Thanks, J. for your response - you're brave to read all that! And I appreciate your honest response.
First I'll say that I did try to give a positive depiction of AP by describing it initially as its supporters have described it to me. And I do think I spent quite a bit of time describing my own position and why I hold it. I just think when you read my post, the negatives of AP jumped out at you.
I'm not proposing the Ezzos' philosophy, and I'm especially not advocating their feeding techniques, which I think I made pretty clear.
I do take exception to your description of AP as being "not child-centered." I do not see how it can be otherwise. The whole method seems to me to focus on the child, on the mother's attending to the child. And where is the father in all this? Where is the marriage? From reading material yesterday on one of Sears's sites, all I read were the frustrations of "mom" with "dad" about he just doesn't "get" the child-raising thing.
And nice as all the long quotes from Sears are, they don't prove anything to me except that the man writes well. Frankly, I'd really like to know where he's coming from theologically before I trust him. What understanding of God, and of who exactly we humans are in relationship to Him, does Sears have? Before I start using his methods to develop the child God has given me, I want to know if he has a godly understanding of who my child is. And this is not an attack on Dr. Sears; he may be a fine, Christian man. I tried to find out, and found nothing. I would use this evaluation on anyone before I adopted their advice.
Although the parents I was describing may not have known about AP, or knowingly practiced all its detailed methods, I do think they have subscribed to its underlying philosophy. When I got done with all the thinking and typing last night, I talked with Julia. She asked what I'd been doing. I told her I was thinking about and writing about parenting philosophies. She told me she was "all ears" and wanted to know what I thought. I described to her the practices of AP, and she said, "Do you mean all those spoiled kids in my class at school?" It was the first logical connection she made also.
On another vein: How far can we take our comparison of ourselves to God, as parents? Are there any ways that God parents, that we shouldn't? I think there are. There are things that God can tell to his children, that we simply can't. Here are a few:
"I'll never leave you. I'll always be here for you."
"I'll protect you from everything. Nothing will hurt you."
"I'll always provide for you - you'll never be in need of anything."
"I won't let you be sick - everything will be okay."
Now, we've all heard foolish parents say things like this to their child. These are lies when they are said by human parents. I can't promise those things. They may comfort a child in the short term, but leave them devastated in the long term. I'm harming my child by promising things I can't do long term.
I shouldn't promise them with words, or with actions.
I do feel that many AP practices come close to doing this, and may well have this effect on the child. When does one stop demand-feeding? Co-sleeping? Hauling the child around on the hip? Does one assume that the child will always, on his own, separate himself?
I know of kids who don't, and of parents who allow it.
Well - I'm late for work, and need to go. These are just thoughts. But fundamentally, I do see AP as a child-centered philosophy, and I know absolutely that this is usually disastrous for children. I also want to know what the Biblical foundations are for AP. I haven't heard that yet - and I don't mean accidental parallels; I mean deliberate grounding in Biblical thought. Is it there?