Tag Archives: API leader

Featuring API Leaders: An Interview with Thiago Queiroz

By Rita Brhel, API’s publications coordinator, managing editor of Attached Family magazine and an API Leader (Hastings, Nebraska, USA).

API-Logo-20th-themeIn celebration of Attachment Parenting International’s 20th Anniversary, the “Featuring API Leaders” series honors the unique paths that inspired parents to pursue API Leadership:

Father involvement is key to healthy child development, so it is exciting to announce one of our newest API Leaders: Thiago Queiroz of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is also an excellent writer and has shared his story on API’s APtly Said blog. I am thrilled to bring you more through this interview.

RITA: Thank you, Thiago, for your time. Let’s start by learning how you discovered Attachment Parenting (AP).

THIAGO: My inspiration to start practicing AP with my son was bedsharing. At first, it was the logical thing to do, considering the amount of caring we had to give to him at night. But then I started reading more on this subject and ended up finding about AP and falling in love with it. Now, what inspires me is how it feels so right to have such a strong and deep connection with my son.

RITA: We are all introduced to Attachment Parenting in our own unique way and certain parenting practices will facilitate that close relationship with our children more than others. Cosleeping is one of my favorites, too. Have you encountered any challenges in practicing AP?

thiago_queiroz_1THIAGO: Oh, I found all sorts of problems! To start with, my mother didn’t understand very well what my wife and I were doing. I had to be very firm and confident when explaining to my family why we see AP as a better option for our reality [than the authoritarian parenting style he grew up with].

Besides that, I received some bullying at work for the choices I made in parenting. For my colleagues, I was the “weirdo, organic, hippie” who had a son born at home and who talked about weird things like exclusive breastfeeding, positive discipline, babywearing and things like that.

RITA: Did you seek out Attachment Parenting International out of the need for parent support yourself?

THIAGO: I found API by Googling on AP. I was so excited about AP that I wanted to read more and more, so I Googled it and found API and API’s Eight Principles of Parenting. My first contact with API’s staff was to offer help in translating the Eight Principles of Parenting into my language, Brazilian Portuguese. I thought it was so important to have this information available for people in Brazil that I did the translation.

RITA: And from there, you decided to become an API Leader?

THIAGO: If AP is not exactly something widely known and practiced in the United States, you can imagine how it would be in Brazil, where we can find so little material available in our language and so little local support for parents. I’ve always thought I had to be one of the people who would help make AP known in Brazil, so over an year ago, I created an AP Facebook group in Brazil. I started writing a blog about my experiences as a securely attached father, and then I decided it was time to prepare myself to become an API Leader. It was seeing how people needed and wanted support related to a more sensible and respectful way to raise their kids that inspired me along the way.

RITA: How did you find the API Leader Applicant process?

THIAGO: Oh, boy, the API Leader Applicant process was such a beautiful journey to self-acknowledgement! I absolutely loved being an applicant, as I was learning more not just about AP but about being a better human being. I learned so many things that I’m using in my life now that I could never thank API enough for this opportunity.

RITA: Now that you’re an API Leader, what are your plans of how to support parents locally?

THIAGO: I’m sure I’m going to love the meetings. Being able to share experiences and learn from other realities is a blessing. And on top of that, being able to see the babies that attend the meetings grow up is going to be priceless.

RITA: Are there any challenges of being an API Leader that you anticipate?

THIAGO: I believe the challenges of being an API Leader involve the relationships with other people. The ability to connect to other people, to be empathetic to their feelings, and to be able to hear without judging is the key challenge for anyone who wants to truly help other parents.

RITA: What of API’s resources do you think you’ll find most helpful as an API Leader in supporting other parents?

THIAGO: I have no doubt it will be the repository for the meetings. Meeting ideas and handouts are the sort of resources from API that will help me a lot on my job.

RITA: Thank you, Thiago, for your insights. I have one final question. You have already shared about projects that you started before becoming an API Leader. Has API Leadership inspired additional projects in your life to raise AP awareness?

THIAGO: The way I live and breathe AP inspires me to become a book writer and a positive discipline educator, but only time will tell!

API of Frederick, Maryland (USA)

By Kelly Shealer, API Leader and Support Group Co-Leader

When did your group form?


When a parent comes to your group, what can he/she expect? What meeting format do you have?

We generally have a round-robin format where all parents can respond to questions or discussion topics. We have a set topic for discussion and some time at the end of the meeting for general questions.

What kind of discussions does your group have? What are some common questions that parents ask?  

Our group tends to end up on the discussion of either how to sleep (and/or the lack of it) and how to navigate personal needs vs. family needs. We as leaders come with a topic and support any of these conversations as needed.

Locally, in Maryland, we have a large contingency of parents who are new to the area and have one child, and who then typically have one or two more children then move away. It is transient here, so we get quite a bit of fluidity in our group. Also, our group has a contingency that spends a good amount of time social networking, and these members appear to get their emotional needs met in this way. The half dozen or so that come regularly to our group more often than not don’t know anyone or have made a friend through API.

Some common questions include: How can I get some sleep or get my child to sleep? How can I spend more quality time with my partner? How do I discipline my child when he/she bites or hits or yells? How can I get more connected to like-minded parents in the area?

 Are children welcome?

Yes. We meet in the community room at a library with plenty of space for children to play.

There is a stigma associated with support groups, as well as to support in general. What would you say to a parent that said he/she didn’t need a support group because those are for “people with problems”?

Our support meetings don’t just focus on problems. We also like to encourage people to share what things have worked for them and to help other parents. It’s also a great place to meet new people and form a community with other moms.

Anything else you’d like to share about the importance of parents attending API Support Groups?

We have a lot of first-time moms or moms who are new to the area and looking for a way to connect with others, and API Support Groups are a great way to meet like-minded parents.



API of Orange County, California (USA)

By Angela Adams, API Leader & Support Group Co-Leader

When did your group form?

August 2008

When a parent comes to your group, what can he/she expect? What meeting format do you have?

When parents come to our group, they can expect open arms and smiles. There are parents with newborns, toddlers, preschoolers, and older children. Even parents who are pregnant with their first will come for support and information. The group is very casual and relaxed.

The meetings are usually started with an introduction by one of the leaders, an explanation about Attachment Parenting, a brief round-robin introduction by the parents (i.e. name, ages of children, what city do you live in, etc.), and then discussion of that month’s topic. There is always time left for open discussion, so families can talk about any questions or concerns they may have.

Of course, no one is obliged to speak. If you’re the silent type who prefers to absorb the information and just be in the environment, please feel free to enjoy the meetings that way. We want everyone to feel comfortable, supported, and at ease. We also have a lending library with books and DVDs available for check-out.

What kind of discussions does your group have? What are some common questions that parents answer?

Some examples of our discussion topics include:

  • Staying Attached at Mealtime
  • A Fresh Look at Discipline
  • Maintaining Balance in Family Life
  • I Love You Rituals
  • Self-Care and Nurturing Yourself
  • Nighttime Parenting
  • AP Beyond Babyhood.

Our open forum is also a popular time. Parents are welcome to discuss any concerns or issues they’re experiencing at that moment in their parenting journey. For example, families want to know how others handle toddler biting and how they make bedtime a smooth transition. If it’s a concern for you, odds are that others are going through or have gone through the same thing!

Are kids welcome?

Children are always welcome to our meetings. There are some toys available for play, and the parents all try to help each other watch and entertain the kids.

There is a stigma associated to support groups as well as support in general. What would you say to a parent who said that they didn’t need a support group because those were for “people with problems”?

A social support system is important for every person. Not all people who attend the meetings have “problems.” Some simply enjoy the fellowship, sharing of experiences, and talking about their parenting journey. When people do have concerns or questions, an API group is a supportive place to work through some of the issues your family might be dealing with. Learning new things, seeing what might work for your family, and talking with others sometimes requires more strength than staying stuck. We support families who reach out and encourage that connection with others. On a simpler side, most everyone enjoys having this time to meet new friends, chat with old ones, and just connect.

Anything else you’d like to share about the importance of parents attending API Support Groups?

All of us benefit from connection. An API Support Group is a place for people to give and receive emotional and practical support. It is a source of information, understanding, and comfort. You are welcome to vent your frustrations and voice your concerns without fear of being criticized. The support group is a respectful and warm environment full of people who are all on this parenting journey. It’s a valuable resource and one we encourage all families to be a part of.

API of Port Angeles, Washington (USA)

By Naomi Davidson, API Leader & Support Group Leader, API’s Technology Coordinator

Congratulations on your accreditation as an API Leader! How does it feel?

I am very excited! It feels a lot like earning a degree. I went through a long process that required a lot of juggling, time management, and focus–and I finished it! Now I am eager to walk through the doors that this accomplishment has opened up for me.

What API Leader training was like?

There were many books to read: three required and four of my choice. Leader Applicant Liaison Lisa Feiertag sent many questions for me to answer, which came in stages. These questions caused me to do a lot of self-reflection, and the deeper I got in the process, the more I knew I wanted to become a leader. When I came to the role-playing exercise, I felt a bit intimidated, but with the great support of Lisa and a friend who recently became an API Leader, I was able to work through my challenges and successfully accomplish this task. The training overall was enriching and empowered me to feel like I will be a successful leader.

It took me a year and half from when I began the process to the end. However, I took about a nine-month break during this period, toward the end of my pregnancy and during our move to Port Angeles.

What prerequisites are there to becoming a leader?

A leader must agree with API’s Eight Principles of Parenting and the Leader Guidelines, submit an application, provide two recommendations, as well as become an API member and pay an application fee.

Why did you decide to become a leader?

I am extremely passionate about parenting, and I love all children. I want to do whatever I can to help children get their best start in the world. I believe all parents want this, and I believe API has the tools to accomplish it. I feel like my passion for Attachment Parenting and my experiences will help other parents either feel like they are not alone in their “different” form of parenting, or inspire them to listen to their inner voice and become more securely attached parents. I am looking for this support myself, and I believe starting a local group and being the leader will help me find the support I need and help me provide support for others.

What was your inspiration?

My happy children–all six of them–and my childhood. Peggy O’Mara has been my hero ever since I found Mothering Magazine many years ago. If I can help others raise secure, joyful, and empathetic children, I will feel like I have contributed to the positive changes in this world. This is my goal.

What do you look forward to most with leading an API Support Group?

I am new to my community and know very few people. I am very much looking forward to meeting other like-minded parents and being able to provide a positive environment where we can all connect, educate, and support each other.

What kind of format are you planning?

My first meetings will be the conversation style: leading a discussion with a prepared topic and encouraging other parents to share their thoughts. My meeting time is in the evening, so I plan to end the evening with a storytime for the kids. We’ll see how it grows from there.

How do you hope that your group can most benefit local families?

I want them to feel like they are not alone in their parenting journey, that they have a group they can turn to on those days when they run out of rope and need to find more, that they look forward to our times together, and that this time fills their parenting cup, so they can go home and be the best parents they can be. I also want my group to grow to have other events and traditions that will help provide the support needed to maintain happy families, such as a Welcome Baby program, regularly scheduled play dates, and gatherings.