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It's OK Not to Share and Other Renegade…

It's OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent…

by Heather Shumaker

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I really liked the fresh perspective this book took on parenting, and I intend to utilize several strategies I found here. In many ways, some of these ideas were a huge relief. My son was Montessori schooled through kindergarten, and it was mostly a good fit for him (not, unfortunately, for my daughter), but one thing my husband and I still laugh about to this day is how seriously the teachers took roughhousing and how we were even instructed to eliminate it at our house. My husband's evening wrestling matches with my son were frowned upon, even though in some ways they were my son's lifeblood and enabled him to get through the task-heavy days at school. So I am very excited to get the imprimatur from the author to let the kids run roughshod as they roughhouse. There were some sections I disagreed with--for example, exclusion based on gender is simply never going to happen in my house. I see too much of that kind of exclusion, mostly from girls, I hate to say it, in my son's school. It's confusing and it further deepens a divide that, frankly, doesn't have to be there. But the author is good about saying that not all of these "rules" need to be followed--in fact, she says, she doesn't even follow all of them.

My quibbles are fairly minor. There was some sloppy repetition in the text that could have been eliminated, sometimes verbatim within the same section. I also felt the author relied far too heavily on the teachers at her mother's preschool when she was looking to add some "expert support" to her ideas. I thought the most effective aspect of the book was the author's confidence, her commonsense suggestions and tactics, not the "supporting of the case" she seemed moved to do from time to time (whether out of insecurity or an editor's prodding). I know it's tricky to sell a parenting book when the author doesn't have a platform or isn't a parenting expert, but that's how I would frame the book. That's what makes it an interesting sell. What T. Berry Brazelton says is interesting, but I'm sold on her strategies because they make sense to me on some core level and because she's not overselling them. ( )
  bookofmoons | Sep 1, 2016 |
Most of one’s success in life is based on using plain, simple common sense. Most of one’s success raising 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 raise our children to become mini-adults, we should use common sense to understand the why's of their behaviors, and then raise 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 adults.

What I see as her overarching rule of rules 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 roughhouse 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 PROPERTY.

The format is laid out simply, logically, and clearly. Twenty-nine rules, each with its own chapter. Each chapter explains the rule, the reason for the rule, why it works with children, what you might object to initially, case studies or examples of the rule in action, and Renegade Blessings and Children's Rights, which further help reinforce this new way of thinking for parents.

Each chapter also contains step-by-step procedures and suggestions for implementing a new rule. 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 style.

Bottom line, I usually conk out reading in bed by eleven o'clock, but "It's OK NOT to Share" was such a page turner it kept me up reading well past midnight on two occasions. This is the best book I've read this year and one of the best nonfiction books I've read in many years.
( )
  ChrisNorbury | Apr 17, 2014 |
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Discusses twenty-nine rules for raising children that may be outside the norm, such as allowing a child not to share a toy, or not making a child say "sorry".

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