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Resource Review Thursday: All Ears

diagram of the ear

This week, I realized that I feel much calmer and happier as a parent when I’m not trying to give my daughter advice all the time. I know this probably isn’t big news to many of you, but it is a lesson I continue to learn and re-learn over and over.  I often feel compelled to share what I know and teach her how to do things my way.  Sometimes I feel justified in this; after all, there really is a right way and a wrong way to carry scissors.  But other times it is far better for me to keep my mouth shut and let her at least try something out her own way without any input from me.

I’m still feeling my way through what I want my blog to be and how I want my work in this space to influence people.  I want to share what I have learned about parenting, and if I can help some parents avoid a nasty scissor incident by teaching them the right way to hold their scissors, so to speak, I want to do that.  But I don’t really want to pontificate from my soapbox all the time either.  Even though there may be some parenting practices that have proven benefits, and others that have proven risks, nothing is black and white in parenting. Not only that, every parent is on their own journey of self-discovery and growth as a human being.  My way of parenting will not necessarily be a good fit for everyone else.

So this week, I’m turning the microphone over to you, my readers.  What are your favourite parenting resources?  What is your biggest parenting challenge right now?  Do you have a great tip on scissor safety that you want to share? I’m all ears.

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  • Kirsten November 4, 2010, 8:58 am

    I do use text-based resources very frequently in my day-to-day parenting journey, but I have found the best resources to be other parents, and when M was littler, one of my big priorities was searching out ways to be around other parents. As the parenting pioneer in my circle of friends, I had to search out NEW friends to fill this gap, and having places to go like parenting groups and play groups was invaluable. Once I made friends, having regular get-togethers worked well too.

    Lately, as the mama to a spirited toddler, I am missing having a group of parents to trade stories with that actually have the same issues as I do. Lately I will start talking about how my little had a 2-hour tantrum because I wanted to put shoes and socks on to go the park, and then we couldn’t leave the house, and they either look at me like I’m the worst mother ever, or that I must be the biggest exaggerator.

    • michelle November 4, 2010, 8:06 pm

      Yeah, a community of real-world people who can share and commiserate with your experience is a really valuable resource. I find that the further we deviate from the “mainstream”, the more important the community aspect is to me.

      As for 2-hour tantrums and not being able to leave the house – I believe you! Bea was like that as a toddler too. I think M and Bea are similar (or are similar in this stage of development) in that they both have a strong will and pretty good verbal skills. Unfortunately, the ability to reason and empathize well comes along a bit later, and the gap between the two stages is soooo hard.

      I also found the early toddler stage difficult because many of the friends I had made suddenly all went back to work, and I had to find another group of moms that were available for playdates during the week. I expect the same thing to happen again next year when most of Bea’s peers go to Kindergarten.

  • Michelle November 5, 2010, 11:52 am

    My oldest is 3 and I’ve been thinking a lot recently about homeschooling (not *if* we will homeschool, but more *how* we will homeschool). My favorite resource right now is the blog The Parenting Passageway. There are many other resources that I’ve found extremely helpful, too. Naomi Aldort’s Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves is fabulous.

    I second that having an attachment parenting play group is so important!

    • michelle November 6, 2010, 8:36 am

      Thanks for recommending The Parenting Passageway – I had a quick look and found lots of interesting information on Waldorf, which we’ve been exploring a little at home. We’re planning on homeschooling too, and have been spending more time with other homeschooling families lately, sort of gearing up for next year when we will really take the plunge.

  • Kerry November 7, 2010, 11:19 am

    Hi Michelle!

    My favourite resources:
    – How to Talk … almost never fails to put things into perspective
    – friends with kids who are a bit older … I love having had the opportunity to watch my friends parenting their kids, and when the time comes, applying the same (or similar) things with Sati. Not all of it is applicable, and we don’t always do things in exactly the same way, but I feel like it’s the way we’d be learning if parenting hadn’t gone all post-industrial, westernized and wrong :)
    – outdoors … there are very few occasions when just leaving the house solves everything!

    • michelle November 7, 2010, 7:53 pm

      Hi Kerry! Good points – I get a lot of benefit from having friends with older kids, in fact, that was a big factor in learning more about homeschooling. And yes, simply getting out the door can change a day for the better sometimes.

  • Kerry November 9, 2010, 12:26 am

    Hee hee … obviously I was in need of leaving the house last night. Meant to read: “few occasions when leaving house *doesn’t* solve everything”.
    Have you read Family Matters by David Guterson? That’s a good read (someone on HS Van recommended it).

    Oh and I didn’t mention my big parenting challenge right now: how to help Sati learn without being overbearing, and how to step back at the right times so that when he needs an adult close by, even if he’d rather be on his own, he accepts my presence. We’ve had a few situations recently where he’s wanted to do something on his own which is either too dangerous, or he’s very very tired … and won’t listen to our advice, won’t accept any help, but won’t accept us leaving the room. Huuuge learning curve for me, and I’m only a little bit of the way up :D

    • michelle November 9, 2010, 10:04 pm

      Kerry – I have read Family Matters, and enjoyed it very much. Guterson writes so very well, and has a unique perspective with one foot in the public school system and the other in homeschooling.

      Your challenge with finding the balance between helping Sati and letting him figure things out on his own sounds very familiar… :) Bea can be very strong-willed and will either insist on doing something by herself that she isn’t yet able to do, or she refuses to try altogether. In general I try to let Bea try things for herself unless what she wants to do is too dangerous or we simply don’t have time. Sometimes she won’t accept me asking her to stop and I end up exerting my parental power by physically removing her from the situation if she can’t be talked down – I usually tell her that it’s my job as her mom to make sure she’s safe, and that she can try whatever it is she wanted to do another time when she’s older/better rested/we have more time/etc. This kind of conflict seems to come in waves, usually when she’s pushing boundaries in other ways too – probably some way of her figuring out where she is developmentally and what she is capable of.