Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

The Aware Baby. A New Approach to Parenting

Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

The Aware Baby. A New Approach to Parenting

Article excerpt

Solter, Atetha, Ph.D. The Aware Baby. A New Approach to Parenting. Goleta, Calif.: Shining Star Press, 1984.

Here is a genuinally unorthodox approach to parenting. It's not liberal or conservative; it's not angry or euphoric; it's a feeling, open discussion of real issues that occur in the relationship of parent and baby. The big difference with this book is the emphasis on feelingsboth the baby's and the parent's.

Solter claims hers is an "entirely new approach to parenting" (p.2). Her inspirations were Re-Evaluation Therapy, Parent Effectiveness Training, Primal Therapy and her own experience as a mother of two. Her book is a contribution to:

a definite trend towards more aware parenting than ever before, and a focus on the needs of the child, p.1

Four basic assumptions underlie the work:

* human beings are born knowing basically what they need

* human beings are born with a potential for both good and bad behavior, but how they are treated determines how they will act

* experiences early in life can have a profound and lasting effect on feelings and behavior patterns later in life

* the effects of traumatic experiences are completely reversible: babies can recover from the effects of the hurtful experiences by really feeling the hurt pp. 2-4

The unorthodox ideas in this book center around Solter's conviction that babies normally do not get to cry enough in order to "discharge" their hurts. Too often, babies are soothed or distracted away from their feelings of tension. She cites the following reasons: parents are unable to deal with memories of their own infancies that are triggered by their baby's crying; because of their repressed feelings, parents cannot take care of all the needs of the baby, and, in fact, project their buried, unfulfilled need onto their baby; or parents are afraid of "spoiling" their baby, thinking that if the crying is reinforced, the baby will cry more and more.

Solter recommends that parents respond promptly to the baby each time the baby cries. The baby will develop a basic sense of trust and powerfulness. If the baby's crying is not for a "present need," she encourages parents to help him/her to continue to cry. It is not simply a matter of holding them and allowing them to continue crying, however. The parent must give the baby "undivided attention," holding the baby and giving verbal support for as long as the baby needs it. …

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