API Board Member, Darcia Narvaez, issues a challenge with respect to society's fascination with "grit" as we dig into our AP Month 2015 discussion on "Parental Presence: Birthing Families, Strengthening Society."
"In the century since he wrote, I believe it has only gotten worse. We are inundated with images and discourse that assumes that toughness-without-tenderness is part of being masculine. Women are trying to validate themselves with this same notion as they are told to abandon putting family first and put their primary focus on work and getting ahead.
How often do you hear, when advocating kindness or gentleness: “don’t be naïve/romantic/idealistic”? A toughness-not-tenderness mindset has a hard time perceiving or recognizing any alternative.
The lack of support for family life, especially baby care, leads to undercared-for babies, who experience toxic stress from lack of affection and responsive care, which otherwise help the child develop various systems related to self control. With undercare the baby’s neurobiology is misdeveloped in many ways including being shaped into stress reactivity."