12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Let's talk innovation,
This review is from: Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves (Paperback)
If asked to recommend ONE book on the subject of parenting, the answer is always Aldort's. We read this book when our child was 10 months old and it radically changed how we parent, and for me, how I see myself (as a parent, as a partner, as myself--once, too, a child...). Freedom from past conditioning, freedom to parent outside culture's boxes, freedom to live and be with children in relationships forged with--no, not discipline, but mutual respect: You incur the potential for all of this, when you read this book.
I first came across Aldort in an online article on the subject of what to do when one child hurts another. After 5 years of University teacher-training pedagogy, her answer blew me away because it was the exact opposite of anything I'd read: As quickly and immediately as possible, give love to and spend time with the aggressor. Once the one who is hurt is attended to for injury, take some concentrated time to meet and validate the one who has pushed/hit/bit. In her words from another article: "Meeting the child's needs for closeness, affection and human connection are at the heart of preventing all types of aggression and emotional difficulties." (When Toddlers Bite, [...]. Aldort's book is pure gold on the subject of meeting children's emotional needs. No one else has laid this out so clearly. Her book is separated into five main categories: how children experience love, freedom of self-expession, autonomy and power, emotional safety, and self-esteem. Whether or not you are a parent, this book will meet it's own proclaimed agenda by helping you to raise yourself on all five of these levels.
Even after having read, long ago, Maria Montessori's The Absorbant Mind, and The Secret of Childhood, taught in a Montessori kindergarten, I hadn't fully understood the detriments of praising until Aldort's book. This book, complimented by her 7 CD series: Trusting Our Children, Trusting Ourselves, opened my eyes wide to the dammage we do when we praise children. Dammage, that is, if what we want is to raise our children with respect, and to provide for them the direction they need to be self-motivated, self-respecting, self-creating people. Our current culture of praise has raised most of us to adults who construct their entire lives and self-image around a very definite Need to please others. Trained into us from the very first bravos thrown at us with such enthusiasm for the most normal every-day actions like going to the bathroom, like holding onto a toy, like smiling, like colouring, like animals thought to be dumb. Do not get me (or Aldort) wrong, children need encouragement. They need to know we see and recognize them and their efforts to connect with us. But they do not need the type of manipluative praise that is so common it comes out of our mouths without thought: The phatic Good girl or What a good boy you are! In addition to the manipluation (Mommy loves me when I do that) does a child's every action need to be qualified by a good or a bad? What is good anyway? What is bad? How is it that most of the things that come out of our mouths once we become parents come out so easily -- even when they are things we'd long sworn we'd never say? Aldort's book puts all of this into perspective, and sets out very clear guidlines with practical tools of how to change this type of generation to generation patterning. If you are interested in deprogramming that old program--the one that makes you act and react and say things as though you weren't even in the control box, then Aldort's book is for you. It is written in clear, precise language, with many down-to-earth examples and incredibly simple steps that will enable you to raise your children exactly how you want: with repect, with dignity, and with action that comes from clear, unmanipulative unconditional love. Your children will live the difference and you will, too.