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Juanita Violini

Juanita Violini

Juanita lives in the Canadian Rockies and has been a mother for nearly forty years. She has three children with a 22 year age spread between the oldest and the youngest. During this time Juanita has also worked with youth in a variety of capacities including as a rehabilitation worker in the public school system and as program director and facilitator for a local youth group centre.


Magic and mysteries have been a life-long pre-occupation of Juanita's and she has published one book Almanac of the Infamous on the unexplained and unsolved. She also is known for her mystery entertainment parties (mysteryfactory.com) for children and grown-ups. Staying in touch with a playful spirit and miraculous possibility is something that she feels is vital to passing on to our children and retaining as adults.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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            I'm not talking about the big stuff here like stepping out into traffic. I'm talking about all the ways I thought I had to protect my young daughter from disappointment because of what I had learned. Stuff like if you eat all your Halloween candy in the first two days, you won't have any for the weekend or if spend all your money at the beginning of your holiday, you'll have nothing left if you see something you want to buy later, blah blah blah.

           When Kid #3 was around seven, we gave her a roll of film to shoot in our camera. It was a delight to watch her fall into the photographer's stance and click away. And click and click and click. My own feeling of scarcity clicked in, too, and I decided that I had to save her from the disappointment of running out of film too quickly. I thought I should educate her on the matter of, “If you use up all of your film now, you won't have any to take pictures of the farm when we get there.” Yet, all I did was ruin her enjoyment of the moment and undermine her confidence as a budding photographer.

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            Life is a mixed bag of circumstances. It's hard to watch your child be disappointed and when Kid #3 was four-years old, I was ready to have my heart broken by her disappointment but instead I learned something valuable. When she was four, Kid #3 was “uninvited” to her best friend's birthday party because she had been exposed to the chicken pox. I was mad and upset. "Really!" I fumed to myself. "We don't even know if she has it and why not just expose everyone and get it over with while they are young?"

            I told her that she wouldn't be going to the party because she had been in contact with someone who had chicken pox. By some wild stroke of luck that was all I said before I took a pause in my imminent rush to comfort her when I noticed that she wasn't upset. She heard the news, accepted it immediately and asked if she could watch a movie.

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When I was a kid I couldn't believe how stupid adults were. I have never forgotten this. As an adult I listen to what children have to say to see if I can remember some of what I knew when I was young. Here is one tidbit:

SAY YES or at least don't say “No.”          

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My husband and I love road trips. When we took off in the car before our daughter was born, we would buy our favorite two food groups (sugar and salt) at gas stations and be on our merry way. Once we had a child, wanting to be responsible parents, we decided we would buy healthy car food before leaving and not purchase snacks from gas stations. For two years we would buy healthy food (apples, grapes, nuts, seeds, rice crackers and like that) to eat in the car.

But the habit of snacking from gas stations was strong. We would still buy sugar and salty as we traveled and gobble those up. When we got home we would throw out the healthy stuff out because it had gone hard or soft or bad and was uneatable.

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