Author Archives: Heather Shumaker

How to Grow a Grown-Up

“Bold, clear and lifesaving. Vicki Hoefle is in the business of helping parents grow great grown-ups.” That’s the cover quote on Vicki’s new book The Straight Talk on Parenting: A No-Nonsense Approach to How to Grow a Grown-Up. 2015 is … Continue reading

Posted in Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

9 Responses to How to Grow a Grown-Up

  1. Amy Sue says:

    My biggest parenting struggle is with our 8 & 10 year olds. They argue about screen time limits, and are constantly bickering with each other. It’s exhausting!

  2. Jenifer says:

    This sounds great! My girls are now 2 and nearly 5. They crave independence, and I try to give it to them, but would love to learn more about how to give them the skills they need!

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Jenifer – Congrats! You’re the winner of the book. Enjoy the wonderful journey ahead of giving more independence to your children. Best wishes, Heather

  3. Irene says:

    I would love to parent my son without yelling or bribing him!

  4. Swen says:

    Our greatest struggle is with our 4 year old daughter, being very strong-headed, testing our limits and her owns every day and all the time. When we as parents are sleep deprived from our younger one, it gets exhausting.

  5. Linda says:

    Sounds excellent!! We have 2.5 yr old triplets. Feels like we’re in the throws of it all right now and we’ve only just begun!

  6. Cari Noga says:

    I have a 9 y.o. son with special needs and a 6 year old typical daughter. Exhausted trying to be fair to both. Also worried my special needs son is not ever going to be able to leave home. I definitely need help growing 2 grownups.

  7. Alyson S says:

    I would love to win this book! I struggle so much with losing my patience

  8. Dawn Sparks says:

    I have a 5 and 3 year old. Our current biggest problem is helping them deal with anger and disappointment in appopriate ways. It’s pointing out my issues in dealing with my own big emotions!

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Why Accelerating Reading Harms Kids and Books

We’re in a mad rush to speed up childhood again. This time rushing them through the delights of children’s literature. Children are asked to read “at their level.” For schools participating in the Accelerated Reader program (owned by a publicly … Continue reading

Posted in Books for Kids, Good Reads, Joyful Literacy, Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

7 Responses to Why Accelerating Reading Harms Kids and Books

  1. Marisol says:

    Thanks for sharing . You always interesting points brindas views about reading .
    I am reading but my children do not
    Freshly at that picture books comics process the routing will
    Forcing thought I could achieve something.
    Now with your contributions better I understand my children
    Congratulations on this special feeling for children

  2. Ariadne says:

    Heather, what a wonderful ideas you share here. I love this “Once they can read independently, kids should be able to move freely within the vast treasure trove of children’s literature.” and this is what we try to encourage in our home as well. Thank you!

  3. deidra says:

    Reading is such a complicated thing. I abhor the leveled reading books as they are boring and yes I will say TOO EASY. Typically they were all about working on a certain phonetic pattern and had no story whatsoever. BORING. I don’t think reading should ever be rushed EVER! It is a sure fire way to turn kids off reading forever. Your child will be your guide when it comes to reading readiness. Let them pick out whatever they want to read regardless of level or literary merit. so much more fun when you go to the library or book store and let them choose with no restrictions or judgement. So cool to see what book they come back with easy, hard, or just right!

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Yes, I think we forget that teaching reading is also about teaching storytelling. A story worth telling should be engaging – no matter how simple the words. There are so many good picture book authors who understand this. Children who are independent readers and children who are learning to read deserve to read something worthwhile.

  4. Love the concept of Thinking Level vs Reading Level. Some of my fondest reads as a child were going back and rereading at age 8 a book I had first mastered at age 6, or rereading at age 10 a book I had first mastered at age 8. It was like getting reacquainted with an old friend I hadn’t seen for a while.

    It’s so frustrating that educators focus on the outcomes of education almost to the exclusion of the processes and progressions of education. Every individual learns uniquely, but still we try to achieve the ultimate one-size-fits-all solution. In my fantasy world, every child has an adult mentor who gently guides them through the childhood learning process and adapts any specific “lessons” that are presented to the child’s mindset and learning process at that precise moment.

    Chris

  5. Shannon S says:

    I could not agree with you more. My 7th grade English class used the Accelerated Reader program. I was an enthusiastic, lifelong reader and an ambitious, eager-to-please student. Naturally, I gravitated to the books with the biggest numbers on the list – why would you not want the most points??

    I have no memory of those books.

    I was capable of reading the words and understanding the sentences, but I was still just 11 years old and just not ready to deal with the complexity of the ideas of the books yet. Bless my younger self for trying, I suppose, but it’s very clear to me now (20 years later) that no purpose was served by this correlation between books and points.

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Siblings as Friends for Life: Book Giveaway

When people heard I was writing a sequel, they begged me to write about siblings. Sibling fights and hard feelings seem to be a near-universal struggle for families. Luckily, there are good resources out there, including Faber and Mazlish’s classic … Continue reading

Posted in Good Reads, Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , , , | 96 Comments

96 Responses to Siblings as Friends for Life: Book Giveaway

  1. Sarah says:

    I would love this book! Heather’s book has already helped us so much with parenting and navigating our kids’ feelings and behaviours, and their sibling relationship, and I would love to add that with Dr. Laura’s new book!

  2. Blair Jackson says:

    My girls are 2.5 years apart. They adore each other but are intensely competitive, usually for our attention. I want to do everything I can to strengthen their bond for the long run! Can’t wait to read Dr. Markham’s book!!

  3. Tanya Ingram says:

    I work as a direct support worker and share the same beliefs as Dr. Laura. Our training through work follows Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s philosophy. It all really comes down to attachment. I am the oldest sibling of four and have 2 kids (one adult and one toddler). I would love to have this book as a resource for the families I work with.
    Love the aha parenting sight! Great info!

  4. Rebecca says:

    Really need this book! Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids changed my life. I’ve got 2 boys (3 and 5), and sometimes it feels like I’ve got 2 little monsters instead. Haha!

  5. Anne Marie says:

    Love Dr. Laura and I need this book. My kids are 4, 2 and 6 months. The older 2 are constantly at each other’s throats, and often physically hurt each other. I look forward to reading her advice on this.

  6. Christine Guptill says:

    Love Dr. Laura’s advice! The emails show up in my inbox and give me a little mommy boost every week. Our busy lives don’t allow a lot of time for critical reflection on how we nurture our kids, so it is so wonderful to have her there supporting us. My daughters are pretty good friends, but at times they are in each others’ faces… and since my hubby and I both had siblings of the other gender, I’d love to have more information about how to foster a great sister relationship!

  7. Sarah Zitterman says:

    Wow! This is exactly what we need right now. I have 4 boys who fight so much sometimes I worry that they will never grow up to love one another! This is honestly the number 1 biggest problem in our home right now.

  8. Christine Vaughan says:

    I have three sons in 5 years. Love that they’re close in age. However, I’m an only child with little to no clue about sibling dynamics. I would’ve loved having a sister or brother … can’t understand how some people don’t see the value in their sibling relationships.

  9. Angela meneghetti says:

    Very interested! I have two boys 3 and 5 yrs and a 7 month old girl. Would love some strategies to help the boys through their conflicts and also to help me with my eldest when he gets really difficult!

  10. Jenna says:

    Everyday I am in the throes of constant sibling arguments. I have Dr. Laura’s other peaceful parenting book and would love this one to add to my collection!

  11. Miet says:

    I loved Dr. Markham’s first book and all of her newsletters, and now that both of my children are mobile and verbal, this book comes at just the right time. They’re fighting constantly!

  12. Megan says:

    I have two boys and would love to nurture a loving relationship as they grow.

  13. Lisa k says:

    love dr Laura! My girls love each other but then seem to fight more when I am around. I need advice! Can’t wait for this book to come out!

  14. Chrysi Karpathiotaki says:

    Dr.Laura’s site, e-mails and book have been invaluable for our family.

  15. Lisa Withers says:

    I would love a copy of this book. I am the single mother by choice of 6 year old twins (boy/girl) who are sometimes absolutely inseparable and sometimes really sick of each other!

    LW

  16. Annette says:

    I’ve been a longtime fan of Dr. Laura and her wonderful, peaceful parenting advice. My kids are 22 months apart and the bickering and fighting has recently intensified. Dr. Laura’s book couldn’t come at a better time!

  17. Stacey says:

    Looking forward to this book. I have 4 children, 11, 6 and 4 year old twins. Twins have been challenging on sibling rivalry. Can’t wait to read!
    Thank you!

  18. Thuan Pham says:

    What an amazing conference, Unplug and Play was. It has inspired me to make so many changes with my parenting. I love that you and Dr. Laura Markham were able to have this meeting of the minds as a result of the conference! I would lover her sibling book because I have two kids, one that is almost 3 and one almost 8. There is such a big age gap between them that it’s hard sometimes for them to connect. I love some strategies to help them enhance their relationship.

  19. F.M. says:

    I’m the blessed mama of 3 beautiful girls who love each other immensely but who fight passionately. I myself have a sister who was my bestie growing up, but not as adults :( This book would be a wonderful resource in facilitating a strong lasting bond for my girls.

  20. LC says:

    I have a full sibling and a half sibling; both relationships have always seemed broken in different ways. I don’t want to make the same mistakes our parents did. I enjoyed Siblings Without Rivalry and am curious to read this book on the same topic.

  21. Cari Noga says:

    Slightly different take: I have an autistic son and typical daughter. While the battles are not fun, I am grateful for at least some engagement between the two. I’d be interested in this book if it offers advice I can implement in my situation. I would really like my kids to grow up friends since it appears my son will need an advocate after my husband and I can expect to be around…but that’s a lot of pressure to put on my six year old daughter. If this book doesn’t offer that, be interested in your or Dr. Laura’s recommendations for one that does.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Thanks for bringing this up, Cari. So many aspects of sibling dynamics. I’ll post what I learn from Dr. Laura about your question. From my knowledge of sibling books and special needs, there are several picture books explaining “why my sister’s different” and some how-to books for adult siblings on navigating care for a sibling with special needs. This doesn’t really address what you’re getting at. Sounds as if there may be a gap that needs addressing.

    • Cari,
      I wish I had a perfect book to recommend. I suspect it has yet to be written, by the parent of a child on the spectrum. I will say that I have seen many kids on the spectrum who have been parented as I recommend in this book, and they do respond to it and develop a more positive relationship. So while you will have to work harder to connect and to motivate your son to want to work things out with his sister, this approach will definitely help.

      I also want to share this note I received the other day from the mom of a boy with Autism:

      Hi Dr. Laura… I am so grateful to have found your site when my son was 2 years old. Your advice was essentially what I had done with him since he was a baby and then when, at 2 he started to have some challenging behaviors I started getting advice that he needed more “consequences” and just needed to learn and follow directions, that he needed “time outs” etc. I knew deep down in my heart that my son was a “cranky” baby and was now showing challenging behaviors because something in world just wasn’t right, not because of a lack of limits or “consequences”. Finding your site gave me permission, courage and tools to parent him the way I knew he needed to be parented despite all the advice I was getting. Fast forward a few years and we now know that my son has a rare speech disorder called Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Autism spectrum disorder and sensory processing challenges. My heart knew he didn’t need punishment and I am beyond grateful for the tools you gave me to help him navigate his world, which is clearly a very difficult and different world from the one you and I are in. I am now immersed in a world of therapists and even more advice, some helpful, some not, but I always fall back on your teachings. Your lessons and words provide the underpinnings of how I approach everything with my son. Some days it feels like an impossible task to keep calm but then I remember how overwhelming his world must be. Not everything you advise works perfectly for us because of some of his challenges but parenting him with love and compassion has fostered in him a sense of confidence in spite of his challenges. He is a loving, sweet, sensitive little man but it takes time and real connection to see just how sensitive he is and how much he wants to connect. I really wanted to reach out because maybe there are other special needs parents out there wondering…but he/she has (fill in the blank), will this work…the resounding answer for us has been YES! I feel like because empathy is hard for him, because connection is hard for him, because he struggles in social situations that it is EVEN MORE important that we set loving limits and TEACH him about emotions and about how to be connected and how to express love. I don’t know where we would be without you. I can’t wait to read your book on siblings. We also have a beautiful 21 month old little girl who is happy and sweet and just filled with empathy and love. Thank you so much for all you do.”

      This mom does not address the sibling issues, but you can see that this kind of parenting will work with your son.

      Blessings,
      Dr. Laura Markham

  22. Shannon says:

    I haven’t read wither book yet, but would be so greatful for a copy. I have a 1 year old and 3 year old and the feeds are increasing along with my loosing my temper more often. I don’t like raising Mt voice at all bc I know it simply causes more stress. Would live a copy!! Pick Me

  23. Amy Garrett says:

    I would love to win this book!

  24. Adriana S says:

    I was an only child, so raising 3 kids has been interesting. I would love this to help with the daily battles! It’s so important to me that they love and nurture each other because I won’t always be here for them.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Yes, being an only child and then navigating sibling interactions – so many parents share this with you.

  25. Cori says:

    Thank you – so excited to hear you two together. Love It’s Ok Not to Share and love my Aha! Parenting newsletters. Great tips.

  26. Maria says:

    Awesome !

  27. Genevieve says:

    I hope to learn ways to encourage my kids to be more cooperative with each other.

  28. Tania Watkins says:

    Yes please. I find it hard as my son a always bends to appease his sister who is 4 years younger.

  29. Naomi says:

    How do I teach her to love her sister and not simultaneously smack her sister over the head with a book, doll, truck, shoe, etc. that’s what we’re currently working on over here :)

  30. nicole says:

    I could really use this book. My girls (9 and almost 4) constantly battle and I am at my wits end. I am a single mom Thanks!!! :)

  31. Naz says:

    constant battle between my 5 and 2 year old this book will help me loads

  32. Jo says:

    Having had only one son for 15 years I never thought I would need to read a book on parenting. I now realise how much I need one ! I now have a 7 year old girl and 9 year old boy and Its a totally different ball game and I am older so need all the help I can get ! Many thanks

  33. Suzie says:

    Liked the interview and would love to win a book!

  34. Karen says:

    I am expecting my second child soon and I would love this book so we can get started off on the right foot in facilitating a great sibling relationship between my boys who will be about four years apart.

  35. Rebecca says:

    I would love this book. I have number two on the way and a very high needs number one :)

  36. Jamie says:

    Pick me! Pick me! ….wait now I sound like my little tiny boys! I would love a copy of the book! I want my two boys to be able to create & sustain a loving relationship. It would mean the world to me. I want to know when my husband and I are gone they will always have each other.

  37. zanele says:

    We live on a farm in South Africa with two of our children 2 yr old boy and 3 month girl. My husband and I practice Vipassana meditation so it was natural for us to be drawn towards compassionate communication. The arrival of our children deepened this aspiration. Today, my heart leaps with joy when I see my son showering his sister with kisses and love. But sometimes he pinches her and hits her and the agony, anxiety and fear that rises within me when he does that is calmed through remembering that his actions are communicating his feelings and needs, deep gratitude to Dr Laura’s book Calm Parents, Happy Kids. I remember how I danced like a child when the book arrived after I had bought it as my birthday gift last year Nov. I had waited three months for it (SA postal services were rioting) and I had surrendered that I might never see it. Yet it arrived and we are all loving it, we are turning our aspiration of living a peaceful, loving and connected life into an everyday reality. Our son now will say “I hit baba because I am angry” and I now have the wisdom to hold him and love him whilst guiding him towards being the naturally caring being that he is!!

  38. Melissa Vig says:

    I have two boys and I think this book would be a blessing to our family!!

  39. Susan K. says:

    I so need this book for my sanity!

  40. Mariko says:

    I need this book! My sons are 4 and 2. My husband and I are not very young so we really want them to be friends for life so that they can help each other after we pass away.

  41. Miranda says:

    Great advice and really works…when you use it!

  42. Sounds like an important book! My sons are only 3 and 9months but still important info. Love her blog:)

  43. jessica says:

    That book is just what I need, right when I need it.

  44. Kelly says:

    I just finished reading Siblings without Rivalry for the first time, and I’m itching to get my hands on more tools for sibling harmony!

  45. Lisa Farr says:

    I would love to receive this book, I struggle to know how to deal with my children’s constant fights and jealousy in a loving, constructive way.

  46. Amanda says:

    I hope I win! I have a deep desire to help foster a close bond between our children!!

  47. Grace says:

    One of THE best parenting tips I was given when I was expecting my second son, was that when there was a conflict, to remind my boys (ages 5 and 7) that they love each other, and that being kind and patient is part of that — to focus their energy on love. That has been a great help!

    Yours and Dr. Markham’s advice have provided invaluable scripts and new perspectives on how to teach and model that love! Thank you!

  48. BJ says:

    I loved her first book and am looking forward to the sibling book!!

  49. BJ says:

    I loved her first book and am looking forward to the sibling book!!!

  50. Christal Lepak says:

    My brother and I were all each one of had to rely on. After the death of my father, my mom lost it and was institutionalized for a bit. I had to grow up really fast and watch out for us. My brother had a speech impediment and b/c of that, the school stuck him in Special Ed. He didn’t need that and was academically average and above average when it came to engineering/electronics. He was picked on every day, so we had to look out for each other. Of course siblings have good and bad times in getting along with each other, but we knew we were each others shoulder to cry on. Today we are very close and I am so proud of the man (brother, husband, father, veteran) that he has become. Proud of you Robert Lepak Jr.

  51. andrea bisogno says:

    I would love this book! My kids are 16, 8, and 4. They have such sweet moments sometimes but I am so surprised how they fight and I am due for a new approach and understanding.

  52. Monica says:

    I loved Dr. Markham’s first book, Peaceful Parent… Would love to have similar tools for working through tough spots with my kids so that they continue to enjoy, love and protect each other as they get older.

  53. Jennifer says:

    I can’t seem to stay consistent in my parenting ways….I could use some help!

  54. sara says:

    I have an 8 year old daughter and a 7 year old son who get along fairly well most of the time. I struggle with their insistence on things being “even”; the same amount of time spent doing activities, being allowed the same privileges, etc. It always seems like a fight to stay even. I want them to understand that each one of them with have different experiences because they are individuals. I worry that we grouped them as a pair too often when they were younger, and now it’s a fight that we inadvertently created.

  55. Carolyn says:

    Can’t wait to apply what I learn with my children of 7,5, and 3 years!

  56. Sarah Hoops says:

    My sister is five+ years older than me. I mostly remember admiring her constantly and wanting to replicate her every move in childhood, and her fiercely recoiling from every effort. We have since become close friends in adulthood (after not speaking to each other for six months as a result of trying to travel in foreign countries together for two weeks, me in my late teens and her in her early 20s), and one memory stands out from my junior high years:
    One day she offered to put makeup on me. (shock… and elation!) After what I remember being ages and so many brushes and applicators, she showed me a mirror… and… I looked exactly as I did when we started? Yes, in the midst of all that show, she had put as close as possible to no makeup on me really. And she told me it was because, “you’re beautiful, just the way you are.”
    Please, don’t start believing we actually had an amazing relationship as children! I think I remember that moment because it was the only time she ever said anything nice to me (until adulthood and years after me prodded to find the weak spots in her armor where I can poke humor and love in!).
    I share this because it gives me hope! Focus on love, because it really is there even though siblings push each others’ buttons.
    Thank you, Heather, for hosting a day of Dr. Markham’s blog tour. Dr. Laura, your book has come out not a moment too soon. The strategies from your blog and first book give me an important element of hope and the tools to stay there with my husband and three children (8, 5.5 and 3). Thank you both for doing what you do!

  57. Amy Sue says:

    We have 6 children, aged 8, 10, 16, 19, 22, & 27. So far the oldest 4 are all very close, but our youngest 2 get along like baking soda and vinegar. I don’t know why, but obviously what we’ve always done isn’t working with those two. :p

  58. Raluca says:

    I have two kids almost 5 and 2. Dr Laura’s emails keep me going every day. A book on siblings would be a great addition.

  59. Sondra Laurent says:

    I would love to win this contest!

  60. This looks like a wonderful book. My girls are 16, 12, 7 and 4. You would think after 4 kids I would know what I am doing but I am still learning every day. As a homeschooling mom , I long for my kids to get along and for us to have a home filled with peace:)

  61. Lili yen says:

    i grew up as an identical twin with lots of emotional suppression from our parents. Would love this book to teach me how to raise my 2 little ones better.

  62. katrin says:

    Such an important topic as sibling rivalry can cause so many psychological wounds. And whatever the tone of the book, it must be awesome with a chapter about not sharing!

  63. MM says:

    Really liked “Peaceful Parent Happy Child” and looking forward to your new book! Really look forward to all the articles on your website too.

  64. Erin Huie says:

    I grew up with a lot of sibling conflict. We didn’t get along at all, and I don’t want that for my children. I want my children to be close from the start and to not wait until they’re adults to start talking to each other (like I did with my siblings).

  65. karen says:

    I have been trying to follow AHA Parenting principles, but have a 3 and 4yo who like to push each others’ buttons. Can’t wait to read this book!

  66. Louisa says:

    Yep, it’s a big issue in our household too – the whole sibling getting along thing. I’m always on the look out for new ways to improve the relationships in our household – after all, we only get one shot at this parenting malarkey. I would love a copy of this book. It looks fab!

  67. Jaime says:

    I am excited for this book! I have an 8 year old and 4 year old who fight constantly it seems. My 8 year old can be so mean and hurtful to her little sister, which makes my 4 year old react by hitting or screaming or sometimes just breaking down in tears. :( Then they make up and play nicely for a millisecond, and before I even have time to enjoy the peace they go right back to fighting. I need some new techniques because obviously what I’ve been trying isn’t working!

  68. Susan Ehlers says:

    Could really use this book! I have 2 girls 5 and 9 and boy 20 months. The girls are constantly fighting over everything.

  69. Krista says:

    I would love to win this book, as we are at the relative beginning of the sibling relationship with my two daughters, aged 3.5 and 11 months!

  70. Mary says:

    siblings should be friends for life. sounds like a great book!

  71. Hannah Williams says:

    Would love to get advice from this book to help my children (9 boy, 7 boy, 4 girl, 3 boy, 10wk boy) to get on better and really value and appreciate their siblings. So they can be a support to each other when my hubby and I are long gone.

  72. Megan says:

    This will be very relevant when our next baby arrives so we have a smooth start. Thank you!

  73. Julia says:

    I have two sons and I´d love to get some help handling their fights…
    I´m looking forward to this book and would love to win it.

  74. Bilyana Bawden says:

    Would love to win this book. I have 2 daughters (7 and 9) who are very close, best of friends but also rivals at times.

  75. Clarissa Gimbel says:

    Loved the soundbites about Dr. Laura Markham’s new book: parents need to regulate their emotions first in order to cope with our children’s emotions and conflicts – definitely struck a chord with me

  76. Brandi Wilcox says:

    Thank you so much for this! I have not read either book but they are both on my list now :) The last bit really hit home which is the good experiences outweighing the bad. Our brains are hard wired to remember the bad so that we do not go back and do it again. To hard wire a good experience we need to really be with it for 30 seconds. So I ask my daughters to really feel into their bodies and I will count to 30 so that experience is now in their memory. As a Craniosacral therapist I am helping my clients learn to regulate but it is so much harder to regulate when you are in it with two little girls who are having big emotions!
    Thank you both so much.

  77. irene says:

    Heather, you are such an inspiration ;-) Literally the day after the Unplug & Play Conference in San Jose, inspired by you, we met at a local creek and created a “free play in nature” group… an now the group is growing and growing! It is amazing to see what hours of unstructured play time in nature, child directed and child led can do… it even helps siblings deepen their relationship… my kids (age 4 and 9) are fighting way less at home now ;-)

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Irene, Wow. Your note made my heart glow. So fantastic to hear you’ve created a “Free Play in Nature” group. The best of both worlds! Enjoy the time outdoors together – I’m not surprised to hear the benefits already showing. What a wonderful new venture. All my best, Heather

  78. Mrs Thanvi says:

    What a treat !!

  79. kelli says:

    I just heard Dr. Laura at a conference. I would love to read her book.

  80. Olga says:

    I love Dr Laura Markham’s advice and would love to own this new book of hers.

  81. Sarah Cleaver says:

    Dr. Laura’s first book transformed my parenting and changed the way I see my children’s behavior. I have 4 children (10, 8, 6, 3) with way too much arguing, fighting, teasing, and tattling. This book is just what I need! Thanks! :)

  82. Larissa says:

    I’ve read many of Dr. Markham’s books/articles, and appreciate her insights as I parent my 3 young kiddos!

  83. Richele says:

    It seems as if all our three Littles do is battle and I’m less a Mom, more a referee. I love Dr. Laura’s first book and emails, and I’m sure her newest book will be every bit as helpful!

  84. Nadine says:

    I’d love to get my hands on this book.
    I have a 3 year old boy and an 18mth old girl who are awesome kids except they don’t get along (yet). Little sister wants to play with big brother’s toys and follows him everywhere which annoys him so he often pushes her over or hits her. I have tried to implement some of Dr Markham’s strategies from her website already and my son actually told me the other day that he doesn’t want ‘baby’ in the house, so I know that he’s struggling to have to share me with her. It’s sometimes hard not to lose your cool when there are two shrieking little people in your face but reading Dr Markham’s weekly emails always puts me back on track.

  85. Jessica says:

    This book would give us great direction for our 3 toddlers. I feel like I keep chasing all the resources I should have had knowledge in years ago. I would love to start building good memories between them. To guide the peacefully.

  86. Ali Hassan says:

    Would like to get recommendation from this book to assist my kids (9 boy, 7 boy, 4 girl, 3 boy, 10wk boy) to urge on higher and extremely worth and appreciate their siblings. so that they will be a support to every alternative once my married man and that i ar long gone.

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Escaping Supervision

Writers of children’s books have always struggled with a challenge: how to get rid of the parents. Have you ever noticed how many children’s books feature orphans? Now authors have a new layer of challenge: how to get rid of … Continue reading

Posted in Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

3 Responses to Escaping Supervision

  1. Rosalie Talarzyk says:

    This email sent from me to Joanne Frantz (SYC) and our group of grandma aged friends.
    Joanne suggested I send it on to you. Enjoy my grandma saga of unsupervised adventures of three eight year old and one ten year old grand girls written in response to your article:

    ok…..now i have to share my latest adventure with my grand girls.

    after our easter egg hunt at westover park where my six plus our chinese friend were joined at the end by maggie and rees…….
    the girls all asked if they could sleep over since there was no monday school.
    i claimed some time for clean up and quiet. they were to come back at 6:30 with sleeping bags and having had dinner.

    they arrived.

    we went straight to play in the creek….since it was SO WARM.
    three ended up shoeless in the water.
    they all shed jackets.
    abby found a quarter in the water.
    lauren found a big blue shooter marble in the water.
    they performed gymnastics and musical pieces LOUDLY from the top of the culvert cover at the east end.
    we came home at 8pm for showers and general mayhem till lights out at nine for their basement sleepover.

    abby came up crying at midnight with an accident….but went right back to sleep.

    at five i heard them in the front hallway.
    i flipped on the light and went down.
    i wished with all my heart that i had had a camera.
    three of them were dressed for the day in same clothes from creek play.
    they all looked like deer in the headlights…..or night at the museum just before dawn…caught in the act.

    i sent them to different corners of the house and they all promptly went back to sleep.
    two woke up at 7:30, one at 8:30, one at 9.

    we walked to chef-o-nette for breakfast where chris met us after her morning IPE meetings at barrington.
    on the walk, evan shared that they had all gotten up at 3:00 and played till 5.
    abby shared that grace was sad and they talked it out.
    they got out a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle but decided it was too hard.
    they shared their animals….etc.

    while the waitress was taking orders evan announced to her mom and the waitress that “it was all fun till we got busted.”
    the first of many times….i am sure.
    i am still laughing at the looks on their faces when i came downstairs.
    they kept saying, “we thought we were being so quiet.”
    bubbe

  2. Grace says:

    Wow! Amazing! Thank you so very very much. Because yours and Dr. Laura’s advice has been so meaningful and transforming (to myself and my family), receiving this book through you makes it that much more special. Happy Spring! Patience, Hugs & Kind Words, Grace ^_^

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Happy Homework: When is elementary homework OK?

If you’ve read my “No Homework” post, you know that our family has banned homework for our elementary school-aged kids for several years. Is homework for kids K-6th grade ever OK? Yes. There is such a thing as “Happy Homework.” … Continue reading

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One Response to Happy Homework: When is elementary homework OK?

  1. Pingback: Why We Say "NO" to Homework - Starlighting MamaStarlighting Mama

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Reading Aloud for a Lifetime

My first child learned to read early. Soon after, he announced, “I don’t need bedtime stories anymore. I can read by myself.” He made the same mistake many adults make: that reading aloud is only for the very young. Reading … Continue reading

Posted in Our Bedtime Story Book, Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

4 Responses to Reading Aloud for a Lifetime

  1. deidra says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I have kind of stopped reading to my 8 year old, mostly because he devours books on his own. I will have to start again.

  2. Shannon says:

    Thank you for this. My mom and I went through so many children’s classics — and later, adult classics — together. We read every morning before school all the way through high school. It’s very much a comfort activity for me now. We still try and get together around Christmas and reread some of our favorites.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Ah, lovely. What a wonderful way to start the day, and what a wonderful gift for a lifetime. Thanks for sharing your family’s reading tradition. Inspiring!

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Of Blankies, Bears and Loveys

Sometimes we adults get worried about a child’s attachment to a favorite blanket or toy. “He’s too old for a blankie,” people say. “She’s got to stop carrying that old thing around,” or “It’s not the lovey I mind, but … Continue reading

Posted in Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

9 Responses to Of Blankies, Bears and Loveys

  1. deidra says:

    My child has a lovey and as far as I am concerned he can get it for as long as he wants. It was a gift from my aunt and I am as attached to it as he is. I brought my lovey with me to college and it stayed on my bed until I got married. My best friend in college also brought her lovey to college.

  2. Briana Feinberg says:

    Thanks for this. My son has a monkey that goes everywhere with us (and we have a “deputy monkey” so I can occasionally throw him in the wash!) I kept my beloved bear with me through my whole life, and in October, I posted this anecdote on Facebook:
    Ellias has suddenly developed a friendship with Barney, the bear who was my constant companion through childhood. Barney was with me at home, during hospital stays, and later on my travels across the ocean. My family used to joke that he would be walking down the aisle with me… so it is very gratifying to watch Ellias asking him if he’s “been to the moon” (because the bear on his pjs is dressed as an astronaut) or if he’s been to the zoo, or the children’s garden, or the train station, and for Barney to reply, “No, but I’ve been to Paris, France and seen the Eiffel Tower.” Ellias asked Barney if he would come to his crib with him tonight, and as I closed the door, I overheard him saying, “Barney, do you like fish sticks?” This is some serious Toy Story stuff going on here, people.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      I love the “deputy monkey!” Always good to have a stand-in. How heartwarming that your son is developing a relationship with your childhood bear. Sounds as if they will get on famously!

  3. Celine says:

    Thanks Heather for talking about it today. It comes just the day as I’ve been watching a French Nanny show, where there was a five-year-old with a pacifier in her mouth all day long (or so it seemed). Nanny obviously ordered her to throw it in the garbage, and… by the end of the show, the same little girl was definitely sucking her thumb. Just shows you there is not much you can do to avoid dentist bills.
    Interestingly, two of my hubby’s workmates shared how jealous they were of those who had braces at school, as they did not need them themselves…

  4. Sarah says:

    Recently on holiday in India our daughter’s “Baby” was forgotten at our hotel lobby when we set out for the airport, 2 hours away. We realised half an hour into the journey. We phoned the hotel & Baby was sent in a separate taxi to meet us at the airport! The taxi cost more than Baby had in the first place but thank goodness it was India & the cost was in rupees – negligible in £s compared to our daughter’s need for her Baby.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      What a lovely story! I can just picture the extra taxi rushing to meet you. Glad she has Baby back with her again.

  5. Pam says:

    I gave my 7 yo son a blankie when he was about 6 months old. He has loved it since, and he continues sleeping with is blankie. He also used pacfier, but that one we sent it to the pacifier heaven. As a result, my son started sucking his thumb and hasnt stopped since. I was very worried, until I read this article. I can understand my son a little more now. Thanks.

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New Year’s anytime

My kids had fun counting down the New Year. By the time midnight came, one was in bed, but my older son stayed up to watch the ball drop and leaped and shouted “It’s 2015!  It’s 2015!” We all need … Continue reading

Posted in Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2 Responses to New Year’s anytime

  1. I guess I think of New Season’s more than New Year. A new golf season in March or April is the start of imagining the possibilities of mastering the stupid game at least once.

    Fall is the season to refresh after a (usually) hot summer. Fall colors, blue sky days with billowy clouds, and cool nights with windows wide open make for invigorating sleep (which is NOT an oxymoron. :-) )

    Jan. 1 is the start of my fiscal New Year, which is the time to evaluate spending and savings goals and adding up last years income and expenses to see if we gained or lost financial ground.

    And of course there’s the start of baseball season around April 1 and hockey season around November 1 (college of course–go Gophers!)

    I try to avoid specific “resolutions” and just do what needs to be done when I evaluate what needs fixing or improving. Don’t need a specific date for that.

    I’m sure school-aged kids’ new years revolve around the first day of school in the fall, not Jan. 1. I based my life perception on that, exclusively. Jan. 1 was just a day to celebrate starting a new calendar, eating good food with family, and watching football all day.

    Good topic, Heather

    Chris

  2. Heather Shumaker says:

    Love your idea of New Seasons. Very true, it’s how we live our lives. So many new starts and seasons of life for everything.

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Announcing a New Book

There’s been a bit of silence on the Starlighting blog lately. That’s because behind-the-scenes I’ve been tapping away on my keyboard to create the sequel to It’s OK Not to Share. A new book is being born! This book – … Continue reading

Posted in Agents and publishing, Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

18 Responses to Announcing a New Book

  1. Can’t wait. All my young friends are raising their families as we speak, and so I find myself interacting almost daily with these little ones. Yes, going up the slide.

  2. Catie Hill says:

    I love the new name! I especially like the first one, though that may be because I’m familiar with your “movement.” (met you a couple times in Leland.) The one with “digital” might appeal to a newer group, which would be fantastic. Regardless, I look forward to being able to actually read myself (17 mo, 4 1/2 yo, 15 yo) and when that happens, I’ll be stoked to read your new book! THANK YOU! Keep up the good work and the good word!

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Catie, so good to hear from you in Leland. Thanks for your title input, and many thanks for your kind words! Good luck with all those busy kids.

  3. Maggie Lesoing says:

    I love the title for the new book. My kids are now 17 and 21 and I so wish your book(s) existed when my kids were little. The common sense (which, as they say, is not so common!) you spell out in the first book would have helped me to stand strong to my beliefs and be an advocate for my kids. Any chance you’ll have a book for parenting “older” kids at some point? That would be fantastic!

    Love your work, thanks so much for being here!

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Maggie, thank you. I’m glad the title resonates with you. Older kids? I felt I was going “older” with topics for elementary school, but I see you’re looking for even older ones than that. I wonder how many books there are about parenting kids in their twenties?

      You touched on exactly the right word – advocate. “Up the Slide” is all about helping families gain courage and respectfully advocate for kids’ needs as the children enter the world of school.

  4. Love the title. Good luck with the book. I hope it sells twice as well as the first one.

    Chris

  5. Kirsten says:

    Thank you for all you do and all your encouragement to us parents who are renegades! I like the second title option best. The first one says it all, but it’s a bit long.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Thanks for your title input! Glad you find my books helpful for your own renegade parenting. All the best.

  6. Deborah says:

    The first one!
    “It’s OK to go UP the Slide: more renegade rules to protect children’s rights to risk and recess”
    Yes it’s long but I like the alliteration and I prefer it to “digital age” – digital age IMO would have been appropriate in the naughties (2000-2009) – just my opinion though!
    And I’d love an email to let me know when it’s ready to order or even pre-order.
    Thanks!

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Great! Thanks for your excellent input, Deborah. Yes, I suppose we’ve been in the digital age for a while now…good point.

      I’ll be sure to let you know when the book’s ready to order and pre-order. Thanks for your interest!

  7. katrin says:

    I just discovered your first book and the discussions on notjustcute.com, and I’m hooked. I wish, I had read your book earlier, but maybe I can still turn this parenting mess around…
    Anyway, I just wanted to say, that I find the first pay of your suggested title awesome, but the second part about risk and recess seems not to cover all you are taking about in your new book.
    Please disregard my comment, if I’m wrong. I’m looking forward to reading the new book!

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      So glad you’re hooked! Kids are forgiving – they do fine as we adults change and grow. Best of luck trying out new habits and hope you find some that work well for you.

      Thanks for your title input! My current thought for a subtitle is: “More renegade rules for home and school.” Glad to have you on board, Katrin.

  8. Jill Dodds says:

    Oh Heather, I am SO excited for this book! Love the first choice for a title. You do realize that now you have to come back to Iowa to present to all of us again right?

  9. Kathy Elliott says:

    So excited for this new book! I will leave the title voting to others. It would be great, as Jill mentioned, for you to come back to Ia. to do another presentation. I refer to your book “It’s Okay NOT To Share” all the time.

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Allies for Outdoor Time

It’s 8am and my kids are out sledding with the neighborhood kids. They scurried out of their pajamas when a neighboring 8-year-old knocked on the door, sled in hand. There’s lots of talk about getting children outside to play. I’ve … Continue reading

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8 Responses to Allies for Outdoor Time

  1. janwsyc@yahoo.com says:

    We have no snow (yet) but leaf piles are still intact and will get kids away from the screens for a long time!! Taylor came over and played in the giant leaf pile with the dog for 2 hours! Jan

  2. 10-12 years ago, our neighborhood was pretty good for all the kids hanging out together outside. When most of them were under age 10, it was common to see 4, 5, or 6 of them outside playing some sort of kids’ game. But when they get to junior high and high school, all the organized activities such as sports get in the way of neighborhood fun. But I see glimmers of hope around town with spontaneous groups of kids out in neighborhoods making their own fun.

    Chris

  3. Yes! Children often inspire other children. There is no need for an adult to say, “why don’t you try climbing that tree?” or “wouldn’t it be nice to go sledding?” When they see other children doing it, that inspires them to try or to go out and play. Love this simple post.

    - Angela Hanscom

  4. Linda says:

    Great post – this is so true! We live in the country, so unfortunately we don’t get any kids knocking on our doors spontaneously, but I do try to encourage outdoor play dates whenever I can. It’s not easy, because few parents in our area share my enthusiasm for outdoor play in all weather.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      I grew up in a similar area, so I know it’s not always possible for kids to fall into play by knocking on doors. Good for you for encouraging good old play when you can!

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