It's OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids

It's OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids

by Heather Shumaker


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Parenting can be such an overwhelming job that it’s easy to lose track of where you stand on some of the more controversial subjects at the playground (What if my kid likes to rough house—isn’t this ok as long as no one gets hurt? And what if my kid just doesn’t feel like sharing?). In this inspiring and enlightening book, Heather Shumaker describes her quest to nail down “the rules” to raising smart, sensitive, and self-sufficient kids. Drawing on her own experiences as the mother of two small children, as well as on the work of child psychologists, pediatricians, educators and so on, in this book Shumaker gets to the heart of the matter on a host of important questions. Hint: many of the rules aren’t what you think they are!

The “rules” in this book focus on the toddler and preschool years—an important time for laying the foundation for competent and compassionate older kids and then adults. Here are a few of the rules:

   • It’s OK if it’s not hurting people or property
   • Bombs, guns and bad guys allowed.
   • Boys can wear tutus.
   • Pictures don’t have to be pretty.
   • Paint off the paper!
   • Sex ed starts in preschool
   • Kids don’t have to say “Sorry.”
   • Love your kid’s lies.

IT’S OK NOT TO SHARE is an essential resource for any parent hoping to avoid PLAYDATEGATE (i.e. your child’s behavior in a social interaction with another child clearly doesn’t meet with another parent’s approval)!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781585429363
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/02/2012
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 256,202
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.84(h) x 1.04(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Section I Reviving Free Play

Rule 1 Don't Steal Play 9

Rule 2 It's OK if it's Not Hurting People or Property 23

Rule 3 Kids Need Conflict 36

Section II Wild Emotions

Rule 4 All Feelings are OK. All Behavior isn't 61

Rule 5 Let Kids Hit and Kick 72

Rule 6 "I Hate You!" is Nothing Personal 83

Rule 7 Take Dictation from Your Tot 94

Rule 8 Go Ahead: Let Him Hate the Baby! 105

Section III Sharing people and Toys

Rule 9 It's OK Not to Share 115

Rule 10 Let Her Hog That Toy All Day! 131

Rule 11 We're Not All Friends Here 140

Rule 12 You Can't Play = A-OK 155

Rule 13 Hang Up a "No Girls" Sign 173

Rule 14 Take Rejection in Stride 185

Section IV Running Room: Kids, Power and Action

Rule 15 Ban Chairs-Not Tag 195

Rule 16 Give Kids Power 205

Rule 17 Only Punch Friends 218

Rule 18 Bombs, Guns and Bad Guys Allowed 234

Rule 19 Boys Can Wear Tutus 254

Section V Creativity, Persistence and Empty Praise

Rule 20 Pictures Don't Have to Be Pretty 269

Rule 21 Paint off the Paper 278

Rule 22 Stop Saying "Good Job!" 286

Section VI Bad words, Polite Words and Lies

Rule 23 Kids Don't Have to Say "Sorry" 297

Rule 24 Let Your Kid Swear 306

Rule 25 Love Your Kid's Lies 316

Section VII Sensitive Subjects

Rule 26 Sex Ed Starts in Preschool 329

Rule 27 Be Buddies with Dead Birds 342

Section III Renegade Rules in the Real World

Rule 28 Make Some Enemies at the Playground 357

Rule 29 Goof Up 368

Appendix 371

Acknowledgments 377

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

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

"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,

"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

"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,

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