Beyond the Sling by Mayim BialikWhy I like this book:
Mayim is a vegan, co-sleeping, gentle discipline kind of girl.
We also are vegan in this household. We slowly took items out of our menu. The pork, chicken and turkey went first. I am talking with my kids about how if they want to eat "clean meats" (like chicken and turkey) when they are 18, they may eat those meats. I love how Mayim talks of how she brings her vegan bran muffins to birthday parties.
We make homemade muffins with blueberries, oats, flax seed, and pureed squash. I bring the muffins to La Leche Meetings, outings and now I have the confidence to bring them to birthday parties too. The kids love the muffins and now the 4 year old can make them almost by himself.
I did not start co-sleeping til my 3rd kid, out of the need to get more rest and deal with the toddlers during the day. However, there is much research that points to the positives of having mother and baby in close proximately to each other. I really like having baby in my room also, as I barely wake up during feedings and he doesn't get so upset before I pick him up. Mayim talks of all the positives of co-sleeping and how to co-sleep safely or have baby sleeping near mama.
I agree Mayim's approach to discipline. She recommends spending as much time as possible with your kid. This way you can get to know your kid and know the specific style of parental guidance that is warranted for each kid. Mayim has a PhD and is in the TV business, however she took time out of her career to build relationships with her two kids. She also does not allow her kids to watch television. She feels that her kids could be doing better things with her time. She also does not even do "educational toys." She speaks of how her kids are a "bit delayed" in their speech and some growth patterns. However, they are able to focus better on certain tasks. Instead Mayim has a very simple playing style with kids. Wooden toys and pots/pan etc. I have also noticed that my kids love to play with "adult items" such as brooms, pans, and toilet paper. I would like to think that their frontal lobe is developing in a more positive manner than most "mainstream kids."
The whole gentle discipline thing is newer to me. I struggle with talking my two year old through each frustrating moment and temper tantrum. Many times she needs to go potty when she is having a temper tantrum, or it is a transition from one activity to another. Other times she is just tired and her brain is not functioning at 100%. Here is a quote I really like: "Gentle Discipline can work for every child, and every parent, if we only invest the time and energy to make it happen with consistency, authenticity, and love." Another point she makes is the question: "Is the physical punishment really working? Well, research indicates that physical punishment fails to promote long term compliance and is actually correlated with less internalization of appropriate behavior and compliance. In addition, many studies report the more defiant they are and the less likely they are to show empathy for others. Throughout the world, physical punishment is associated with increased psychological maladjustment and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, as well as drug and alcohol abuse (Bialik, 2013)."
The whole punishment route does not help explain to the child why a certain behavior is not appropriate. Many of the incarcerated persons I have worked with were disciplined in harsh manner. Gentle discipline takes every once of energy right out of you. But I believe in the end my kids will understand the importance of why I am guiding them on a certain path.