Thursday, November 20, 2014

RIE -Just Another Hollywood Parenting Trend?

Much like Attachment Parenting, RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers - pronounced rye) has had its fair share of critics. Vanity Fair wrote an article about RIE in which some people responded to by creating a straw man and denigrating it as the latest kooky Hollywood trend (I guess Attachment Parenting is passé). Because if those Hollywood people are doing it, it must be silly, right?

In reality, these two parenting styles have a lot in common. But where Dr. Sears took the observations of Bowlby and Ainsworth's attachment theory and created Attachment Parenting, Magda Gerber created RIE based on the observations of the pediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler. After WWII, Dr. Pikler founded an orphanage. Given how institutional care can often be detrimental for children, Dr. Pikler sought out a way for the children to physically flourish and develop a healthy attachment.

Gerber took the teachings of Pikler and founded RIE in LA where Janet Lansbury (the niece-in-law of Angela Lansbury) discovered it and blogs about it. While RIE and AP have many similarities, Lansbury outlines ways in which they are different. In short, while AP is about keeping babies in close contact (especially in the first four months, the "fourth trimester"), RIE treats infants as ready to communicate and participate as a partner in their own care right from the start. RIE believes that constant close physical proximity to your baby is not necessary for attachment, and that it can be detrimental to your baby's development.

So what is RIE really about? In a word, respect. While Lansbury has dedicated an entire blog to writing about RIE, she manages to condense it into 9 basic tenets:

  1. Communicate authentically (use real voices and real words)
  2. Invite babies to actively participate in caregiving, while giving them full attention
  3. Encourage uninterrupted, independent play
  4. Allow children to develop motor and cognitive skills naturally
  5. Value intrinsic motivation and inner-directedness
  6. Encourage children to express their emotions by accepting and acknowledging them
  7. Recognize that children need confident, empathetic leaders and clear boundaries
  8. Allow children to problem solve and learn from conflicts
  9. Understand the power of modeling
While none of the tenets of either of these parenting styles directly contradict each other, parents who appreciate more physical space and independence might find RIE appealing. 

For further thought:

How does this style of parenting compare to how you were raised? In what ways do you wish you had been more or less parented like this?

What do you find appealing about this parenting style?

What about this parenting style makes you uncomfortable?

Do you feel more aligned with RIE or Attachment Parenting? Why?

For further reading:


RIE vs. AP

RIE Parenting, A Respectful Debate
How Attachment Parenting and RIE are different in Practice
If Attachment Parenting Isn't Working, Try This

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