Gotta love Will.i.am, especially when he is pumping out groovy lyrics to help our children foster a strong positive self-belief!

Helping our children develop skills to identify and manage their feelings leads to an increase in confidence and self esteem which encourages positive thinking. All of these things create a positive healthy emotional base for children to grow from.

Turn it up loud and play it over & over!

kJ xx

 
In countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Italy, Israel, Germany, Austria and New Zealand, it is illegal for a parent, teacher, or anyone else to hit a child. So how is it that in Australia it is still seen as a necessary discipline and condoned?

'I was hit and I am fine'. We hear this statement all the time, by those that support and even encourage hitting. But is it harmless?
 
Jan Hunt, in The Natural Child, puts forward an interesting case for this so-called justification for hitting, by comparing it to smoking.
'I was spanked.' (fact)
'I'm fine.' (opinion)
'Sometimes spanking is necessary for solving problems with kids.' (false assumption)
'Since it is both necessary and harmless, it should be allowed and even encouraged.' (invalid conclusion)

Then she goes on to consider a similar argument that seems to justify smoking.

'The comedian George Burns smoked all his life from his teenage years on.' (fact)
'He was in reasonably good health all his life and lived to be 100.' (fact)
'Sometimes smoking is necessary for coping with life's problems.' (false assumption)
'Since smoking is harmless and sometimes necessary, it should be allowed and even encouraged.' (invalid conclusion)
Jan Hunt (The Natural Child)

Yes, some children have a strong emotional resiliency that helps them to cope with physical punishments, just like George Burns obviously had natural physical resilience to cope with years of smoking. Jan Hunt also went on to say that George Burns was one of the survivors among frequent smokers. And for many reasons there are also 'survivors' of 'spanking'. (Jan Hunt, The Natural Child). 

I wonder how much happier, peaceful and emotionally intelligent these people would have been if they were bought up being respected and guided, instead of being punished? 

To me, hitting is completely unneccessary. There are so many alternative ways to gently guide your children to learn. I know a lot of people will argue the fact that when it comes to children's safety it is ok. Well, I believe if you use a firm voice you can convey what you need to get across without resorting to hitting. For example, a toddler reaches for the hot stove...a simple 'STOP!' will be enough to give a quick suprise to stop them in their tracks. Then gently explaining the dangers of the heat and holding their hand lighty over top so they can feel how hot it is.
 
Children are learning and hitting them for being curious is NOT helping them learn, instead they will probably be feeling frightened, angry and resentful. 

Fear based, authoritarian parenting may create an obedient child in the short-term, but this will be at the expense of the bond between parent and child. It is very hard to feel loving toward someone who hurts you. The superficially good behaviour will disappear when the child becomes old enough to resist.
 
Angry teenagers do not just magically appear. I was one of these........
'a very good little girl', always doing what I was told, and not expressing any so-called negative emotions. Expressing our emotions was not encouraged and I learnt to put on a happy face, yet felt sad and angry inside. When I was finally old enough to stand up to authority all this anger came to the surface and everyone around me wondered what happened. Where was that good, obedient girl?

What physical punishment does teach children is that hitting is okay. It is only natural that children model their parents behaviours, therefore they learn that hitting is a way to express feelings and solve problems.
I witnessed an example of this at a playground, when a child hit a sibling and the parent slapped the child saying 'you will not hit your sister'. Where is the learning in all that?  

It's interesting that Adolf Hitler was often humiliated and harshly disciplined in childhood. While young Albert Einstein was consistently treated with gentleness, kindness and patience. Extreme examples, but take a moment to reflect on what each of these two men bought to the world.

To me, hitting of any sort is a harmful and illogical lesson that shows that deliberately hurting another human being is supposedly 'an act of love'. There is nothing loving about physical punishment.

If you want respect from your children, then start respecting them. It is such a beautiful feeling when a child willingly cooperates, and this will only occur when they feel loved, accepted, respected and understood. I know when my son and I are a little disconnected, as he refuses to listen to me at all. So then I realise I need to reconnect with him, through special time together, listening, sharing and just simplying loving him for him.....pure acceptance. Treating him like I would like to be treated.

I will leave you with this scenario....a scene with a husband and wife rather than parent and child.  The wife spills juice over the table and it splashes on her husband's trousers. He hits her.
Will the wife be more careful next time she pours juice? Or will she be walking out the door or calling the police over an assault?
(Idea from Jan Hunt, The Natural Child)

Why is it then when an adult hits another adult it is assault, but when an adult hits a child, who is much smaller, it's okay? 

Hitting is NOT okay!

kJ xx






 



 
 


 
I love reading. Reading to me is a healthy form of escapism, a nurturing kind of relaxation. I love the evenings when everything is completely silent in our house and I can lose myself in a brilliant book.
I feel so fortunate that I was bought up in a house full of books and had parents that enjoyed reading and would encourage us with this beneficial past time.
 
So how as a natural learning parent can I instill this love of books onto my own children?

Naturally, of course.  

Children are always learning from example, so if they are living as a part of a book-loving family with reading as a normal everyday activity, then they are more than likely to embrace this as part of their everyday existence also.
 
It is really quite simple, if I want my children to love reading and books, then this needs to be something I am modelling myself. 

When I am reading, it is wonderful to be able to share what I have learnt with my family, for example new recipes, health information, a new movie being released, nature facts, news stories etc. This illustrates to children just how amazing this skill of reading is!

Becoming a story teller is also a natural way to instill my love of books onto my children. This is one of my most favourite activities to share with my boys. I love reading aloud to them with lots of animation and fun. My husband really enjoys listening also. We have just finished reading Matilda, by Roald Dahl. It has been especially enjoyable doing the grumpy, harsh voice of the Trunchbull and then the soft, sweet voice of Miss Honey. I remember with great fondness a very theatrical storyteller we had as a teacher in primary school. He once read us The Hobbit and I still recall parts of the story, as it was told with such animation and expression.

We have been reading aloud to our children from when they were tiny babies. Even when they were still in my womb, I was reading them postive affirmations to enhance that feeling of love right from the start.

Mem Fox (a popular Australian childrens author) states that the best way to encourage my child to read is to read to them everyday. The LOVE of books and literacy is way more important than my child being at a particular reading level by a certain age. Coaxing a child to read a book they are not interested in is NOT going to instill a love of books and reading.

My husband loves to read articles from magazines, newspapers and online to the boys that he knows will interest them, such as nature, surfing, funny stories, heroic tales etc. This is a beautiful connecting activity that we can all share in, adults and children alike.

I find I naturally talk with friends about books we have read and I hear my children do the same with their friends. This is a natural way for comprehension to develop, when children share the meaning of a story with friends or their Dad when he arrives home from work. This just flows so naturally and is not at all like the structured worksheet type comprehension activities, which can be boring and contrived.

We also share large piles of books with our friends and they do the same, so we always have something to talk about, for example how much we loved a particular story. Yet our friends may have loved something different about the story, so then the boys learn to see a different perspective.

Our local library is one our most favourite weekly excursions. We even have two shelves on  our book case allocated exclusively for our borrowed items. This is primarily so books won't get mislaid or lost and also for ease of finding our favourites. We have 3 cards so we are allowed to borrow 60 items at any one time! We feel so grateful to have such a wonderful resource so close to home to support our natural learning.

If you have read Indoor ideas....for rainy days then you will have seen that we have heaps of fun acting out stories, with props, such as toy animals, costumes, blocks etc. Everyone has a part to play and there is lots of laughter and learning while the boys recite lines and parts from the story naturally, as it is really enjoyable to do so. Our favourites are Bad Jelly the Witch, By Spike Milligan and Crocodile Beat, By Gail Jorgensen & Patricia Mullins. According to Kathy A. Zahler, dramatisation remains one of the best ways to involve children in the reading process and to motivate them to read on their own. (50 Simple Things you can do to Raise a Child who loves to Read).

There are so many pracitical reading opportunities in everyday life that my children witness me doing and they participate in themselves. Names on mail, signs in supermarkets and shops, road signs, brand names etc. It is amazing to learn just how much my children can read just through everyday being out in the real world! My eldest son was 5 years old when he told me 'Murwillumbah is 20 km away, Mum'. So he was able to read this familiar name of our home town and also recognise the distance from a road sign.

Parents who are not aware of the natural learning principles worry about how we know if our children are learning to read, if we don't make them read to us. As I just illustrated in the previous paragraph, our children are often showing us their skills at reading, and as we only have one or two children rather than 20-30 children, it is easy to keep track of where their reading ability is at.
 
My youngest son is currently very interested in letter recognition and sounds, so we facilitate this with lots of games, related books and a fun computer program called Reading Eggs, which he loves. My eldest son, is reading and writing and still needs a little help spelling and reading certain words. It is amazing though that because he is interested in dinosaurs he can read really long dinosaur names that I find challenging, yet has trouble with some simple everyday words. So he is learning to read in a very organic way, with no structure and reading levels to hinder his own natural flow.

The one thing I am required to do as their parent is to TRUST that they will learn to become fluent readers in their own time, with no force or coaxing on my behalf. Just lots of immersion into books and wonderful stories, and extending on this love of literacy through watching movies and live theatre of the books we have read. We just finished watching Matilda the movie after first reading the book. It is really exciting to see a book come to life on screen and then we compare differences between the book and movie. 

I feel really blessed when I look up and see both my children sitting on the sofa with open books, completely absorbed into the world of literature, with no outside pressure or coersion, just a genuine L O V E of reading a good book.

kJ xx








 
A new way of looking at our educational system. A short animation on Ken Robinson's vision for a more creative, personalised approach to education. kJ x

 
A wonderful short film on a few UK schools incorporating natural play spaces for children to be free and take risks. It is amazing to hear the maths that is naturally learnt and the problem solving that goes on naturally among the children. Brilliant! It really shows how children can naturally learn given the freedom, trust and the right environment.
kJ xx
 
This is my first attempt at 'movie' making, showing the boys learning to surf with their Dad.
 
Even though Darryl has been surfing since early childhood, he has let the boys interest in the sport grow naturally. It is amazing when children CHOOSE to learn a skill, that they pick it up so quickly and easily.

kJ xx


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