I had the recent pleasure of reading Heather Shumaker’s fabulous book, It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids.
This book is SO GOOD. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy ASAP. It is full of useful advice, excellent, real-life examples, and tons of additional resources.
There are a lot of ways that parents typically regard children that are unhelpful at best and damaging at worst. This book encourages parents to “take off their adult lenses” and see their kids with a fresh perspective.
Heather’s extensive experience in the childcare/preschool world is well translated here for parents. As a mom, she knows the tricky places that are tough to navigate, and offers solid suggestions (long turns—what a concept!) and useful language. In one example, she recommends limiting one aspect of a child’s behavior: “You can growl, but not at Logan. He doesn’t like it.” I love the suggestion to pay close enough attention to what is actually going on to offer nuanced feedback to young children.
I ADORE the #1 Renegade “Golden” Rule, which is: “If it isn’t hurting people or property, it’s OK.” This is the best Golden Rule I’ve heard in a long time. Many, many child behaviors will dissipate on their own if adults respond in a relaxed manner and don’t make a fuss. I honestly love all the renegade rules–from, “We’re Not All Friends Here,” to, “Boys Can Wear Tutus.” Even rules that at first glance had me raising my eyebrow, like, “Hang Up a ‘No Girls’ Sign,” and “Only Punch Friends,” had me nodding my head by the end of the chapter.
In short—this book is full of great tips and scripts for parents. Many parts of this book will help parents empower children to feel their feelings and engage in (and resolve!) healthy conflict, among other great life skills. Heather offers tons of tools for guiding kids’ behavior in a commonsense way that avoids threats, shame and blame.