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When practising self-observation, I notice that I frequently look outside of myself for validation. This is not a happy or healthy habit. It is a habit I don't want my children to have so I wonder how it happened and how can I avoid passing it on.  Is it because when a child has a need or painful feelings and the adult can not meet that need or doesn't know how to explain that life is, in part, painful, they try to make the child feel better by distracting them with toys or food? Does this teach children to look outside of themselves for comfort? Is this the basis of our rampant consumer society?

In my wish to get clarity about the issue, I asked the Conscious Parenting team a vague, un-clear question about whether toys contributed to looking outside of ourselves for validation. I got a variety of responses that did not necessarily address what I was trying to ask. My fault. But the responses came with a lot of value, nevertheless, and deserved to be shared. This first piece comes from a mom in California.

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in Toys, Technology and Creativity 10511 0
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Home schooling is a big commitment. Considerations are many. Once you make the decision to forego sending your child to a classroom, another set of considerations pop up. Not only do home schooling parents need to navigate mandatory education requirements, they live with cultural and individual opinions about their choice to steer the way their child learns.

One home schooling mother of a young child sent us this email and shared a link to an article she found useful. We share them both with you in hopes that you will find them useful.

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in Education 5265 1
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As a final, for now, posting on this topic, a quote from Lee Lozowick.

            "One of the saddest aspects of technology today is that children, even infants, are exposed to so much television, so many video games, and so many movies at such a young age. Among other experts and child advocates, Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of Magical Child (Plume, 1992) and Evolution's End (HarperOne 1993), says that even an ostensibly loving parental situation could be highly compromised for a child by television that is present from infancy. The imaginal faculties aren't present when a baby is born. They develop later - at three, four, five, maybe six years. Pearce says that if one sits children in front of a television, it's like feeding predigested food to their minds. They're getting images that they don't have to learn to create on their own, and so the imaginal faculties don't develop, and this is crippling to them. As they grow, these children can't imagine, they can't visualize, they can't project. Consequently, they are denied some of the brilliant facets of healthy development; their development of creativity is left flat and lopsided."

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in Toys, Technology and Creativity 8396 0
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A group of parent I know were discussing children and technology use when one woman pointed out that people " think that if their kid doesn’t use devices they may be missing out on something." This prompted another parent to comment that perhaps we need a different approach entirely as " that argument fails to question sufficiently the merits of having one's child right up to speed with all the other racers." 

This statement gave me chills. It made me realize that not only are early-introduced-to-technology children not able to develop their own internal images; all of us using electronic screens are receiving the exact same images! What will this do to creativity and individuality in the long term?

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in Toys, Technology and Creativity 6530 0
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Part One

In our society, children begin, at a very young age, to use electronic devices. This a matter worth researching, thinking about and discussing.  A few months ago I came across a pair of media articles arguing the pros and cons children using handheld devices and decided to do some research. The findings of Joseph Chilton Pearce, child development expert and author, were the most useful. This is my understanding of what I read.

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in Toys, Technology and Creativity 11698 1
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As a general rule, for an adult to be able to offer some help to a child who is already crystallized (i.e., stuck in an obviously narrow and limiting definition which was conditioned by other adults), one might provide a child with the broadest, deepest spectrum of manifestations possible, without force or pressure to change or perform. That is why a fantastic trait to encourage in children is their ability to investigate and follow the urges and voices of their imaginations, their curiosities, their explorations. Give them the freedom to discover their own interests, and to pursue these things in the relentless, amazing and profound way that children do.

 

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in General Context 1947 0
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This weekend I heard a quote attributed to Arnaud Desjardins:

"The unmet needs of the child become the desires of the adult."

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in Health & Wellbeing 2945 10
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"There are two basic dispositions that human beings have: feeling loved or unloved. If children feel loved in the first two years of life, then whatever else happens in relationships, the unconscious motivating factor of feeling loved will sustain them. Children who feel loved just as they are naturally feel confident, creative, capable, and possess self-respect. If children feel unloved, their life then becomes a pursuit for love from a place of scarcity and insecurity."


Conscious Parenting Workbook pg 11 - soon to be released by Hohm Press http://www.hohmpress.com

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in General Context 1602 0
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Our shadow side has no power on its own. It can only twist the light, by manipulating, controlling... For example, with children, we try to manipulate them to conform to our ideas. More appropriately, we can discuss the consequences of their choices, but the choices themselves are only up to them depending of course on what choices are age appropriate. If the final choice for a young child is up to the adult, then we need to be clear about this rather than manipulating the child into a "choice" that is not really his/her own. And if they have made bad choices, we can support them in dealing with the consequences. But never say: "I told you so!
  

Regrettably, the thing I asked my son when he was young and had made a decision was: "Are you sure?" That was an example of manipulation. Questions like that cut them off from their trust in themselves.

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in Boundaries & Building Trust 1276 0
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A balanced view on vaccines is generally missing from the available information/literature. It seems to me that what matters most is what you as a parent can get behind with regard to vaccination. It is said that vaccination can impair the development of the immune system in an infant or young child. There are the scary stories about adverse reactions to inoculations. These do occur. The other side of the argument says that childhood illnesses that formerly caused injury or death have virtually disappeared due to vaccines. This would seem to be true, yet I wonder if that means we should continue to administer them to all children forever? Modern medicine tends to turn a blind eye to long-term effects of allopathic treatments, but practitioners of alternative medicine can be as myopic and rigid in their own way. As the caretakers of our children, we are called upon to make decisions which will have life-long effects on them. Our individual parenting decisions also have impact in the larger community. It's no wonder we feel pressured!

With my first child, instead of starting immunizations at two months of age, my husband and I chose to wait until he was six months old to give his immune system more time to develop. We did the the first year's worth of vaccinations with him and no more. I recall that after at least one of these inoculations, he did have high fever and discomfort lasting many hours. By the time our daughter was born, we were considerably more relaxed and the inoculation question was a non-issue. We did not vaccinate her at all. When our daughter was under six, she and I—who was fully inoculated as a child!!—both caught a mild case of whooping cough from an un-inoculated playmate. We experienced many, many weeks of a lingering, gagging cough. My daughter would cough so hard she would throw up whatever food she had most recently eaten. I became quite expert at catching these up-chucks in many settings—playground, car, dinner table. Both our kids traveled with us on a five-week trip to India, before which they received homeopathic inoculations. I don't recall either one of them getting sick at all. And today they are both quite healthy and strong young adults. However, it is said that getting a childhood illness as an adult is much worse than getting it when young, so I may yet have cause to regret not fully immunizing them. 

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in Health & Wellbeing 967 0
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"Children are by nature innocent and totally trusting. Parents need to care for them in a way that does not abuse that trust."

Conscious Parenting Workbook pg 1 - soon to be released by Hohm Press http://www.hohmpress.com

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in Boundaries & Building Trust 1510 0
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            So L was a little wound up tonight, but in happy, exuberant way. There is another way she gets wound up that it sort of destructive, like she has pent up energy - as in she's been repressed all day and not guided in healthy outlets/expression of said energy - and it definitely needs expression, but is that much more difficult to guide.

            Anyway, this didn't seem to be the case. We'd had a long walk to and play at the park and lots of jumping on the bed. After a fairly calm and much enjoyed dinner, she went to have a bath with papa as her supervisor.

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in Boundaries & Building Trust 1456 0
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"Children need and want boundaries. Every child knows what it feels like to be happy and what it feels like to be miserable, which is why they ask for limits. They will push the limits as a way to discover for themselves what the limits are, but a child who knows their limits, and for who the limits are trustworthy and reliable, is a child who will be happy and confident.

Between ages two and four, an immediate response to the circumstance and fair, non-arbitrary discipline is crucial because that's when children get their major teaching about boundaries. Setting consequences for breaking boundaries is an important consideration here. We need to know what to do and when to do it, and quickly. To set consequences a week after something happened is useless for a young child - after a week it is a different universe for them. Consequences should fit the disobedience, and be directly in time with the vent, so the child knows what the consequence is for."

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in Boundaries & Building Trust 1976 0
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By Juanita Violini

A long time ago I heard the story about a woman cooking a pot roast, back in the day when everyone still cooked pot roasts. She always cut the ends off before shoving it in the pot because that was the way her mother did it; who it turns out, cut the ends off because her mother did it that way. Luckily granny was still alive and when they asked her about this special cooking method granny replied that she had to cut the ends from the roast to fit it in the pot she had to cook it in. Two generations later, the reason for the chopping no longer mattered, the granddaughter had a new, bigger pot, but habit carried on.

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in Point of View 2811 0
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by Karuna Fedorschak and Elyse April

Family Literacy

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in Education 3122 0
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Part 1 - Attachment Parenting

by Karuna Fedorschak and Elyse April

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in Pregnancy & Infancy 1885 0
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The responsibility of being with children . . .is literally a responsibility for the future of humankind. What we model for children, how we treat them, how we parent them, is more than important—it is absolutely vital to their mental, emotional and physical health and well-being and to that of the earth itself . . . Adults need to become conscious parents . . . educated in how to educate children.

— Lee Lozowick, Concsious Parenting, Hohm Press, 2010

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in General Context 1492 0
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"It is recommended that nursing be “on demand” and continue as long as the child is actively nursing and the mother is physically capable, ideally for three to five years. There is a vital connection between early feeding experiences and the child’s Psychological and emotional development. As the child grows and the mother senses the time for weaning approaching, she can begin preparing the child by talking about when nursing will end."

Conscious Parenting Workbook pg 6 - soon to be released by Hohm Press http://www.hohmpress.com/index.html

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in Pregnancy & Infancy 789 0
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"Create a space for the birth that is simple and welcoming, preferably a room with soft, quiet colors and free of music—a space of communion and celebration. Continue to talk to your baby psychically or verbally during the birth, as you would to an adult."

Conscious Parenting Workbook pg 6 - soon to be released by Hohm Press http://www.hohmpress.com/index.html

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"After the birth, it is recommended that mother and baby remain in the house together for approximately two weeks before venturing out into more stimulating environments.

As outside stimuli are introduced, you can objectively describe to your baby what these new noises and lights are, and assure him or her that he or she is safe and need not feel threatened."

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