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Index of Connection Parenting Articles
by Pam Leo

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The following articles were first published in the Parent & Family bimonthly paper in Maine over the last 12 years. We are making them available online because we feel they could be of great benefit to anyone who wants to bring more understanding, love and, joy to their relationships with children.

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Parenting Articles Indexed by Title
Click the title to read the description.

Our Parenting Choices
(Attachment Parenting)
Reach Out and Touch Them
If You Hold That Baby
Teaching Through Love
Instead of Fear
Cherishing Our Children
Nurturing Our
Children's Resilience
Childhood Is Now
Love Enough For Two
For the Sake
of the Children
Creating More Nurturing
Environments for Our
Children (Part 1)
Is This Any Way
To "Treat" Children?
Discovering Nature's
Plan for Parenting
Creating More Nurturing
Environments for Our
Children (Part 2)
Transforming the
Lives of Children
Teaching Children Respect
What is Causing
This Behavior?
Spanking Undermines
- Loving Alternatives -
The Gift Every Child Really Wants

Our Parenting Choices (Attachment Parenting)

Securing and maintaining a strong bond with our children is our primary work as parents. A secure bond or connection with at least one other human being is the greatest emotional need of every child. It is also the biological key to optimal human development. Parenting advice is relevant only to the extent that it honors our human biology and promotes parenting practices that support secure bonding. When considering any parenting advice we must ask ourselves, "If I follow this advice, will I be providing nurturing, guidance, and limits in a way that maintains a secure bond with my child? Our effectiveness as parents will be in direct proportion to the strength of the connection we have with our child. In any interaction will our words and actions strengthen or weaken our connection with a child? Any advice that promotes parent behaviors that compromise trust is counterproductive and undermines the strength of the parent-child bond.

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Reach Out and Touch Someone: Massage in Schools

Touch is essential to children's physical growth and development and plays a key role in securing, strengthening, and maintaining the bond between infants and children with their parents and care givers. Contrary to the old warning that holding babies too much will spoil them, we learn that the opposite is true. The more holding, carrying, rocking, swaying, swinging, caressing, stroking, hugging and game playing we do, the more we provide the necessary sensory stimulation for brain growth and the vital elements that promote a strong parent child bond.

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What Is Causing This Behavior?

Children do not always have the language to tell us what they need, so they must communicate their needs through their behavior. If we don't recognize behavior as a communication of need, we try to change the behavior instead of meeting the need being expressed by the behavior. When we address only the behavior we deal with the symptom instead of the cause. Though we may get temporary compliance by punishing negative behavior or rewarding positive behavior, if the need still exists, some form of "needy" behavior will persist. Every child wants, needs and deserves to feel accepted, liked, loved, valued and appreciated by parents, family, friends, caregivers, teachers, classmates and community. Every child wants to do well. When children are not doing well behaviorally, physically, socially or academically, they need our help.

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If You Hold That Baby...

Contrary to what we have been taught to believe, research shows that babies who are held and carried all the time and get their need for touch well-met in their first year do not become clingy and overly dependent. They cry much less and they grow to become happier, more intelligent, more independent, more loving and more social than babies who spend much of their infancy in infant seats, swings, cribs, and all the other plastic baby-holding gadgets that don't provide babies with human contact. Carrying human infants develops their intelligence and their capacity for trust, affection, intimacy, love and happiness.

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Teaching Through Love Instead of Fear

While counting may appear to be a magic form of discipline, there is no magic in threats. Children know that adults are bigger and more powerful than they are. They comply in self-defense. If the only way we can get children to do what we ask is by intimidating them with our greater physical size and power, how will we get them to do as we ask when we are no longer bigger and stronger? " Ask the parents of any teenager if counting still works. Not only do threats no longer work, they've learned to use the same means to make others do what they want.

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Cherishing Our Children

The word, cherish, as defined in my dictionary means: to hold dear; feel or show love for; to take good care of; protect. As parents we are often so busy and so focused on all the things we have to do to care for children that we don't focus on ways of being with children that communicate to them that they are welcome, wanted, unconditionally loved, respected, honored, valued and cherished. The nurturing of children is not only the job of parents and care givers. Children do not grow up only in families. They are part of our community. Whether we have children or not, everyone can make a difference in the lives of children. Children need to feel welcome, wanted, respected and valued in their community as well as in their family.

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Nurturing Our Children's Resilience

How well children cope with change, stress, loss and uncertainty depends greatly on how securely bonded they are, what we teach them to believe about themselves, how connected they feel, and how much safety they are given to release and heal their emotional hurts. We nurture our children's resilience when we focus on their strengths, spend enough time with them to stay connected to them, and create safe spaces for them to work through their fears and feelings.

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Childhood Is Now

As new parents we are all told, "Enjoy your children now while they are little." Yet how much of the day do we spend enjoying our children? Many parents spend more of their day struggling with their children than enjoying them. How has this come to be? What is making parenting today more often a struggle than a joy?

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Love Enough For Two

Whether you are just thinking about having a second child, are now expecting your second child or have recently had your second child, you've probably worried about your ability to meet the needs of two children. When I listen to parents talk about having had their second baby, they always talk about how much more challenging it is to meet everyone's needs now that there are two children. Even parents who now have three or more children say that the biggest change was going from one child to two.

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Transforming the Lives of Children

For the last two and a half years I have had the honor of working with a dedicated group of experts in human development and human potential from around the world. We all have traveled to work together and have each spent hundreds of hours on conference calls and email to distill the best scientific research and ancient wisdom on what treatment of children allows them to thrive. Together we have devoted over 6,000 hours to creating The Proclamation for Transforming the Lives of Children. This document contains Principles for optimal physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development and a Blueprint of Actions designed to be a resource to guide parents and society in nurturing children to give them the best possible foundation for becoming healthy, happy, intelligent, loving, thriving human beings. Putting this information into the hands of parents and supporting parents in putting this information into practice has the potential to transform the lives of our children and our world.

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Creating More Nurturing Environments for Children (Part One)

Given a choice, young children will usually choose to be in a natural environment. Yet we often forget how much the environment can affect a child's mood and behavior. Providing our children with nurturing environments is more of a challenge in today's world than it has ever been. Many parents are already feel stretched to their limit trying juggle earning a living and just making sure their children are in safe environments. We may think we don't have the time or the energy to make the changes we would need to make to create more nurturing environments. However, creating more nurturing environments will actually give us more time and more enjoyable time with our children.

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Creating More Nurturing Environments for Children (Part Two)

For the first seven years of life children need their home and family to be their most nurturing environment. Creating environments, in which children can thrive, means consciously creating warm, loving, sensory rich environments where their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are recognized, honored, and met by their family and their community. It is true that children "live what they learn" and they learn what they experience. Children absorb and imitate what they experience in their environment. Their exterior environment molds their interior environment. Just as area is a product of length times width, human beings are a product of nature times nurture. The potential children are born with will be limited by or nurtured by their environment. A nurturing environment is one that gives children the security and opportunity to discover themselves and their world.

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Is This Any Way to Treat Children?

It seems no coincidence that children are sick more often November through April than they are May through October. Sugar suppresses the immune system. Many children barely recover from the Halloween sugar, when it's on to the Christmas candy season, then Valentine's Day candy and finally Easter candy. Other than birthdays there are no major sugar-filled holidays again until October. Could the improvement in children's health during summer be due to something more than better weather? The custom of giving children candy as a way of showing our affection is becoming a threat to their health and well being. It's time to re-think how we "treat" children.

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Discovering Nature's Plan for Parenting

Why do some babies grow up to be a Mother Theresa and others a Ted Bundy? My search for answers to questions like these grew into my passion to understand human behavior, and finally, to my recent discovery of "nature's plan" for parenting. We cannot disregard nature's plan for mother/infant bonding without jeopardizing the very foundation of our humanness, and compromising every other area of our human potential. Just as we are realizing that we cannot mess with "mother-nature" without experiencing repercussions like global warming, we are beginning to realize that we cannot tamper with nature's plan for human development and not create chaos.

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"For the Sake of the Children"
Cooperative CO-Parenting During and After Divorce

Even when parents have the maturity and commitment to put their children's needs ahead of their own anger and hurts, learning to communicate and cooperate during and after divorce is not easy. The keys to cooperative CO-parenting are communication and commitment. Cooperative CO-parenting is the collaboration of two adults who are more committed to cooperating to meet the needs of their children than to competing to have their own needs met by the children. No matter how much as an ex-couple may disagree about other things, the one thing they still have in common is that they love the same children and want life to be as good for them as possible. With that as a foundation they can learn to build a new relationship as CO-parents.

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Teaching Children Respect

The most common criticism I hear of young people these days is, "They don't treat anyone or anything with respect." Ironically, adults often try to teach children to be respectful by treating them disrespectfully. Children learn respect or disrespect from how we treat them and how we treat each other. When children live with disrespect, they learn disrespect. We can teach respect by modeling treating each other with respect and by giving children the same respect we expect.

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As nearly as I have been able to translate it, Na-Na-Na-Boo-Boo, is actually an invitation, even a plea to "come and play with me." Our most important task as parents is securing and maintaining a strong bond with our children. For a multitude of reasons, children growing up in today's society are at great risk of not having a solid bond with their parents. One of those reasons is parents not having enough time to spend with their children. Another reason is how we spend the time we do have. While "quality" time cannot replace the quantity of time children need with us, we can increase the quality of the time we spend with children by learning how play in those ways that fill up their emotional cup.

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Spanking Undermines Discipline - Loving Alternatives -

Parents hitting their children has been accepted as a form of discipline in our society for so long that some parents can't imagine that it is possible to discipline children without hitting them. We have learned that not only is it possible to discipline children without hitting them, but it is impossible to discipline children by hitting them. Making children feel worse does not make them behave better. Dr. Daniel F. Whiteside, former Assistant Surgeon General, reported that, "Corporal punishment of children actually interferes with the process of learning and with their optimal development as socially responsible adults. We feel that it is important for public health workers, teachers and others concerned for the emotional and physical health of children and youth to support the adoption of alternative methods for the achievement of self-control and responsible behavior in children and adolescents."

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"The Gift Every Child Really Wants"

Whether we observe Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Solstice, the holidays have become more stressful for many parents and less happy for many children. By the time we add shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, and holiday events to our already busy schedules, we have less time than ever to spend with our children. When children don't get enough attention from the people they love, their "love cup" gets empty and they feel disconnected and unhappy. (continued...)

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All content on this site  © 1989-2007 by Pam Leo and Connection Parenting (™).
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(The articles listed above were first published in
the Parent & Family bimonthly paper in Maine.)

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