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It's OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids Paperback – August 2, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Rarely do parenting books trigger in me an exhale. But the title alone for Heather Shumaker’s new book came like that rare August breeze."
The Washington Post "On Parenting"

"An insightful, sensible and compassionate book full of downright revolutionary ideas."
–Salon.com

"Brilliant. . . . It's OK Not to Share is an enlightening book that will make you take a second look at everything you believe."
–Parents.com

"Did you read the title and think, what the heck? Me, too. Not only did I read it to figure out the title, I underlined about a third–it's that good."
–Melissa Taylor, ImaginationSoup.net


"What an amazing book! [Shumaker] challenge[s] the parenting myths and fallacies that our society has embraced for so long."
–Provider Resource Organization


"A breath of fresh air."
–Jane Pratt, founder of xoJane.com


"These 'renegade rules' will resonate with what you know to be true, speak to what you want most for your children, and teach you how to achieve it. Don't let this one slip off your reading list."
–Dr. Becky Bailey, author of Conscious Discipline and Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline


"This beautifully written book. . . provides immediate, sanity-saving answers to tough parenting questions. I highly recommend it."
–Michael Gurian, author of The Wonder of Boys and The Good Son


"From 'Bombs, Guns, and Bad Guys Allowed' to '"I Hate You!" Is Nothing Personal,' the table of contents alone is music to my ears. Heather Shumaker is a healthy mom I can relate to–and I'll bet you will too, when you hear out her logic."
–Paula Spencer Scott, author of Momfidence!


"A refreshing change from the usual admonitions. . . Shumaker's Renegade Rules are based on what children really need."
–Lawrence J. Cohen, author of Playful Parenting


"Shumaker beautifully shows us why letting kids be kids may be the single most important thing we can do as parents."
–Anthony T. DeBenedet, M.D. coauthor of The Art of Roughhousing


"A must-read for parents and teachers. This is a book you will want with you all the time."
–Daniel Hodgins, author of Boys: Changing the Classroom, Not the Child


"A no-nonsense commonsense appraoch. . . As you read this book, you will begin to feel the stress of parenting melt away."
–Vivian Kirkfield, PositiveParentalParticipation.com

About the Author

Heather Shumaker is a journalist whose writing has appeared in Parenting, Pregnancy, Organic Gardening, and other publications. A frequent speaker on parenting topics and an advocate for free, unstructured play in homes and schools, she has a special passion for nonprofits; before turning to writing full-time, she worked for The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, and many others. She holds an MS degree from the Institute for Environmental Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a BA from Swarthmore College. Heather makes her home in northern Michigan, with her husband, three chickens, and two children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee (August 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585429368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585429363
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dawn R. Pedersen on March 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have you ever found yourself in a group of other parents, playing with your children, and peer pressure alone makes you direct your child to do something, or avoid something? And then you wonder whether that was really the best thing for your child, or if you're just reacting to the presumed expectations of other moms and dads. Sometimes we coax our kid to share something she's enjoying, or to apologize for an action he doesn't really understand. Sometimes we remind our child not to climb the slide, or not to exclude another child from play. If you ever had the gut feeling that maybe that wasn't really a useful approach, you may be right.

Heather Shumaker has put together 29 "Renegade Rules". The rules provide an unorthodox angle on common parenting issues, and each is based on successful practices in child development centers and homes around the world.

Shumaker is a journalist who had the good fortune to be enrolled as a young child in a preschool that respected the individuality and developmental needs of each child. Her mother was even a teacher there, so the ground rules set forth at school were carried over into her home. It's OK Not to Share cites a multitude of other authors, experts in early childhood development and psychology. I've read a number of these books and value them, so Shumaker's text fit nicely with my overall approach to mothering my son. While many of her assertions were quite familiar to me already, I found in her book a number of very useful specific suggestions for dealing with tricky situations.

"It's OK Not to Share" covers a gamut of early childhood topics. The book discusses a need to revive unstructured, free play for all children. It shows us how to deal with the wild emotions of little ones.
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Format: Paperback
When I heard about It's Okay Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker, it seemed like a book that might have some practical answers to this epidemic. There was a free sample chapter available called "Let Your Kid Swear". I read it, shared it and thought to myself "Ah-ha, here is someone who gets it."

The book arrived in my box shortly afterward and I dove in.

I quickly discovered that this book was written for parents of younger children, under the age of 6 - those really formative years. My kids are older than that, but I kept reading anyway. After 8 years of being told that I am a strict, lax, mean, over-nice, lazy, tough, terrible, brilliant, neurotic, crazy, casual parent, it was kind of nice to read a book that told me that for all these years I have been doing everything (mostly) just right. (Which is not to say that any of you have been doing it wrong - read on.)

My approach to parenting is based largely on what I consider "common sense", but what this book has told me is actually Renegade Sense - which explains so very much. I didn't realize that I really was parenting off the rails, but looking back, I see that for most of the fellow parents I know, these rules go against everything their "What to Expect when you have a toddler/preschooler/child" type books have told them.

All of these common sense guidelines, er, Renegade Rules, for parenting stem from one single rule - It's okay if it's not hurting people or property. They also stem from a deep respect for children's play. Something I fully support.

One of the things I like most about Renegade Rules is that Shumaker takes the time to help us take off our "adult lenses" and see the world through a kid's eyes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I LOVE THIS BOOK. I have 3 boys under the age of 5. Since starting this book, and utilizing the knowledge I now have, I'd say crying has decreased in my house by upwards of 80%. My husband has now started reading it, and I see him actually HAVING FUN! with the kiddos. No more yelling. Not only is their relationship benefitting, but our marriage is so much more fun to be a part of.

Here's a few things that are so simple, yet so eye-opening from the book.

- Toddlers and preschoolers need space to be toddlers. Understanding that, and creating space for that will solve a percentage of your problems. That does not mean to give them free reign to run amuck where ever/ when ever they feel like it, but it means you need to create the parameters for them to have that space.

- Crying over taking turns, leaving a friends house, not getting a cookie, whatever the tantrum is about is less about not getting the desired response, and more about not knowing what happens next. This is what has worked magic in my house. Understanding what fuels my 2 year olds crying helps me to prevent that from happening. A simple "L is mad! He wants to play now! We will play first thing in the morning- as soon as you get up. Let's write ourselves a reminder." stops the tantrum before it starts.

- Teaching kids to communicate their own needs is wonderful. I teach at a church. Helping to turn "tattling" into "I didn't like that. Please don't say that to me." is more fabulous than I can put into words.

The ideas are simple, the results are phenomenal.

I've bought this book for a friend, and am planning on purchasing it for many more. Anyone who reads it will have more satisfying relationships with any child in their life.
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