding full text documents, hit up your local librarian. She lives for this stuff, trust me. 🙂

Formula Safety: 7 Tips To Minimize Risks

This week a new study was published in  Environmental Health Perspectives that found alarming levels of arsenic in baby formulas.  The amount of arsenic in one organic formula was 6 times the recommended threshold for adults. This is so distressing to a mom giving her baby formula (like I currently am).  You try to do the best for your baby and the industry just seems to totally fail us sometimes!

 

But this news is hardly exclusive as a reason to avoid formula.  There are all kinds of scary things going on in formula (bug parts anyone?) and the evidence that breastfeeding is so far superior from a health perspective is enough to make a mama scream!  Formula feeding is not always avoidable and until society puts a premium on milk bank breastmilk so that it is affordable many of us will be using formula.  Here are my 7 tips for avoiding the major risks of formula.

1. Don’t use soy formula.

I really feel soy formula should only be given by prescription.  It is horrible and only needed in less than 1% of babies (with a true milk allergy) and yet in the US up to 50% of babies are getting soy formula.  Unfortunately soy’s reputation as a health food makes conscientious parents think it is better than cow’s milk formula.  I avoid soy in all forms and if I must have some it must be organic.  Soy is the most genetically modified and heavily pesticide drenched crop in the world.  Besides that soy is naturally a phytoestrogen meaning it has a compound that mimics the hormone estrogen in the human body increasing rates of breast and ovarian cancers and causing infertility.
If your baby isn’t tolerating cow’s milk well it is to be expected since cow’s milk is not ideal for human digestion, however, your child is probably not allergic to milk.  Try a hydrolyzed formula instead (see #6).

2. Don’t use fluoridated water to make formula

Ever.  Reconstituted formula “contains 100 to 200 times more fluoride (1,000 ppb) than is found naturally in breast milk (5-10 ppb). In fact, while breast-fed infants receive the LOWEST body burden (mg/kg/day) in the population, they receive the HIGHEST body burden if they receive fluoridated formula(source).” Fluoride is a toxic substance that can cause tooth deformity (called fluorosis), cancers, and decreased cognitive skills in children.  Remember, even if you a pro-fluoride for tooth decay it is only beneficial when applied topically NOT when ingested.

The CDC has a website called My Water’s Fluoride where you can search for your city’s fluoride levels.  However, there didn’t seem to be any data for my state at all.  I did find Ohio Fluoridation levels with a Google Search. If you have well water have it checked for fluoride levels.  The levels could be low or high as it varies from well to well even in the same area. Get a reverse-osmosis or activated alumina water filter.  Your average Brita does not remove fluoride. Bottled water has fluoride in most cases.  Bottled spring water is best but just because it says “spring” on the label doesn’t mean it is from a spring.  Besides, bottled water creates a landfill nightmare.

3. Use organic formula if possible.

This avoids pesticides as well as genetically engineered products like High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  The recent arsenic scare was in organic formula using brown rice syrup so until better regulation I would avoid that ingredient.

4. Give a probiotic supplement.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help in digestion.  Babies get probiotics from their mother through vaginal birth and through breastfeeding. In formula fed babies the introduction of cow’s milk throws off the delicate balance of gut flora.  A probiotic introduces the good stuff.  I personally like Udo’s Infant Probiotic.

5. Give an omega-3 supplement.

Omega-3’s help the development of eyes, brain, and immune system and can also stabilize mood. I recommend a cod-liver oil and to avoid some of the junk on the market like Flinstones that have HFCS, artificial dyes and flavors, and less bio-available omega-3.  I use an adult norwegian cod-liver oil where I break the gel-caps and pour the liquid directly into the formula.

6. Consider hydrolyzed formula.

I don’t use this because there isn’t currently an organic option on the market but if your child is having trouble with regular formula this provides milk proteins that are pre-broken down and easier to digest.  There is even some evidence that are showing a long-term benefit of decreased allergies, asthma, and eczema when compared to whole-protein cow’s milk formula.

7. Practice gentle, responsive parenting.

This is good for the immune system and brain development two things that breastfed babies have a leg up on.  Practicing gentle and responsive parenting will bathe your baby in oxytocin the love hormone that breastfeeding releases.  This will enhance brain development and develop a wonderful attached relationship with your formula-fed baby.

Attachment Parenting, Attachment Theory, and Being "Attached"

Every few months I think this post – one differentiating the different meanings we use for “attachment” – needs written but then…I get lazy.  🙂  Ok, here goes.  In the past two weeks there has been a couple of blogs with interesting discussions that usually come to a halt when it is apparent that everyone is not on the same page on the difference between these terms.  Let’s look at each of them.

Attached

Dictionary. com has the following definitions of the word “attached”:

at·tached

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// ]]>http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/d/g/speaker.swfattached pronunciation /əˈtætʃt/ Show Spelled[uh-tacht] Show IPA

–adjective

1.joined; connected; bound.
2.having a wall in common with another building ( opposed to detached): an attached house.
3.Zoology . permanently fixed to the substratum; sessile.

Attached in the colloquial sense means a physical joining.  Like my arm is attached to my body.  In discussions of Attachment Parenting, like the recent debut of Mayim Bialik’s blog on Today.com where she discusses her parenting choices, you often see comments like “your kid will never grow up if they are always attached to you!”
It is easy to see how this confusion develops.  If Mayim wants her children to have a strong attachment then people often imagine that as my arm that is attached to my body.  That kind of attachment doesn’t allow for my arm to have much alone time, independence, or its own agenda.  So an “attached” kid would also be at the complete whim of their parent unable to function alone.  No one wants that right?

Attachment Theory

I’ve talked before about Attachment Theory and the Strange Situation.  Attachment Theory uses psychology, brain science, and evolutionary biology to define the normal and abnormal development of human relationships.  The core tenet is that early attachments, formed in infancy, effect the future cognitive and social development of a child.  The formation of these early relationships dictates the way a child will relate to others his whole life.

In Attachment Theory everyone is attached.  The question is how?  The goal of attachment parenting is to develop a secure attachment as opposed to an avoidant, anxious, or disorganized attachment.  The nature of the attachment in infancy leads us to develop a model of self and model of others.  The following diagram[1. Bartholomew, K. (1990). Avoidance of intimacy: An attachment perspective. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 7, 147-178.] describes how these models intersect.  From left to right is the model of self defined by level of dependence on others (low to high) and the model of others is represented from top to bottom defined by avoidance of others (low to high). 

A securely attached person (upper left quadrant) exhibits low dependence (and thus high independence) and low avoidance (and thus interacts well with others).  If you had this same level of independence but avoided people you would fall in the lower left quadrant of Dismissing.  Highly dependent people often need to reach out to others (low avoidance in the upper right quadrant).  If they both need and avoid people they would fall in the final quadrant of fearful. Basically if your child is “attached” (a shorthand for “securely attached”) then they have a high level of independence and can easily have relationships with other people.  The opposite of what you would think about my arm’s ability to be independent because of its “attachment” to me.

Telling Mayim that her parenting style (called “attachment” parenting) will lead to clingy, dependent children is to misunderstand the attachment that attachment parenting is intended to cultivate.

Attachment Parenting

The last area of confusion actually exists within the attachment parenting community.  Dionna, over at Code Name: Mama, recently had a post about finding an AP-friendly caregiver for your kids.  The comment section quickly veered off track when a mother said “I think that leaving your child with someone else to raise is, in and of itself, un-attachment parenting. Why force a caregiver to do what you aren’t willing to do yourself?”  She then posed the question, “Would YOU, general commenter on this thread, feel MORE attached to YOUR young child were you with them more?”  Now this statement is really negative to the attachment parenting movement in general because it alienates people.  It is like saying why breastfeed if you can’t do it exclusively.  It turns people off to make attachment parenting an all or nothing ordeal.  Furthermore she is confusing Attachment parenting with Attachment theory.  Here is my response to her (empahsis added),

Hmmm, you seem to be confusing Attachment Parenting and Attachment. Attachment Parenting is a set of tools and skills designed to ensure your child will be securely attached. I believe that these tools work and thus I am an “attachment parent”

The whole point though is the science of attachment. There are four types of attachment: Secure, Anxious-resistant, Anxious-avoidant, and Disorganized. It is much less a sliding scale than you are stating. It isn’t a matter of “my kids is more attached than yours” but simply does my child have a secure attachment since this type of attachment is associated with great cognitive and emotional maturity and general life satisfaction (and can easily work through the stages of emotional development in the research of Larry Brentro, Martin Brokenleg and Steve Van Brockern.

Also, note that attachment has nothing to do with how I, as the parent, FEELS. Of course I wish I were with her 24/7! I ache when I leave her but that has nothing to do with whether she will form a secure attachment and strong foundation for her life.

Can a SAH mom be “more AP”? Perhaps by sheer number of hours babywearing, cloth diapering, and generally being a hippie (:)) but it does not translate into a more attached child. If you rated my “AP-ness”, aka how much I did x number of attachment parenting tools, I might lag behind a SAHM. However, that has no effect on the level of attachment my child has.

Attachment parenting is a set of tools and skills meant to ensure a secure attachment.  Is it the only way?  No.  I think it is the best way and thus I’ve chosen to parent that way but Attachment Parenting is a toolbox the grew out of Attachment Theory NOT Attachment Theory itself.  We should not confuse the two.  85% of all people are securely attached so clearly there are other paths to this goal.

There is no prize for being the most babywearingest, longest breastfeedingest, cosleepingest mama on the block. We need to maintain a flexibility (as Dr. Sears’ books always point out) to do what works for you!  Understanding the goal through Attachment Theory can help you make the best choices in Attachment Parenting.

How can we help to alleviate the confusion with these three nearly identical terms?  Should we use another terms like “Natural Parenting” or “Responsive Parenting”?  What are your thoughts?


Attachment Parenting, Attachment Theory, and Being “Attached”

Every few months I think this post – one differentiating the different meanings we use for “attachment” – needs written but then…I get lazy.  🙂  Ok, here goes.  In the past two weeks there has been a couple of blogs with interesting discussions that usually come to a halt when it is apparent that everyone is not on the same page on the difference between these terms.  Let’s look at each of them.

Attached

Dictionary. com has the following definitions of the word “attached”:

at·tached

attached pronunciationr inter /əˈtætʃt/ Show Spelled[uh-tacht] Show IPA

–adjective

1.joined; connected; bound.
2.having a wall in common with another building ( opposed to detached): an attached house.
3.Zoology . permanently fixed to the substratum; sessile.

Attached in the colloquial sense means a physical joining.  Like my arm is attached to my body.  In discussions of Attachment Parenting, like the recent debut of Mayim Bialik’s blog on Today.com where she discusses her parenting choices, you often see comments like “your kid will never grow up if they are always attached to you!”
It is easy to see how this confusion develops.  If Mayim wants her children to have a strong attachment then people often imagine that as my arm that is attached to my body.  That kind of attachment doesn’t allow for my arm to have much alone time, independence, or its own agenda.  So an “attached” kid would also be at the complete whim of their parent unable to function alone.  No one wants that right?

Attachment Theory

I’ve talked before about Attachment Theory and the Strange Situation.  Attachment Theory uses psychology, brain science, and evolutionary biology to define the normal and abnormal development of human relationships.  The core tenet is that early attachments, formed in infancy, effect the future cognitive and social development of a child.  The formation of these early relationships dictates the way a child will relate to others his whole life.

In Attachment Theory everyone is attached.  The question is how?  The goal of attachment parenting is to develop a secure attachment as opposed to an avoidant, anxious, or disorganized attachment.  The nature of the attachment in infancy leads us to develop a model of self and model of others.  The following diagram[1. Bartholomew, K. (1990). Avoidance of intimacy: An attachment perspective. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 7, 147-178.] describes how these models intersect.  From left to right is the model of self defined by level of dependence on others (low to high) and the model of others is represented from top to bottom defined by avoidance of others (low to high). 

A securely attached person (upper left quadrant) exhibits low dependence (and thus high independence) and low avoidance (and thus interacts well with others).  If you had this same level of independence but avoided people you would fall in the lower left quadrant of Dismissing.  Highly dependent people often need to reach out to others (low avoidance in the upper right quadrant).  If they both need and avoid people they would fall in the final quadrant of fearful. Basically if your child is “attached” (a shorthand for “securely attached”) then they have a high level of independence and can easily have relationships with other people.  The opposite of what you would think about my arm’s ability to be independent because of its “attachment” to me.

Telling Mayim that her parenting style (called “attachment” parenting) will lead to clingy, dependent children is to misunderstand the attachment that attachment parenting is intended to cultivate.

Attachment Parenting

The last area of confusion actually exists within the attachment parenting community.  Dionna, over at Code Name: Mama, recently had a post about finding an AP-friendly caregiver for your kids.  The comment section quickly veered off track when a mother said “I think that leaving your child with someone else to raise is, in and of itself, un-attachment parenting. Why force a caregiver to do what you aren’t willing to do yourself?”  She then posed the question, “Would YOU, general commenter on this thread, feel MORE attached to YOUR young child were you with them more?”  Now this statement is really negative to the attachment parenting movement in general because it alienates people.  It is like saying why breastfeed if you can’t do it exclusively.  It turns people off to make attachment parenting an all or nothing ordeal.  Furthermore she is confusing Attachment parenting with Attachment theory.  Here is my response to her (empahsis added),

Hmmm, you seem to be confusing Attachment Parenting and Attachment. Attachment Parenting is a set of tools and skills designed to ensure your child will be securely attached. I believe that these tools work and thus I am an “attachment parent”

The whole point though is the science of attachment. There are four types of attachment: Secure, Anxious-resistant, Anxious-avoidant, and Disorganized. It is much less a sliding scale than you are stating. It isn’t a matter of “my kids is more attached than yours” but simply does my child have a secure attachment since this type of attachment is associated with great cognitive and emotional maturity and general life satisfaction (and can easily work through the stages of emotional development in the research of Larry Brentro, Martin Brokenleg and Steve Van Brockern.

Also, note that attachment has nothing to do with how I, as the parent, FEELS. Of course I wish I were with her 24/7! I ache when I leave her but that has nothing to do with whether she will form a secure attachment and strong foundation for her life.

Can a SAH mom be “more AP”? Perhaps by sheer number of hours babywearing, cloth diapering, and generally being a hippie (:)) but it does not translate into a more attached child. If you rated my “AP-ness”, aka how much I did x number of attachment parenting tools, I might lag behind a SAHM. However, that has no effect on the level of attachment my child has.

Attachment parenting is a set of tools and skills meant to ensure a secure attachment.  Is it the only way?  No.  I think it is the best way and thus I’ve chosen to parent that way but Attachment Parenting is a toolbox the grew out of Attachment Theory NOT Attachment Theory itself.  We should not confuse the two.  85% of all people are securely attached so clearly there are other paths to this goal.

There is no prize for being the most babywearingest, longest breastfeedingest, cosleepingest mama on the block. We need to maintain a flexibility (as Dr. Sears’ books always point out) to do what works for you!  Understanding the goal through Attachment Theory can help you make the best choices in Attachment Parenting.

How can we help to alleviate the confusion with these three nearly identical terms?  Should we use another terms like “Natural Parenting” or “Responsive Parenting”?  What are your thoughts?