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Archive for December, 2012

Judgey McJudgerton~In Defense of Parents Judging Other Parents

judgment (n.): the formation of an opinion after consideration or deliberation; an authoritative opinion; the ability to form an educated opinion using discernment, wisdom, and common sense

judgeThere is typically a backlash in the form of accusations of judgmentalism and intolerance whenever a passionate opinion is publically expressed, and that is no less true in the parenting world. The fact is, though, that all of us, simply by virtue of being intelligent human beings, make judgments. That is what we are designed to do. It’s how we learn. It is the purpose of education, research, and experience to impart the wisdom to make judicious decisions (i.e. judgments).

In an age when calls of “be true to yourself” and “do what seems right to you” abound, it’s surprising that expressing an opinion that seems right to you is so quickly met with condemnation. Even when an opinion is well thought out, thoroughly researched, and politely expressed, it is still often the target of such accusations.

Many times, of course, passion causes opinions to be expressed in less-than-kind and even condemning terms, and in those cases the backlash may have some justification. But when a well-considered opinion is stated courteously and still engenders charges of judgmentalism and intolerance, it is clear that a deep misunderstanding of the healthy and normal nature of judgment vs. the intolerant attitude of condemnation is at the heart of the matter.

To make a judgment is simply to form an opinion, whereas to condemn is to accuse and censure, based on that judgment. For instance, if through my education and life experiences I have formed the considered opinion that a person who wears a shiny red nose, big floppy shoes, and a painted-on smile is, in fact, a clown, then when I see someone who fits those parameters I will judge them to be a clown. That is a normal, positive, human expression of opinion, not a negative expression of disapproval. If, however, in my judgment of them as a clown I ostracize and reprove them, then I have moved from judgment to condemnation.

There is, however, a middle ground in the form of constructive, rather than destructive, criticism which has a place in the formation and expression of passionately held beliefs. If I have formed the judgment that hitting children is wrong no matter what euphemism is used (i.e. spanking, smacking, paddling, etc.), then I may express that opinion politely, but honestly, and let someone know that their choice to hit their child is, in my opinion, a mistake, and I will offer alternatives.

In the same way that gentle parenting is not un-parenting and will sometimes involve setting and enforcing boundaries, offering parenting guidance, by its very nature, sometimes includes constructive criticism. Just as a gentle parent may say to a child, “You’re having a hard time, aren’t you? I’m so sorry. I can’t let you hurt people, though. Hands aren’t for hitting. Let’s talk about some other choices you can make next time you’re upset so you’ll be ready,” a gentle response to a parent who uses physical punishment to control their child may be, “I can see you’re having a hard time. Hitting a child is unacceptable, though, for any reason. Let’s discuss a few alternatives so that you’re prepared with some practical, effective parenting tools the next time a behavior issue arises.”

That is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak. When I take my carefully researched, thoughtfully considered, educated opinion and apply it to a specific situation, communicating it kindly, but clearly, I am sharing my insights with the intention of opening a dialogue that will, hopefully, shed light on a subject. It may not be the person involved in the situation who learns something new, especially when it is a third-party article being discussed rather than a parent seeking guidance, but those who read what I’ve shared may go on their way with a different, perhaps gentler, perspective about parenting, and that is the point.

Kindness is always the right answer, but it is not kind to withhold information that may benefit someone, and that is where gentleness plays its starring role…in the kind, honest sharing of wisdom; in respectful, open dialogue; and in the strength to stand up for those too young and helpless to stand up for themselves.

 

Related posts:

Practical, Gentle, Effective Discipline

Two Thousand Kisses a Day

200 Ways to Bless Your Children with a Happy Childhood

12 Tips for Gently Parenting Your Adult Children (Hint: It starts when they’re newborns!)

Better Children, Better World

The Measure of Success~Chinese Parents and French Parents Can’t BOTH Be Superior!

Tots to Teens~Communication Through the Ages and Stages

The Taming of the Tantrum: A Toddler’s Perspective

The Trouble with Kids Today

L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting (Release date: May 2014) the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.


Little Hearts Handbooks: Vote for Your Favorite Author Picture to Enter to Win a Pre-Release Copy!

gravatar[Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages by L.R.Knost now available. #14 on Amazon’s Top 100 New Releases in parenting!]

A winner has been chosen! For more opportunities to win a Little Hearts Handbook, follow Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources by subscribing to receive updates from this website, on Face Book, Pinterest, and Twitter. Thank you to all who participated!

Exciting times ahead for Little Hearts! In the New Year, a series of handbooks based on the Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources website will be released in paperback and for Kindle. The books will be approximately 120 pages and priced around $7.99 for paperback and $3.99 to $4.99 for Kindle. More details to come!

In celebration, we’re giving away a free, pre-release copy of the first handbook in the series, Two Thousand Kisses a Day~Gentle Parenting Through the Ages & Stages. Our official Little Hearts photographer from Melissa Lynsay Photography has outdone herself, and now we can’t decide on the best author picture for the back cover of the books.

We need your help deciding on a picture, so vote for your favorite author picture or comment on this post to register to win!

For voting purposes, we’ll call the picture above pic 1 and here is pic 2:

IMG_8157 - Version 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and pic 3:

IMG_8171

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are previews of the working copies of three of the book covers so you can see the pictures in ‘thumbnail’ form as they’ll be on the back cover. The actual handbooks are 6″ x 9″ so almost twice the size of these cover images which will make the pictures nearly double the size you see here:

BookCoverPreview-Two Thousand Kisses

gentle discipline cover preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tots to teens communication cover preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, there you go! Vote for your favorite picture or leave a comment to register to win a free copy. It’s that easy!

L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting (Release date: May 2014) the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.


Our Children, Our World, Our Responsibility

quote rest in peace sweet soulsMy heart is broken. I’ve lost a child to stillbirth and many more to miscarriage, so I know loss all too well, and yet I have a six-year-old and can’t even imagine what the parents of the twenty precious children slain in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are going through. The stray toys and shoes left in mute remembrance of the last moments before their little ones left for school, the empty bedrooms sitting in silent mourning through the long nights, the endless reminders that must steal their breath away at every turn.

I want to be angry, but I won’t waste my time and energy focusing on evil. Instead, I will pour my prayers out for the families and friends and communities so devastated, and I will do everything I possibly can in every way I possibly can for as long as I possibly can to change the world into a safer, more peaceful place for all of our children.

Change, the real, lasting, world-revolutionizing kind, starts in the home. It starts with sowing peace into our children’s hearts from the moment they are born. It starts with modeling kindness, respect, and self-control to our children, not only in how we treat others in front of them, but in how we treat our children themselves. And it starts in our own hearts, in our own choices, in our own lives.

While human idiosyncrasies and weaknesses make a world completely devoid of violence and tragedy impossible, there is so much that can and should be different, better, safer. We may never know if the devastation of the recent elementary school shooting, or others like it, could have been prevented by different gun laws, security measures in schools, etc. But there is no doubt that the humans carrying out these senseless acts didn’t come into the world as violent killers. Something or someone, somewhere in their lives, broke the innocent children they once were and set off a series of events that led to horrific tragedy.

That is not to say that the individuals who committed these heinous acts aren’t to blame. They are. We are, each of us, responsible for our own choices, and, regardless of what previous life events, hurts, or tragedies we suffer, we have within us the ability to make the right choices, period. But, by the same token, if the hurts or tragedies that broke these individuals in the first place were caused by human violence, excesses, or failures, then those humans, as well, must bear their own responsibility.

The truth is that ‘hurting people hurt people.’ But if we raise confident, kind, heart-whole humans who can withstand the inevitable trials and troubles of life, if we ferociously guard our children’s innocence, if we model the kind of compassionate, forgiving, loving adults we want our children to become, then we truly can ‘be the change we want to see in the world.’

Let’s change the way we raise our children from the present mindset of external control through punishment, threats, and intimidation and instead instill internal controls through guidance, understanding, and empathy. Let’s encourage cooperation  instead of demanding obedience. Let’s model self-control to our children instead of inflicting our anger on our children. Let’s share our lives, hearts, hopes, and dreams with them instead of distancing ourselves with our electronic devices, heavy workloads, over-scheduling, and with parenting practices that promote isolation such as sleep training and negative, punitive behavioral modification such as spanking, public humiliation, and withholding our presence, support, and affection as a ransom for good behavior.

We may not be able to significantly change this present world for our children, but if we change the way we raise our children, we can change the future world through our children.

Will you join me?

Related posts:

Practical, Gentle, Effective Discipline

Two Thousand Kisses a Day

200 Ways to Bless Your Children with a Happy Childhood

12 Tips for Gently Parenting Your Adult Children (Hint: It starts when they’re newborns!)

Better Children, Better World

The Measure of Success~Chinese Parents and French Parents Can’t BOTH Be Superior!

Tots to Teens~Communication Through the Ages and Stages

The Taming of the Tantrum: A Toddler’s Perspective

The Trouble with Kids Today

 

L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting (Release date: May 2014) the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.


A Toddler’s 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
A necklace of macaroni.

On the second day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
2 peek-a-boos and a necklace of macaroni.

On the third day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
3 bear hugs, 2 peek-a-boos, and a necklace of macaroni.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
4 ‘pwitty’ weeds, 3 bear hugs, 2 peek-a-boos, and a necklace of macaroni.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
5 belly laughs…
4 ‘pwitty’ weeds, 3 bear hugs, 2 peek-a-boos, and a necklace of macaroni.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
6 scribbled pictures,
5 belly laughs…
4 ‘pwitty’ weeds, 3 bear hugs, 2 peek-a-boos, and a necklace of macaroni.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
7 sticky kisses, 6 happy giggles,
5 belly laughs…
4 ‘pwitty’ weeds, 3 bear hugs, 2 peek-a-boos, and a necklace of macaroni.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
8 books at bedtime, 7 sticky kisses, 6 happy giggles,
5 belly laughs…
4 ‘pwitty’ weeds, 3 bear hugs, 2 peek-a-boos, and a necklace of macaroni.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
9 silly dances, 8 books at bedtime, 7 sticky kisses, 6 happy giggles,
5 belly laughs…
4 ‘pwitty’ weeds, 3 bear hugs, 2 peek-a-boos, and a necklace of macaroni.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
10 thumbprint snowmen, 9 silly dances, 8 books at bedtime, 7 sticky kisses, 6 happy giggles,
5 belly laughs…
4 ‘pwitty’ weeds, 3 bear hugs, 2 peek-a-boos, and a necklace of macaroni.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
11 happy giggles, 10 thumbprint snowmen, 9 silly dances, 8 books at bedtime, 7 sticky kisses, 6 happy giggles,
5 belly laughs…
4 ‘pwitty’ weeds, 3 bear hugs, 2 peek-a-boos, and a necklace of macaroni.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me
12 excited squeals, 11 happy giggles, 10 thumbprint snowmen, 9 silly dances, 8 books at bedtime, 7 sticky kisses, 6 happy giggles,
5 belly laughs…
4 ‘pwitty’ weeds, 3 bear hugs, 2 peek-a-boos, and a necklace of macaroni.

 

Related posts:

The Spirit of Christmas… The Great Santa Claus Debate

The Reason for the Season… Celebrating Jesus with a Santa Claus Christmas

In a twist on the Advent theme, here is A Very Toddler Christmas~24 Tips for a Safe, Stress-Free & Jolly Holiday

Some of my all-time favorite book-related and crafty ideas for a fun and meaningful Advent… Bookish & Craftastic Advent Ideas

Making gratitude and generosity a standard of life… 7 Tips and Traditions to Make Giving a Standard of Living

A happy childhood sends a child into adulthood with a baggage of confidence and kindness instead of disillusionment and anger. 200 Ways to Bless Your Children with a Happy Childhood

The human brain needs time to process, categorize, prioritize, analyze, and otherwise make sense of all of the trillions of bits of information that it receives each day. Non-structured playtime for children functions much like sleep does for adults, giving their brains the time and space they need to move short-term memory to long-term learning. 25 Reasons NOT to Keep Children Busy

In the world of a child wonders are as simple as sticks and sheets, leaves and books, boxes and giggles, and the promise in a rainy day. The Seven Wonders of the World of Childhood

Children who love to read…READ! Engaging children’s hearts in the wonder of reading instead of just training their minds in its mechanics. Raising Bookworms

From hitting to defiance to tantrums to testing the boundaries and more, here are gentle parenting tools, tips, and techniques…Practical Gentle Discipline

Get the scoop on tantrums from a toddler…The Taming of the Tantrum~A Toddler’s Perspective

Sharing a love of reading…If You Give A Toddler A Book…

L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting (Release date: May 2014) the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.


Homemade Infant Formula~An Alternative to Commercial Formulas?

At Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, we promote and support breastfeeding as the best source of all a baby’s nutritional needs for the first year and beyond. But we also recognize that there are cases in which a mother has a legitimate supply issue, a medical issue, has to be on medications that are contraindicated in breastfeeding, or is an adoptive mother, etc. In those cases, a mother may feel that formula is the only alternative. But commercial formulas, with all of their additives, possible contaminants, BPA-laden packaging, etc. may make mothers who are already disappointed because they can’t breastfeed feel even more upset and worried.

There are other alternatives, though. Donor breastmilk is one, but can be expensive and difficult to obtain, and there is some concern that the pasteurization process the donor milk is subjected to may reduce its nutritional value. Another little-known alternative is homemade infant formula.

While there is nothing that can match breastmilk in nutrients, immunity factors, and digestive ease, if you or someone you know is in need of an alternative, homemade formula may be an option. Below are several links to sites that offer variations on homemade infant formulas. (Please be sure to always consult with your baby’s healthcare provider when deciding what is best for your little one’s health and well-being!)

The first link is from one of my favorite sites, The Healthy Home Economist:

On her page you can find a complete ingredient list along with a ton of other useful nutritional information.

The second link is from Dr. Mercola, another of my favorite sources for natural health and nutritional information.

The third link is from Holistic Squid which has a baby formula recipe as well as an excellent rundown on the potential problems with commercial formula.

The fourth link is Easy Homemade Baby Formula from Hubpages. (This one should only be used with babies over a year who are also eating solid foods.)

For babies with milk allergies, the fifth link is a goat’s milk formula recipe from nutritionist, Joe Stout,  President of Mt. Capra.

*Keep in mind that breastmilk is biologically designed not only for babies in general, but also, incredibly, a mother’s body will adjust her milk to meet her baby’s changing needs, as well, something no formula can ever match. Formula feeding, including with homemade formula, should be carefully considered, and the decision about how to feed your baby should be made with careful research and consultation with your baby’s healthcare provider.

Links to breastfeeding, cosleeping, and babywearing resources:

The Gift of Breastfeeding

Baby Led Weaning

Love in the Time of Cosleeping

Babywearing Basics Resource Guide

A Boy, A Girl, and A Baby~Journey to Gentle Parenting

300+ Nicknames for Your Babykins…Doodlebug…Snugglebunny…

Baby Talk

Breastfeeding, Babywearing, and Bouncing Back into Shape after Baby

Four Ways Attachment Parenting Can Reduce the Risk of SIDS

The Science of Sleep: Newborns

 

L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting (Release date: May 2014) the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.


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