Letters from Readers
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I wanted to share my son's comment on hitting.
My 4 -year-old son was watching the movie "Prince of Egypt." At one point in the movie, an Egyptian soldier was whipping an Israelite slave for not working up to "par" - upon seeing this my son turned to me and said, "Why are they hitting him? It doesn't make him want to go faster, it just makes him fall down and be angry."
When I first received your Parenting Cards, I put them carefully away, up high where the kids couldn't grab at them and possibly ruin them. My daughter Rachael, 3 years old at the time, asked me what they were. I told her they were cards about children that Mommy and Daddy could read. "What do the cards say?" she asked. "Well," I said, "they say things that remind Mommy and Daddy of how special and wonderful you and your baby brother are."
"Oh, can you read some to me?" she said.
I told her okay, and sat down and read some to her and her brother. She thought that they were so great, the things they said. She asked me when do I read them for myself, and I said that I guess whenever I feel like it.
Later on that day, I was feeling some stress coming in and things were feeling tense. My son, Nathanael, was screaming, the dogs were barking, the phone was ringing, I was trying to get housework done... you get the picture! I was standing in the middle of the kitchen feeling like I was going to explode. Rachael grabbed a kitchen chair, slid it over to where I was stashing the Parenting Cards up high, and reached in. Then she called out, "Mommy, here, maybe you should read one now!" She had a big, proud smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes that spoke of great accomplishment. She got off the chair, ran over and handed a card to me, and asked "What does it say, Mommy?"
The card said, "Be spontaneous with your child - you have a lot to share." Rachael was still looking at me with a big grin. I dropped was I was doing - housecleaning - got down to her level, and gave her a big hug. Then Rachael and I just spent some time on the floor playing. The dogs stopped barking, I ignored the phone, and Nathanael started laughing and playing with us. My tension slipped away and I could breathe and smile again.
I have since put the cards down low on the kitchen counter in an old granola bar box, at Rachael's request. Every time she senses that things may be getting a wee bit tough for me, she goes over to the box and brings me a card. It always catches me off guard.
Rachael being that wise and intuitive reminded me about the power of your ideas, Jan, and the truth that lays in trusting your child. Our children are more "ahead of the game" than we could ever know.
The cards are great - they lift my children's self esteem just by the fact that I care enough to have the cards there. Rachael feels empowered and safe by being able to approach me in my tense moments and by knowing that I will respond in a gentle, loving way when I see what she is doing to help me, and I love her so much for it!
I hope this letter is not too long but I just had to share that story!
Thank you again!
Love, Karen Larson
Thank you for helping me to see my daughter smile again.
I want to thank you for your articles "A Baby Cries: How Should Parents Respond?" and the parenting advice response to "Mom Offended by Comment on Thumb Sucking".
My 4-month-old daughter began sucking her thumb very suddenly. She sucked her thumb so much that my frequent nurser barely nursed at all. She looked as if she wanted to nurse but she wouldn't. She would just whimper and suck her thumb and wouldn't smile.
Thanks to your articles, I realized that her thumb-sucking was a signal that her needs weren't being met and not a normal stage of development that everyone said it was. I think she sensed my struggle of trying to practice attachment parenting while receiving messages from family that I nurse her too often, her sleeping in our bed is wrong, carrying her will spoil her and all the other detached parenting comments that attached parents receive. I was doing all the things that an attached parent does, but my inner conflict was causing anxiety which I believe caused my daughter's thumb-sucking.
After a few days of doing nothing but nursing, reassuring her that she could nurse as often as she needs, lots of warm baths and cuddling, my daughter began smiling again. Each day she smiles more and she even laughs when I tickle her belly. As you know, the most beautiful thing in the world is to see your child smile.
Thank you for your supportive, encouraging, and enlightening web site.
Thank you for a very thorough and beautifully stated article ("Is It Time to Abolish Cribs?").
On her first visit to her new cousin's home, my (co-sleeping) three-year-old pointed to the crib and asked "Is that Emma's little baby cage?". I'll be sending your words to my sister, now pregnant with her second. I wish everyone could read what you wrote.
After visiting your site and reading some of the articles, I felt my heart soaring. I thank God with all my heart for people like you an your contributors who care so much, do so much, share your wisdom, and uplift the world with your service to our children. Thank you.
Hello: I am the mother of four, grandmother of one. I was a day care provider for 15 years. I have been around children my entire life. I just wanted to say I love your website. I will be ordering bumper stickers as soon as I can. I love your mission statement. I have had these thoughts about child care all my life but sometimes I have not had the nerve to stand up for my beliefs, because I am a minority. Thank you for letting me express my thoughts.
I would like to sincerely thank you for the opportunity to access this invaluable information. I honor your vision and your exceptional work. As a parent, it is comforting to see so much documentation supporting my innate choices. As a professional, I find "The Natural Child Project" one of the greatest gifts I can share with my patients, as well as my friends. I am deeply touched with your dedication to our children and your ability to educate their parents.
Thank you again,
Dr. Michele Mountain
By the way, I was having some issues with my mother-in-law and I printed out lots of articles from your web site and gave them to her! Worked like a charm!
Thank you for having them there because they are gentle reminders that children are human beings, too!
I just had to let you know, as a mother of five who shares your beliefs about parenting and childcare, how much I appreciate what you are doing!
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your careful thought, your belief and your dedication to the children of this world. I am a wholehearted supporter of compassion and respect for children and am doing my own little part in making this a more holistic reality. All of my four children (number 5 is on the way), were born at home and in water. I did this because it seemed to me to be the most gentle, most loving and compassionate way of welcoming babies to our world.
Thank you for the wonderful job.
I drop in to this excellent site from time to time, and always find something useful. Often the fact there are other parents out there having similar experiences the world over is all that it takes.
My wife has discovered that our son cries when he is developing, i.e. every time he has had a bad night, he can do something new the next day. At first, when he was very little, we thought it was a coincidence, but as time goes by, and we take note of the occasions this happens, we are convinced that there is a real cause and effect.
Bradley is sleeping through most nights now, but when he doesn't, you can bet he can do something new the next day. Most recently, a night when he woke four times crying quite vigorously was followed by his being able to stand unaided for the first time. When younger, he had bad nights followed by being able to roll over for the first time, point, and carefully place objects. And of course, a bad night's teething is really just dental development!
Whether this is a biological event, connections being made in the brain (cerebral growing pains you might say), or just our fanciful thinking, I think it's worth other parents considering. It certainly helps to think that when you are cuddling your child for the third time that night, and it's still only 2.30 AM, that he/she will be able to do something new and wonderful the next day!
Thanks again for an excellent site.
Jan, I say that there is only one reason not to hit your child: IT IS WRONG!!!!! How do you decide that it is it wrong? Does it pass the test, "Do not do to another what you would not want done to yourself"? (Confucius - about 480 BCE). If you hit, you are saying to the child, "You don't know right from wrong, I have to teach you that."
Socrates was condemned and executed about 380 BCE, for saying in effect that people have an inherent sense of right and wrong and an inherent sense to do right and that people should listen to their "inner voice" which I take to mean another way of saying "conscience". Most parents today are trying to "execute" that inherent quality in their children.
I recently pulled up on the Web the official creed of The United Church of Canada and under 2.5 Article V. "Of the Sin of Man", it states that "...all men are born with a sinful nature". Is there any religion that does not have that creed? This belief was proven to be wrong by the French obstetrician Frederick Leboyer, and well-written in his book Birth Without Violence (1974 in French, 1975 in English) about 24 years ago. And also, we now have the empirical evidence with hundreds, probably thousands of gentle births where the baby is right away, a minute or so after birth, returning a face-to-face smile to his mother.
Your site is a wonderful support for people trying to be better parents and better people. It is an invaluable source of eloquently written essays concerning issues that matter to parents and children, and anyone who cares about treating one another with dignity and respect.
I just wanted to share a very important discovery I made regarding my daughter and her constant behavior problems since she was 18 months old. You may recall that I am an attachment parent like you are - nursing, family bed (still!), homeschooling, etc.
Well, our almost 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She was on Paxil & then Prozac for months. By chance, I spoke with a physician a while ago, who recommended we stop all red #40 food dye from her diet. This includes things like pop tarts, most vitamins (!!!), most over-the-counter medicine, Doritos, breakfast cereal, candy, etc. As soon as we stopped her consumption of red #40, ALL her problems went away. She is now a very happy, sweet, obedient and smart little girl who is happy to do homeschooling with me. Maybe you could somehow share this information with other parents who have "problem" children. It sure has been nothing short of miraculous for us.
Thank you for your gentle and wonderful web site. There are days, such as this, when my instincts become lost in a world that is so focused on the material, and the logical, and the financial, and the "next big thing". Thank you for helping me hear and respect my instincts again, and the needs of my very wee children.
I found out about your web site from "BC Parent" magazine. I had to write to express to you my immense gratitude for this web site. It contains, for me, probably the most treasured and valued sharing of ideas and information that I have received on child raising ever. I have two children aged 31/2 and 7 months. My husband and I plan on homeschooling both of them. I could spend forever on this site. I always seem to lose track of time when I am exploring it and connecting with all of the links provided as well. It is the sharing of experience and ideas, and the "community" that I see in this site is what makes it such a success for me. It is so wonderful to see that so many are knowing and recognizing children for the pure and profound beings that they are. By being with and guiding our children with pure love and respect, we are giving that to ourselves and the divine child within us as well.
Thank you again for such a phenomenal web site!!
I love your web site, and I want to tell you about the learning curve it has been for me. I arrogantly thought I knew it all. I have detested smacking since birth, but through your web site, I am being shown ways other than any punishment, which is great, and feels innately right to me. I like James Kimmel's piece on punishment.
Shortly into my secondary education, I realized it was oppressive and very structured. I became interested in alternative schools, but now through your web site, I have learned about homeschooling.
Co-sleeping was also something I hadn't thought about. All around is evidence of the pain caused from poor parenting, but people don't seem to recognize it as such. The other night after reading your piece on attached parenting, I saw on the TV Julian Lennon talking about how John had abandoned him, which surprised me.
It is wonderful to be introduced to fresh ideas, especially ones that are so inherently humane and right.
All the best,
I agree with what you have written about praising the child. Why shouldn't we express our joy? The child will easily recognize manipulation anyway.
I think it is a wonderful idea to post children's art work! Kids have so much talent that goes unrecognized.. Now this is their chance to show how much they learn from us as role models, parents, etc. Bravo Natural Child Project for recognizing how important kids are in this world!!!
Thank you for your article on praise. The positive mirroring that children see reflected in their parents' eyes is so vital to how they come to view themselves.
Deliberately withholding spontaneous praise is like withholding smiles, hugs, kisses or other signs of affection. Praise, when it is a genuine outpouring of joy and caring for our children, is simply verbal affection - nothing more, nothing less. It sends the message that "I enjoy who you are". No one can have too much of that!
What The Natural Child Project does for me is broaden my thinking about children and their issues, and I like that. Things like co-sleeping and [avoiding] time-out that I hadn't thought much about, have opened my eyes, and make just so much sense when I think about them, and reflect on my own childhood - which is another good thing. You can't move on until you have dealt with issues from your own childhood.
Thank you so much for your article "It Shouldn't hurt to be a Child" My blood never boils hotter than when I hear of abuse or violence of any kind being justified on the grounds of religious beliefs. Whether it be the violence in Ireland or the Middle East or in your own home, I've always been of the mind, "Leave God out of it and take responsibility for your actions." Your eloquent article states with clarity other alternatives to spanking/hitting a child. Thank you for saying what so many of us believe. Children are for loving.
I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for the work that you do. The "Parents Guide to the Internet" (Mothering, May/June1998) has changed my parenting in the most positive, wonderful ways. Thank you!
I just discovered this site today and have been swept away by the wonder of seeing the artworks by the children of the world. What fun and what a gift to the world! The children of the world will lead us into the 21st century.
Thanks for a great site.
I would like to say thank you for your response to the question, "Is a crying child manipulating the parent?" I have a 4-month-old, very intelligent baby boy who definitely knows that "Mum will come when he cries". Before reading your response I thought that "leaving him to cry" after all the necessary things had been taken care of, was the right thing to do. But your last paragraph really hit home with me and I will be passing this on to my husband. Love and encouragement is definitely the best form of parenting. I would like to say thank you for your response to the question, "Is a crying child manipulating the parent?" I have a 4-month-old, very intelligent baby boy who definitely knows that "Mum will come when he cries". Before reading your response I thought that "leaving him to cry" after all the necessary things had been taken care of, was the right thing to do. But your last paragraph really hit home with me and I will be passing this on to my husband. Love and encouragement is definitely the best form of parenting.
I have a 4-month-old, very intelligent baby boy who definitely knows that "Mum will come when he cries". Before reading your response I thought that "leaving him to cry" after all the necessary things had been taken care of, was the right thing to do. But your last paragraph really hit home with me and I will be passing this on to my husband. Love and encouragement is definitely the best form of parenting.
Thank you again. Your page will be on my Favorites list!
Bravo and amen to Debbie McAllister in her response to the person who advocates the "biblical spanking". She is right on the money.
And, in response to another letter, author's name withheld, about "Godly discipline": "hitting" and "love" - done and said in the same breath - is an oxymoron. When are folks going to wise up to the dangers of spanking!
What a wonderful article ["Learning Disability - A Rose by Another Name"]. It is such a pleasure to read an article from an expert who believes in children.
Many things I read about learning disabilities bring tears to my eyes. Reading about how many children have been "drugged" for no reason at all makes me cringe.
I was told by "well-meaning" people that my son, at the age of 3 had "ADD". I was shocked to learn that the reason this person thought that is because my son wouldn't sit down for at least an hour while I was visiting people, and that my son didn't do what he was told the first time I told him. The worst part of this story is that the person I'm referring to is a special education teacher in an elementary school.
The thing that scares me is that after several months of hearing this, I actually started to believe it myself, and feel that there was something wrong with my son or myself. Come to find out my son is fine and so am I. He has successfully made it through preschool last year and his teacher just loved him, telling me that he is a very energetic little boy, but his willingness to learn is wonderful, and he has a heart of gold - something I lost sight of because of one "nosy" person's point of view. My advice to every parent that has to go through this: listen to people's advice lightly and listen to your heart good. Your child is beautiful and intelligent and never lose sight of that, not even for a minute.
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