Heather Shumaker: Its OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids



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When I first saw it in the Netgalley catalog I was startled by the title It s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker Tarcher 2012 Not share Isn t that the first thing we teach our babies during play dates I was delighted by some of the concepts in this parenting book not because I agreed with it all but because it opened my mind to different ways to approach teaching my children about elationships compassion and dealing with the ups and downs of lifeI liked Ms Shumaker s explanations for the enagade ules If we make children say sorry they learn that they can say a word and go on with playing If we teach them to stop and notice that another child is hurt or crying they learn sincerity and compassion Let them decide to say sorry but do help them notice what they ve done Similarly if we force a child to share a coveted swing he may esent the parent and the other child If we alert him to the fact that others want a turn and let him choose when to get off the swing he may learn to be sensitive to those around himAlthough I obviously won t implement all the enegade ules I certainly appreciated the eye opening look at a different way to parent I appreciate the thoughts on how our forced compassion back fires and I intend to econsider my esponses to my young children in the future In all It s OK Not to Share is a worth while ead for parents seeking ideasCross posted on my blog There s a lot about this book that I eally admire the emphasis on protecting play encouraging kids to work out their own social elationships and empowering adults to parent how they d like I like 99% of the esearch she journalistically cites although I wish she had proper endnotes or footnotes and a lot of esearchers feel like old friendsThe book focuses on the preschool years and the progressive preschool where Shumaker went and where her mom still teaches is the ideal There s definitely an emphasis on boy issues oughhousing gender bending play and super heroes which makes sense since her own kids are boys and as she points out most of kids spaces are dominated by womenSome of the brilliant bits Since kids develop empathy along with theory of mind and uite late in preschool hood making them say Sorry is hollow instead explicitly explain what happened to the other person and have them make estitution You an over Elena s foot with your trike and that hurt and now she s crying Can you go get her blanket to help her feel better Kids find a lot of power in the physically written word so writing out a contract for future events Anders gets 12 hour of video game time tomorrow or emotions Lincoln misses Fluffy Blankie He wishes she were here has a big often immediate impact Don t ban oughloudmessy play but create limits and boundaries where it can flourish Ask wrestling kids Is everyone still having fun and insist on a safe word like stop or uncle to let kids tap out Direct ambunctious kids to play ooms or outside Have time materials and spaces where oughloudmessy Parenting can be such an overwhelming job that it’s easy to lose track of where you stand on some of the controversial subjects at the playground What if my kid likes to ough house isn’t this ok as long as no one gets hurt And what if my kid just doesn’t feel like sharing In this inspiring and enlightening book Heather Shumaker describes her uest to nail down “the ules” to aising smart sensitive and self sufficient kids Drawing on her own experiences as the mother of two sm.

Lay can be engaged in It s okay to say We can play with Nerf guns at our house but not everyone likes toy guns so only at home It s okay to say You can color whatever you want on paper but not on the walls or library books Let kids negotiate their own elationships They don t have to play with everyone they don t have to like everyone They do get to set ules in elationships The baby can t touch my toys and edefine them as they go We can pass the ball back and forth though Instead of adults arbitrating let kids do the work Ask those kids what they e playing and if you can play They might say yes or they might say no Talk seriously and literally about Big Issues like death and sex from an early age Ask them what they want to know and focus on answering their uestions ather than being comprehensive at every instanceThe parts I m not wild about I m not sure I buy the if you express the emotion you ll let it out and be done I know a lot of people and kids who spiral into I m stupidI hate XYou always I never and building those neural pathways over and over again make them easier to travel down Ditto on the chapter on swears if you e accustomed to saying it in private it will be easier in public If you say it when calm you ll be likely to say it when angry She sort of side steps the discriminatory swears like the N word in one paragraph where she has a easoned conversation with her son about how that word hurts people and for that matter while she s okay with no boys allowed she blithely asserts that acial and ethnic discrimination is elevant to older kids and adults 181 Racist language and behavior is an exception to her it s all practice and play but she doesn t have a comprehensive eason whyAnd there s a big electronic hole in this book that ignores the existence of video games and television and other types of technological play Shumaker even off handed emarks literally that she doesn t even own a television which made me laugh aloud because I didn t think that we were still bragging about that Electronic media and play are part of almost every family s life I almost said every but then emembered the Mennonites and kids and parents need to learn how to navigate those kinds of play too evenespecially as preschoolersFinally I m not wild about the ethos and title that parents who do these things are enegades These practices should be common sense and the we frame them as common sense the likely they are to take oot We aren t brave exceptions we should be working for all kids to have access to free play and autonomyProbably 3 12 stars If you are a parent ead this book It is my absolute favorite parenting book now I can t say enough good about it It has changed the way I and my husband parent the way I interact with nieces and nephews even the way I teach my four year old class at church Everything she teaches is based off of the ights the children and parents have she gives examples of application shares some specific things you should and shouldn t say in certain situations and even shares ideas for. All children as well as on the work of child psychologists pediatricians educators and so on in this book Shumaker gets to the heart of the matter on a host of important uestions Hint many of the ules aren’t what you think they areThe “rules” in this book focus on the toddler and preschool years an important time for laying the foundation for competent and compassionate older kids and then adults Here are a few of the ules    • It’s OK if it’s not hurting people or prop.

Heather Shumaker È 2 Summary

How to handle other parents who parent differently than you This is the best parenting book I ve ever picked up Most of one s success in life is based on using plain simple common sense Most of one s success aising children should be based on common sense too Ms Shumaker s book drips with common sense on every page Her main premise is instead of trying to aise our children to become mini adults we should use common sense to understand the why s of their behaviors and then aise them to become the best children they can be with appropriate challenges and success at each stage of their development She feels this is the most effective method for helping them become successful adultsWhat I see as her overarching ule of ules is her Renegade Rule 2 It s OK if it s not hurting people or property My translation let kids be kids Allow them to make noise make messes wrestle and oughhouse with each other by mutual agreement have arguments be selfish and hog a toy for the entire day say almost anything with certain limitations play during 99% of their free time and make believe any fantasy they can dream of even if that fantasy appears to be violent on the surface AS LONG AS IT S NOT HURTING PEOPLE OR PROPERTYThe format is laid out simply logically and clearly Twenty nine ules each with its own chapter Each chapter explains the ule the eason for the ule why it works with children what you might object to initially case studies or examples of the ule in action and Renegade Blessings and Children s Rights which further help einforce this new way of thinking for parentsEach chapter also contains step by step procedures and suggestions for implementing a new ule Ms Shumaker also deals with the inevitable clash between old and new cultures and how to deal with for example parents who believe it s abhorrent to let young children indulge in any sort of violent or aggressive fantasy or game She acknowledges there will be friction between parents with different parenting philosophies and provides handy explanations and justifications for the Renegade parent to gently educate another parent in how to accept a Renegade Parent s styleBottom line I usually conk out eading in bed by eleven o clock but It s OK NOT to Share was such a page turner it kept me up eading well past midnight on two occasions This is the best book I ve ead this year and one of the best nonfiction books I ve ead in many years Parenting books are always going to be a mixed bag and people are going to ead those that seem to support their ideals creating a kind of echo chamber I try to avoid this by eading books that ely heavily on scientific studies ather than on well everyone knows that you e supposed to sort of easoning Shumaker does a elatively good job of eferencing the studies she uses to support her work though I would have liked a stronger bibliography or source citation She also tends to ely heavily on her own experiences and the advice of people who worked at the school she attended which can again create a kind of echo chamber Erty    • Bombs guns and bad guys allowed    • Boys can wear tutus    • Pictures don’t have to be pretty    • Paint off the paper    • Sex ed starts in preschool    • Kids don’t have to say “Sorry”    • Love your kid’s lies IT’S OK NOT TO SHARE is an essential esource for any parent hoping to avoid PLAYDATEGATE ie your child’s behavior in a social interaction with another child clearly doesn’t meet with another parent’s approv.

Heather Shumaker writes books for children and adults She began writing books in elementary school and is now an award winning author of several books for adults The Griffins of Castle Cary is her first book for childrenBefore she became an author Heather tried many jobs including milk maid sailor llama trek guide and fire crew She also lived at the South Pole and sorted garbage and recyc