© 2020 Stephi Wagner, MSW

  • Stephi Wagner

RIE Parenting Leaders Lock Toddler in Room for 55 Minutes of Trapped CIO

Updated: Jan 27, 2019

In September of 2018, Janet Lansbury of Elevating Childcare and Lisa Sunbury of Regarding Baby counseled fellow RIE parenting professional Kate Russell of Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids in regards to her 1-year-old toddler.

In this post, I include screenshot evidence that details the disturbing abuse of a child that resulted at the hands of these three professionals.

RIE parenting professional Kate Russell trapped her toddler in her bedroom where she cried for 55 minutes before collapsing into a 3-hour long trauma "nap."
On September 12, Russell took the guidance of Lansbury and Sunbury to lock her toddler in a room and then leave her there. From the other side of the locked door, Russell’s toddler cried out for Russell for 55 minutes, eventually exhausting herself into a three hour long trauma-induced sleep. This is child abuse. This is the mother wound in action. This is 100% unacceptable. Later that same day, Russell took to RIE: Raising Babies Magda's Way, the Facebook group she admins (update: Russell is no longer a member of the group, much less an admin) to parade the child abuse she perpetuated against her toddler. Her September 12 post (shown below) reads as if she is sharing a parenting success story worthy of emulation.

Before detailing the abuse she subjected her toddler to, Russell begins her post with the following statement: "I wanted to share this story to encourage/inspire those of you who are struggling with their toddler nap time."

"Of course she protested long and hard. She was mad at me. She was not used to this limit but she (and I) needed this clarity." - Kate Russell speaking about her toddler crying while locked in her bedroom for 55 minutes in her September 12 pos

To make matters even worse, Janet Lansbury opted to actively support Russell (whom she is mentoring professionally - more on this below). Her comments (shown below) served to exponentially increase the scope of impact of Russell's harmful post. If many children were at risk before Lansbury's endorsement, now countless children are at risk, as Lansbury is regarded by many - including other parenting leaders - as THE authority on respectful parenting.

Instead of protecting children by calling her mentee Russell ("Kate" in these screenshots) in for her harm as she should have done - clearly Lansbury’s business partnerships are more important to her than the suffering of children - Lansbury instead opted to chastise a now blocked group member on Russell's September 12 post for daring to question Russell for her abusive actions and post. In addition to this, Lansbury also goes on to make the claim that it is somehow inappropriate to confront other adult members of the group.

One naturally wonders where Lansbury draws the line on this “not acceptable to confront another member of this group” policy of hers. If a man posted in the group detailing the way in which he abused his wife, would she chastise those who spoke of their concerns on his post, too?

If this was not egregious enough, Lansbury then devolves into good personhood - "particularly one like Kate” - as if Russell's prior generosity, bravery, candidness, and suspected good intentions should somehow shield her from holding herself accountable for the consequences of her choices that are in fact harmful to entire groups of oppressed people (in this case, children). Lansbury’s problematic line of thinking is exactly how "good men" like Brett Kavanaugh get appointed to the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately this was not the end of Lansbury's harmful comments in defense of Russell and her childism. In a now deleted comment, Lansbury engaged in logical fallacy in the form of throwing in some red herrings - personhood and object permanence - in a disturbing attempt to distract from the true issue at hand.

When a man locks a woman in a room and holds her there against her will, we call it domestic violence.

When a parenting leader locks a toddler in a room and holds her there against her will, Lansbury applauds her for her "patience and generosity" and proceeds to cite the personhood of the child - "capable, aware, whole people at birth" - and object permanence in an effort to distract from the harm being perpetuated against children.

Yes, children are full human beings.

Yes, they are capable of object permanence.

No, it is still not okay to lock them in rooms and ignore their bids for connection and release!

Would Lansbury cite personhood and a capacity for object permanence to assert that a woman locked in her bedroom by her husband was not actually being abused by him? Would she applaud the man who chose to treat his wife this way saying, "Your patience and generosity are extraordinary, Man Who Locked His Wife in a Room"?

Absolutely not.

Special note: Since the time of my first call out back in September of 2018 of Russell, Lansbury, and Sunbury in regards to this September 12 post and the perpetuation of harm against tchildren, Russell's original September 12 post (shown below) has been deleted. Prior to this, it was edited by Russell on two separate occasions to remove evidence of the true extent of the abuse she committed against her toddler. Additionally, the group in which she posted, RIE: Raising Babies Magda's Way, has been reduced from more than 41,000 members at the time of the post to less than 12,000 members. The group is now inactive and ““secret“ (i.e. not searchable except by remaining members).

Russell’s Oringial September 12 Post

Russell's now deleted post, Part 1

Maybe Russell's toddler "felt compelled to repeatedly test a limit" because she was actually working to communicate to her mother that she needed something different than rest in these moments.

Truth for Russell, Lansbury, and Sunbury to get on board with: Children are people, too, and like other people, they do not always want to rest at the same time each day. Furthermore, would these same parenting professionals say it is acceptable for a man use his larger size to trap his wife in a room because he thinks she should be resting?

Newsflash: Being a parent is NOT permission to treat a child as less than human.

Russell's now deleted post, Part 2
"This is the age, Kate. She needs to be upset. And she has internalized your love and care. She is doing what toddlers do...pushing to find the boundary, interested in your response and her ability to get a response from you. See her as the strong, resilient little person she is. This isn't a situation where she is suffering. You have done everything to make her more comfortable and give her choice... now it is up to her."- Lisa Sunbury on a toddler crying out for her mother while trapped BY HER MOTHER in a bedroom

Now, imagine for a second that the person trapped in a bedroom against their will and crying out for her husband to release her is a woman. Let's try this:

"This is the age, Dave. She needs to be upset. And she has internalized your love and care. She is doing what 26 year old wives do...pushing to find the boundary, interested in your response and her ability to get a response from you. See her as the strong, resilient little wife she is. This isn't a situation where she is suffering. You have done everything to make her more comfortable and give her choice... now it is up to her."

Would Russell, Lansbury, and Sunbury appreciate a man "taking strength" in words such as these? Absolutely not.

Russell's now deleted post, Part 3

After mass outcry in response to her September 12 post, both within the RIE: Raising Babies Magda's Way Facebook group and publicly (my original call out of Russell, Lansbury, and Sunbury in regards to this post was a public Facebook post complete with screenshots ), Russell made her first of two edits to her post.

Russell's First Edit
  1. Smoothing over: Russell takes out "long and hard" from her description of how her toddler was crying our for her while she had her trapped in her bedroom.

  2. Revisionist history: Russell exchanges, "Hearing her cry out for me tested me more than any other moment of being her mother to date," with, "She was upset but not distressed."

  3. Removal of evidence: Russell removes the telling image she had originally attached to her post. That image was one of her toddler lying on her stomach asleep with half of her body on the mattress and the other half hanging off the mattress on the floor.

In addition to this attempt to run from the harmful impact of Russell's post, Russell and Sunbury (also an admin of the group) blocked anyone from RIE: Raising Babies Magda's Way who indicated their concern in regard's to Russell's post and with Lansbury and Sunbury for their direct involvement with the child abuse and/or their comments made in support of Russell's actions.

Update: While Russell, Lansbury, and Sunbury have chosen not to hold themselves accountable for their harm against this particular child and those cared for by the 41,000 adults who had access to Russell's September 12 post, the fact that they have blocked more than 29 thousand members and counting from RIE: Raising Babies Magda's Way speaks volumes all by itself. If they felt confident in their choices, why

Russell's Second Edit

  1. More removal of evidence: Russell removes mention of the 55 minutes that she clocked her toddler crying out to her for.

  2. Even more removal of evidence: Russell deletes the part where she states that she had messaged Lansbury and Sunbury to say she was going in to get her toddler after having watched the clock for 55 minutes while she "protested long and hard."

  3. Edit to add: Russell inserts new claim to her post saying, "[My toddler] protested for quite some time, but in between I heard her wandering around the room." Did Russell think that depicting her child as "wandering around the room" would somehow make her choices seem less abusive?

In addition to her post, Russell also commented on her September 12 post. In the comment below, she defends her abusive actions when questioned by a group member. Would Russell nod and smile if a man who had locked his wife in a room against her will and ignored her cries were to say what she said here? Let's try it:

"Being confident and trusting her capacity as a 33 year old means allowing her this time to work through this herself. She knows she is loved and we have a very secure and connected marriage." - Man Who Locked His Wife in a Room

Call it a hunch, but something tells me Russell would not be ok with that, and on the off-chance she is, she would be much less inclined to parade her support for men who abuse women like this in a Facebook post encouraging other husbands to treat their wives similarly.

This next comment from Russell can best be summarized as adult guilt and adult centering.

What Russell might as well have said:

"Our lifestyle results in our children being neglected in the midst of their valid pain very often. Instead of honestly acknowledging that my children could experience my emotional and physical absence during these times as harmful to them, I am going to stick my fingers in my ears and speak for them to assuage my own guilt. In fact, I am going to go so far out of my lane to say that they are thriving and that they have "just the right amount of support" because this is much more comfortable for me than acknowledging the very real fact that no child receives adequate support in our patriarchal society that refuses to make room for them at all, much less see them as whole human beings who are worthy of respect. This is the reality of childhood for my children, and my feelings as their parent are not more important than theirs as my children."

Russell offers parent-infant courses as a parenting professional and is currently working towards her certification as a RIE associate. She is currently being mentored by Lansbury. To learn more about the connection between Russell and Lansbury, click here.