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Thread: What do child psychologists say?

  1. #11
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: What do child psychologists say?

    Aren't all the guys that hubby is quoting dead?
    LOL! They are long dead, indeed! And you also should not forget the 'Zeitgeist' of the time they lived in. It was a very prude, hippocrite, stiff society. Times have changed... and their theories are somewhat aged and out of context.

    On the other hand, the ancient romans and greek were very much in favour of (extended) breastfeeding. It made children grow strong and intelligent and into fierce warriors.

    Then again in 18th (?) century Europe, BF was regarded as something of the beggars, the gyspies, the animals - not worthy of mankind

    I think as you look over the history of mankind, you will always find extreme stances toward BFing that reflect the mentality of a culture (in general, there will always be exeptions).


    Would a harmful parenting practice survive the eons to be so widespread around the globe?
    Yup, that's my typical counter-question
    And if extended BFing would be so harmful, why did the WHO state that all infants should be BF for al least 2 years of age!?

    And no matter what. What the shrinks say is one thing, but what your heart says is something else - your heart knows yourself and your little one better than any (child)psychologist dead or alive

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    66

    Default Re: What do child psychologists say?

    Quote Originally Posted by quakerm0mma
    A transitional object may appear to help ease the child into accepting mama's absence, but if mama need not be frequently absent for long periods, then why is a transitional object needed?
    gosh what a true and wisely simple statement/question. why push something that isn't even needed just so that you can "fit in" with somehting you are trying to be, but are obviously not. i believe we need dh's support, but if he isn't supportive, tell him to buzz off with his comments and let you be the mother, this (bfing) should be a family thing, but if need be then let it be you and baby thing. if he feels left out, then it is his own fault.
    ~~ Valarie ~~
    wife to matt
    mommy to
    ricky 2.9.03, christian 6.28.05, baby olive due JAN 2008

  3. #13
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    May 2006
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    18

    Default Re: What do child psychologists say?

    Another recommendation for Our Babies, Our Selves. I, too, am an anthropologist and found that book to be really helpful in putting our western practices into perspective. Especially since most of my instincts are telling me things that are contrary to the "typical" western experience.

    I also agree with the poster who said there may be something deeper going on with your hubby. Perhaps the two of you could sit down and discuss why he is so intent on you weaning your child. Is it TRULY about percieved psychological risk? Or is it about society? About his own feelings on the matter? Perhaps he's even wanting you to not be so closely attached to your child. Is there an imbalance of care between you & he and the child? Is he, maybe, a little jealous (of the time you spend alone/"bonding" with your child as well as how much time the child spends alone with you - i.e. when either of you are away from him)?

    While my husband was (and still is) super supportive of nursing, you can tell that he is a little jealous at times that I am the one who she goes to when hurt or when sleepy or whatever. Maybe your husband is having a similar issue and thinks that if you wean, your child will not be so attached or dependent.

    Regardless, it's worth a discussion, if at the very least to get him to stop quoting out-dated psychology at you. LOL I'm sure there are resources out there that you can quote back to him about the negatives of forced weaning. The kellymom.com site has some GREAT nursing information resources.

  4. #14
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: What do child psychologists say?

    Woo-hoo, another anthropologist on the board! And I know there are many other very smart and well-read moms in this community. I am almost feeling sorry for the poor husband who opened this can of worms by taking the "intellectual" approach in his criticism. We have got the ammo, huh?

    What kind of anthropology do you do, if I may ask? I'm a sociocultural anthro, writing a long-unfinished dissertation on South Korean feminist activism.

    --Rebecca

  5. #15
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    May 2006
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    18

    Default Re: What do child psychologists say?

    Rebecca,

    I have my B.S. in zoo-anthro, with an emphasis on primatology. I'm particularly interested in human/non-human ape comparisons with learning and cognition. I'm also very interested in conservation. I was toying with going on to get my masters/phD, but I think I've been called to be a HS science teacher instead. Hehe. I'm investigating both options (ed certification and anthro grad school).

    Back to topic: yeah, that poor hubby. Mine knows better than to get "smart" with me. We'll go 'round and 'round.

  6. #16
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    May 2006
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    20

    Default Re: What do child psychologists say?

    I want to also endorse Our Babies Ourselves. It's a great book and very accessible/readable.

    But I also want to hear what you all have to say about this: My/our family therapist very open-mindedly (genuinely interested, almost professional to professional as I am an early childhood educator and specialized in 0-3) asked me about how extended nursing affects the individuation process. I know that I don't see any problems with what's happening in my own child's development. He's four now and nurses at night to fall asleep and VERY occasionally at other times (ex: if exceedingly tired and under extreme stress such as travelling 20 hours by plane). He definitely still needs this; he is NOT ready to wean completely. But when my therapist asked me, I found myself quite inarticulate about the actual process of individuation for a child who is still nursing regularly at age 4. I want to say (that is, my gut feeling is) that the process is likely very much the same as in a child who weans earlier but just takes place on a different timeline. We don't typically look at the other aspects of early childhood development as linear sequences, but as ranges of normal, fully expecting that every child has a unique profile and will follow his or her own time and way. Why should this be any different? That just didn't sound scientific or theoretical enough somehow. Though I know this is true (in my gut) I wanted something more to SAY.

    But I'd love to hear from any of you who have "technical" knowledge about this topic!

  7. #17
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: What do child psychologists say?

    Well, I don't have technical knowledge, and I'm not even sure what constitutes "individuation." I would answer as a lay person that a 4yo's nursing is not at all like a newborn's nursing. A 4yo does know that he and his mother are two separate people. A nursing 4yo knows what he needs and where to find it. That doesn't make him less of an individual than a weaned 4yo. My 4yo (who weaned a few months ago) now is able to get a cup down from the cupboard, get the milk carton out of the fridge, and pour himself a drink. That doesn't mean he has some infantile dependence on the refrigerator!

    Not sure if I'm being clear here, but I wonder if part of the problem with putting these concepts into theory-speak is that the theories themselves derive from early-weaning, detached-parenting reality. If "individuation" is defined in part as something that requires weaning, then I don't see how it can possibly be a useful concept when weaning may happen at 4 weeks or 4 years of age.

    --Rebecca

  8. #18
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    Jan 2006
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    135

    Default Re: What do child psychologists say?

    Here's my little point of view:

    On Freud: With all his merits, he is not exactly the cutting edge of child psychology, is he?

    On Klein: Who says that a nursing child does not relate to other objects? Don't we all know the stage when our children find it hard to concentrate on nursing, because everything around them seems so much more interesting? It's not as if a nursing child thinks of nothing else but nursing all day long.

    On transitional objects: I read in a book by a Swiss pediatrician (Reno Lago, the book is in German) that there are two types of children, who have no transitional objects. One type is the child that has been so emotionally neglected (think: Romanian orphan) that they are incapeable of forming any emotional bonds. The other type is the child that grows up with a great deal of physical contact with the primary caregivers (think breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping) and does not need a transitional object.

    I know that some psychologists construct extended breastfeeding as a kind of psychological hang-up in the mother ("Can't let go of her child" etc) and even promote bottle feeding as a sign of mental health in the mother (Robyn Skinner). To which we can very shortly and sweety reply how strange it is that for most of humankind throughout most of human history, the psychologically healthy option has not been available.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    97

    Default Re: What do child psychologists say?

    Thank you guys so much for all those replies! I found them all very helpful. I have ordered your book recommendations; won't get them for a while because I'm overseas right now, but you've given me plenty to keep strong in the mean time.

    You are quite right that my husband thinks it's about extended breast feeding, but it's really not. He's very jealous: wants more attention from me, wants more attention from our daughter, wants more success and recognition in the world, etc. etc. He's an only child, bottle-fed as an infant, still very needy, doesn't have a fixed career, etc.. Well, what can you do; our daughter gets what he wants, he feels excluded and has a tantrum, albeit disguised as a pseudo-highbrow argument. I know I could steam-roll him intellectually; I'm an academic, I'm at least as smart as he is, and I'm sure that on this issue, I'm right. Poor hubby, indeed. But I suspect that's a bad idea: it would only confirm his fears that I have all the power in this family. So I think I need to be tactful, try to remind him that he's loved and needed, play nice, and nudge him or tease him towards seeing that he's being silly. I don't think we're ever going to agree entirely about this, but I'm working on making it less of a battlefield. But I also need to stay strong in my own thoughts and feelings about what's right for my daughter and me, which you guys helped me do. So, thank you!

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: What do child psychologists say?

    Emilyw -- it sounds to me like you bring a lot of wisdom and compassion to this situation. Your husband's perspective is really not that unusual. Parenthood brings up the memories and wounds of one's own upbringing. I think it can be very disturbing and threatening to be in the presence of a baby whose needs are being fully and lovingly met by the mother. I've seen some of this in my stepson (12yo when my son was born) -- whose mother was largely absent after her 8-week maternity leave ended. And I know that some of my own psychic wounds from childhood were healed by the privileged experience of being fully attached to my infant son.

    A man's biology does not drive that parental attachment in the same way, and it is very easy for the father to feel left out of what is clearly an amazing and powerful process. I think a wise wife does what she can to invite him more deeply into their emerging family. I hope your husband will learn to lay down his pain so that he can embrace the miracle in front of him.

    --Rebecca

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