Google+ Authentic Parenting: June 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quote of the day

Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.
- William James


Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quote of the day

"If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start." 
Dr. Benjamin Spock 


Share/Bookmark

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quote of the day

"Spanking does for a child's development what wife-beating does for a marriage."
- Comments by Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE)


Share/Bookmark

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Quote of the day

"As the severity of corporal punishment in the delinquent's developmental history increases, so does the probability that he will engage in a violent act."
- Dr. Ralph Welsh


Share/Bookmark

Sunday Surf






    Share/Bookmark

    Saturday, June 26, 2010

    Quote of the day

    "Infliction of pain or discomfort, however minor, is not a desirable method of communicating with children."
    - American Medical Association, (1985)


    Share/Bookmark

    Body Image Survey

    Dear readers,

    I recently got contacted by Sofia from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion. She is conducting a survey regarding body image in new mothers. Read the recruitment letter below, and if you match the criteria, please take a moment to fill in the online survey.


    Researchers from The Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University are conducting an online survey regarding women’s sexual experiences and body image during the postpartum period.

    For this study, we are recruiting women who have given birth for the first time in the past year (e.g., first time mothers whose baby is one year old or younger).  Women who choose to participate in the survey will be asked questions about their birthing experience as well as their body image and sexual behaviors.

    The online survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes and upon completion participants will have the opportunity to enter to win one of 50 $20 VISA gift cards.

    To learn more about this study and decide whether you want to participate, please visit the following website:

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/newmomsurvey

    If you have additional questions about the study, please contact me via email at sjawed@indiana.edu

    Thank you.

    Sofia Jawed-Wessel
    Project Coordinator
    Center for Sexual Health Promotion
    Indiana University


    Share/Bookmark

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Quote of the day

    "As long as the child will be trained not by love, but by fear, so long will humanity live not by justice, but by force. As long as the child will be ruled by the educator's threat and by the father's rod, so long will mankind be dominated by the policeman's club, by fear of jail, and by panic of invasion by armies and navies."
    Boris Sidis, 1919.


    Share/Bookmark

    Parenting Basics - Part Two: Safety

    You might wonder why I include safety in my parenting essentials, while I clearly stated I wasn't looking for primal needs. For if there was one primal need, then it should be the need to be safe, right?
    True, and indeed I pondered if I should include this into my essentials. I decided to do so because there are huge misunderstandings about what it means to create a safe environment for children.

    In a primal society, ensuring a child's safety is rather straightforward. One must try to avoid or eliminate threat. Those threat - in a primal society - only stem from nature, in exactum, predators or the elements. Primal societies tend to have a very hands-off approach when it comes to ensuring their children's safety. The entire community is involved at keeping treaths at bay.

    In our modern society, treaths aren't as straightforward. We have created so many thing that are a possible danger to a child, we started living in bigger communities, which makes it impossible to "know thy neighbour", and most often it is the task of only one parent to ensure a or multiple children's safety.
    Threats still stem from nature, though those are probably the least of our worries. Threats come from thing and people as well, they can even come from wthin, as manifestations of our proper fears... there are so many potential dangers, it all becomes difficult to asses. It is easy to understand how one can be lost and struggle to find the right attitude towards safety.

    Therefor, parents who struggle with ensuring their children's safety are not to be judged or belittled. We are living in a highly individualistic world driven by fear and tainted by preconceptions of children's behavior that are inconsistent to their age. We have learned to mistrust our instincts, because they are no longer adapted to our surroundings. All these given make it a tough place to parent in.

    There is No One True Path To Safety - unless we all move back to primal living situations - so don't expect me to tell you how to approach this issue for your family. You and I do not live in the same conditions, and we do not have the same background or considerations of the matter.

    What we can do is investigate the possible ways to handle Safety.




    Share/Bookmark

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    Imitation is for shirkers, like-minded-ness for the comfort lovers, unifying for the creators.
    - Mary Parker Follett 


    Share/Bookmark

    Why 'Nobody Even Breastfeeds Anymore' Is A Racist Remark

    In lamest reasons not to breastfeed, I wrote that saying 'nobody breastfeeds' or nobody nurses anymore is a racist remark. I got a comment trying to set this straight, as if I as just blabbering off the top of my head.
    Now, I might be writing in a non-native language, but that doesn't make me to dense to understand the meaning of the word racist.

    Racism: noun, Discrimination or prejudice based on race. 
     (as quoted from the anonymous commenter) 

    When I wrote that the remark is racist. I meant racist indeed.

    Saying that 'nobody even breastfeeds any more' is ignoring millions of African, Latin American and Asian women. So yes, that is very very racist. It is implying that their breastfeeding doesn't count and needen't even be included in the picture. It is implying that all that matters is your own (probably predominantly white/straight/married/middle class) environment is All That Matters. It is implying that they in fact are nobody to you. And yes that is racist.

    The fact that I even need to explain why such a comment is racist merely proves my point. That most of us tend to forget that are places in the world that are - luckily - still bereft of our superior (oh the irony) hegemonic worldview. It is sad that we need to be reminded that there are cultures different than our own, where breastfeeding, cosleeping, gentle parentin etc still are the norm. It proves again how brainwashed we are.
    What's even worse is that we claim that these countries are 'Third World' or 'developing nations'. Africa is - from an evolutionary perspective - more of a First World, and I can promise you that - when it comes to parenting - they are way more developped than The Wonderful Western World, and that our influence is actually undevelloping them where children are concerned.



    Image: hdptcar on Flickr


    Share/Bookmark

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Quote Of The Day


    When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts ... A mother has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.
    - Sophia Loren 


    Share/Bookmark

    How my Mum influenced my breastfeeding relationship

    By Abby Kennedy


    Before I got pregnant, I didn't really think about breastfeeding.  I've got my Mum to thank for that.  I was raised in a house where breastfeeding was normal.  Completely, and totally normal.  I never gave it a second thought, and it is only now that I'm starting out on my own breastfeeding journey, that I realise what a gift that is.

    When I found out I was expecting, I noticed that 'breast or bottle' was a common discussion amongst my pregnant peers.  I realised then how I was different - although many said they wanted to try to breastfeed, I always answered that I would breastfeed.  I couldn't imagine any other way.  I had experience of bottle-feeding as a nursery nurse, but when I imagined feeding my baby, I imagined holding him close and breastfeeding.

    Another gift from my mother was her copy of The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding.  It was very old, obviously very well read, and had her contact details as a La Leche Leader in the front.  This book was the first 'parenting' type book I read, and the one that influenced me the most.  I came away with the overwhelming message that if there were problems, it was almost certain that they could be overcome.  My Mum supported that message, and didn't ridicule me over not buying bottles or formula 'just in case'.  

    I planned my birth carefully.  I didn't research enough though, or things might have been very different.  I know now that you can't research enough!  I went along with the hospitals wishes, and I was induced at 39 weeks due to pre-eclampsia.  I did what I could to minimize the damage to the breastfeeding relationship.  I knew that birth had a big effect on breastfeeding, and I refused pethidine, and insisted on immediate skin-to-skin contact.  Those first moments were a bit of a blur, but I help my baby close and he tried to feed.

    In my room a few hours later, I began to realise that my resolve to breastfeed was going to be tested!  Toby (born a healthy 7lb 7oz with an Apgar score of 8) was unable to latch.  I tried the positions I'd seen detailed in books.  Nothing worked, and despite days of help from various self-proclaimed Breastfeeding Experts, I realised that things weren't going to change any time soon.

    I was in a daze of emotion - I felt disappointed, confused, angry and guilty.  My Mum arrived with another gift - reassurance that if I wanted it to work, I should keep trying.  She brought with her not only a message of hope, but a breastpump.  I began pumping, and continued for 9 weeks.  Throughout that difficult time, my Mum was a wonderful support to me.  She listened and reassured me.  She was one of the few people who didn't suggest I give up.  It was so helpful to have someone I could tell my woes to, who listened sympathetically, but didn't always suggest formula!  

    Toby latched on when he was 9 weeks old.  He was then exclusively breastfed for 6 months, and now at almost 13 months is still breastfed on demand.  I will continue until he self-weans.  We went through so much to get to this point, and it is down to my Mum that I got this far.

    I hope one day to be able to offer this sort of support to my children.  I will be there for my daughters and daughters-in-law, to listen, to give hope, to give practical help.  Until then, I try to help other women by being a proud and happy breastfeeding Mum.  I know that growing up knowing that breastfeeding was normal and right helped me, and I'm doing my bit to pass that message on to every person who sees me gazing into my sons eyes, holding his hand, and proudly giving him milkies, wherever and whenever he wants it.

    Image:


    Share/Bookmark

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    We travel to learn; and I have never been in any country where they did not do something better than we do it, think some thoughts better than we think, catch some inspiration from heights above our own.
    - Maria Mitchell 


    Share/Bookmark

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.
    - Edmund Burke 


    Share/Bookmark

    Programmed to Love?

    Written by Susan Betke.


    What makes us human? Some would argue that speech makes us human. Some used to say using tools makes us human. I have come across a lot of evidence that it is the ability to relate to others, to have empathy for others and to have a sense of “mind” that makes us human. But where did that ability come from? 

    It all began with the oldest relationship on earth, the relationship between mother and child. In our ancient past it was the mother that was able to read the cues and needs of extremely dependent infant and fulfilled those needs that had an infant that was likely to survive. But how does that “telepathic” view of an infant’s needs come about? 
    Well, we are a mammal that is designed to carry our young children. Our ancestors physically held their children in their arms during most of the day for pure safety’s sake. The baby that was left unattended would perish. Today we carry our children in slings and wraps. They sleep in our arms or right beside us. They nurse from our breast and stay snuggled close when their hunger is satisfied. The slightest glance or movement holds meaning to the mother that spends her time physically near her child the majority of the day. 

    Because human infant’s total dependence on his or her mother lasts for years nature had to make them irresistible. One way that is fostered is that infants seem to be programmed to seek out faces especially their mother’s face. A mother is programmed to respond to that face. Even men and women who have no experience with children feel the draw of that large round face with big eyes and a small chin. Because human infants don’t communicate in an adult manner by talking or using signs they need some other way to make their needs and wants known. The way they do so can be very subtle.
     Most anyone knows that when a baby cries it needs something. It is almost telepathic though how most moms can interpret their infant’s body language long before they cry out. A glance, a body position, a facial expression, a sound and all types of cries project a multitude of meanings to a mother who is in sync with her child. 

    That intuitive ability came about from our long ancient past as a carrying mammal. This skill is rediscovered when modern mothers listen to their heart and keep their children close. The easiest way to hone these natural skills is to wear your baby, sleep with your baby, breastfeed your baby, and love your baby. All of this in turn provides that basic trust that reaffirms our humanity. It teaches our children that their needs and wants are heard, known, and addressed. That in turn allows them to grow into beings that are able to empathize with others. And therein lays our humanity.


    My name is Susan. I am 35 years old (OK I'll be 36 next month). I am mother to 7 children and yes I birthed them all one at a time. I work full time as a developmental specialist and coordinator in my state's early intervention program. I provide services and support to families and children under 3 years of age with developmental delays or disabilities. I have breastfed all of my children in some form or fashion. My oldest has Autism. My 4th child was born at 28 weeks and has a seizure disorder. Two of my boys had high palates and that made for a difficult latch in the beginning of our breastfeeding adventure. My husband stays at home with the little kids. I am playing around with the decision to homeschool and am excited about that. Thanks for reading my guest post. You can catch me at my blog anytime.

    Image:


    Share/Bookmark

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    Children have more need of models than of critics.
    - Carolyn Coats 


    Share/Bookmark

    Sunday Surf


    • In an older article, entitled 'You're on Crack', Jeff from Just a Bald Man writes a nifty rebuttal to remarks about unschooling.
    • PhD in parenting had a great post a while ago that sums up nicely what I have said before on women trashing other women.
    • Dani writes about nudity in a family context and how industrialized societies take offense of the mere thought of being naked around children.
    • May's Teach/Learn carnivals had a beautiful post  on Science@home about how children are not just empty vessels we need to fill, and learning should be more like a journey instead.
    • And if you want a little laugh, be sure to check out this Hathor Comic about birth smarts.


    Share/Bookmark

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    The most important single influence in the life of a person is another person ... who is worthy of emulation.
    - Paul D. Shafer 


    Share/Bookmark

    Misogyny before birth

    A friend's Faceboob status said that his son had predicted that the new baby would come tomorrow. The day after this status, of course, people were asking if it were true. The father answered: "She's a girl and she's already acting up, she could stay in another three weeks as far as I am concerned."


    Now I am hoping this was a joke, which it probably was. But still. This is actually quite misogynist and the poor baby isn't even born yet. It got me thinking about how misogyny really starts before birth. It's so embedded in our culture and our mindset that we simply don't even notice it any more.
    It's there in the fact that most couples want a boy first.
    It lives in people asking you (if you've had the 'misfortune' of having a girl as a firstborn) if you will be trying for a boy next.

    It is so deeply weaved within everything we say and think and do once a child is conceived, that we hardly even notice. No child can be equal if he enters an already biased world.



    Share/Bookmark

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
    - Mark Twain 


    Share/Bookmark

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    If a child is too keep alive his inborn sense of wonder ... he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.
    - Rachel Carson 


    Share/Bookmark

    Guidance through fear

    When we are assessing our children's safety, it is important not to be guided by fear. It is easy to see danger all around, but your child will not benefit from being constantly restricted. It is important for a child to have a decent amount of free roam, adapted to its age, of course, in order to make choices and mistakes of its own.

    Continuously watching over your child does not create independant adults. Children must learn to rely on themselves and must discover the world on their own. A big part of parenting is letting go.
    When we guide our children through fear, all we are teaching them is to be fearful themselves. If we are constantly screaming 'No' in a fear-installing way, they will be conditioned to look to us before they attempt anything. This is not what we as parents should want to obtain.
    We want to raise strong, opinionated and independant individuals, yet by installing fear, we can do no such thing. Fear is probably the most dangerous, sickening and paralysing emotion we can transmit to our children, so it is best to be very watchful of it.

    If you have difficulties assessing a situation, ask yourself: is my child in immediate danger? Is there an imminent risk to my child's health or sanity? If not, allow your child to be well, a child.
    Reach into yourself to discover why you are reacting so restrictive? Is it out of your own deep-seeded fears? Where do they come from? Is there something you can do to deal with those fears?




    Share/Bookmark

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    My heart is happy, my mind is free. I had a father who talked with me.
    - Hilde Bigelow 


    Share/Bookmark

    Parenting Basics - Part One: Essentials

    What does a child really need to thrive and grow up a happy, confident human being? Little more is needed than a few basics to create a nurturing environment. Bare in mind, I am not talking about primal needs such as food and shelter here, I am looking for the key parenting concepts every child should grow up with, in order to reach full potention/become a stable, independent, self-assured human being.
    What are these key elements? I have wondered about this and came to these six: Trust, respect, safety, security, unconditional love and freedom. It all comes down to this parenting pattern:

    • Create a safe environment
    • Make sure they feel secure
    • Allow them the freedom to make choices
    • Trust them to make the right choices
    • Respect them enough to make their mistakes
    • Love them unconditionally to forgive their mistakes

    I will write a series of articles examining these essentials, through which we will discover how to implement them, and what might be the hidden difficulties.
    What are you parenting essentials? Anything missing?



    Image: Skyseeker on Flickr


    Share/Bookmark

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    I believe in recovery, and I believe that as a role model I have the responsibility to let young people know that you can make a mistake and come back from it.
    - Ann Richards 


    Share/Bookmark

    Out Of Office

    Tomorrow we embark on our twice yearly journey back to 'civilized' territories. Yes, I call it a journey, because it is.
    Tomorrow at dawn, we'll be driving for an hour on a bumpy and very deteriorated road to the local airport, where we'll take a little plane (very sixties-ish - probably because that's when it was made) to Abidjan, the economical capital of Ivory Coast. We are only leaving the country on Wednesday, but since we wanted to get some shopping done before our departure, we leave the plantation a day prior to our departure. There are hardly any shops in our vicinity, so we take any occasion we can get under the motto that everything we can get here, we don't have to hull over in our luggage.
    So we have set a day and a half of shopping aside (am I lucky my husband actually lies this) where we have to get merchandise for a web shop we'll be starting up with a friend, gifts for family and friends, toys for the little one, supplies for our home and kitchen, some food stuff that won't perish while we're gone, food for the dog - who sadly will be staying here during our holiday, because we didn't get his papers done in time, and of course the prize for our little giveaway when we reach 1000 likeronies on Facebook (vote on the poll on the left).
    And then it's off to Belgium on a wonderful (sarcasm, people, sarcasm!) night flight, where we'll be landing at 3AM in the morning - our time, so this makes 5 AM Belgian time. As I am writing this, it's 13 degrees Celsius over there, while here it's sunny and 27 degrees... not really looking forward to that!


    But not to worry, even though I am completely set on spending my entire holiday relaxing, I will check in here very once in a while to read your comments and comment back, and I will be on Facebook too (I think only huge forces of nature would be able to prevent such behavior anyway). And I have a lot of delicious articles and guest posts for you. I even saved up some nice linkies for Sunday Surfs to come. You probably won't even notice I am gone!

    I hope you enjoy what I have prepared for you!

    Read you in a little while,

    Image: Mshades on Flickr


    Share/Bookmark

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Restoring Art

    Welcome to the May Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival, 'Kids and Learning.'

    The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is "Art" which doesn't just mean doing craft - it includes music, performance art and appreciation as well! Our bloggers have come up with many different thought-provoking takes on this theme. Please read through to the end to find links to the other participating blogs.

    ***


    Image: D. Sharon Pruitt
    While art is probably one of the first skills we tend to bring our toddlers into contact with, it is one of the most underestimated skills in our society, simply because - for most people - it hardly brings bread to the table. Making solid money off art - of any kind - is in our society reserved to a small elite.
    Thus, as it is not part of our capitalist system, as art is so difficultly monetized and does not conform to the rules of kyriarchy, from a young age, we - as a society - start marginalizing the arts. Drawing becomes doodling, crafts become hobbies, theatre becomes pretending.
    Art is limited to one or maybe a few hours in a curriculum for those who are so lucky. And parents are reluctant to send their kids to art school, because 'how will they make money off this'.

    I completely disagree with our society's stance on this.
    Art - in it's various expressions - might well be the single most important pass time of mankind. Not only can man express his feelings and frustrations through art (thus avoiding the therapy that is so highly attended in some industrialized countries), art also has great power. It can connect, disrupt, emote...

    So instead of trivializing arts later in life, we should enforce our children's focus on them, we should encourage them to be creative. We ourselves as parents should set an example by the unbridled pursuit of our creative interests. You always wanted to be a dancer, but you thought you were too old/too fat/too clumsy, don't hold back, find a course and get to it.
    Even if you're an engineer/scientist/banker/whatever, you have a need for a creative outlet. So stop finding 101 excuses and make it work today. You'll feel better and your children will learn that the arts are not just a pass time on the road to adulthood.




    ***
    Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival. Teach/Learn
    Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on "Art."

    • CatWay at Adventures With Kids is getting the most out of a trip to the art gallery with ideas of how to prepare children and interest them while they are there.
    • Mamapoekie from Authentic Parenting argues for the importance of art and why we should be encouraging it as our children get older.
    • Miss Carly from Early Childhood Resources talks about how to create an environment that encourages young children to explore art.
    • Sharon at Hear Mum Roar has done a fantastic video post by getting her children to do an activity two different ways and letting you see the very different results.
    • Amanda at HomeAge has been admiring art with her daughter since she was a baby, taking her to several art exhibitions and reading books.
    • Kate from Picklebums talks about why art is important for little people and has a huge list of activities you can try.
    • The Planning Queen from Planning With Kids has tips for visiting the art gallery with kids, including links to different galleries and some ideas for activities afterwards.
    • Colin Wee at Super Parents is thinking about his son's musicality as he learns to play the violin.
    • Deb from Science@home has her children investigating materials while making sculptures and bravely let the 2 year old use a hot glue gun.
    • Lisa at SMMART Ideas has a sidewalk chalk festival in her own driveway!
    • Leechbabe from Stuff with Thing started out looking at patterns in nature, but the activity changed because she followed her children's lead.
    • Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey has used an indoor activity, giving her children magazines to cut out and create collages.
    Thanks for visiting, we hope you enjoy some of the posts in our carnival.


    Share/Bookmark

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    Sunday Surf


    For more Sunday Surfing, visit Baby Dust Diaries and Hobo Mama


    Share/Bookmark

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Quote of the day

    Cluelessness - There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots.
    - Larry Kersten


    Share/Bookmark

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Outdoor Free Roam


    Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun

    This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

    ***


    I should give you some tips on outside activities for this month's carnival. You would think that I would be in a great place to do so, given that my child spends at least 75% of her time outdoors.
    Yet I can do no such thing.

    Where I find that in the house I must entertain my child to some extent or else she will be bored, outside, we follow her lead all the way.
    Of course we do decide on the scenery, we make the choice to either go to the pool, or the beach or go for a walk (but only if she wants to - and believe it or not, sometimes she doesn't want to go to the beach), but from there on, it is complete free roam.
    Image: D Sharon Pruitt

    Lately, she's very much into climbing every obstacle she encounters.
    She loves to swim and horse around with water. Some days she spends about three hours in a tub outside, although lately she's on bath strike (she would rather gives baths to the dog now).
    And of course she's got the dog. That alone means hours and hours of outdoorsy fun.
    She loves to gather the passion fruit that have fallen (and eat them afterward).
    Occasionally, we do pull out some chalk or paint and have very dirty fun with it outside, but the outdoors is so fun and exiting already, you hardly need games or activities to make a marvelous day.




    ***

    Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

    Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


    Share/Bookmark

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Conforming To The Mainstream

    The piece I wrote last week about appearance and expectation made me ponder why my look is so disconnected to the inner me. Actually it is quite simple. 

    I never looked totally mainstream. Actually, when I was younger, a lot of people thought I was a foreigner, based on the way I looked and dressed and acted. 
    I did some non-conformism when I was younger. I rebelled against the uniform at my boarding school by going overboard and wearing skirts and ties and military shirts, while everybody else just wore jeans and T-shirt.

    So it has always been quite clear that I was different, but the problem - now I've grown - is that 
    1. my 'otherness' has as good as vanished or is hardly noticed
    2. if it is noticed, it is apparently misread
    But what's the base of this discrepancy between how I look and how I feel?

    I think I have figured it out.

    I did try to unconform when I was growing up, yet almost every single attempt was stopped. Ok, I was allowed to dye my hair a little, but the big things, the splashes of personality seeking and rebellion/liberation I wanted were not allowed. Either by my parents or by school. (Although I did sneakily have almost-purple hair once). I wanted bright red hair, and gel nails and a piercing (which I eventually got when I was 19 and left my parents house to go live at my grandmother's) and a tattoo. I wanted sparkly clothes, but was put in a boarding school where uniforms were mandatory.
    Every such question got a "you will never get a job if you do that" or "not as long as you are under my roof". 


    Guess what. I never had a real job (considering a marketing internship doesn't count - and for which I did already have the piercing). I probably never will (at least I hope not). Disclosure: by real job I mean desk job that is totally boring and where you ultimately work to enrich another.

    And how did it matter what color my hair was when I was 16, I wouldn't have been working for t least another 5 years. No color is that resistant.

    Why don't we let our teens express themselves through their appearance? There is already so much conforming to do as an adult, let us give them that liberty, those few precious years. That important time when one constructs one's identity should not be bridled by societal expectations. Let them the freedom to seek their path, and the liberty to express themselves. The choice to conform or not, is theirs to make.


    Share/Bookmark

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Sunday Surf


    I came across a post on the Parental Intelligence Newsletter that questions if unschooling would be applicable to the 'Third World'. This is actually something I have been wondering about too, and I promis to - one day - have a post about that topic for you.
    There is a disconnect between what the adults in the society are able to do and model and pass down as information, and what the children must know to be functioning adults in a society that is DIFFERENT from the one in which they are being raised.
    Since the negative media attention to unschooling doesn't seem to cease, I thought including this insightful piece about the misperceptions of unschooling would be timely.
    The reality is that (contrary to what most people prefer to believe) even school kids decide what they want to learn and when. They can’t help it; it’s a prerequisite of learning. Oh, they might memorize some stuff in order to pass a test or otherwise regurgitate on demand, but that’s not learning. The idea that adults can decide what kids will learn and when is delusional, futile, and counterproductive.
    If you are wondering about the safety of ultrasounds, there was an article about how poorly researched and overused this testing equipment really is on Peaceful Parenting. Dani at Informed Parenting comments on a Discovery Channel video of a baby crying in utero due to an ultrasound.

    PhD in Parenting shows us the difference between the US and Germany by listing a top ten and a top 22 parental mistakes from respective countries.



    Check Baby Dust Diaries for more Sunday Surfing


    Share/Bookmark

    Happy Birthday, Little One!

    My little girl is turning two today!

    Her entry in this world may not have been the one we had dreamed up, but the love and the joy of that moment still persist. We have learned so much since then and she has been our guide every step of the way. Through her, I have become a better person.

    I love you, my little girl!


    Share/Bookmark

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect. For what has happened? A miracle. You have exchanged nothing for the possibility of everything. 


    Share/Bookmark

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    On Appearance, Expectations and Discrepancies (rerun)

    Ever so often, I discover just how far I have deviated from the mainstream. You must know that my confrontation with the mainstream is limited to a minimum, and thus I remain in my little utopia that consists mainly of virtual relationships.

    Sometimes, I am baffled by the assumptions people have when they talk to me. Mostly, these assumptions are based on a hegemonic set of expectation, but I am starting to wonder if maybe some of these expectations are a result of my appearance.
    I know that people who distinctly adhere to a subculture or who's appearance deviates to some extent of what is considered mainstream are subject to a different approach then people who don't or who only have a slightly 'deviant' look. Based on our looks, an entire set of assumptions are made and people adapt how they approach another person based on these assumptions.

    As for me, how I look and what I am are apparently two unrelated things. It can get really frustrating when people come up to me to talk about things like schooling and child rearing and food and just assume that I will agree with their way of thinking. That those dominant hegemonic ideas are mine too.
    I don't want to have to correct every person I talk to. I don't want to be preaching about what I believe in because I know a lot of those people just wouldn't listen and I'd be wasting my breath.
    But by not reacting I am offering an affirmation of that dominant culture I so disagree with.

    Do I need to change my appearance so people wouldn't make these assumptions about me anymore? Why is there such a huge discrepancy between what I stand for and how I look. Is it merely a matter of appearance or is there more? Is it just the fact that they just don't ever imagine there being other options?


    Image: Jan Blok on Flickr


    Share/Bookmark

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Quote of the day

    Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
    - Henri David Thoreau


    Share/Bookmark

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Quote Of The Day

    It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.
    - Eleanor Roosevelt


    Share/Bookmark

    Coming Up This Months

    Tomorrow, there's the Blogging Carnival On Bilingualism, which will be hosted by Mummy Do That. You can already take a sneek peek today by reading my post about losing your mothertongue.

    On the 8th, there's the Carnival For Natural Parenting, which is becoming a regular here at Authentic Parenting. In this month's edition, we're focusing on outdoor activities.

    Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama


    I should be writing for the Healthy Birth Blog Carnival hosted by Science and Sensibility. Submissions are due by June 11th and the topic is Motherbaby.

    The Teach/Learn Carnival is up for revision, but should be live on the 15th.

    Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival


    I had a whopping total of three articles on May's edition of  The Parental Intelligence Newsletter, of which, as you have probably noticed I am a tiny bit exceedingly proud.

    On a more personal note, I am going on holiday on the 16th, but not to worry, you probably won't even notice I'm gone. I have been slaving to get articles  scheduled for you and I have begged and pleaded so people would provide me with some guest posts. Look out for this towards the end of the month.
    I am still welcoming guest posts, so if you have something to share, please email me at mamapoekie {at} yahoo {dot} com and you will have my eternal gratitude and - if so desired - I will reciprocate.


    Share/Bookmark