I was just browsing and came across this book on Amazon (you know, ‘Customers who bought this also bought…’ But I usually buy my books from Book Depository). The title looked really interesting, so did the abstract, and the reviews were positive. No regrets reading this!
Parenting can be such an overwhelming job that it’s easy to lose track of where you stand on some of the more controversial subjects at the playground. In this inspiring and enlightening book, Heather Shumaker describes her quest to nail down “the rules” to raising smart, sensitive, and self-sufficient kids. Drawing on the work of more than a hundred child psychologists, educators and other experts, as well as her own experiences as the mother of two small children, Shumaker gets to the heart of the matter on a host of important questions. (from the back cover)
- Don’t steal play
- It’s OK if it’s not hurting people or property
- Kids need conflict
- All feelings are OK. All behaviour isn’t
- Let kids hit and kick
- “I hate you” is nothing personal
- Take dictation from your tot
- Go ahead: let him hate the baby!
- It’s OK not to share
- Let her hog that toy all day
- We’re not all friends here
- You can’t play = A-OK
- Hang up a “No Girls” sign
- Take rejection in stride
- Ban chairs – not tag
- Give kids power
- Only punch friends
- Bombs, guns and bad guys allowed
- Boys can wear tutus
- Pictures don’t have to be pretty
- Paint off the paper
- Stop saying “Good job!”
- Kids don’t have to say “sorry”
- Let your kid swear
- Love your kid’s lies
- Sex ed starts in preschool
- Be buddies with dead birds
- Make some enemies at the playground
- Goof up
Intrigued? I hope so : )
I shall share more on No. 9 here since it’s the title and also because it made a lot of sense to me when I read it. Having two children for the past two and a half years (and three children for the past seven months), I had told the boys to SHARE soooooo many times. I had got upset when they refused to share, when they refused to give up the toy to the brother even though they had played with it for a long time.
The author advocates that the one who had the toy first should get to keep the toy until he is ready to give it up. Instead of ‘teaching’ the first boy to ‘share’, we should teach the second one to wait. Waiting isn’t easy, so the adult should comfort and sympathize with the waiting child, perhaps by giving a hug, and telling him ‘I will hold you while you wait.’ The first child learns assertiveness, and the second child learns delayed gratification.
Kor Kor was playing with a toy. Didi came over and snatched it from him. Kor Kor tried to retrieve the toy. Didi refused to let go. Both boys were crying and screaming.
Me: Give the toy back to Kor Kor now and ask for the toy.
I would gently (haha) take his hands and return the toy to Kor Kor.
Me: Say ‘Kor Kor, can I have the toy please?’
Didi (still sobbing and whining) reluctantly repeated the words after me after I told him numerous times.
In the past, this was where I got stuck. Didi had already asked Kor Kor nicely, but usually Kor Kor still refused to give up the toy, and he did have the toy first, so what should I do? Now:
Me: Didi, tell Kor Kor ‘When you have finished playing with the toy, please give it to me.’
Didi: Kor Kor, when you have finished playing with the toy, please give it to me.
Then I held Didi in my lap and we waited together. (Nope, no black face or threatening glare from me.)
Nine out of ten times, Kor Kor handed over the toy within one minute! Happily, willingly, with a smile on his face! (The other one time, he might play with the toy a while longer.. or urmm, Didi forgot about the toy and moved on to something else.)
Then, of course, within the next minute, DIdi abandoned the toy -.-“
This has also happened with the roles reversed.
Though I have to take a active role in this, and also have to spend some time sitting with the one who’s waiting, it’s no more time than having to referee two fighting boys anyway. The difference is the amount of yelling and crying and punishment and forcing. I would rather spend my time being a nice parent! I have only been doing this for a couple of weeks, hopefully the boys will be able to internalise this soon!
The Other Rules
I have been practicing some of the rules before reading this book, though perhaps not perfectly – Rule 1 (Don’t steal play), Rule 2 (It’s OK if it’s not hurting people or property), Rule 20 (Pictures don’t have to be pretty), Rule 21 (Paint off the paper), Rule 22 (Stop saying “Good job!” and Rule 23 (Kids don’t have to say “Sorry”). Rule 10 (Let her hog that toy all day!) is an extension of Rule 9.
I have also been inspired to start doing a few additional things since reading the book.
Rule 11: I have stopped referring to all other children as ‘your friends’.
Rule 15: I cleared an area in the house (by moving the things into the children’s bedrooms) so that the kids could have more space for crazy dashing about.
Rule 18: Yep, I am going to give them guns. Toys, of course.
Rule 26: I have been sourcing for suitable sex ed books to start off with the boys. The author recommended “Becoming the Parent You Want to Be: A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years” which I am reading now.
Rule 27: Keeping a lookout for children books on death (gonna take it slow and easy cos it’s a heavy topic and I don’t want to scare the boys. But they have to face this sooner or later, so there’s no point avoiding it. Better to introduce them to it before it happens so that I have a chance to explain and assure.)
I like the book because the rules seem sound to me, the author explains why, and she gives advice on how to implement the rules. Now that I have finished this review and that the due date is coming soon, I feel quite sad about returning the book to the library!
We are learning to share better : )