Wow! I currently have 4 children ranging in age from 16 to 10 and am expecting my fifth child. I never knew there was a name for my parenting style, AP. No one was supportive of my desire to breastfeed, and other than my husband, they certainly didn't know that I nursed until the babies were done (generally by three they had given up the breast on their own, give or take according to the child). It was my secret since I didn't want to hear constant remarks about it. I always let my babies sleep with me. Again this was the worst thing I could do according to in-laws and friends, and I let them decide when they spent the night in their own bed. I always had a bed for them but never really cared if they used it or not. Some of my favorite mornings are at 4 or 5 am when my 10 year old will still climb in bed and discuss school, friends etc. Even my teenagers, if something is bothering them will crawl in bed next to me early in the morning for a private talk.
As for the ruining of my kids that everyone predicted? My teenagers are independent, well rounded individuals. All of my children are A & B students, involved in sports, Band and other activities. My older ones work to earn money for their own car and my oldest has early admission to college. Since I do not drive my kids to be type A personalities, I am always surprised by their drive and ambition as well as their ability to know their own minds. I think this is because I allowed them to develop it on their own. I also do not have the problems with my teenagers that my friends have, we have open conversations about the choices they will make in regards to sex, drinking, drugs, careers, etc. And contrary to popular belief, they are able to be independent without fighting me every step of the way. I like the responsible and strong adults they are becoming and we are as close at 16 years as we were at 6 months. Some of those same friends and family who criticized me so freely have now said that they wished they had the same relationships with their children as I have. It's a shame they didn't figure that out sooner!
To be perfectly honest, now that I am older (and this baby is with my new husband with a new set of in-laws) I don't hide my parenting techniques at all. When my new mother-in-law had the conversation with me about nursing, I made it very clear that I would do nothing different with my new son than I had done with my other children and that I was looking forward to breastfeeding again as much as I was looking forward to having a newborn. Her response? "Well you have done such a good job with the other four, I think you should do it the same way. I wish breastfeeding had been more popular when I was having children, I might have enjoyed it!"
My close relationship with my children is more than enough positive reinforcement for me! Critics go ahead! Only I know my babies and if you are a new parent, have faith in yourself and follow your instincts. If it means you go against friends and family, isn't your baby worth it? They'll come around! Iím always amazed by how many people seem to not like their kids very much and are very critical of them. I donít understand that at all. I really do enjoy my children and the time I spend with them; I only wish there were more hours in the day and that time wouldnít pass so quickly. Enjoy your babies; theyíre off to College in a blink of an eye. I donít regret any second that we spent sleeping, nursing or playing together. My children were secure enough to explore new things, knowing I will always be there if they need to check in or for a quick hug and the only tears that are ever cried are the ones I hide as I watch them leave their childhood behind for adulthood. But they truly are tears of pride and I believe each will make this world a richer place and isnít that what parenting is all about anyway?
Good luck, hang tough and enjoy every minute!