The Aware Parenting Philosophy.

What is Aware Parenting?

Aware Parenting is a child rearing approach developed by Dr. Aletha Solter. It is based on research in the fields of attachment, child development, psychotherapy, cross-cultural studies, and the neurobiology of trauma. Parents who follow this approach raise children who are cooperative, compassionate, competent, nonviolent, and drug free.

Who is Dr. Aletha Solter?

Dr. Aletha Solter is a Swiss-American developmental psychologist who studied with Dr. Jean Piaget in Switzerland before earning her Ph.D. at the University of California. She is the author of five books and is recognised internationally as an expert on attachment, trauma, and non-punitive discipline.

How is "Aware Parenting" different from "Attachment Parenting"?

Aware Parenting is a form of attachment parenting. We recommend breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and prompt responsiveness to crying. Aware Parenting adds another element by recognising the stress-release function of crying in addition to its communication function.

How is Aware Parenting different from the cry-it-out approach (controlled crying)?

Aware Parenting strongly opposes all cry-it-out approaches and sleep training methods. Research has shown that babies have higher stress hormone levels when they are left alone to cry. We therefore recommend maintaining close connection when babies or children cry.

Does Aware Parenting support the use of corporal punishment?

Aware Parenting strongly opposes the use of corporal punishment. Research has shown that spanking can increase children’s aggressive behaviour and lead to emotional problems later in life such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Does Aware Parenting support the use of time-out?

Aware Parenting strongly opposes the use of time-out. Research has shown that the use of time-out can make children feel insecure and can actually increase power struggles between parents and children. Children with behaviour problems need connection, not disconnection.

Does Aware Parenting support the use of logical consequences?

Aware Parenting does not support the use of any artificially contrived consequences for misbehaviour, because this approach can lead to resentment toward the parents and damage the parent/child relationship.

Does Aware Parenting support the use of behavioural techniques such as star charts or other reward systems?

Aware Parenting does not support the use of rewards or bribes. Research indicates that the use of rewards can backfire by reducing children’s intrinsic motivation.

Is Aware Parenting a form of permissive parenting?

Aware Parenting is not permissive parenting. We teach parents how to maintain loving limits, encourage cooperation, and solve behaviour problems.

How does Aware Parenting solve behaviour problems without punishments or rewards?

Aware Parenting solves behaviour problems by addressing the underlying needs and feelings. We recognise disconnection, unmet needs, lack of information, stress, and unhealed trauma as primary causes of behaviour problems.

Are there any specific Aware Parenting "tools" or techniques?

One of the basic Aware Parenting tools is respectful listening, especially when children express painful emotions. Other important tools include specific kinds of playful interactions that strengthen the parent/child connection while also helping children heal from stress or trauma. These tools play a major role in solving behaviour problems.

Is it ever too late to start using Aware Parenting?

No, it is never too late to start using Aware Parenting and improve your relationship with your children. You can start this approach even with teenagers.

How can I learn more about Aware Parenting?

You can learn more by reading Dr. Aletha Solter’s books and attending her workshops. There are also workshops run by numerous certified instructors around the world. The Aware Parenting website also contains numerous free articles written by Dr. Aletha Solter.

What are the titles of the books?

Dr. Aletha Solter's five books have been translated into many languages. The English titles are: The Aware Baby; Helping Young Children Flourish; Tears and Tantrums; Raising Drug-Free Kids; Attachment Play. They are available from major online booksellers.

Copyright © 2013-2014 by Dr. Aletha Solter. Published with permission from the Aware Parenting Institute.

Below is a description of the Aware Parenting approach from instructor Marion Rose.