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Raising Boys‘ is written by the same author as the well known ‘The Secrets of Happy Childrenyoung boysalong with a raft of other similar books.

I have had this book for about 5 years now, have read it cover-to-cover twice and dipped in and out a few times.  It is full of interesting thoughts and fascinating facts.

I first heard about this book when my eldest son was a toddler.  Within weeks of giving birth I realised that boys are inherently different from girls (unfashionable and controversial to say, I know) and I found this book useful as a guide to the ways boys bodies work and the things they need.

The chapters include The three stages of boyhood, Testosterone!, Developing a healthy sexuality and A revolution in schooling amongst others.

I found this book a useful insight, full of thought-provoking ideas for society as well as ideas on raising a happy boy for parents.  Possibly more useful for mothers, though I think dads would get a lot out of reading this too.  Several things just ‘clicked’ for me when I read this book and I feel that although it doesn’t necessarily have all the answers or have information that specifically relates to my boys all the time, it is still useful.

I would highly recommend this for anyone with a son or nephew or any young boy that is in their lives.  I wish teachers would read this book too!

Though-Provoking ideas:

  1. Early institutional childcare is not good for boys. If possible a boy should stay at home with one of the parents until he is at least 3 years old.
  2. If boys are going to be schooled they should start school a year later than girls.  As a guide.  Biddulph thinks that school starting ages and year groups should be more flexible and based on the child’s development.
  3. Boys need to be involved with a sport or participate in regular exercise.  To burn up testosterone and keep them balanced and happy, and reduce frustration and aggression.

Interesting information

  1. A 4 year old boy has the same testosterone levels as a teenage boy.
  2. Boys sometimes are deaf.  When they have a growth spurt the tube connecting the ear to the back of the throat stretches and thins, and can block easily causing temporary deafness.  Once the tube grows to catch up again it unblocks and hearing is restored!

There are also lots of ideas that I love: Having a ‘rite of passage’ ceremony when your son reaches the age of 10 which includes a discussion about love and relationships.

Also he talks about how lots of traditional cultures have coming of age or initiation ritual which marks the stage of the boy becoming a man.  They provide older male mentors to ‘show him’ the community ways and guide him on his journey to becoming a man. He talks about the difficult ‘life threatening’ initiation ceremonies and the pride the boy feels passing through and joining the adult male community.

What with all the talk about teenage boys being ‘hoodies’ or ‘thugs’ now, wouldn’t it be wonderful to give a boy the gift of growing into a man with pride.

N.B. Article about the demonisation of teenage boys.

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The Ergo definately looks like a hardcore sling.  It has buckles and pockets and looks like it could withstand a lot of babywearing.

It was the sling of choice for me after a lot of trial and error.  I tried ring slings, pouch slings, the tricotti, the wilkinget, a wrap sling and of course the initial faux pas of the shop-bought baby bjorn.  Thank goodness I had lots of lovely friends who loaned me slings, or I would have been in serious debt!

Pros

  • No skill required in putting the sling on.  You clip the sling around your hips, put baby on your front or your back and then lift the sling up over your shoulders and clip it at the top.  Very easy.
  • Once on it was a piece of cake to adjust it.
  • Comfort levels huge.  I carried my youngest til he was two years old for a minimum of 2 hours at a time every day with no discomfort or back ache.
  • Doesn’t look to un-mainstream.
  • Very good re-sale value.

Cons

  • Doesn’t look to un-mainstream 🙂  (depends on your leanings whether this is a pro or con!)
  • Baby/child can’t face out on the front.  It’s an inward facing sling.
  • Other parents will rush over to ask you about it on a regular basis.

Particularly good for:

  • Longer term, comfortable babywearing
  • Use by either mum, dad or other caregiver.
  • People who are baffled by large amounts of material and tying options!

Overall I found this sling good value for money, extremely easy to use and foolproof.  I have and would recommend it to anybody who wants to babywear on a long term basis.

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This well known tome has been around for acontinuum concept bookcover while.  When I say ‘tome’ I am overstating the case – it’s actually quite a short book.

The Continuum Concept was first published in the mid 70’s so the first thing I would have to mention is that the language is sometimes pretty offensive.  Lots of ‘civilised’ ‘uncivilised’ and even regular mentions of ‘savages’ in relation to the tribes she lived with in South America.

If you can grit your teeth over this and continue reading then what you will find is an account of  Jean Liedloff’s years living and observing small tribes and societies that have so far not been touched by Western influences.

The main focus of the book is how these small societies treat children and parent.   She tells of babies being in arms continually for the early years, babies who are observing the business of being an adult and absorbing all they need to feel safe and a valued member of the community and babies sharing the family bed.  Babies fed when they are hungry (sounds so common sense like that but flies in the face of the four-hourly routines suggested by others) and having their needs met and growing up to be independent and confident adults untroubled by many of the problems facing teenagers and young adults in the UK today.

It’s very common-sense and affirming for the NAPper but has made me wonder exactly how we have come to stray so far from this natural, attached, common-sense way of raising children that people all over the globe have done for millenia.  An instinctive way which clearly works.

Liedloff is an anthropologist first and foremost, and went to South America “with no theory to prove, no more than normal curiosity about the Indians”.  What happened is that everything that she thought she knew about parenting and being a member of society was radically changed by her experiences.

This book documents her journey and findings and is interesting and thought-provoking for anybody, but specifically parents.  I would highly recommend having a read, but would advise gritted teeth over some of the language!

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