"...it is now apparent that the recidivist male delinquent who was never struck with a belt, board, extension cord, fist, or an equivalent is virtually nonexistent. Even after 10 years, the full impact of this discovery is still difficult to comprehend."
Friday, April 30, 2010
Wonderful as any initiative aimed at minimizing corporal punishment might be, one can wonder how this can be a one day event. What happens after this day to families and caregivers who have partaken in the event? Do they just become their spanking little selves again? Do you go about spanking your kid 364 days a year and than on Spank Out Day, for this one day, you don't?
In fact, many countries have already adopted laws that forbid corporal punishment, leaning on the idea that it is in fact a violation of international human rights law.
Yet voices rise against making spanking illegal. People tend to see it as conflicting with a family's freedom of choice. But why would this be a valid choice, any more than murder, rape or
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Being Belgian means we come from a tiny country, where the longest drive from one point to another without crossing an international border is 3 hours, yet there ar three different language groups. Yes, three. People tend to forget that there is a small German-speaking part of the country. We tend to ignore that part of Belgium to the extent that they aren't even included in the political debacle.
I distinctly write political debacle, because the Belgian crisis is little more than a crisis created on the political level.
The Belgian people, for the most part, couldn't care less. And for those who actually know people from the other side, there is little or no friction whatsoever. There is no such thing as ethnic trouble... for we are etnically confused. We're not much of anything really, so we don't think about it much and just go about our day. Are we one people? Two peoples? No people? All of the above? I don't know, and frankly I couldn't care less.
Me, I am Flemish, my mother was Flemish and my father too, although he spend the integrity of his youth on Walloon territory, in a French-speaking school. My mom's mother's parents were from Brussels... Kind of messes up things, as Brussels is bilingual and we don't really know what it belongs to (the very modern day Belgian politics thing to do was to split that off to and have it as another seperate territory).
My husband is bilingual (French/Dutch). Born in Brussels from a Flemish kind of bourgoisie mother (they historically tend to speak French because that's classier) and a Walloon father. He was schooled in the Flemish part of Belgium and also went to a Flemish university, and that's where we met.
My eldest brother married a Walloon girl, too, and lives close to Brussels.
My daughter was born in Brussels and is raised bilingually. She speaks mostly French, because that's the main language here in Ivory Coast. She speaks Dutch with me and our family's carrier language is Dutch, but for the rest of the day, it is only French.
We are but one family, but there are many others like us, interlaced and intertwined. Truly Belgian. If the country would seperate, what would that make us? Would I have to go and demand amnesty in Brussels? Would I be a political refugee? What would my daughter be? Or my husband? Would we just get to pick?
How arbitrary and truly trivial this all is.
If we'd all just be one bilingual country there would be no issues. Even more daring, trilingual! Imagine the benefits! Imagine the advantage one would have internationally. Is it so difficult to just have the kids learn all of the countries' languages?
Monday, April 26, 2010
This post is written as a submission for the All About Parenting Blog Carnival. This month's theme is motherhood. Find the rules for participation here.
You never know how much motherhood will change your life until you hold that tiny newborn in your arms. And even then, it will take a few moments to have the scale and scope of it sink in.
First there is this overwhelming love. A love you never knew you could feel, you never even knew existed. A love that is never-ending, unconditional, infinate, overpowering, transcendental... I can continue to sum up adjectives, but not one can describe how it feels to love your child, it is something you must experience first hand.
It seems a silly thing to say. Surreal maybe. But I can bet there are some mommies out there reading this knodding their heads off.
And then there is the life altering experience of it. It sips in slowly, steadily until one day, you realise it's there. Your life will never be the same.
There will be things you used to do before you became a mother that you'll never have the time for again. There might be things you never considered doing before. You might just find yourself covered in paint and dirt playing hide and seek in the garden and spending an hour trying to catch snails, and suddenly wonder whatever happened to the pre-mommy you.
You will never be carefree again. You'll always wonder how your little one is doing. If you find the luxury to have some private time, some long desired me-time, you will catch yourself thinking about your baby. Maybe you'll even feel a little guilty for indulging yourself. You'll never be alone again, for there will always be someone else to consider.
Becoming a mother puts things in perspective. It sheds a different light on All Things Formerly Known As True. Not only does it alter your lifestyle, it alters your thoughts and perceptions. What you held dearly before seems futile now, and things you found silly before may very well become the summit of your day.
Becoming a mother, it changes all. There might be a few things you will miss, but you'd miss so much more if you didn't.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The Unnecesarian has written a wonderful opinion piece in Opposing Views, where she urges women to stand up for themselves and complain if they have been manhandled in childbirth.She says truthfully:
"until women complain, and complain loudly, for a long time, in ways that anger people and make them uncomfortable, nothing ever changes."I found a very well written article on Cherish the Child about the safety of baby skin care products.
Julie at He Who Laughs Last writes a nice post about how dating and relationships have changed through the sexual revolution. And Free Birth has a post about how everything is sexual, yet sex is shameful in our 'modern' culture.
If you have read or written a particulary good post this week, link it up here, if you are participating in Sunday Surf, add your link below. And again, don't mind the green thumb thingy.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
A while back, mommy blogs were being smeared in the NY times. They were painted 'expensive hobbies' for bored suburban mothers. Now, while the term mommy blogs does not offend me as such - I am a mom, I blog - the connotations of it being a futile hobby for white middle class American women does bother me. The idea that all mommy blogs would represent one big pile of crappy internet content also bothers me. There are many many different kinds of 'mommy blogs' out there, each having their own audience and their own style, so don't throw everything on a pile and call it crap. Sure there are rather trivial 'mommy blogs' out there, but who are we to judge? And what is it about crafts or cooking that would make blogs less interesting or relevant? The fact that they are being read, that they have their audience, does that not validate those blogs?
But I'm deviating here.
On the other side you have 'serious journalism'. Yet, nowadays, a lot of that serious journalism takes the form of blogs. Some of them are written by women, of whom some are even mothers... Most of them are even white, middle class and American! Does that make those blogs mommy blogs? Or is the mere fact of getting paid for blogging enough to shed the 'mommy blog' label? Do you have to be associated with a big publishing company to be a serious journalist/blogger?
At least we can be sure of one thing: it is not the content that makes the label.
'Serious Bloggers' sure don't do any more - I might say often even less - research than 'mommy' bloggers. That's being proven over and over by the flood of crappy opinion pieces originating from the 'radical parenting' TV show. I have discussed one of those very crappy pieces of journalism a while ago. Lately, my inbox (I have a google alert set for unschooling) is flooded with those poor quality 'opinionated' pieces of 'journalism', some of them on major publication's websites. They all have two things in common: they are highly judgemental and poorly researched.
Isn't that ironic? I can give you a list of 'mommy blogs' that do real research for their posts. That write scientifically funded articles, yet they are doomed to remain mommy blogs... Moreover, most of the 'mommy blogs' I read are very openminded and not at all judgemental... so maybe that's what sets the difference, the adherance to hegemony.
The sad thing is that those crappy pieces of internet content do matter, they shape minds, they influence opinions. Readers think becaue it is featured on a well renowned platform, it m,ust be solid an believe every closeminded word that is published. So when they say unschooling is crazy and should be illegal, a large part of their readership swallows that, knods and goes about their day. Not only is that sad, it should be illegal ;)
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
We all want our children to grow up to be truthful people, to not tell lies. But how many times do we ourselves lie to our children? How often do we change the truth to obtain something we want, or to avoid a confrontation? Maybe we even make our children lie for us? Or maybe are words are true but our actions are not.
See if you recognize yourself in these examples:
- Oh, mommy can't open that bottle, it's stuck (in fact you can open it, but you don't want the content to end up smeared all over the place)
- We can't go to the park today because it's closed (the park is open, but you are too busy to go)
- When your kid answers the phone: "tell them I'm not home."
- You tell your kid:"I'm on a diet" and then drink a regular coke.
How do these little white lies influence our little ones? Aren't we sending them mixed messages when we tell them not to lie, but then twist the truth ourselves.
Small children do not grasp the subtle nuances of irony and sarcasm. For them there is only the truth and non-truth, which to them, is a lie. It is very disturbing for them to have a parent twist reality, for whatever reasons.
Consider your words and actions more carefully, and become a truthful person yourself. Model the behavior you want your child to adapt.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
That is the war I have referred to, of man against woman. There is a demand that women should be kept in ignorance of the truth of childbirth and that they should be unquestioningly submissive to the recommendations and demands of the orthodox obstetric profession. They do not know that this submission may expose them to routine interference and physical injury without any clinical indication that can justify such assault upon their bodies.
Some feminists advocate that pain in labour and birth is a thing of the dark ages and should be avoided at all cost. These voices claim it is completely backward for a woman to want anything but a painfree birth.
I beg to differ.
First, feminism is all about choice, not about one group of women oppressing another group, because that would be really backward. But this choice should be an informed one, and not one bestowed upon women through societal indoctrination.
Secondly, and now we are hitting the core: Epidurals were invented by men to numb pains they did not and will not ever understand, for they can never experience anything than comes close to it (No, the australian guy having his abdominal muscles electrically stimulated does not count and does not come anywhere near the experience a women has in childbirth). Frankly, epidurals are just another way to have women take it lying down and shutting them up in the process.
Feminism should be all about embracing femininity. Reclaiming birth would be a huge step for feminism. Childbirth is probably the most prominent, important, empowering, life-altering, transcending aspect of femininity.
Why then would we have anything or anyone meddle with that experience. Why would we allow ourselves to be drugged and manhandled? Why would we be numb to the most amazing sensations of life? An informed women should not willingly have this taken away from her, and with it all the beauty and the love and the high of the hormones that come with it.
So my dear fellow feminist, instead of going for the oppressive illusion of painfree birth, inform and prepare yourself and shed the victorian / highly mediatised view of fear and pain and terror in childbirth. You and you alone are in control of your emotions at the time of birth, so let fear and pain not be part of them.
Not convinced, consider this:
Having sex can hurt a little, there can be some unwanted friction before the vulva is sufficiently lubrified. If one is fearfull, like for for instance when it is her first time, it can be even more uncomfortable. Would you therefor trade the pleasantness and the orgasm for a quick shot that would make it all pain- (and therefor also pleasure-)free? I think not.
Childbirth is quite similar, except all these feelings are magnified. There is a bit more pain, which I'd rather call discomfort, but there's also the burst of love and pleasure that's larger than life. Don't let anyone steal that away from you. Don't be tricked into believing it's in your own advantage.
No matter how you turn it, an epidural is - in most cases - an unnescessary medical intervention. And one leads to another...
Monday, April 19, 2010
Most people never think about this when they wonder about unschooling, but every child has been unschooled to some extent for at least a part of its life.
From birth to the first schooling experience, all children spend the phase of their lives in which they learn the most outside the confinement of the classroom, away from the teachers eye. Often without any externally applied force, course or direction, even in the most conventional families. Yet this is a time where children learn to walk, talk, eat, use the toilet... in short everything that lays the path upon which they will walk for the rest of their mortal lives.
If these tremendous steps come so natural and without guidance to every child on our planet, is it then so hard to imagine they can learn all other skills they might possibly need in life in the same manner?
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Through the wonderful carnivals this week, I've discovered a lot of nice blogs: Earth Mama, The Man-Nurse Diaries and The Feminist Breeder are certainly worth a visit, if you don't know them yet.
Selecting the articles for this week's surf was kind of difficult with all this carnival activity going on. More so because I think I've spent more time reading blogs this week than writing my own (I had a lot of autoposting going on). So there were lots and lots of really good articles to choose from.
Bring Birth Home is rapidly becoming one of my favorite spots to hang around, I loved this week's post about unassisted homebirth. It is something I would like to read about more in the near future.
Reality Rounds writes about the misogyny of religion when it comes to childbirth.
I can also recommend EverydayRebel's post about Facebook status updates if you want a good laugh. I must admit I recognise myself a bit too much in that post. Another fun one on The Leaky Boob talks about children as miniature breastfeeding advocates.
On the topic of breastfeeding, I read an insightful article on related traditions and beliefs in Haiti.
If you have read or written something spectacular this week, feel free to add it to the Mr. Linky. (Don't mind the green thumb Sunday, I couldn't make one for Sunday Surf, since I had not acquired Silver status).
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I finally finished The Unschooling Handbook. Finally, not because it's a slow read, rather because I hardly make time to read, being busy with well, the internet most of the time, and some parenting aside *wink* and then some (read hundreds) little projects on the side. So I thought I should share this with you.
I will be reviewing the books I read as I go along, you can find what is awaiting my attention in the bottom of the left column.
A comprehensive guide to unschooling essentials
The Unschooling Handbook is a light and rather fun read. The author's words are interlaced with exerpts from interviews with unschoolers and their parents. These real life testimonies are often fun to read, and add to the lightness of this book.
For the novice unschooler, or anybody just diving into the idea of unschooling, this book might be just what you are looking for. It takles the most important questions one has about unschooling and offers huge amounts of varied ressources for further reading and for connecting with fellow unschoolers. If you are already familiar to unschooling and have read a lot about it before, it might not give you any new insights. Yet you could make use of the lists of ressources and the interviews are quite fun.
For me personally, the book took away any remaining doubts - if any - I had about unschooling and was very reassuring, to say the least.
Quote from the book:
Unschoolers are a different breed from those who have had more conventional education and way of life. There is this aura that surrounds us, and most people are very jeaalous of it. We are confident and self-assured even when we are nervous. We have a much better handle on who we are and who we want to become than most people have.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Apparently there is this TV show on parenting that's been stirring the pot quite a lot recently (must be, because even I, far far away under my palm trees, have heard about it). This show supposedly depicts 'radical' forms of parenting, among which: elimination communication, attachment parenting, homeschooling and radical unschooling.
As I subscribed to google alerts on unschooling, I got a link in my inbox to an opinion piece inspired by this show. You can find it here, but I must warn against it if you don't want to get worked up.
In a way that shows a lack of research and frankly, general intelligence she throws all these parenting types on one big pile and trashes them, based solely on the viewing of this tv show.
Now there are many things wrong with the way she approaches this, and I could go on and on about how media pick and light subjects so that they shock and thrill their audience, or how she should research her topic before writing anything, but let's keep that for another time, because otherwise this post will become endless.
What I wanted to talk about today is people's eagerness to trash views that are different from their own, and more specifically parenting ways. Throughout my time as an alternative parent I have discovered some generalities in this bashing I would like to discuss here.
The piling of very different parenting choices into one big group
Cloth diapering, elimination communication, homebirth, freebirth, placenta eating and planting, homeshooling, unschooling, radical unschooling, attachment parenting, breastfeeding, cosleeping, bedsharing, babywearing... they are all thrown on one big pile of parents who do 'those weird crazies'. Yet if you just take one second and have a closer look, you can see that even within this so-called craziness, there are choices to be made. Some of these 'radical' choices can in fact not coincide.
'Radical Parenting' isn't the big homogenous group it is made out to be. They are in fact extremely heterogenous, and seem to come from about every religion or non-religion, every social layer, every culture or origin. And even within their 'strange parenting ways' they differ: two homeschooling families will not be the same. It is not a big cult as it is being portrayed by some (sadly, because wouldn't that be nice :) LOL).
'Radical' Parents as superior and the guilt arguement
Being accused of feeling superior to others is something breastfeeders, unschoolers, attachment parents and the like get confronted with almost on a daily basis. Not one study of the benefits of breastfeeding or the detriment of spanking foregoes the comment that we should stop making people feel guilty.
Where does the guilt and superiority arguement come form, save from them feeling attacked, inferior and guilty?
As Uncommon Momsense nicely describes it in this wonderful post
No one could ever make me feel bad for breastfeeding, and for as long as I will. No one can make me feel less than because I co-sleep with my babies. No one can make me feel inferior that I am a stay at home mom. Why? Because I know with all of my heart and soul, that when it comes to my babies, I have done my homework, I have listened to my heart, and I am absolutely making the best most selfless decisions for my babies.And:
If you are unsure of your decisions, start doing more research, it is never too late to do better. But if you don't want to, don't blame it on me. And don't blame it on any mother who happens to be confident and say so.You can only feel bad about your choices if you are insecure about them, if you think that by having made those choices you really are doing something wrong.
I didn't *insert parenting choice here* and my kids are just fine
First it is statistically incorrect that stating that one child (or even two) being fine is proof of a decent parenting method. That's the same as saying: I jumped off a building with no parachute and I am just fine. It doesn't prove anything.
Secondly, how can you be sure that your child is 'just fine'? Of course I hope that my child grows up to be a happy secure person, but I cannot be sure of that until the day she is grown and tells me she is. I worry about doing it right, making the right choices, every single day, so the fact that you are not worried at all just makes you disinterested, not confident. A parent who never worries is a machine, not a parent.
Third, what is your measure for saying your child is just fine? I've seen formula feeding parents say their kid is doing just fine on formula, while the kid has been in and out of the hospital several times during its first year of life. I've heard a time-out parent saying time-out work miracles, yet her kid had to do them several times a day.
Compared to *'radical parented' kid* my child is better behaved
Well, compared to Hitler, I am a saint, yet we were both spanked as a kid. Nuf said.
Tip of the day: Stop bashing others for their parenting choices out of insecurity and ignorance. Use your computer wisely instead, do some research, maybe change something. Join the revolution!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice!
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we're writing letters to ask our readers for help with a current parenting issue. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by the end of the day April 13 with all the carnival links.)
- Replace hitting with…? — Acacia at Be Present Mama is at a loss on how to handle her three year old's hitting.
- Two Questions — Alexandra at Breastfeeding Momma would like some ideas on how to strengthen her bond with her 8-month-old daughter; she's also looking for input on an emotional topic: vaccines.
- Balancing Needs When Baby Trumps Mama — Alison at BluebirdMama wonders how her child's need for noise and energy balances out against her need for quiet and space. (@childbearing )
- The McDilemma — Annie at PhD in Parenting is on the arches of a McDilemma. (@phdinparenting)
- Where is the mutually agreeable solution? When parenting calls for blood draws — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick has a child who needs regular blood tests that are torment for him. How does a parent honor a child when his health is on the line? (@RaisingBoychick)
- When To Wait To Nurse — Cave Mother wonders what age toddlers can be asked to wait to nurse.
- I don't love you Mama! — CurlyMonkey wonders what to do with her daughter's intense feelings. (@curlymonkey_)
- Help a Mama Out — Danielle at Born.in.Japan isn't getting much sleep with her cosleeping, night nursing, cranky little guy and hopes you can help with some suggestions for shuteye. (@borninjp)
- Dear Abby: My daughter really misses her Daddy — Darcel at The Mahogany Way needs to know how to help her daddy's girl get the connection with her father she needs — and not feel left out in the process. (@MahoganyWayMama)
- What's Going on at School? — Deb at Science@home is in a quandary: how can she find out what really goes on at school without stepping on the teacher's toes? (@ScienceMum)
- April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Advice — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to find volunteer work that includes her toddler. (@CodeNameMama)
- How do you deal? — Erin at Beatnik Momma does not want to engage in "mommy wars." She'd like your input on how (and how much) to discuss her natural parenting choices with curious friends and family who parent differently. (@babybeatnik)
- Dear Abby — The Grumbles at Grumbles and Grunts gave her son a banana...and no solid food since. What's the next step in baby-led weaning? (@thegrumbles)
- Excuse me, I have a poop question — Jessica at This is Worthwhile has a question for you about toddler tinkling. (@tisworthwhile)
- The Half Empty Nest Syndrome: What to do when Momma gets replaced by a cow? — Joni Rae at Kitchen Witch Momma is suffering from "half-empty nest syndrome": what do you do when your babies start growing up? (@kitchenwitch)
- Peer Pressure — Kate at Momopoly worries what message her daughter's new friend is sending — but how to break up such an infatuation? (@Momopoly)
- When I Fall Down — Katherine at Momioso.com needs your wisdom on how to be more gentle and at peace with herself. (@naturalparent)
- A question of sleep and sanity — KeepingMumSane needs your toddler cosleeping advice in order to, well, keep mum sane! (@keepingmumsane)
- April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice — Lauren at Hobo Mama needs a chiropractor … or help getting her 36 lb toddler to walk up the stairs. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Driver's Ed for Mommies — Maman A Droit is a self-confessed terrible driver and is scared to drive with her baby in the car.
- Solo Parenting — Mammapie at Downside Up and Outside In needs tips for being a single working mother while her partner's away. (@mammapie)
- Itsy Bitsy Biter — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting needs your advice about her daughter, otherwise known as the pitbull.
- How Can I Avoid Beauty Obsession? — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is at a loss ever since her tomboys turned into wannabe princesses. (@bfmom)
- Seeking Stability in Chaos — Michelle at Seeking Mother is in a heart-wrenching position. She needs your input on how to make a toddler feel secure during a time of transition, the illness of a parent, and multiple (new) caregivers. (@Seekingmother)
- Mama, That's Too, Too Boring! — Michelle at The Parent Vortex started out asking how to encourage her preschooler to get dressed — and four days later, she began to without prompting! (@TheParentVortex)
- Dear Lovey Hart, I am Desperate. — Mommy Soup from Cream of Mommy Soup has several questions for you, from how you play favorites when no one's your favorite to how to tell off strangers curious about the ample size of your family. (@mommysoup)
- Diaper Duty Dilemma — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries has a simple request: talk to her about cloth! (@babydust)
- What Do You Need My Son — pchanner at A Mom's Fresh Start wishes her calm four-month-old hadn't turned into an inquisitive and dramatic six-month-old. How do you handle changes in baby's personality? (@pchanner)
- Dear Natural Parenting Community — Sarah at OneStarryNight wants to know how to respond to criticism from family and friends over breastfeeding. (@starrymom)
- Natural Parenting Carnival — Help — Sarah at Consider Eden feels like either her to-do list or her parenting is suffering, because she can't do both! (@considereden)
- To potty learn or not to potty learn - that is the question — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes wants to know whether it's time to start potty training. (@sheryljesin)
- Seeking Patience — Starr at Earth Mama looks to the collective tribal wisdom of this community to learn how to teach patience to children.
- A Dirty Girl Comes Clean — Tashmica at Mother Flippin' is struggling. How do parents deal with their inability to keep their children protected from danger? (@Mother_Flippin)
- Uli and the Pussy Cats — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis has a toddler who likes to put kitties in headlocks and ride them like horsies. How best to separate the little beasties?
- Perceptions of Discipline — Zoey at Good Goog doesn't use conventional discipline with her child — and doesn't know how to respond around people who do. (@zoeyspeak)
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
On Sundays, I will now be posting the most remarkable posts I came across during the preceding week while surfing the blogosphere.
In Two Kinds Of Society, Corneilius writes about detached and attached societies, detached not only vis-a-vis children, but detached or attached in a more general sense, as to their relationship to nature, other people and innate human capacities.
Public Health Doula writes a great post about the sillyness of the 'guilt' arguement when discussing the benefits of breastfeeding.
If you are wondering about the effects of the cry it out method on children, I suggest you go over to Baby Dust Diaries, where Paige wrote a clear and to the point entry on CIO's effect on the infant's brain.
Don't hesitate to use the comment form below and let me know what you thought about the articles, and how you like this new concept.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
This post is participating in the Body Image Carnival being hosted by Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and MamanADroit who will be posting articles on themes pertaining to body image all week! Make sure you check out their blogs everyday between April 12-18 for links to other participants' posts as well as product reviews, a giveaway, and some links to research, information and resources pertaining to body image.
I am beautiful as I am. I am the shape that was gifted. My breasts are no longer perky and upright like when I was a teenager. My hips are wider than that of a fashion model. For this I am glad, for these are signs of a life lived.
Friday, April 9, 2010
When it comes to technical explantions, the word because is just fine. When it comes to parenting however, one should refrain from using it as much as possible.
Boy: Mom, why do I have to wear that sweater?
Mom: Because I said so!
Why we must avoid this situation:
- the boy's question is not answered, which shows little respect to the child's genuine interest and only teaches him that his current conversational partner is not a person to turn to, and that his questions don't matter, so he'd better shut up in the future.
- In saying "Because I said so!" the mother in this example abuses the mental and physical power she has over her child. It is in fact pure coercion
- "Because I said so" is a masked threat, what it says is: 'don't argue with me, and do as I tell you to, or else'
- There is no possibility to open up a dialogue in this example
- The child has no rights and has to go along meekly
You might recognise the exampes I have given, for these are communicational patterns that are being used by parents all the time. In defining what is wrong with these current practices and tackling how we can change them, we can try to make changes in the way we talk to our children.
Non-violent communication can give you an alternative for the communication dynamics within our family.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
This post is written as a submission to the Enjoy Life Unschooling Blog Carnival. This carnival is hosted monthly (soon twice monthly) at Enjoy Life Unschooling. This months theme is "To Open".
Unschooling has certainly opened up a land of opportunity for my entire family. Imagine the freedom a family gains when they are not bound by school schedules, homework deadlines. When there are no ties to school holidays and there is no dropping off and picking up and days regulated by a loud and obnoxious bell.
School used to be a great worry our family had. We became expats so I would be able to stay with the kids, but by becoming expats, we had created a totally different set of problems when it comes to our kids education. Why?
- There are no good schools in our proximity when living on a plantation in Africa
- We move around quite often, which is problematic when you have your children in school
- The countries we have lived in so far follow French school systems, of which I am not a great fan
- If there is a school available, it's often at in the nearest city; which would mean I'd have to move to the city, and my husband would remain on the plantation, which is not an option for our family
- The schools that are available often only have a handful students and are based on some kind of correspondence system, of which, again, I am not a big fan
- Conventionally schooling our children would also have a huge impact on our holidays, since you cannot just take your children out of school whenever you feel like it (now doesn't that just seem odd to you, they're your children, after all), now we are on a one month every five months schedule, if we were schooling, we'd have to adapt to school holidays
- There is no possibility whatsoever to have your children go through high school here
- Sending them off to Europe (either with me or at their grandparents) when they hit high school age
|Image courtesy of The Unnamed on Flickr|
So what about you? What possibilities has unschooling opened for your family?
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
After staying home with my daughter for almost 9 months, I noticed that I needed more “adult communication”. Here’s how I found what I was looking for and more by starting a home business.
Shaklee has provided her a way to continue staying home with her daughter while helping other mom’s stay home and provide the best care for their children. To join her or to contact her for more info, go to her website at www.sharonaguilar.myshaklee.com.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
5th Healthy Birth Blog Carnival: Avoid Giving Birth On Your Back And Follow Your Body's Urges To Push
Long before I gave birth, before I got pregnant, and even before I met my husband, I knew I was not going to birth on my back. No. Way. In the same way I knew I was going to breastfeed and I was not going to birth in a hospital. I had always been fascinated with birth and had read up about it, even in my early teens.
Yet, due to the course my life had taken, I did end up birthing in a hospital. I thought it was a small concession to make our lives a little easier. Moreover, when we got the tour of the maternity ward and delivery rooms, the midwife assured us that you could choose your birthing position and that aids to birth in a position other than lying down were provided (like a birthing chair). So I felt confident my birthing in the hospital would not stand in the way of my wish for a natural birth.
Alas, faith (read: the medical system) had decided otherwise, and I ended up having an induction because I had gestational diabetes (company policy euh.. I mean standard procedure). Labour went fairly well and I enjoyed a nice bath that helped a lot to get through the contractions. I started feeling pressure and had to get out of the bath (the hospital didn't do waterbirths). As I walked towards the birthing bed, she slipped straight down and I had to push. I was standing all alone in the middle of the room (the midwives had scattered and my husband was MIA), and I panicked. I cried out it hurt and they should come help me and I distinctly remember the midwife yelling not to push and me replying there was no way in hell not to push.
When the contraction subsided, they led me to the birthing bed, positioned me on my back and had my legs in the stirrups before I knew what happened.Everything was kind of a blur, but I remember wondering where everybody came from, because all of a sudden, there were three midwifes, two OB's and my husband miraculously reappeared.
I had not the strength to fight the position I was in and my husband was shaking like a leaf in a thunderstorm.
I found it strange they kept reminding me to push (as if I could do anything but push) and felt like they had to add HOW I should push (like there was any other way). In retrospect, this is probably because most women do get an epidural and do need some guidance. I was getting more guidance than an airline pilot at take off and was urged not to scream. Nothing about that second stage felt natural to me and instead of completely allowing the emotions to overflow me once my dear daughter was born, I was anxious.
So I have decided to have the next one at home. (Read my article 'Why Homebirth')
My tips for having the second stage the way you like it:
- Be informed: on the available positions, on how you would want the room to be etc. (If you want to find out which positions you can adopt during second stage, have a look at this.)
- Write up a birthplan and hand it to all people involved in your birth, even if that's not a custom where you are, stick it on the door of the delivery room if you are giving birth in a hospital.
- Inform everyone of your wishes before you are in labour, and if possible, again at the 'moment supreme'.
- Make sure your birth partner is drilled at being the guard dog for your birth plan, so you don't have to worry about that.
- Try out different positions while you are in labour to find out what suits you best (you might have had an idea before, which turns out completely counter intuitive)
- Maybe the most important tip I can give you: Follow your instincts
Monday, April 5, 2010
This is my 100th post already! So I thought that was a great cause for celebration, and what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway? Luckily, Susan Betke was kind enough to donate a beautiful knitted diaper cover. The winner gets to pick one of these wonderfull covers. Susan has a blog titled The Life And Times Of Susan B.
Pictures provided by Susan.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
I hope you are feasting on those chocolate eggs, sugary chicks and marshmallow bunnies. Maybe you've organised an egg hunt and have a flock of little ones running around your garden carrying wicker baskets. Or you might have spent the last couple of weeks making and decorating an easter tree. Maybe you told your kids the easter bunny has hidden those eggs in your garden, or maybe you said it was the bells that came from Rome.
But have you ever stopped to think where all this easter madness comes from?
Easter is not mentioned in the bible. The word simply appeared in Christianism out of a mistranslation of the Greek word Pasha, meaning passover. Easter actually refers to the godess of spring (Eostre - Aglo-saxon, Eostur - Norse, Ishtar or Astarte - Near East or Astoreth in the Bible). the rite surrounding Easter was one of rejuvenation and reproduction. Of the earth and its creatures regaining its fertility, of the return of sunshine to the world.
Seen in this light, the symbols of Easter, which are still in use today, start making sense. In ancient Egypt, given its high reproductive capacities, the hare was the symbol of fertility. In some European countries, however, the eggs are brought by bells that come from Rome.
The egg is also a strong symbol of fertility and rebirth, and the egg hunt is simply a reproduction of insemination.
The Easter tree is a clear return of spring-symbol, since newly green branches are brought into the house and decorated.
So let spring be fertile to you and your family!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
There's quite the paradox in the way children are
cared for handled in Western society.
On the one hand, babies just can't be autonomous enough and have to be squeezed and pushed to become individuals right away (if possible the day the are born).
An entire set of training practices exist to ensure the autonomy and individualism of newborns.
- Having them cry it out in cribs in separate rooms, in order to have them finally be able to self settle. Just never ever ever put them in the bed with you, because you'll never get them out.
- The push for having them sleep through the night in early infancy.
- Don't pick them up too much, you'll spoil them.
- Don't carry them around, they'll get too attached to you.
- Leave them with a secondary caregiver as soon and as often as possible, because otherwise, separation anxiety will be hell and they'll be on you like a post-it.
- Ignore their crying, they're just manipulating you!
- Have them potty trained at 2,5 years old, have them walking and talking as soon as possible.
- Whatever happens, just make sure they're not behind (behind on what, one asks oneself).
- Please don't breastfeed them beyond six months, once they have teeth they are ready to eat solids, right. Nursing beyond one year old? Hey if they're old enough to ask for it, they shouldn't get it, and anyway, if you continue like that, they'll never wean.
They are to sit still, shut up, be quiet, don't mess around and be 'good' by the age of one.
All of this to make sure they're out of your hair as quickly as humanly possible (and preferably even quicker).
|Courtesy of memekode on Flickr|
Children are being babied way beyond infancy, into childhood and even into adolescence.
- They are being spoon and bottle fed way beyond a reasonable age.
- They get a pacifier jammed in their mouths and a blankie in their hands until they are off to primary school.
- They get mush for dinner and puree for lunch.
- They may not eat with decent cutlery, even in primary school.
- They are not allowed real scissors, real paint or art supplies.
- They are not allowed choices, responsibility or decisions and they are not to be trusted until they are out of you house.
- They have no rights.
- They may not speak when grown-ups do.
- They can't do anything unless it is age appropriate.
- They sure as hell shouldn't mix with anyone older or younger than themselves.
Now doesn't this strike you as odd? Why do so many fail to see the discrepancies in this way of child rearing? How do we expect these children to grow up responsible, secure and unique individuals? It's completely mind-blowing.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Tinea Pedis or athlete's foot is a fungal infection that affects mostly men. It can also appear on the hands. Affected areas can be: between the toes, the soles of the feet and toenails.
Athletes foot fungus is very contageous and can develop rapidly in areas where dead skin is shed. If you have caught Tinea Pedis, you should rid yourself of infected shoes, for the fungus can run rampant in closed shoes (like tennis shoes).
Athlete's foot can be cured easily with every day products and essential oils:
- Tea tree oil has been scientifically proven effective. It is best applied diluted in a 50% solution. Tea tree oil is such a wonderful thing, one should always have a bottle handy!
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Soak your feet in a lukewarm vinegar and water bath or spray a vinegar-water mixture on the feet, let dry. It also acts as a natural deodorant and does not leave a vinegar smel when dry.
- Raw honey can be applied on infected area before going to bed, leave overnight and rinse off in the morning.
- Find several additional natural remedies here
Even if you take traditional treatment or antibiotics, you can greatly benefit by altering your diet:
- Get the body back to an alkaline state by eliminating foods that promote acidity, such as red meat, soda, sugary foods, fried foods.
- Eat yoghurt with active cultures
- Drink a lot of water
- Up your garlic intake or take garlic capsules
- keep your feet dry at all times
- wear cotton socks, which you change daily (even more frequently if you are in an extremely hot climate of sweating excessively)
- avoid tight, closed shoes as much as possible
- Use baking soda to keep your feet dry, sprinkle on affected area and in shoes.
- Spray the inside of your shoes with white vinegar or disinfectant
- wash your socks on a hot cycle
- After taking a bath or shower, spray your feet with rubbing alcohol. This will dry them quickly and prevent you from catching Athlete's foot fungus.
- wear flipflops in areas where people take off their shoes such as locker rooms or swimming pools
Image source: cstrom on Flickr
Thursday, April 1, 2010
By Jessica Martin-Weber