Are you embarking on Aware Parenting?

What is Aware Parenting?

Aware Parenting was developed by Aletha Solter, Ph.D. http://www.awareparenting.com

Her first book, The Aware Baby, was first published in 1984.  http://www.awareparenting.com/books.htm#abnew

Parents who practice Aware Parenting have all the information required to raise securely attached, present, centred children, connected to their true self, who love to cooperate, contribute, and learn.

Aware Parenting is based on a set of tenets:
http://www.awareparenting.com/english.htm#aspects

What differentiates Aware Parenting from many other parenting paradigms is the focus on the effects of stress and trauma, and the processes by which babies and children heal from these.  Behaviours such as frequent night waking in babies over six months old, hitting, biting, almost-constant movement, and frequent unwillingness to cooperate, as well as many others, are all seen as possible manifestations of unhealed stress. 

Parents come to Aware Parenting from many different avenues.

I found out about it on the Internet when I was first pregnant, and subsequently read The Aware Baby and Tears and Tantrums.
http://www.awareparenting.com/books.htm#tt

They were congruent with all I had learnt during many years involved in infant research and adult psychotherapy.
I was excited to learn that, rather than waiting until adulthood, babies can heal from stress and trauma from birth onwards, through expressing their feelings whilst receiving loving support. 


Some parents resonate at once with the philosophy of Aware Parenting, either during pregnancy or in the early months after their baby’s birth.  Perhaps they are drawn to elements such as unconditional acceptance of all their baby’s feelings, or to seeing their child grow up without habits to repress their feelings.


Others come across it when their babies are a little older, when they are looking for another alternative to frequent night waking or controlled crying http://www.parentingwithpresence.net/index.php?pageid=905

Some parents come to Aware Parenting wanting to understand why their toddler is hitting or biting, and how to help them naturally stop this behaviour without using punishments or rewards.


In practice, Aware Parenting looks different for every family.  We all bring our own beliefs, identity and experiences to the parenting pot.


Aware Parenting is not simply a matter of following a set of ideas about responding to babies and children.  It does involve particular ways of understanding the relationship between closeness, feeding, crying, sleeping, laughing, playing, presence, and learning.  It requires close observation of things such as our baby or child’s eye contact, bodily tension, and expression of feelings. 

Just as importantly, it involves questioning our beliefs about the natural state of human beings, and exploring our relationship with our feelings and with intimacy.  It challenges us to live with more clarity, presence, and authenticity.

Practising Aware Parenting also includes our interactions with the wider society, for example; in finding ways to respectfully express our parenting values to relatives and friends.  Since Aware Parenting is so different from both mainstream parenting and classical Attachment Parenting, finding a community of other parents who practice Aware Parenting is vital.



An edited version of this article was first published at Kindred in 2010
http://www.kindredcommunity.com/blogs/guests/marion-b-rose/embarking-upon-aware-parenting/p/1927