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Nur t ure

re ~ Au strali a’s Na tural Paren ting Ma gazine

photo: {Nurtu red}

by Jen

Contents Physical Development

Au st ra



36 Time to get Nakey: Elimination Communication

n 2013

By Tracie O’Meara

58 Choosing the Best Milk for your Child By Lisa Guy

62 Flouride ~ A Close Brush With Poison By Dr Sarah Lantz

Emotional Development 9 Bonding: Creating Simple Rituals By Darren Mattock

13 Sensitive Boys

By Maureen Healy

18 Addressing Bullying with Emotional Intelligence By Arna Baartz

21 Music for Child~Carer Relationship By Tara Hashambhoy

24 Learning Manners with our Child By Naomi Aldort

28 Positive Time-Outs By Kelly Bartlett

Intellectual Development


Should yo use man u make your them to ners or wait child fo model you? r


DEVE Why fla LOPM DVDs shcards and ed ENT do NO ucatio T mak e babies nal smarte r


Emotio nal

14 Interview with Dr Sears By Kristy Pillinger

27 Beautiful Reflections By Claire Eaton

40 Burping, Wind and Colic By Robyn Noble

44 Is My Child Weaning? By Lourdes Santaballa

48 Returning Home: Why Birth has Come Full Circle ~ Part II By Kristin Bechedahl

Regular Features 4 Your Letters & Photos 5 Ask Our Expert 34 Your Story 43 Beyond Birth By Julia Jones

17 Dad’s Corner

By Johnny Pillinger

71 Activity Time

By Emily Filmore

80 Product Reviews

By Angela Johnson

55 Preparing for the BIG Question By Emily Filmore

Spiritua l

By Rachel Schofield

72 A Truely Nurturing Education Part 4

30 We Are What We Think: How to Nurture Your Child’s Mindset


10 Parenting From Different Pages

76 Book Reviews


Intellect ua

Mum and Dad’s Development

66 Homework for Parents

Dr Andrew Seaton


me page


74 Organic Gardening: ~ No Dig Garden

By Associate Professors Richard Walker & Mike Horsley


How to YING pa & thos rent bullies e being bullied

24 It’s All Academic: A few thoughts on Brain Development in the Early Years By Dr Pat Wolfe


answer nting qu ed by th estions e GURU !

HAN PAREDLING DIF NTING FE How STYL RENT partneto get you an ES r on th e sa d your

By Tiffany Cowley

56 Boy’s Toys ~ Let’s Rethink this Concept

l Pa re nti

Au tu Issue mn 20 13 04 $7. 95


By Jenny England

By Melanie Wright

Natu ra


6 In Search of Free-Range Children

39 ALWAYS ~ Babywearing Recommendations

li a’s

By Claire Bickle

by Sharon Dowley

78 What’s On 81 Directory Join our facebook community and share in all our stories, questions, laughter and tears! www.facebook.com/ NurtureParentingMagazine


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Editor’s Letter

hoto gehog P ikey Hed Photo: Sp


There is no denying that natural parenting can be hard and frustrating. I get frustrated sometimes when my boy, William (now 18mths!): • doesn’t want to be put down; • wants to take me somewhere just as I sit down for a rest • takes up to an hour to go to sleep; • wakes up during a day sleep and insists on being on the boob for the rest of his sleep, which can last over an hour! Really, the list can go on. But is it William frustrating me, or me frustrating me? One Friday night a few weeks ago I was putting William to sleep (he still breastfeeds to sleep) and it seemed to be taking forever! He would go on and off the breast, sit up, play with the bedrail (we bedshare), chatter to himself – anything BUT go to sleep. Then I had a ‘lightbulb’ moment! You know those moments where the situation just got so clear! I worked out that I was getting frustrated because I had hired a movie and wanted him to go to sleep quickly so I could go out and watch the movie before it got ‘too late’! It had nothing to do with William – it was me. So, once realising this, I knew that another 30 minutes would not be the end of the world! It would just mean the movie would end 30 minutes later! And it was Friday night after all (not that that means much to a mum!)! So I relaxed all my muscles, smiled and allowed myself to enjoy my boy’s chatter and antics! Certainly that was more pleasurable than any movie! So I truly believe that if you are on the natural parenting path, you need to incorporate mindfulness ~ as it is only being present and accepting

situations that you can truly enjoy your children, even during those more trying moments. In addition to practicing mindfulness, I was reminded by Dr Sears (my interview with him is on page 14) of two things:

Natural parenting is an investment

We all know that natural/AP is very hands on and time-consuming. However, the more connected we are with our children in the first 5 years, the more independent, compassionate and caring they will be. This truly is a great investment for the world. He mentioned that by putting in the time now, we can be at ease when our children are teenagers as they have been given the tools to make right decisions. So that is worth thinking about in the throes of our frustration!

Create a village of likeminded parents

‘It takes a village to raise a child’. It was never meant that a mother was to parent a child alone. Dr Sears stressed the importance to creating a village of likeminded parents so that: 1. When you have questions or issues, you can get the support and information from those that have a similar parenting philosophy as your one. He mentioned that discussing AP issues with those that do not practice it can make a mother confused and add to greater frustration. 2. When these relationships are strong, your child can be minded by likeminded people, thus giving you some time to re-balance yourself. This can be reciprocated so that all parents can get time to rebalance themselves. I think it is particularly important as it also helps normalise the behaviours of these nurtured children. So, I’ve started creating Nurture villages around the country. These villages are designed to connect natural parents that live nearby. It will help you meet likeminded parents in a nearby location. Hopefully, you will meet lifelong friends and models for your children and people that can help with the nurturing of your child! It is by supporting each other that we can support the future. If you are interested in joining a Nurture community, please search on facebook for “Nurture Village” and hopefully there is one in your area. If not, message me and I can create one.

Kristy Pillinger, Editor

Nurture Australia’s

Natural Parenting




Kristy Pillinger

Graphic Design Karah Edwards


Spikey Hedgehog Photography

Rebecca Anne & Carly Maree Photography

& Depositphotos

Issue Contributors

Naomi Aldort, Arna Baartz, Kelly Bartlett, Kristin Beckedahl, Claire Bickle, Tiffany Cowling, Sharon Dowley, Claire Eaton, Jenny England, Emily Filmore, Lisa Guy, Tara Hashambhoy, Maureen Healy, Angela Johnson, Julia Jones, Dr. Sarah Lantz, Darren Mattock, Robyn Noble, Tracie O’Meara, Melissa Rogers, Lourdes Santaballa, Rachel Schofield, Dr. Andrew Seaton, Arnaum Walkley, AssProfs’ Richard Walker & Mike Horsley, Dr Pat Wolfe, Melanie Wright.

Editorial Enquiries:


Advertising Enquiries: Katinka Lytton-Hitchins






Proudly printed in Australia by Webstar Distributed in Australia by IPS Nurture is published four times a year (March, June, September and December) by Nurture Parenting Magazine Pty Ltd No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written consent of the publisher. All rights reserved. Content within this magazine is information only and not necessarily the views of the editor. It is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider if you are in any doubt regarding any of this information.

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Your Letters & Photos Nurture and hubby changed my parenting!

suggested we bring her into our bed so we could all get some sleep... It felt so right to be close to her but so conflicting as I grew up thinking it was wrong, we all cried ourselves to sleep somewhere around 3am that first night...she has been there ever since (we never ended up moving her cot in there, just built a higher safety rail). I didn’t dare tell anyone that we were co sleeping for the first few weeks! When I finally let our family and friends know that we co slept, demand and exclusively breast feed and were not using controlled crying methods they told me I was getting our baby into bad habits and she would grow up to be a spoilt and naughty little girl. The worst part is I believed them! While my instincts and partner were leading me to do the right thing, a lifetime of learnt behaviour was making me feel like a failure because of it! She was around six weeks of age when I found Nurture and it has offered me so much guidance, support and trust in my instincts... It has seen us through when I almost quit bf and co sleeping, introduced us to BLW and helped to give me the strength to go against what I always believed

I wanted to let you know how much I LOVE Nurture!! I had never heard of the term “attachment parenting” until after my little girl was born, neither had my partner. Through out my pregnancy as I made requests for a nursery, cot, prams etc my darling partner responded with things such as “can’t she just sleep with us? Can’t we just carry her?” Flooded with pregnancy hormones and pre conceived ideas, I mistook what was his primitive instinct to nurture our child through a more attached form of parenting as a lack of commitment to our daughter and her needs. My replies were bad tempered to say the least. A nursery was built and furnished... After over 30 hours of active labour, an emergency ceasar and a blood transfusion I found it incredibly hard once I was home to lift my hefty bub in and out of her cot to feed throughout the day and I was finding it hard being separated from her, I was crying laying in our room until 1am watching her on the monitor. Again my darling partner

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Left: Abraham (5yrs) giving a lovely smile Right: Luka (2yrs) and snuggling with mumma Below: Jack (8 months) loves the outdoors!

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Ask our Experts If you have any questions for Arnaum Walkley, please send them to



I live in a small town with my wonderful fiancé and gorgeous 21 month old son. My in-laws, who also live in our town, are very critical and dubious of my attachment parenting style and they regularly try to talk me into changing my parenting approaches. When I say “no” to my in-laws’ suggestions - even as gently as I can, and with my fiancé’s support - they get very offended and there is sometimes tension for weeks, or even months. Dealing with their constant disapproval and attempts to talk me out of my chosen parenting approach is becoming emotionally exhausting for me. How can I stand up for what I intuitively feel is the right parenting decisions for my little boy, in a way that doesn’t hurt, anger or frustrate my in-laws?


An age old, worldwide issue; the previous generation confronted by a new generation of parenting. “What was wrong with the way we brought you kids up, you turned out OK, didn’t you?” Often the previous generation can be challenged and threatened by new ideals and feel that the way they parented is being questioned. Defensive behaviour can be the result of feeling undermined. If you’re Mother in law thrives on being in control, or feels possessive of her son and jealous of you, this can complicate the issue. It is not just your parenting techniques that you are dealing with. She may feel redundant. By acknowledging her and all of the helpful things she does contribute, she may start to feel more appreciated. You have stated you do appreciate her, but she may not perceive that. I feel that when we do our best to come from love and compassion in our communication, we also need to release the responsibility for how others react. You are not responsible for how your ‘in law’ chooses to react. At the same time that you are being compassionate and understanding it is vital for your own self esteem to be strong in your convictions and embrace your personal power. It is a hard task to try and please everyone at the same time. Some concepts in changing the dynamics with your ‘in laws’ are; • Focus on the positive contributions and share with her how appreciative you are • Ask her how it was for her as a young Mum and what influences and opinions did others offer • Thank her and acknowledge for the skills you may have learnt from her • Share how important their input is and how you trust them and how you appreciate their trust and respect for you and

your partner’s parenting. (This may not have happened yet, but let us focus on creating what you desire.) • Let them know how important ‘your time’ is to you and how grateful you are that they help taking care of your son. • Perhaps offer them more time to babysit during the day, when it suits your schedule • Reassure them that there is plenty of time in the future for ‘sleep over’s’, and one on one time with your son can take place during the day. • When you and your son are ready, try a daytime nap at their house and see how they go. You are a phone call away if he needs you. • Inform them how mixed ideas and methods can confuse a child • If possible have more meals and social time together, but keep the period of time together shorter until things change. • Instead of saying ‘sorry no’ to her requests, try saying ‘yes, we will think about that, or do that very soon’. It may help her feel heard and acknowledged, and nag less. The one thing you do have in common is that you all love and desire the best for your son. The suggestions I have offered may take time and patience, let go of any expectations that there will be immediate changes. You may in the long run agree to disagree. Hold strong to your desires and beliefs and in discussions, thank her for her opinion and end the discussion. If you jump on her hook when she is baiting you, then you will be coming from emotional reaction instead of wisdom and courage. You and your fiancé are united in parenting your precious child; I doubt your Mother in law will sacrifice her relationship with her son long term, no matter how many times she storms out. I understand this is an uncomfortable situation, respect your words and actions and hopefully she will learn to respect you more. We are evolving as a species and change is inevitable, some people choose to do it kicking and screaming. Believe in you there is only one of you. You may not be able to change others opinions but you can change how you choose to react. It is a burden and draining to take responsibility for trying to keep everyone happy, take care of your family first and hopefully the others will come along for the ride. Arnaum Walkley is a counsellor, parenting coach and accredited NLP Practitioner. Arnaum runs Parenting Solutions which provides practical effective solutions for everyday parenting problems.


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In Search Of Free-Range Children Remember when you were a child, you would run around outside with your friends after school? In those days, children would go down to the local park to play and then, when 5pm came around, raced home! Jenny England looks at the lack of outdoors playing that the current generation is facing.

I spent

most of my them locked securely in bulky strollers them from dangers that are thought to c h i l d h o o d as their mothers bravely navigate their lurk around our streets and in our parks climbing trees. From the treetop branches way around supermarket aisles. I see keeping them from enjoying an active I would look out into the neighbourhood young children throwing tantrums and engaging childhood where they can and beyond with curiosity and wonder. in shopping centres when they are learn self reliance? When I wasn’t climbing trees I was not given something they want or Lenore Skenanzy explores the riding my bike around the streets or they want to go home. I see tiny faces disappearance of children from making up adventure games in the pressed up against the wire fence of a the natural environments and garden or the bush next door with other local pre-school looking wistfully out neighbourhood streets (and the local children. When I got a little older into the park where they are obviously limitations being placed on children to I would go fishing every weekend with not allowed to play. I see them being prevent them enjoying themselves in my best friend. We would walk the ferried to and fro in dangerous vehicles parks, backyards and schoolyards) in kilometer or so down to Middle Harbour (cars) to school and all sorts of tightly Free Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, SelfReserve and spend many sunny hours controlled group activities. I read with Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts climbing around the rocks in search of surprise and concern news reports with Worry). Lenore reports on this in the best fishing spots. We seldom caught such as how a Sydney primary school twenty-first century America but the anything worth taking home but we has banned children from performing problem is much the same here. cartwheels, handstands and somersaults loved every minute of it. FEAR AND Today, fifty or so years on, when I take ‘Wrapping children in cotton wool for much of their ANXIETY The main a daily walk around childhood does not provide the many opportunities to my leafy suburb I test themselves; make decisions; learn from failures u n d e r l y i n g and develop some resilience to setbacks.’ cause, raised by hardly ever hear the Lenore, behind this disturbing in the playground. I hear mothers talk of delightful squeals of happy children playing energetically commercial indoor play-centres where development seems to revolve around in their yards. I never see one climbing they can relax and have a cup of coffee a generalised sense of anxiety that has a tree, riding a bike, rolling down local while their children play. They also talk been increasing steadily since the turn sand dunes or fishing by the lake. I rarely of play-dates and while these ideas are of the century: a trend found in most see them walking with their friends and not in themselves bad ones, they seem developed nations constantly fed by neighbours to school. My local park, a little too contrived to the grandma in the media. A media that is constantly searching for news stories to shock and well equipped with swings, a slide, a see- me. Is fear for their safety the main amaze to increase sales of newspapers and saw and some bouncing rides as well as a wonderful grassy area full of trees and reason most parents these days restrict magazines and increase the advertising bushes in which to play hide and seek, is their children’s involvement in the revenue of television, radio and internet always bereft of children. I find this park natural and local environment? If so, sites. All this further heightened when a great place to meditate on the grass, are they denying them the opportunity something really horrifying does come under a beautiful sky at this time of my to learn about taking calculated risks along like 9/11 or a mass shooting that will help them steer a thoughtful somewhere in the world. Richard Louv life. But where are the children? Don’t get me wrong, I do see course through their teens and into in his excellent book Last Child in the children, of all ages, all the time. I see their adult years? Is the desire to protect Woods describes it this way: “Fear is

8 | www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

Photo: Spikey Hedgehog Photography

the most potent force that prevents parents from allowing their children the freedom they themselves enjoyed when they were young.” It might also be here that we could consider the proliferation of books, articles and television shows by experts offering advice on “how to be a good parent”. Much of this kind of information does little to alleviate the fears of new parents and at times only adds guilt to the anxieties that are already been created by other forms of media. But even as fears and anxieties about the safety of children in our communities are steadily rising, the opposite is actually happening in reality. Children are, in fact, just as safe as they have been in past generations. Reported incidences of crimes against children have fallen according to statistics collected by the Australian Institute of Criminology in Trends in Violent Crime (June 2008). As far as stranger-danger child abductions are concerned these statistics also show that they are in fact quite rare, the most likely offender in such a case is often a family member or someone known to the child. As for the dangers that lie in wait in natural environments, what

about more common dangers in the home? These include ordinary things such as boiling water, electrical outlets, high balconies and open windows, fire hazards, sharp objects, and a full range of poisons in the form of cleaning fluids and even medicines. On top of that there are probably more pedophiles prowling the internet these days, than walking the streets. According to a Kidsafe (Qld) Factsheet prepared in 2006, 75% of child injury deaths in Australia are caused by either motor vehicle accidents (the largest percentage), drowning in home pools and house fires.


Australia is one of the most urbanised nations in the world. Its cities, mostly along the coastlines, are expanding rapidly. Population growth also leads to increased congestion on Australian roads as only 1 in 5 people opt to use public transport in cities. The rest choose to rely exclusively on their cars to get them from place to place and cars and kids are a dangerous mix. However, when children die in a car accident, it usually has less to do with the child’s behaviour than from reckless adults or

teens mixing a car trip with alcohol or fatigue. As land in urban areas is becoming more scarce and thus more valuable, families are now often forced into highrise living or houses with very little land attached. So backyards and vacant stretches of public land where children used to spend the largest proportion of their time are fast disappearing. The race to alleviate some of the potential problems of over-crowded cities has lead to a massive amount of regulation by local and state governments. Most of these are not very child-friendly. Take, for example a recent news story in my local paper about a number of backyard cubby houses that had been ordered to be pulled down as they had not been approved by the council. In another report a constructed playground had to be closed due to a salmonella outbreak suspected of coming from wood chips under the play equipment. Perhaps it would have been safer to just let the children play on the grass or climb the local trees. Constructed playgrounds also cost a lot of money to build and maintain.


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the rise of ADHD, anxiety and depression among children. I I am sure many of the regulations have been put into place chuckled to myself when I read this definition of nature deficit for safety concerns but some seem a bit over the top. Many disorder or NDD by Jacqueline Maley in the Sydney Morning more have probably been designed by governments, agencies Herald the other day: ‘With today’s children more cosseted and educational institutions and organisations to avoid being than ever, and parents afraid to let them so much as walk to the sued by someone. It is not as bad as in the USA but Australians letterbox for fear some disaster will befall them, children are are definitely developing an increased litigation mentality. suffering from NDD. Tragically a whole generation will never All activities in life involve risk and it would be ridiculous to know the joys of collecting tadpoles or learn about prickly pear the hard way.’ believe that all risk can be factored or legislated out. Wrapping children in cotton wool for much of their A MATERIAL WORLD ‘We would leave the home in the childhood does not provide It also appears that the many opportunities to test childhood has become a new morning and play all day, as long as themselves; make decisions; commercial arena in the last we were back when the streetlights learn from failures and develop few decades with an explosion of profitable products offered came on. No one was able to reach us some resilience to setbacks. in the market promising to all day. No mobile phones, computers, Of course issues such as the enhance children’s growth and no internet or internet chat rooms…we over-development of cities and excessive regulations might educational advancement. had friends because all we had to do not be able to be addressed Parents and grandparents are constantly being encouraged was go outside and find them. We fell overnight but it is possible to loosen the reigns on children to buy toys, computer games, out of trees, got cut, broke bones and little by little and give them a DVDs and the like instead of teeth and there were no lawsuits from larger world in which to play spending time with the child these accidents.’ even if it is in their imagination or enabling them to simply to begin with. At the end of the enjoy experiences in the Ria Murch from Remembering Avalon, day, we all want the best for the world around them. Susan A Group memoir edited by Jan Roberts next generation (and the ones Linn, author of The Case for after that) so almost anything Make Believe: Saving Play in we do to set them free a bit and give them more room to be a Commercialised World proposes that the development of themselves is going to help. And it might be a good idea to tune an active imagination in children is being hindered by this out the daily news from time to time (if you can). and suggests going back to simple games and equipment that encourage fantasy play. Lenore Skenanzy, Susan Linn and Richard Louv all agree Jenny England has a Social Science degree and a lifetime that restricting children’s unstructured, self initiated play in involvement in children’s services both professionally and as a natural settings does little for their overall physical development parent. She has worked as a journalist and freelance writer for and emotional wellbeing. Lack of physical exercise (along over thirty years. Now Jenny is using her retirement years to with poor diets) is being blamed for a world-wide increase in write sci-fi stories for children when she is not spending time childhood obesity. Richard Louv even goes as far to propose with her grandkids a new condition ‘nature deficit disorder’ possibly linked to


Creating Simple Rituals! Life can get so busy that we miss the smaller things, like simple, uninterrupted time together. Darren Mattock shares a simple but wonderful ritual he has with his son, Charlie From the time Charlie was 6-months of age, Tuesday nights have been father-son time. When he was 18-months, on ‘our’ night, I took him down to the river before sunset. We wandered down over the rocks down to water’s edge together, Cha in my arms, to explore. I put him down safely, and then began throwing some rocks into the water; something I used to love doing as a boy. We stayed there, in that spot, until the sun went down, laughing, talking, playing, and bonding. It was simply magical. From there, we walked over to the nearby Indian restaurant that we had been to quite a number of times as a family. Cha and I shared a dinner of rice, curry and naan bread. Over dinner, as he sat on my lap we talked and shared our food. I had no idea what we were creating in that moment, nor did I realise that an amazing ritual had been initiated. The next Tuesday night, after such a deeply fulfilling experience, we did the same again. Fortunately, I could afford to do this as playing by the river is free and the Indian meal inexpensive. Again, it was a space of bonding and togetherness that was simply ours. I felt how much this meant to him, and it meant the world to me to be sharing this and creating this with my son. So I kept it up; every Tuesday night without missing one. The first words Charlie put to our ritual were “throw rock” and “rice and curries”. Sometimes he wanted to do this on other days, at other times, but he quickly came to understand that this was a ritual set aside for our Tuesday nights. When Charlie turned 3, we held his birthday celebration at the same restaurant. It was his favourite place, and somewhere and something that was in his heart to share with ‘his people’. All of the family and extended family came to share this experience with Charlie on his special day. He was in his joy that night and seemed so happy that everyone loved ‘his place’ so much. The staff at the restaurant came to know us well; they were witnessing my son grow up and our father-son relationship evolve. We would always try to choose the same table (the one in front of the glass where we could stand and wave into the kitchen). They would always engage Charlie and give him positive attention. Soon, our order (we always shared the same meal) would be known as ‘Charlie’s order’. It always made my heart smile whenever I heard, in a strong Indian accent, “Charlie’s order, please!” being called into the kitchen. I love that the restaurant is positioned where it is. Having the beautiful river nearby and our special ‘throw rock’ spot has added another dimension to our meal sharing ritual. Spending

Darren Mattoc k and son, Char lie

time in nature with Charlie has been incredibly satisfying for both of us. There are so many precious memories that I have that have all been created right there. From carrying him over the rocks in my arms against my chest, to watching him learn to throw rocks himself, to witnessing (with a mix of pride and hope) him walking over the rocks by himself, to the many, many moments of laughter, love and connection that we have shared ‘just being’ together. Charlie also chose to celebrate his 4th birthday at rice and curries – for him, there was no other place that meant as much to him as this place. Of course, it’s never been the same as that magical first time we created our ritual. But it’s been some kind of father-son bonding magic every single Tuesday night. These days, he dishes up the food for me. He delights in being ‘the provider’, and even ‘the nurturer’. I love that he has learnt the art of generosity and the joy of sharing. It has been the most rewarding and rich experience of my life, witnessing my son grow up and developing the relationship and bond that I have with him. I’m so grateful that we have shared this ritual over these early years of his awesome little life. I never conceived that taking my son to throw rocks in the river and to an Indian restaurant every Tuesday night would end up being a prized jewel in my soul. But that’s exactly what it is, and always will be. Darren is a fatherhood professional specialising in educating and supporting expectant and new dads. Based in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, he regularly facilitates birth preparation and fatherhood preparation courses and workshops for dads. Website: www.becomingdad.com.au

beer + bubs A one-night session at the pub where dads learn how to support their partner through childbirth beerandbubs.com.au www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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Parenting From Different Pages There are so many different parenting styles that one can choose from. However, what happens if the parents have different parenting styles? Rachel Schofield looks at ways that parents can parent from the ‘same page’


of us enter 1. INTRODUCING YOUR you parent in a way that values children p a r e n t h o o d PARTNER TO YOUR releasing their emotional tension, you looking forward to sharing the journey PARENTING IDEAS might make little comments like “See fully with our partner. We hope to carve Slowly model your approach how much more relaxed she is after up the practicalities, as well as talk and In order to reach out to our partner, that big cry,” or “See how after all those dream together about how to raise our we need to build the warmth and take a pillow fights he’s now got the confidence children. We want to share what’s going long-range view. There are good reasons to try and learn to ride his bike,” slowly well and what’s not, and to reflect on your partner is in disagreement, or is build up your partner’s understanding the details of the day. However, having less interested in parenting than you. He without overwhelming or threatening listened to hundreds of parents, I know or she may be preoccupied with earning him or her. many discover that their parenting a living and supporting the family. partner is less interested than they are Perhaps a difficult childhood makes Wait to be asked Whilst you’d probably love to rush in the finer points of child rearing, or it painful to turn their attention to directly disagrees with their way of doing parenting, or to consider strategies that in and explain all you’ve learned, it can things. This is the cause of much stress are based on connecting when a child’s be much better to wait for your partner and tension in families. And the fact that behaviour goes off track. Whatever your to raise an issue for discussion. Make much parenting advice suggests that you partner’s reasons, you need to share yourself listen carefully to their concerns and ideas, even if they don’t fit should be on the same page as ‘It can do wonders for your parenting with what you want to do. By your partner, only adds to the understanding their worries relationship to let your partner know feelings of inadequacy. you can better handle their A partner’s disagreement that you notice the things they do well challenges to your ideas. Talk or lack of interest leaves us in ~ especially the things they do so much about the tools very gently better than you.’ a much lonelier situation than saying things like, “I think it might help we’d hoped for. It can lead us to feel frustrated and disappointed. And these your skills and knowledge at their pace if...”, “Yeah I can see what you mean, feelings tend to make us relate to our and in a way that gently opens the door and I totally agree it’s very upsetting to partners in ways that aren’t so helpful. to your ideas. A powerful way to do see her hit the dog...I wonder how she’s A good starting point is to notice that, this is to think about teaching through feeling inside... how can we help her more than anything, we want a close modelling. You guide the way each day with those feelings?” Standing back a loving family. This can help us approach as you interact with your children and little and making a gentle, slow approach our partner with the intention of partner. As you model your parenting will help your partner make huge shifts connection, rather than ‘being right’ or approach and gently offer small pieces of in their parenting over time and keep doing things a certain way. Then we find guidance, your partner will slowly pick them receptive to your ideas. there are many ways of bridging the gap up on your ideas and may even start to Offer a little bit of reading between us. use them. You might try to carefully offer your Three foundations that may help are: partner some reading. You could kindly 1. Slowly introduce your parenting Bite-sized guidance say something like, “I know you’re not Every now and then you can offer ideas; really into reading parenting stuff but bite-sized bits of guidance to gently 2. Build family connection; and would you mind just looking at this? Tell explain your parenting philosophy. If 3. Support yourself.

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me what you think.” When they have finished you may be eager to talk about it, but it might be wiser to wait for them to take the initiative to comment, rather than push the discussion. However little they talk about it, trust that much useful information will have sunk in. If they just bring up objections to the approach, listen carefully and respond kindly. You are learning about them and, most likely, about their childhood, as they speak. If they’re not interested in reading anything, just accept that and try another way, or another time.


Building warmth

Arrange time for your partner to be alone with the children

More than anything, we want our partners to have a close connection with our children. An effective way for them to create that is to have regular time alone with the kids. Without us around, our partners can find their own way of enjoying their children, and at the same time build confidence in their parenting. Perhaps your partner is able to take the kids off for an hour or more each week to do something fun together like play on the beach or kick the ball at the park. The amount of time you arrange needs to be what is currently manageable for your partner. This kind of regular time alone with the kids will help build your partner’s closeness with your children. They are also likely to come back with questions every now and again about what to do when something difficult happens. This is the perfect opportunity to offer a bite-sized chunk of guidance.

Promote laughter by playing the less powerful role in play

Another way to build the connection between your children and your partner is to play games together as a family that bring laughter. See what kinds of games

Photos: Depositphotos

It’s helpful to think about building warmth with your partner. One simple, yet highly effective idea is to have a weekly date together where you don’t talk about the children. This can be as straightforward as an hour chatting together over a drink or a meal after the kids have gone to bed. You can use this as a chance to shine your warm attention on your partner and appreciate their goodness.

you can create around your partner, so that you’re using laughter and silliness to strengthen all the connections in the family. Games of chase; games of offering kisses “I’ve got 100 kisses for you” and allowing the children and your partner to scamper away, often successfully; games of hide and seek, games of your partner teaming up with the children to fool you or surprise you or ‘scare’ you are a great way to build trust and closeness.

Appreciate your partner’s efforts

It can do wonders for your parenting relationship to let your partner know that you notice the things they do well— especially the things they do so much better than you. Maybe your partner is particularly good at sparking lots of fun and silliness when they’re with your children. Every now and then say things like, “Oh, I think it did the kids so much good to hang out with you today. You obviously had so much fun together. I’ve been a bit boring this week: I think they really needed your silliness energy,” or “You did so well there, gently not letting him have another glass of juice.” You don’t need to go over the top; simply, honestly appreciate their efforts. www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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‘Make yourself listen carefully to their concerns and ideas even if they don’t fit with what you want to do’ Find what you can agree on

It’s often possible to find a way to agree on how to handle a situation, even if you and your partner are coming at it from different angles. You may be able to find a way to handle difficult moments that meets many of your wishes (if not all of them) whilst being good enough for your partner, too.

Let your partner experiment

It can bring enormous rewards to give your partner a bit of slack to experiment. Learning to sit back and let them try things that are different from what you do can be hard, but it may help you both learn. Sometimes your partner will reflect on what he or she is trying and you’ll have the chance to listen and make suggestions when they’re receptive to new ideas.

Protect your children

With letting your partner experiment you can hold the bottom line—you will step in as gently as possible and protect your children if your partner is behaving in a way that you think is totally out of order, like shouting at them or hitting them.

Raise awareness of how old memories can cause big feelings in the presnt

It’s particularly helpful for your partner to understand the concept of ‘restimulation’. When we get restimulated and act in ways that are hasty and heated, we can be sure that some old memory has triggered big feelings and we’re no longer responding to the present moment. If you try to communicate this concept at a time of upset, you can be sure your point will not be well-taken. Instead, choose at a time when you and your partner are in good communication, and things are going smoothly. One way to explain the concept of restimulation to your partner is to ask for help when you get restimulated. “Hey, I think I need some Time Out. Can you look after Jimmy for 5 minutes? I can’t be with him just now—I’ll explain later.” Afterwards, say “Oh gosh, all he was doing was mixing all the colours so he had brown paint and I know he wasn’t doing anything wrong, but it just irritated me. I think it’s because when I was little my Mum would get so cross if I ‘wasted’

paint...” After doing this many times you may then be able to gently prompt your partner when he or she is restimulated. “Hey, do you need some Time Out?” And eventually you might see your partner start to initiate Adult Time Out without your prompting.

Let your partner vent

You can help your partner let off steam by allowing them to ‘vent’. Use any opportunity your partner starts to talk when he or she is full of emotion, and respond by listening warmly and avoiding giving them advice. This can be tricky – it’s easy for a partner to trip up our feelings. But the more time you give your partner just to vent their feelings, without you rushing in with big reactions or offering advice, the more they will slowly shed some of the tension that stops them being fully engaged in parenting, or open to new ways of understanding parenting.

Help your partner talk about early childhood

The more coherent and clear we are about our own childhoods, the more we are able to respond to the present moment with our kids. And so it can be helpful to talk about your childhood and work on feelings from that time. You can help your partner do this too. Pick a time when you are alone and things are relaxed between you and ask a little question like, “What would your Dad have done if you’d hit the dog like Sam did today?” One question at a time will probably be enough. This will slowly open up your partner’s awareness of their childhood and how it impacts on his or her parenting.


Get support for yourself

Whilst all the strategies above can do so much, they are very hard to do unless you have good emotional support for yourself. You need to clear away the feelings that get in the way of relating well to your partner. Finding a good listener can help. You can use your listener’s attention to grieve how things aren’t going as you hoped, to shed the disappointment and tension you hold about your partner, as well as to talk through the details you would love to be able to share with your partner. Joining a parenting group is a great way to share your parenting journey with like minded parents. Once you have built good support for yourself you’ll be in much better shape to help your partner.

Use your support system when your partner is restimulated

When your partner is highly restimulated you may find he or she gets critical and worried about your parenting style. This is a hard challenge! But your support system is a good place to take the feelings that come up, so you can find the strength to keep responding with connection. And as you grow in your confidence of your parenting you’ll likely find that these criticisms become less upsetting for you. Focusing on connection, building good support for yourself and adopting a slow and gentle approach to your partner will bring enormous rewards. Over time it’ll help you and your partner make big strides in how you parent alongside each other. It will bring your whole family closer together. Rachel Schofield runs Building Emotional Understanding courses (online and in person) and co-moderates Hand in Hand Parenting’s online discussion group. You can contact her at www.likeripples.com

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Photo: Spikey Hedgehog Photography

Sensitive Boys Does your son cry often? Or pull out all the tags from his shirts? Is he a picky eater? Does he prefer quiet play? Has he ever been labeled as ‘shy’ or ‘overly sensitive’ by someone close to him? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be raising a highly sensitive boy and that’s a great thing. I promise.

The Scoop on Sensitivity

Sensitive boys have a heightened awareness as to their feelings, and perception of the world around them. For example, your little boy may just know exactly when you need a hug or kind word. He senses it. So one of the great gifts these children give is their intuition, keen perception, and often compassion. Sam, a four year-old client of mine, looked at me one day and said “Maureen, I love you. You make me happy.” This wouldn’t be so amazing except he was brought to me for biting one of his preschool peers (ouch!). Sam was merely learning how to deal with his intense emotions and sometimes, as we all know, they come out ‘wrong’. It’s part of growing up. Over the years, I have noticed more and more children being born with a higher than average sensitivity to their feelings, surroundings, and senses (smells, tastes, lighting, touch, sound). It may be your son can smell your daughter’s poop from downstairs, or he is strongly opposed to seeing violence. Jackson, age seven, cried when he first saw the movie, The Lion King, because it scared him. Sensitivity can also be challenging for a parent especially if you don’t fully understand it (perhaps you would consider yourself ‘less sensitive’). I have built a thriving business helping adults nurture their children’s sensitivity as a strength and get their kids to places (schools, daycares) that support who they are, and see their sensitivity as an asset versus challenge. Let me share one example that highlights the difference between a ‘less sensitive’ and sensitive boy: Johnny, your first son, fell off the swings in the backyard. He had done this many times before and it wasn’t a surprise. He scraped his knee a bit but nothing major, and decided to just keep playing. Jacob, your second son, fell off the swings moments later. He scraped his knee a bit too and immediately began crying. Jacob is the highly sensitive boy and as you read – he needs more assistance in learning how to navigate his deep emotions, and develop his ability to succeed.

Helping them Succeed

Sensitive boys are incredibly perceptive, gifted intellectually in one area (at least) and display high levels of compassion. Some of the challenges of raising highly sensitive boys include helping them learn how to deal with their intense emotions even the ‘stinky’ ones like anger, frustration, jealousy and

sadness. With that said, I am sharing three tips to get you ‘on the same page’ with your sensitive boy.

1. Accept Him

This sounds so simple but many parents that I have worked with have trouble embracing their boy as being sensitive. They want him not to cry, or feel deeply when watching movies or playing with friends. Being sensitive is a gift. Your son’s sensitivity has the power to be one of his greatest strengths and by accepting him as having this heightened awareness – you acknowledge who he is, and have the opportunity to celebrate him (even if it means a little more work by you!).

2. Build His Confidence

Sensitive boys need to learn how to feel good about themselves (no matter what) and through building their outer skills, they can develop a beginning level of confidence. In my new book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness, I explain how to nurture a child’s deepest sense of confidence and also briefly discuss the highly sensitive children.

3. Advocate for Him

Sensitive boys need us to stand behind them. Sometimes school teachers don’t appreciate a child that may appear like more work, and often don’t see their innate strengths like compassion. For example, Matt one of my seven-year old clients was picked on at school for having big glasses. One day a ‘friend’ of Matt’s took his glasses, stepped on them and his mother had to pick him up because he couldn’t see without them. As if this wasn’t bad enough then the teacher asked Matt, “Are you a cry baby?” and this was completely out of line. When Matt’s mum heard this she immediately spoke up for her son, and he was never asked this again (Thank you, Mum). Maureen Healy is a spiritual teacher with more than 20 years of experience fostering children’s happiness. Her new book, Growing Happy Kids, is available wherever books are sold. More info: www.growinghappykids.com or @mdheal


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Interview with Dr Sears We had the pleasure of interviewing Dr Sears when he was in Australia for an Australian Breastfeeding Assoication seminar in February this year Has ‘Attachment Parenting’ changed over time? It has evolved over time. The thing about parenting is that good things do not change. It is either right or wrong, black and white. It doesn’t change. I think what has changed is AP adapts to the changing lifestyles. For example, more and more mothers have other professions outside the home. Now in reality, that hasn’t changed as much as people think. My wife, martha, was a so called ‘working mother’, in fact all mothers are working, and my opinion as a humble male and father, I think the profession of motherhood is the most lofty profession you can have. Every other profession is underneath that. Having said that, I think that what is actually better for many mothers now is that it is easier to say work and breastfeed because of the companies allowing it and the breastpumps are better than 45 years ago when our first baby was born - Martha was a nurse and I was a young struggling poor intern and we would juggle. She would work and nurse and bring Jim over when I was off work. That hasn’t changed. Do Parenting labels get in the way? I think labels can get in the way, yes. Because basically, I describe AP as “suppose you and your mate and your baby were on an island somewhere and there were no baby books, no psychologists, no mother-in-laws, no body to give you advice. It is what you would naturally do - from the gut”. It is just instinctual parenting ~ no matter what label you give it. Can you create a ‘rod for your own back’ when it comes to tending to your babies needs? Actually, it is the other way around. AP is easier. It’s like an investment. You put your time in in the early years and you sleep better later on. Your child is healthier later on. You’ll have fewer therapists later on. Fewer psychological problems later on. Psychological problems, in my opinion, are the most draining in

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Nurture Editor,

Kristy Pilling

er, with son W illiam and Dr Se parenting. ars Anything I can do early on to prevent that psychological mess that many parents get into. So, is it more tiring early on? Yes. But many mums when they get into it find that it is just easier; I don’t have to carry around a bottle, I don’t have to warm it to the perfect temperature, it’s just easier ~ much easier. That’s why one of the Baby B’s we added a few years ago was Balance. There were mum’s that were getting too tired out. There were mums that did not know when to say no to their baby. That’s why balance is important: what your baby needs most is a happy, rested mother. So if you, for example, at night time dread going to bed because night sleeping is more work than rest, then that is a ‘Red Flag’. You need to make a change.

To meet the needs of children, what is your recommended age gap for siblings and why? Ideally, 2 1/2 to 3 years. I trust Mother Nature. When most (not all) women practice natural family planning, they are often infertile for the first year and a half. Cultures who just do biological nursing, where most mothers nurse at night, so they are infertile (if they don’t nurse at night they are usually not infertile ~ they are usually fertile), babies normally come about every 2 1/2 to 3 years. So in my experience, I think they are close enough to be friends and play together but not so close that they drain the parents. Do you support Baby Led Weaning? We have always encouraged baby led weaning ~ it is part of AP. Newborn sleep patterns can be hard for new parents to adjust to. What is your best advice to these parents? My best advice is that you sleep how the three of you sleep the

best. That will change at various stages. Some babies sleep better right next to mother early on, some sleep better in a co-sleeper - which is a bassinet which attaches to the parents bed so that baby has its own space and mum and dad have their own space, but the baby is in arm’s reach of the mother. So that is usually the best for most parents, and then as baby gets older, the space between mum and baby gradually increases and periodically decreases. You juggle during the high needs times.



think “shaping children’s behaviour” with punishments and rewards is consistent with AP? First of all, discipline is a relationship. Discipline is having the right relationship with your child rather than the right techniques. So I think we shouldn’t be getting into all these punishments. When a mum and a baby are attached, the mother will naturally know how and when to discipline. Sometimes it When should children move out of the family is just the look that the child knows bed? that means “this behaviour will not be ar in m At any time, if you are wondering how to tolerated. This is not how we behave”. So I se ABA Dr Sears at the act, get behind the eyes of your child. Let’s say think attachment parents don’t have to get into all these theories ~ you were your child. Would you rather sleep in dark quite room, they just instictively know. That’s why very few attachment parents behind bars and separated from the most important person in need to spank ~ because they have found better ways. the whole world or nestle close to mum or dad in the same room, inches away from your favourite How do we get balance when we live in such a cuisine? The choice is obvious. So, will they seperatis society? announce one day “I’m ready to move to my own With this style of parenting, the culture we bed”? Maybe, but eventually yes! live in is very very challenging. We have the mum, Number 1 – if you start resenting going to dad and baby, and sometimes even just a mum sleep because you work rather than rest, then that and baby, with no-one else around. Throughout is a red flag that says “I need to make a change”. the world, it’s not like that all the time. They have a mum and a dad, grandmother, grandfather, aunt Some say that young children need to go to and uncle in the same house or neighbourhood. daycare to get ‘social interaction’. Do you agree? We need a sense of community because the Rubbish! Rubbish! In daycare, children learn whole system was never designed to be a mum Martha provid germs and bad habits. That’s it. The best school and a baby with no help. That is where your ABA ing great advice is at home. When a child has a foundation of parents, and the (Australian Breastfeeding Association), for example, parents can choose which children their child can and other communities you have here are important. play with. The biggest mistake I’ve seen parents That community will allow you to say “oh, you need do is say “I want my child to be exposed to all a night out, I’ll watch your baby” and that can be kinds of different philosophies so when they get reciprocated. So to get that sense of community, older they can make their decision.” No ~ doesn’t join whatever you have in your community and work. You have to get that child’s brain focused share childcare. It is very important, especially for on a certain way of doing things “this is how we mothers today. act; this is what we believe; this is how we talk; this is how we respect people; this is how we treat How do you maintain the connection with an other kids ~ we don’t hit, we don’t bully; this is older child when there is a younger child that how we act” and that becomes part of the child’s needs more attention? brain ~ in the first 5 years. Then they go to school The older child wants to feel special and can make their choices. But you send them but the new baby comes in and takes all the seminar! Child friendly with a foundation. If you don’t send a child to attention and wonders what’s in it for them. Give the school with a foundation, germs and bad habits! older child a job and a title. For example, if the baby falls and gets

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‘Parenting is a long term investment. You put in in the early years, you get it back in the later years.’ a little scrap on their hand, say to the older child “Ok, we are going to make you ‘Dr Molly’, you go and get a band-aid and put it onto Johnny’s little foot. Then sing him a song and pat his foot because you’re big and you know how to do this. He doesn’t know how to help himself, but you do.” This also works for picking out toys. You can say “We are going to pick out a toy for Johnny, can you help me do it.” This way, the older child feels special like it is their baby too. Parents can get confused about the conflicting information about when to allow a child to watch television. What is your opinion on when a child should watch television and for how long? Maybe about 2 years of age ~ with their parents or caregiver. Short time, with interaction. Make it fun! You have raised 8 children. In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently? Yes there is. In hindsight I, as a father, would have started a little earlier. Took me about 4 children to realise the father has a role right at birth too. And my first few children I thought “Well, it’s primarily mother, I’ll get involved when the child is old enough to throw a football”. So I would have changed and got involved

earlier. I think I would have done a better job at the spiritual growth of my children. I didn’t get involved early enough. But one of the nice things about AP is that you don’t have that many regrets. On the other hand, I’ve had so many parents in my practice say “I wish I would have breastfed longer”; “I wish I would have not let my child Cry It Out”; “I wish I would have worn my baby in a sling instead of being wheeled in a pram”; “I wish I would have ...”. I cannot remember in my 40 years a mother saying “I wish I would not have breastfed for so long”; “I wish I would have never slept with my baby”. It doesn’t happen. If you had 3 things to say to a new parent, what would they be? 1. Parenting is a long term investment. You put in in the early years, you get it back in the later years. 2. Follow your gut. In relation to discipline, before you act, you get behind the eyes of your child. Sit back, take 5 and think “if I was my child, how would I want my mother or father to react?” My child does something upsetting, before you do anything, you say “if I was my child, how would I want my mother or father to react?” ~ and you will always get it right! 3. Take care of yourself, your relationship with your mate because what babies need most is happy rested parents.

The Nurture Team would like to give a special thank-you to the Australian Breastfeeding Association for providing the opportunity to Nurture to interview Dr Sears.

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Dad’s Corner One dad’s adventures of natural parenting with his little buddy, William I know that by my third child I should realise that they grow up way to quickly, but I guess being a more hands-on father to William I really do see it more. He is now 18 months old and understands almost everything I say. Well Christmas is just a distant memory! After spending time with our family at home, it was time to fly down to Melbourne to catch up with Kristy’s family. William enjoyed the plane flight, well, the part of it that he was awake for anyway! We spent a lot of time just hanging out with his nanny and Granddad as they don’t get to see much of him because we live so far away. We also took William to the Werribee Open Range Zoo. That was such a wonderful, natural, experience for him! He loved looking at all the animals, to the point of wanting to hop into the fenced areas! Every day for a toddler is a new adventure, and since we have been back home, William has found new pleasures in simple things. For example, he loves sitting on my lap in the driver’s seat of the car~ turning the steering wheel, putting on the hazard lights, putting the windows up and down! We go for a drive around our court every morning before I leave for work. He cries when Kristy takes him out of the car, and although I don’t like my boy crying, it does make me feel good that he still wants to be with me. However, as with everything, it is all swings and roundabouts ~ our ritual of bathing together seems to have lost its joy for William. As soon as we hop into the bath, he wants his mum. He signs that he needs to go to the toilet and tries to climb out until Kristy comes in. He is fine if mummy is in the bath with us (yes we all fit and no, it is not a double bath!). Although I’m sure it is just a phase which will soon pass, it is a little disheartening that our ritual we shared from his birth isn’t fun for him at the moment. This week I’ve been cast with the Mr Mum job every afternoon as Kristy is busy with preparing the magazine. We have had a wonderful time! We spent a lot of time in the ‘man shed’ builting an activity board (see pic) with bits and pieces Kristy bought from the hardware store and a wooden toy oven. It was great time spent together as William loves to help operate the drill (although at first he was a bit scared) ~ sometimes it takes 20 minutes to get one screw into the wood, but we had all afternoon, it didn’t matter. I was there, he was there ~ we were there, happy. I also took him up to his grandpa’s house for coffee. It is always heartwarming seeing my dad, who is now 85, play with William. It’s amazing that like me, he is completely different to how he was when I was younger. He loves to pick William up and cuddle him and tickle him ~ something I never remember him doing, even with my two older kids. Anyway, that’s it for me. I hope everyone is enjoying the pathway of parenting as much as I am. Until next time, cheers!

ch lda Bea i K t S Us at

Me a n dow d Willia m n at the c whil e cam re ping ek

n e Ope e b i r r We Zoo Range

William playing with his activity board


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Addressing Bullying With Emotional Intelligence Bullying has become a widespread epidemic. Whilst there are many ways people have tried to tackle the issue, they have only addressed the issue superficially. Arna Baartz explains why the bullying epidemic will only be solved through true compassion and forgiveness.


c o m e s Emotional Intelligence is about being decreased aggression by 30%.1 If in many open to our emotional world, learning parents can offer loving touch, it will forms and everyone is capable of being a to love unconditionally and taking help release pain and tension. Children bully, fortunately understanding a bully’s personal responsibility for thoughts, can also release emotional pain through and victim’s core needs can help change feelings and life’s direction. arts connected activities, appropriate Having the courage to clean our counselling, the offending patterns of behaviour. sports, friendships We have been approaching the own slate will make teaching peaceful and being exposed to an emotional bullying subject superficially for a long interaction much more effective. The vocabulary. time. The moment has come to take the truth is, without our compassion, a child NOTE- It is beneficial to open our evolutionary step necessary to really that’s using bullying to access his/her minds to the notion that bullying occurs make a difference. And that comes sense of power will hear nothing we say. due to an unconscious contract between down to taking a good look inside our two parties. It takes courage to admit we own value system, asking the tough THE BULLY feel powerless to stand up for ourselves. The bully is simply a frightened It takes guts to admit we feel inadequate questions, ‘Who AM I and what am I child who has lost sight of who they and need to lash out. teaching my children?’ Bullying needs to be approached really are. They often have unresolved with true compassion and forgiveness. anger or issues that are expressed as THE BULLIED CHILD This means that when we are confronted negative or aggressive behaviour. Their The bullied child is unaware of with a situation, we need to be their personal power. ‘Supporting the aggressive child begins by They are unconsciously willing to see in what way it may reflect our own listening without judgement, showing love and allowing themselves to bullying/manipulative helping them recognise and deal with feelings.’ be victimised because behaviours. they are uncertain of their If we tend, as parents and educators false confidence (children with true value. to use even subtle bullying tactics in our self-confidence don’t find it necessary personal lives or in the classroom this is to use bullying to gain an advantage) How to deal with a bullied Child It isn’t appropriate to teach a child obvious in our energy. Human beings outweighs their empathy, so a new set of ‘boxing’ or to be aggressive; this will are extraordinarily perspicacious when values needs to be introduced. only serve to reinforce the behaviour of it comes to detecting lack of integrity How to deal with a Bully the bully. It is perfect as the mediator to and children often more so than adults. Supporting the aggressive child remain calm and teach through example Whether for affection or for drama there is a tendency in humans to locate begins by listening without judgement, better ways to resolve our feelings. Raising awareness of personal another’s weakness in order to gain showing love and helping them advantage. This is learned behaviour recognise and deal with feelings. power will not only help children say and as such can be reprogrammed to Providing non-judgemental support to a “no, I don’t like what you’re doing and embrace an empathetic and sustainable child in pain, no matter HOW well they I want you to stop.” It will help to give hide said pain, is a lifelong gift and can words meaning. When a child’s “NO” is attitude. supported by the energy of self-esteem Developing ‘Emotional Intelligence’ undo aggressive conditioning. Research into aggressive behaviour you can usually be confident a bully will is key to forgoing our reliance on bullying to attain what we desire. in adolescents has shown that massage respond accordingly.

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Photos: Rebecca Anne & Carly Maree Photography

The ‘bully’ needs to practice compassion and empathy whilst the ‘victim’, assertiveness and confidence Being assertive means being able to ask for what you want with confidence and respect, knowing you have a right to expect it. It means knowing when to ask and how to do it appropriately. Obviously this takes practice, but the results are phenomenal. Practice acknowledgment at every opportunity. Acknowledge every effort made by the passive child to speak about feelings or to ask for what they need, this will develop an emotional vocabulary and open channels of communication. Examples: Lily: ‘I need a drink, Mum’ Mum: ‘Of course, Lily, did you know, when you ask for something you need, you are being assertive.’ Tom: ‘I don’t want to go to bed, Mum.’ Mum: ‘I appreciate your assertiveness Tom, I’m glad you’re telling me how you feel, let’s talk about why you don’t want to go.’

Jack: ‘Sally pushed me.’ Mum: ‘Thank you for being assertive in telling me Jack. How do you feel inside, about being pushed?’ Acknowledging virtues takes a few seconds, but the positive impact is forever


You have been blessed with the opportunity to address an important issue! • Don’t Panic, thank the school/parent calmly and promise to look into it with your child. • Make an appointment to meet with the school and all involved. • Sit quietly and digest the news, drink fresh water and allow yourself a moment to process the emotions of embarrassment, helplessness, and anger that may surface. • There is a self-value issue here, and it belongs to both yourself and your child. You need to acknowledge that you must change some of your own habits as well. For example: 1. Have you been feeling stressed

lately? 2. Is your family enjoying regular, healthy meals? 3. Are you adequately hydrated everyday? 4. DO YOU FEEL LOVED? Any of these points may serve to produce tension that can disallow a true channel of communication between yourself and your child. A child that has stressed out parents is likely to feel insecure and anxious. Remember children feel emotions but are often too young or inexperienced to make the connection between circumstance and reaction. Please do not despair and feel you must FIX everything right now. • Take a few moments to relax your body in the presence of your child. Breathe deeply and look into their eyes, keep your tummy relaxed. Say, “You are more important to me than anything that is happening in our lives right now, I LOVE YOU.” This creates a safe place for your child to reveal feelings. • Important- avoid labelling your child as a ‘Bully’ There is a resounding spiritual difference between a child’s behaviour and the truth of their


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being. • You make the process of developing self-esteem in your child easier by examining your own life for ‘bullying behaviour.’ Take steps to understand yourself and find new responses. • Ask your child to tell you about the situation that has occurred. • Acknowledge your child’s anger at the other child, ‘I understand you felt like they asked for it...’ and then continue to listen. Understanding that your child has reacted to a feeling doesn’t mean you approve of their action but it does let them know that you are sensitive to their emotions. Avoid interrupting, interrogating and using shame or ‘should’. Allow your child to feel safe to express without judgment. When they have finished, ask them to think of more appropriate ways to express themselves, you may contribute ideas. For example, more appropriate ways may be to speak with someone about their feelings, write feelings down, take some deep breaths and walk away from a frustrating situation. Construct an apology - either make a gift or a write a letter to the other child. Giving feels good! With gentle guidance the aggressive child can transform, becoming the most compassionate of all


It is a challenging day when your precious child returns from school distraught, possibly even physically harmed. The immediate reaction differs for all but usually involves sadness, frustration and revenge feelings. The desire to retaliate can be intense and irrational. More than anything, at this moment, your child needs you to be calm, rational and comforting. One thing we tend to do when confronted with a hurt loved one is ‘buy into’ their story by reliving the drama and identifying with them as the ‘victim’. This serves little purpose on our journey to true healing. A bullied child has a self-esteem issue; they are not aware of their personal power. This lack of awareness is being reflected externally in situations where they assume the role of ‘victim’.

Steps To Change

• Allow your child to relay their experience. Remain silent and refrain from expressing horror or taking sides. Your child knows you are on their side.

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• Ask questions like “how did it feel when that happened?” “Could you have said something differently?” “Is there something you could have done that may have protected you?” These types of questions are designed to encourage your child to be creative and powerful. • Tell your child that together you will grow stronger and more secure so that these sorts of things will be less likely to occur. Facing up to our part in our child’s problem can take courage. We need to be prepared to step out of denial and be more proactive than we have been in alerting our child to their personal power. The challenge is in facing our own disempowerment. It is important for parents to make time to reflect on their level of self-love and care. Do you feed and hydrate yourself adequately? Do you breathe deeply? Do you speak lovingly of yourself and your life? Do you feel secure or are you anxious? Below are a few easy steps to help you and your child (victim or bully) regain awareness of personal power. 1. Make a pact to spend a small portion of your day, every day, with each other. Take turns deciding what to do. Simple, pleasant tasks like watering the garden or going for a walk is enough to begin establishing the connection and security you seek. 2. Decide to take up a physically challenging activity together. Martial arts is recommended as it is an all ages activity that develops awareness, conscious care for others and confidence. 3. Listen to your thoughts; is there a large amount of negative self-speak? Spend time journaling your thoughts. Encourage your child to be aware of negative thought patterns. 4. Concentration or fantasy around negative thoughts and scenarios grow unhealthy memory clusters and dendrites in the brain making it easier to fall into habits of low selfesteem. Concentration on positive thought, however, grows positive memory clusters making it easier to follow the neural pathways to positive choice and healthy response to circumstances. 5. Practice positive affirmations everyday and reprogram your brain toward happiness and high self-esteem. “I AM Calm”, “I AM Strong”, “I AM Confident” are a few examples of affirmations that will direct you into a positive state of mind, helping to eradicate self-victimisation or aggression. 6. Make sure you are both drinking enough water. This may seem simplistic but severe depression, anxiety, frustration and learning problems can be triggered by consistent dehydration.2 7. Check food for ‘numbers’ as additives accumulate giving a general feeling of anxiety resulting in lack of clarity and fearful energy.3 Someone that is choosing to bully is also working from fear and powerlessness so they need to target weakness; they are not powerful enough to take on somebody who is strong and confident. 8. Take the time to relax with your child, help them feel secure in the knowledge that their parent is strong and calm. Within this time of relaxation speak honestly and lovingly. 9. Be sure to check your parenting for subtle bullying habits, (yelling, withholding love,/attention, physical punishments) address them immediately, this will add integrity to your

words when guiding your child. 10. Try expressing feelings together using arts centred activities, this has been shown to reduce tensions and frustrations and lift learning responses. Protecting children is great, but teaching children to protect themselves, through achieving the infallible sense of who they are, is empowerment at its best! Arna Baartz is the founder of the The I AM Program an initiative devoted to creating a sustainable future through the personal empowerment of children and the author of a book for teachers, E I Ed.


1. J Smits (2009) Mandatory cuddle hormones - Mutual child massage in Schools, Skepters, Vol 21 Issue 2. Davis, Phyllis R., PhD (1999) The Power of Touch, Hay House. T Field (1999) Preschoolers in America are touched Less and are More Aggressive Than Preschoolers in France, Early Child Development and Care, Vol. 151 Issue 1 L.J Marsh (2011) Evaluation of the Massage in Schools Programme in one primary school, Educational Psychology in Practice, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p133-142 2. R Nauert PhD, (2012) Dehydration Influences Mood, Cognition, PsychCentral: http://psychcentral.com/ news/2012/02/20/dehydration-influencesmood-cognition/35037.html Philippa Norman MD (unknown) Feeding the Brain for Academic Success: How Nutrition and Hydration Boost Learning: http://www.healthybrainforlife.com/ articles/school-health-and-nutrition/ feeding-the-brain-for-academic-successhow 3. M K Bradstock, M K Serdula, J S Marks, R J Barnard, N T Crane, P L Remington, and F L Trowbridge (1986) Evaluation of reactions to food additives: the aspartame experience, The American Journal for Clinical Nutrition, Vol 43, Issue 3, pp 464469. W,WuttkeCorresponding, H Jarry, D Seidlová-Wuttke (2007) Isoflavones—Safe food additives or dangerous drugs? Ageing Research Reviews, Vol 6, Issue 2, pp 150188. T. E. Tuormaa (1994) The Adverse Effects of Food Additives on Health: A Review of the Literature with Special Emphasis on Childhood Hyperactivity, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol 9, Issue 4, pp 225 - 243.

Music for Child ~ Carer Relationships Some musicians are now specialising in music that builds relationships between child and carer. Tara Hashambhoy interviews one such musician Melbourne songwriter, Alice Garrick’s music is simple, sweet and full of generosity. The lyric content of her songs are what really make them intriguing and unique: most songs focus on elements of the child/carer relationship and revel in the affirmation, love and beauty that both parties receive. The words bring to focus for children and adults alike the special nature of that relationship, even on those busy days when stress invades us and tempers heat.

How did you come to writing songs for children?

I’ve been involved since I was a teenager in connecting and working with children through music and performance through clowning, circus, musical theatre and running youth groups. I spent some time teaching beginners English to refugee children in Northern India and found silly songs to be a great way to reach past the language barrier and build the relationship. Once the rapport and connection is there, learning flows much more easily. Once I had my own children I began to write songs for my children and for the children of my friends. Friends began asking me to perform and I was asked so many times to record my songs that I finally did. I am grateful to have some pretty wonderful and supportive friends.

How do you tailor songs for children musically?

My music is driven by the lyrics and melody. I like to keep the musical style fairly simple to leave room for the words. I think about how to make songs that are interactive and engaging so I like to play with tempo and silly concepts.

What do you aim to give children through your songs?

Aside from the fact that singing songs about dinosaurs, poo and overenthusiastic chickens is really fun, the underlying motivation for my music is to support and encourage emotional connection and relationships. The work of developmental psychologist, Dr. Gordon Neufeld, amongst others, has significantly influenced my approach to parenting and supporting children’s emotional development. Being a parent and working with children can be hard work; connecting and reconnecting with children is fundamental to being able to ease through the tricky parts of raising kids. I love the idea that I might be able to make music that can be on in the background and, in its own little way, might help to support kids and their grown-ups in connecting with each other.

What do you love most about performing for children?

Kids don’t feel at all self-conscious about walking off on you when they’re not engaged and they are often happy to interject with how they think the song should go. Kids make you work for their attention and to work with integrity. Kids have enthusiasm that is infectious and I love that every time I perform it is completely different because I always have to adapt and work with the kids to make it work for them. www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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It’s All Academic:

A Few Thoughts on Brain Development in the Early Years Parents can spend hundreds of dollars buying the latest educational flashcards and DVDs for their babies to make them smarter. However, does it really help? Dr Pat Wolfe looks at the current research into brain development to determine whether these products actually work


I ’ v e fascinated with this new information, brain develops trillions of synaptic b e e n especially the findings that focus on the connections in the early years. What reading articles in the news about early development of the brain. is often not reported (and therefore the large number of parents who are Contrary to the earlier belief that not understood) is that the brain concerned about getting their children babies are born with a brain resembling overproduces connections in the early into what they consider the best a blank slate, scientists have discovered years and an important aspect of normal “academic” preschools in order to make that learning begins before birth (babies brain development is the pruning away certain they do well when they begin are born recognizing their mother’s of those that are inappropriate or not their formal schooling. Some are even voice and music they heard while in needed. For example, babies are born signing their babies up before they are the womb) and that children know with cells that would allow them to born! This concern and push for an more and learn faster than was ever pronounce the sounds of every language earlier introduction to the academics is thought possible. Scientists have also in the world. However, the connections troubling. One of the definitions in the discovered that in the first three to four for sounds of the language they hear dictionary for the word academic is, ” years the young child’s brain develops everyday are strengthened while the that which is too far from immediate connections (synapses) between cells ones that are not used are pruned away. reality.” I think that’s an apt description at an amazing rate, one that will never This allows children to adapt to and of some of the programs being touted to be duplicated again during the child’s eventually speak the language of their anxious parents. Given the research on life. Unfortunately, this information has parents or caregivers. An important part early brain development, of learning is getting ‘There is no proof that extra stimulation, over rid of connections! trying to create a “super baby” and above the natural interaction that takes place, The second is necessary or important for cognitive or social or “super child,” misconception is doesn’t make sense growth. In fact, too much activity can result in over- that early, special stimulation and be damaging to a young child.’ and in fact runs and enriched counter to what we are learning about been misinterpreted by some to mean environments are essential during how children’s brains develop. that babies and young children need critical periods to develop their child’s Let’s take a look at the possible extra stimulation during this “critical” brain to its fullest potential. Hence, origins of this upsurge of interest in the period, and that after four you’ve missed worried that they may miss the critical early years. In the past decade there has the opportunity to develop the brain periods, parents provide their infants been an explosion of information in the to its fullest potential. This is not only with black and white mobiles, play field of brain research (neuroscience.) an oversimplification of the research, foreign-language or Mozart tapes, and With the development of new brain- it is not true. There are two major provide educational games and software imaging techniques, the brain is no misconceptions about the development in order to make certain their children longer as much of a mysterious “black of synaptic connections. have the most enriched environment box” as it once was. Researchers now The first misconception deals with possible. Many scientists believe this have the ability to see what is going on the belief that synapses represent extra stimulation is not necessary. inside brains as subjects interact with learning and the more you have, the Part of the controversy over the their environment and their findings are better, and that these synapses need to importance of the environment on being reported almost daily in the news be protected in some way so you don’t brain development arises from treating media. The public is understandably lose them. It is true that the child’s all stimulation and environmental

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Photos: Rebecca Anne & Carly Maree Photography

input as the same. Stephen Meltzoff, coauthor of the book, The Scientist in the Crib, states that the important question is not “What is the effect of the environment on the brain?” but “What is the effect of a deprived environment, a normal environment and an enriched environment?” (Meltzoff, 2000) Many studies have shown the devastating effects of the deprived environment. The ability to speak a spoken language is lost by about age ten if children–because of deafness or lack of exposure to language–do not learn to speak a language in the early years. Severely impoverished environments can result in stunted emotional growth as reported in the studies of Romanian orphans. Fortunately, most children are not raised under severely deprived conditions. In an impoverished environment, the brain prunes too many connections. What about the opposite end of the spectrum? Does an enriched environment somehow change the child’s development? Is it better? Can we really produce ‘super babies?’ Parents are barraged with products and services offering ‘brain stimulation’ for their babies and children. They are marketed to parents frantic that failing to introduce their young children to letter sounds and number concepts will doom their child’s success in later life. The fact is that the scientific evidence does not support these ideas. There is no proof that extra stimulation, over and above the natural interaction that takes place, is necessary or important for cognitive or social growth. In fact, too much activity can result in overstimulation and be damaging to a young child. Does this mean that the environment is unimportant as some have suggested? Of course it’s not. There are certain requisites for normal development. Using language as an example, it is obvious that for normal language development, human interaction with parents is crucial. Children need to hear a language to speak it. They are born capable of speaking any language, but they don’t make it up! Every baby and young child prospers in a warm, intimate relationship with a primary caregiver. They need models of appropriate social interactions and a physically and psychologically safe environment. But it appears they do not need extra stimulation for normal cognitive and

social development. The human brain is innately curious and designed to learn. Young children are driven to master their world. Given a normal environment and barring any serious problems, this will happen without a lot of intervention on the part of adults. Play is incredibly important for children. In play they have ownership, exploring their own interests with the support of adults. Activity is critical; children do not like to learn through passive input. Flash cards, workbooks, language tapes and ‘educational’ computer games are not only inappropriate, they often deprive children of the natural interaction with their world so important to development. What children need and enjoy is rich, varied input in natural

settings. The opportunities for this type of input are everywhere from taking a walk through the neighbourhood and talking about what you see to letting the child help with cooking or sorting clothes. Reading to young children and teaching them songs and rhymes is the most appropriate introduction to reading available. It is interesting to note that these are things that most parents have always done. Parental intuition is not something to ignore! Dr Pat Wolfe is a former teacher of Kindergarten through 12th grade, county office administrator, and adjunct university professor. Her major area of expertise is the application of brain research to educational practice. She is an award-winning author and has appeared on numerous programs.

References & Suggested Reading • ASCD Audiotape Set (2000). How the Young Brain Learns. Contains the following three tapes: • Barney, JoAnn, Teaching the Young Brain • Petersen, Steven, The Nature of the Young Brain • Meltzoff, Andrew, Nurturing the Young Brain • Diamond, M. C. & Hopson, J. (1998). Magic trees of the mind: How to nurture your chid’s intelligence, creativity, and healthy emotions from birth through adolescence. New York: Penguin Putman Inc. • Gopnik, Alison, Meltzoff, Andrew, and Kuhl, Patricia (2000). The Scientist in the Crib, Morrow Press. • Newsweek Special 2000 Edition, Your Child, Birth to Three (Order off Newsweeks’ web sitewww.newsweek.msnbc.com) • Ramey, Craig and Ramey, Sharon (1999). Right from Birth: Building Your Child’s foundation for Life. Goddard Press. (The Ramey’s web site is http://www.circ.uab.edu On this site you can obtain copies of a slide presentation on their early childhood research.)


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Learning Manners With Our Children Children are often told to say “thank-you” or “sorry” or some other words that are founded in our societies concept of manners. However, is it more important that they say the words or actually feel them? Naomi Aldort discusses a more gentle way of teaching children manners


trust myself to know what to say or of us were raised.) We think if the child do you say?” do; I should rely on adults (authority) says “thank you”, we will be seen as good demanded a and obey instruction” (dependency, parents. This focus on ourselves gets in woman after handing a child his dropped being a follower). glove. The child rushed over and hid the way of doing what is best for the behind his Mum. “You say ‘thank you,’” 3. (Linked to the previous) “I cannot child. know on my own what to say or do, persisted the woman, to which the child As a mother I discovered that therefore I am not good enough” (low my child’s manners are not about me responded, “My Mummy doesn’t tell me self-esteem and feeling inadequate impressing anyone. My child deserves what to say.” and incapable). What do we expect a child to learn my full respect to be at the stage of when we tell him: “Say thank you”? Most 4. A similar feeling of inadequacy awareness, confidence, and of acquisition can spring out of self-doubt: “Why of manners that he is. It is not easy to parents believe that the child will learn don’t I feel like saying ‘thank you’? feel comfortable when a child doesn’t to be grateful. But do children learn Something must be wrong with me”. these things by being told to do them? fit society’s expectations - but knowing How did we feel as children when told 5. To be phoney and even simply to that these very expectations don’t fit the lie: “I don’t really feel like saying child, helps me remember whose wellto “say thank you”? When did we really anything, (sharing, helping...), I being I stand for. Maybe we are still develop a sincere sense of gratitude? Did guess I am supposed to lie, pretend, dependent on the approval of others as saying “thank you” before we had the or put on a show that does not reflect we were in our childhood, when we were feeling to match the words make us truly my real inner experience”. appreciative? Or did we develop a sense told to say “thank you” and did so just of gratitude later on in no regard to please our parents. to those instructions? ‘When children are coerced into using adults’ We need to recover and Indeed, telling a manner, it often prevents them from developing build our own selfchild what to say is bad esteem, so we are less the actual feelings from inside;’ manners since it is disrespectful to dependent on approval. When children are coerced into tell anyone what to say. It is patronising Making a good impression on and coercive treating one as lower than using adults’ manner, it often prevents friends, relatives, or strangers, becomes oneself. One way to know if you are them from developing the actual clearly unimportant next to the being respectful or not is to ask yourself feelings from inside; they are more likely development of my child. Yet, I can if you would treat an adult in the same to feel an aversion to something they still impress these friends and relatives. associate with being put on the spot and What I will impress them with is not my manner. If not, it is bad manners. If telling a child to use manners does manipulated. compliance to their ideas of parenting. not teach them to feel kindness, remorse Instead I will demonstrate to them my or gratitude, what does it teach them? MEASURING OUR respect of my child, and my strength in PARENTING BY THE Well, it may teach them: following my own heart and my child’s 1. That telling others what to say or CHILD’S MANNERS GETS IN needs. do is ‘good manners.’ The content THE WAY Sometimes we confuse what is best THE POWER AND of the ‘talk’ is practically lost, as the child is mostly aware of the fact that for the child with trying to make a good FREEDOM OF NOT impression. (This is natural and nothing NEEDING RECOGNITION someone is telling her what to say. 2. (Although less obvious) “I cannot to feel guilty about due to the way most A child is too self-centered to notice

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Photos: Deposit Photos

the efforts of others and to meet their need for recognition. This is as it should be, so he can accomplish the colossal job of turning himself into a capable adult. In addition, he has not yet been corrupted by the concept of needing recognition (which is actually self-centered). He does everything for the joy of it and assumes you do too. Mothering taught me the joy of not needing recognition or expressed appreciation. Children teach us the lesson of kindness by counting on our care. Their generous ability to receive is what transforms us from self-centered youths into mature and loving givers. Your giving is the return; a beautiful model for your child.


“Daddy Daddy, look at me!” We can all recall the sight of a child riding a new tricycle; the spark in her eyes shines like a light and her joy almost stops your heart. The child’s total emotional presence makes the connection between parent and child deep and gratifying; a quality worth protecting and nurturing. We are touched and inspired by the child precisely because she is being authentic rather than just polite. When free to be themselves, children’s ways of conveying satisfaction, regret or gratitude vary greatly from the ways of adults. In fact, we would benefit from less formality and more of the innocent aliveness we witness in our children. Our external manners are not as important as we hold them to be. It is time for revision that allows for more honesty and vulnerability; something the children are great role models for. Manners often thwart real and honest connections. We have learned to say things we don’t mean. We learned ceremonial www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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Photos: Rebecca Anne & Carly Maree Photography

interactions that we use as a wall to protect us from being vulnerable and honest. We have a lot to learn from children about candid communication. Our own growth and ability to become positive role models for our children will have a greater impact than training them to be like us. Maybe we should take ourselves and our manners less seriously and instead focus on authentic and open connections with one another.


When one child hurts another, he feels regret without your help; when you mention it, he feels shame (and learns to shame others). A child who feels regret needs a hug and reassurance of our unconditional love. Rather than coerce and humiliate her by pointing to her failure and telling her what to say, we can notice that in her own way she already is aware of the impact of her actions. We can be the kindness we want her to learn. Sometimes a child feels so bad that he (unconsciously) covers it up by pretending to enjoy the pain of another child. Such a child is afraid to show more tender emotions because, with best of intentions, we failed to provide such emotional safety. This is not a reason to feel guilty, only to learn and improve. Every apology has a recipient; children don’t develop a need to receive an apology until we teach them to. Yet needing an apology is a painful learned experience. We become happier as we learn to forgive and move on without depending on another person’s words or actions. I would rather empower a child not to take things personally and to forgive, than ignite his desire for an apology and feelings of victimhood. Such feelings lead to anger and a desire for revenge. Children are born able to move on without harbouring anger - another lesson we can learn from them.


When letting children be children, they eventually incorporate our models of behavior on their own, when they can feel what they say. This occurs naturally when we treat children with the respect we want them to learn. “My five-year-old uses manner words now on his own. I don’t see the harm. He really enjoys himself being like an adult.” This is the common innocent belief. However the little

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child who goes around behaving like a polite adult is usually enjoying the approval he receives and not the expression of gratitude or remorse. He is playing your game for you. He believes his worth and your love depend on being who you want him to be. Such dependency on approval is the root of deep insecurity. There is nothing wrong with imparting behavioural and social values to our children. What matters is the way we do so. A child who is treated with good manners is often happy to learn and master some social rituals. When I notice a child who seems to be comfortable in her skin and rejoices in her own accomplishment of using manners, I cherish her joy. My husband and I never told our children to use manners. They always behaved exemplary but didn’t use code words in the early years. I recall one day when my oldest was about ten we had guests, adult friends the children love. They brought with them relatives from Europe whom we had never met before. We all interacted for a few hours. The children were busy playing in their room when our guests came over to say goodbye. To my astonishment, my oldest stood up from his play, came over to the European guests, offered his hand for a shake and said, “It was really nice meeting you. I hope to see you again sometime.” My sons are now young adults whose social grace is a delight. Children want to be like adults. Their path grows from inside. They learn respect by being respected. Some take many years to adopt adults’ manners; others like to use our manners at a very young age. It is your job to respect the child’s pace of developing as you would her acquisition of language and other skills.


There are no advantages to pushing things ahead of time, and there is no way to do so without using bad manners towards the child in the process. When complying with our instructions for manners the child is not only learning bad manners but is also learning to obey rather than respect and trust himself. Self-respect is a prerequisite for respecting others and developing self-reliance, confidence and authenticity. Obedience is not a sign that the child respects you, but rather that he is afraid of you. Sometimes it appears to us as though nothing else will get the child’s attention. When we feel this way, we have an opportunity to reevaluate our own intention to manipulate the child ahead of time. We are trying to ‘get her attention,’meaning to obey us, because on her own she is not ready yet. Again, there is no need to feel guilty for the mistakes we make, but it is our duty to keep learning and changing. Instead of pushing manners ahead of time, respect your child and model good manners towards her. Manners are here to give expression to real feelings. Children who experience generosity, kindness and connection will have easy time developing ways to express these feelings. Naomi Aldort is the author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves and Struggle to Freedom, Power and Joy. Naomi is also an internationally renowned parenting advice columnist, author and public speaker. More information on Naomi is found at www.authenticparent.com

GUIDELINES FOR SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD’S ACQUISITION OF MANNERS 1. To ‘teach’ a child to be grateful, express your gratitude for her contribution to your life: “It is such a joy to spend the afternoon with you.” It is how you treat your child that teaches her how to be. Telling a child what to say is not a good model of behavior. It is not the kind of manners you want her to learn. Thanking her for her help, apologising if needed, being kind and generous toward her are really at the heart of your teaching tools. 2. When you express gratitude, do so with less ceremony and more authenticity. Thank her for her kindness not only with a “thank you,” but by letting her know how her actions contribute to your happiness. That is the kind of gratitude that we all love to experience and the kind that children teach us all the time. The child who enjoyed her experience with you jumps for joy or says, “This was so much fun!” Do the same when your child does something for you; to a child who was quiet for your sake you can say, “Thank you for being quiet; I slept so well and feel refreshed.” 3. We can provide examples in our interactions with others by expressing gratitude, sharing generously, and treating people kindly. Our children will assimilate what they see, hear and experience around them. 4. For your child to learn manners with pleasure, and enjoy behaving in pleasing ways, she needs to see you enjoying yourself through these expressions. She needs to see you being real, authentic, and happy when you apologise, express gratitude or share generously. 5. To protect the honesty and safety of expression, provide ample freedom and opportunity to express painful feelings. Children, like adults, can best experience kind and giving feelings when they are not preoccupied with upsetting experiences and when they know that they can be honest. When a child tells me “I hate my sister”, I validate his feelings and accept his emotional outburst - only then he can be free to love his sister. If hurtful and angry feelings are numbed, the loving and kind ones fall asleep with them. It’s a package deal.

Beautiful Reflections Have you ever stopped a while and reflected on your parenting path? Claire Eaton asks a few questions which may gently guide us towards the reflection of our parenting journey. Parenting is a funny thing! We often talk about it, plan for it and dream about it, but how often do we just stop awhile and reflect on how we are ‘doing it’ from moment to moment? When we’re in the thick of it; juggling, coping, enjoying, managing and loving our precious family, when do we truly stop and reflect? Many mums and dads are determined to embrace parenting traditions of our own upbringing, or to parent differently, leave behind ways of the past, make decisions and choices diverse to those experienced when we were kids raised in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Our intentions are pure as we think about the little people who call us mummy and daddy with such innocent voices. You may like to create some space, precious pockets of time to sit and reflect, maybe write or record your voice as you reflect on gentle questions being shared here. Perhaps they will inspire you, challenge you or quite simply take you along a winding path of parenting adventure and discovery. Whatever it is, it’s perfect for you.

1. Am I patient with myself as well as my little ones? 2. Do I take all the time I need to bond with my child? 3. Do I have prejudices that my child is growing in? 4. Do I allow myself to be less than perfect? 5. Am I willing to ask for help and accept it when it comes? 6. Am I comfortable with my body and showing my acceptance of it to my child? 7. Am I carrying the beliefs of my parents that are no longer needed in my life? 8. Am I truly allowing myself time to rest and bring renewed energy into my days? 9. Am I setting fair and realistic standards for myself which my children will learn from me? 10. Am I taking time to breathe fresh air amidst the busyness of parenting? 11. Am I letting go of my mistakes and the guilt that can surround them? 12. Am I nurturing the relationship that was, before our babies came along?


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Making Time-outs Positive Many parents were told as children “Go to your room” as a form of punishment for doing what was considered the ‘wrong’ thing. Many parents are now using this punishment on their own children. However, Kelly Bartlett explains how times outs, when used in a non-punitive way, can achieve a positive outcome for both parent and child


time-outs are ashamed or isolated when they could be CREATE A COMFORT an often-used opportunities to help children learn how BASKET consequence for tantrums, outbursts, or to handle strong emotions. Find a basket and fill it with items Here are some steps you can take that will help soothe your upset child. fits of anger, they are ineffective when used punitively. When a child is sent away to ensure that time-outs are positive, Certified Positive Discipline Trainer to “go to time-out,” she not only learns helpful experiences for your child: Glenda Montgomery advocates the that her emotions are unacceptable but addition of a ‘comfort basket’ in feelthat she must also learn how to deal with TALK ABOUT FEELINGS good spots. “If a child has any special At a time when no one is currently toy or stuffed animal that he likes to them by herself. Punitive time-outs tell a distressed, talk to your child about hold when he’s upset, definitely add it child your feelings are not OK. However, time-outs can have an moments when he’s been really upset. to the comfort basket.” Blankets, books, important and effective role. A time-out, Let him know that everyone gets angry, and music are all excellent items to put when used in a positive way, is a chance sad, and frustrated sometimes and in comfort baskets, as are lumps of clay for children and parents to pause, feeling this way is okay. Make sure your to pound, exercise bands to stretch, and regroup, and collect themselves. Time- child knows that feelings are always squishy balls to squeeze. Older children outs are most effective when they are okay. But some emotions sure don’t feel may like to keep a journal or sketchbook about feeling better as opposed to being pleasant, and it helps to know what to do in their basket, or even a bottle of bubble used as a ‘thinking tool’ or a punishment. then. bath to use. If you’re using a large area Rather, when they are used or a whole room as the ‘Time-outs are most effective when they feel-good spot, you could in a proactive way—much like those taken in sports are about feeling better as opposed to being also include bigger items games—time-outs teach a used as a “thinking tool” or a punishment.’ such as a punching bag or child acceptance and selftrampoline. The idea is to fill regulation of strong emotions and are a DESIGNATE A FEEL-GOOD the area with items to help your child SPOT very effective discipline tool. relieve stress and begin to calm down. Ask your child’s input on where the Some children benefit from a physical When emotions are running high, everyone needs time to calm down two of you could create a ‘feel good’ outlet, while others prefer emotional and feel better so that we can ‘improve place. It might be in her room or it might outlets. our game.’ Dr. Jane Nelsen, author be on the couch in the living room. To of Positive Time Out, advocates that some children, going into a bedroom ASK PREFERENCES children have very immature levels might seem too isolating and would When your child gets emotionally of brain development and need a lot prefer to be able to see a parent, while overwhelmed and upset and it’s time of help in regulating their emotions. other children might choose their room to put the feel-good spot to use, ask if “Where in the world did we get this because it can keep out younger siblings. she would like to go by herself or if crazy idea that in order for children to Whether it is a bedroom, bathroom, or she’d like you to come too. Children do better, first we have to make them feel a spot in the kitchen, allow your child to have different preferences for this; some worse?” says Nelsen. “Children do better choose an area that will be designated kids may feel ‘banished’ if they are when they feel better.” She says that the as her place to regroup and calm down. expected to go alone, and would feel way many time-outs are implemented Have her create a name for this special more secure if you’re there supporting only serve to make a child feel worse; spot. them, while others need to be left alone

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Photos: Rebecca Anne & Carly Maree Photography

to decompress. It is important to respect their preferences, and understand that these may change over the years. Deborah Thompson, a mother of three and an administrator of a parenting discussion forum, finds that she is able to adapt the positive time-out techniques to each of her children in various situations. She says, “I have used the car, a bathroom, even an out-of-the-way spot in the grocery store when I’ve needed to take a cooling-down moment with my child.” She also says that the most important element of positive time outs is the ability to focus on reconnection. “Once my children have had some time to cool off, I always make sure I reconnect with them afterwards.” That may be in the form of a loving, wordless hug, an empathic conversation, or a cooperative activity like playing a board game or cooking together. It’s a gesture that tells your child, “You were mad, and that’s OK. I love you no matter how you feel.” Teaching children to calm down after being in a highly aroused emotional state begins at birth. Arlene Raphael, author of Positive Discipline for Children With Special Needs says, “Whenever a parent picks up a crying baby with the intent to help calm her, she is experiencing a positive time out.” Holding and comforting an upset child stimulates calm-inducing brain chemicals that help regulate emotions. As a child grows, they can become a more proactive participant in deciding how a time-out will look and feel. And parents can ensure that time-

outs are truly in their child’s best interest if they ask for input, work together to understand everyone’s needs, remain flexible, and keep in mind the big picture; that a time-out is just a way of helping a child feel better so he can do better. Kelly Bartlett is a Certified Positive Discipline Educator, Attachment Parenting Leader, mother of two and author of Encouraging Words for Kids. You can find more of her work at www.kellybartlett.net


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We Are What We Think How to Nurture your Child’s Mindset

We all think, but do we really know how powerful our thoughts are? Angela Johnson explains that what we think and how we act can set a life pattern for our children, either positive or negative. Therefore, thinking and acting positively can help not only ourselves, but our children.


However, as there is approximately you living a life that You may have had this experience when you know is to your full you and your partner or others have 1,999,866 bits of information that potential? Is one of your biggest desires appeared to have completely different we don’t even comprehend, we are ideas about how to parent your children. continuously sorting for the same things that your children will reach theirs? Would you love to pass on the power Habits are a great example. They are in life through our learned perceptions of developing a mindset that is focused like a finely grooved road in which when we were young, while living within towards success and self-love to your the same pattern within your nervous this ‘Quantum soup’ of potential reality, children, therefore leaving a legacy of system is running over and over, which unaware that so much more is possible. becomes an easier road to take another We have ten times the neurological your dreams? If you are like me, you most likely time. That’s why, when we get older, connections within our brain that we are interested in decreasing some things we at times find ourselves noticing that actually use and what information we in your life, such as stress, frustrations, we do things as our parents did. It’s a leave out, determines our quality of life. Our filter system (the 134 bits) is certain behaviours you catch yourself habit (neural pathway) which is learned. doing as a parent, or particular negative These things are us re-acting to specific made up of constituents such as our values, attitudes, beliefs, programming, beliefs about yourself and the world things rather than consciously acting. time, energy, space, matter, decisions, that may limit you and your family. In and language. Put simply, the 134 bits conjunction, you are probably interested WHY WE RE-ACT, RATHER that we are focusing on is what creates in increasing some things in your life, THAN ACT At any given moment, we take in our ‘map’ of the world; it is what we such as options for yourself and your family, your overall fulfilment and around two million bits of information believe to be true, right and real. So, if balance, and positive ‘if a child grows up in an environment in which we are leaving out a outcomes. there is a belief in place that, ‘life is meant to be tremendous amount hard’, then that child will grow up to perceive life of information, we may understandably OUR NORMAL as being just that.’ mistake our personal ‘RE-ACTION’ Who we are today is based very into our brain and Nervous System focus to be ‘right’ and all that there is. That means that each and every heavily on our Imprint (0-7yrs) and per second.2 However, as our Nervous Modelling (7-14yrs) periods during System cannot possibly process and one of us have a different ‘map’ or the stages of development when we are handle this enormous amount of idea of what reality really is. Family young.1 All of our learning, behaviour information at any one point in time, therapist, Virginia Satir, suggested and change occurs at the unconscious our mind filters it into about 134 bits of that “the map is not the territory’”3 level within our brain. Do you ever think information per second. It does this by which is true. If you think of a map of to yourself thoughts like “Gosh, I sound deleting certain bits, distorting parts and Australia; It is not actually Australia like my mother/father!”, when you find generalising information to condense it itself, it merely represents Australia. In yourself saying things to your children and sort for only what is important to us the same way that the map of Australia you know that your parents have said to at the time. This is what we focus on. We is a representation, so is our personal you in the past? Or do you find that you are literally leaving out a tremendous map of reality. Each individual’s reality believe certain things to be absolutely amount of data that could potentially is therefore subjective and as unique true, and yet come across others who enter our mind and focusing only on as his or her own thumbprint. This is something to keep in mind when we are believe something completely different? certain aspects of reality.

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Photos: Depositphotos

within relationships with one another, including our children. Depending on how we process information and what we focus on and perceive, is different to each and every one of us with no two identical realities. Now, who decides what is important to us and therefore what we focus on to create our map? Naturally, it is the individual themselves.


When we are young, what happens in our environment and what we observe is recorded, and in a sense, preconditions us to think particular ways and believe particular beliefs. Our preconditioned programming and biased perceptions will create what we experience our world to be like. For example; if a child grows up in an environment in which there is a belief in place that, ‘life is meant to be hard’, then that child will grow up to perceive life as being just that. But what if the child next door is preconditioned by their parents and role models to believe that ‘life is an easy journey in which it’s best to enjoy the ride’? Do you think that their experience of life would

be the same or different? See, what you focus on is what you get in your world, because that is all that you potentially see. During our Imprint Period (ages 0-7) we are like little Unconscious Minds running around and soaking everything up.1 Just like when you place a dry sponge in a bucket of water, infants take on a tremendous amount of information at any given moment very, very quickly. The line between imagination and reality itself is blurred somewhat. This is why, at times, children have ‘invisible friends’ which they truly believe to be real. And who are we to say that they are or are not? During this time, children loose approximately 20 billion potential connections within the Nervous System every day. We only keep that which we use, so this allows us to form certain type of strategies, ideas, decisions, beliefs, values, habits, behaviours and even language that we will grow up to live by and how we see the world. How and what we think, determines how we feel about our experience of life and in turn, gives us reason to behave particular ways. For example; if a child feels inferior in any way to others, they

may act shyly, behave in ways that don’t draw attention to them and not ‘actively participate’ in life, resulting in them not become successful in certain areas of life. This is not reaching their full potential at all. So, we have the opportunity to either create empowering ways of thinking or disempowering ways of thinking as very young infants. As parents, your child’s map of the world is heavily influenced by you during this period. By the Modelling period (7-14yrs) of development we begin to look at many role models


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‘who we are today is based very heavily on our Imprint (0-7yrs) and Modelling (7-14yrs) periods’

and what strategies and neurological pathways we have formed begin to be ‘hardwired’ into our system. By 14-21 years old we enter our Socialising period in which our personality, beliefs and values are more solidly developed.


The good news is that if you are starting to beat yourself up for possibly influencing your family in limiting or unhelpful ways, then STOP! We don’t have to be locked into our learned and old ways of thinking and habits. This can be changed and therefore our reality can be changed. The moment that you take control of your thoughts and behaviours is when you can assist your loved ones to expand their world. The challenge for most people is that all change, learning and behaviour is Unconscious and what determines what we focus on is also an Unconscious process. Tools such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming and

coaching strategies can literally assist with ‘uninstalling’ unwanted ways of thinking, ‘re-program’ to new ways of thinking and ‘upgrade’ your mind so that change is an easier road for you to take, without any conflict and objections within you. A mind that has expanded can never return to its previously shrunken form, so any small growth, is still growth. By delving into your mindset as parents and taking positive action, life begins to change, your vision expands and you begin listening to your heart. This is what is going to encourage your child’s self-esteem and confidence so that they have the ability to grow into well-rounded adults. Some ways in which you can assist your children to develop a mindset geared towards fulfilment and success are:

1. Make the Decision

Everything begins with a decision, so the first step is to decide that you are going to take charge of transforming your life where required and therefore the lives of your children. Decide to also take notice of what you are telling yourself and your loved ones on a daily

basis. Are your thoughts empowering thoughts? Are your actions teaching your children to have great confidence and self-belief? Actions do speak louder than words.

2. Commit

Commit to a ‘new’ you and begin to jump into any opportunity to grow and learn how you can begin to get the outcomes you and your family deserve. Create momentum and commit 100% to your goals. For example; begin a Personal Development Savings Account, in which you put a certain percentage of your income away so that you can attend transformational workshops, invest in yourself by getting a coach to keep you accountable and invest in your education and that of your children.

3. Take Action!

Many people have great ideas and thoughts, however they fail to take the steps to make their goal come to fruition. This may be due to decisions that they have made about themselves or their ability that are limiting as opposed to decisions that increase possibilities in life. Action steps can be small or big, but just do something to get the ball rolling.

You can adjust your course of action along the way, but take those milestones toward what it is you want.

4. Focus on what you want

We get what we focus on, so make sure that you are utilising every situation and using it to your advantage. When we experience something, we have a choice to either let the results determine how we are going to feel about it, or realise that there is a grander purpose for everything that we go through and learn from it. Pointing the finger and blaming situations and others for how your life has played out is not putting the power in your hands and realising that we are creating our own map of reality and therefore at cause of our outcomes. Setting goals is a great way to directionalise your focus and keep your motivation toward what it is that you want out of life. By teaching your children how to do this early in life will assist them to develop a positive focus.

5. Create a Powerful and Supportive Environment

Your children are soaking up and saturating themselves in a multitude of experiences per day, so why not create an environment for yourself and your

REFERENCES 1. M Massey (1979) The People Puzzle, Reston, VA: Reston Publishing Company. 2. C Howard (2004) Turning Passions Into Profits. 3 Steps to Wealth & Power, Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 3. V Satir (1988) The New Peoplemaking, Mountain View, CA: Science and Behaviour Books, Inc.

family that supports empowerment! If your environment consists of situations and people that are encouraging, likeminded and hold you to a higher standard of excellence than you do yourself, you will automatically stack the deck in your favour so that you become successful. We model those around us and if you and your children are educating yourselves with personal development material, creating balance in your lifestyle and saturating your life with positive learning, your reality will look very different to one who is within an unhealthy environment. Long-term transformation is something to aim for and by keeping an open heart and mind, curiosity like that of a child, releasing limiting decisions, beliefs and emotions that no longer serve you and your family, you can be the best example for your family and help them reach their own personal desires. Your children will learn new ways of thinking and behaving that will allow them to take their life in a direction that they know is certain and not merely a dream that lives in fairytales. As parents, we have a right and responsibility to take the steps in a journey of self-discovery, empowerment and live a life full of purpose. Simultaneously teaching our children to do the same will free them from anything that in the past may have held them back from moving confidently and quickly towards their hearts desire. I invite you to commit yourself fully to truly living YOUR life and leaving the legacy of empowerment to those you dearly love. This is the greatest gift of all. Angela Johnson has a Bacholor of Health Science, CIV Remedial Massage Therapy, Diploma in Spiritual Healing, and is a Master NLP/Hypnosis Practitioner, Results/Performance Coach and Consultant. She also runs The Joy Hut on the Gold Coast.


JuJu Cups If during your period, you use five disposable products a day for five days, this equates to 300 disposable pads or tampons a year and over 10,000 in your lifetime alone. In one year you will spend more than $90 on disposable products, that’s more than $3,300 in a lifetime. These waste products go into our landfills and pollute our waterways. Now imagine a world with no disposable tampons or pads. It may sound like a small contribution, but by purchasing and using a menstrual cup, you will make a difference to the world we live in today, and the world our children will inherit tomorrow. JuJu is Australia’s first menstrual cup. JuJu is owned and operated by two mothers, who care deeply about women’s health and the environment. Made entirely in Australia from the highest quality medical grade silicone available in the world, JuJu is hypoallergenic, latex-free, odorless and free from harmful chemicals such as bleaches and absorption agents used in disposable tampons and pads. The JuJu can be worn at any point in your cycle, during heavy and light flows, and overnight. It is also reusable for up to 10 years. JuJu would love your support, and hope that you will take these differences into consideration when making your decision, as they did when they chose to start the company, protecting women’s health and the future. If you have any questions regarding the use of JuJu, please check the FAQ on their website www.juju.com.au If you cannot find an answer to your question, feel free to email your question to juju@juju.com.au.

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Your Story Matt Talbot tells of the obstacles and challenges he and his wife, Emma, faced in the early days of their son, Thomas. One cannot help but feel as though the process of child birth and child rearing has become so pathologised that the notion of “natural” is now almost synonymous with “alternate”. Many people approach the “alternate” concept with scepticism, embracing the mainstream ideologies without question. I was the same for a while, and then Thomas was born. My wife, Emma, was induced unnecessarily, in what we feel in hindsight had a lot to do with the obstetrician’s convenience and the overly controlling nature of obstetric medicine. We were never given any medically justified reason as to why Emma was induced. Emma’s body was perfectly healthy, the pregnancy was progressing normally, there was no fathomable reason why any artificial intervention was even considered. We were never asked “if ” we wanted to be induced, or “why”, only “when”. Our doctor told us that he had “two slots available” for us as though he were planning on giving us a haircut or something. This is what obstetric medicine has come to - the trivialization of childbirth. He was unable to take the time to explain the risks involved in an induction, something every responsible medical practitioner should be obligated to do in all cases without exception. Following the induction an epidural was required followed by an emergency caesarean. Thomas became highly distressed during labour as was evidenced by his alarmingly high heart rate. It was later revealed that Emma’s uterus had ruptured during labour. This was only the beginning – the pain Emma went through following the birth of Thomas was terrible. It continued for weeks and was followed by a very long bout of Post Natal Depression. The likelihood of this series of events happening was, according to our subsequent research, increased by a Pitocin induced labour, and while we have no way of knowing for certain whether or not any of this would have occurred if Emma had h a v e had a natural birth, I can’t help but see the link between the trauma and the

subsequent conditions. In any case I know that it was not worth the risk for the sake of professional convenience or habit. I need to say right now that I realise such procedures are sometimes necessary. This is inevitable, and this is where the miracle of modern medicine is at its best – when intervention becomes miracle. But when such things are not necessary, which I think is most often the case, the true miracle takes place in letting nature take its course – something Emma and our baby Thomas were denied. Artificially induced pregnancies and caesars seem to be becoming more like standard procedure. In fact more than half of the young mothers from our parent groups were induced and had subsequent caesareans. Some of the reasons that their obstetricians had given them were quite simply ridiculous: “The baby is safer out than in”, “We’d better not leave it too long”, “I don’t think it should be done at Christmas time”. New and naive to pregnancy, Emma and I probably would have believed any of these “reasons” prior to Thomas’s birth. We never thought to question the expertise of doctors, but in saying that it does seem incredibly odd that the natural process of birth has, in so many cases, been reduced to a routine medical procedure. To the medical establishment it was business as usual. To us it was a lot more. Thomas was very unsettled in his early months. He suffered from severe colic for the first four months of his life and was very thin. He cried very loudly as though he was in pain. We took him to all manner of health experts who recommended everything from prescription medication, to forced weaning, to controlled crying. So we tried all kinds of conventional medicine, to no effect. Emma considered weaning Thomas but, to her credit, she persevered and continues to feed him today. As for the controlled crying, I never approved of this because I knew in my heart it was the wrong thing to do. So did Emma, but she was incredibly fragile. Babies are the most vulnerable members of our society because they have no way of speaking up to the experts who profit from giving advice to emotionally exhausted mothers. These emotionally exhausted mothers are the second most vulnerable members of society. The dogmatists position babies as problems to be solved, and in doing so, set mothers up for disappointment. I firmly believe that if Emma had have been

supported by the experts truly then a lot of her pain could have been minimised. This expert advice placed a lot of strain on Emma and my relationship. In between us were several child nurses, paediatricians and a highly self-promoting baby psychologist who advised us to allow Thomas to cry for twenty minutes at a time. We were advised to strip Thomas’s room of stimulus, avoid eye contact while putting him to sleep, avoid rocking him or talking to him. To me, this does not constitute responsible or compassionate advice. Emma attempted to put this advice into practice but was devastated by the effect it had on Thomas. She cried as much as he did, and promised herself and Thomas that she would never do it again. But we had already booked into a sleep clinic, and Emma thought we should go just to see if we could learn something new. This is when things came to a head. At the clinic, Emma and I were forced to sit in an adjacent room while Thomas cried and cried. One nurse told me that I have to be “strong” and let him cry, for his sake. So now I was the bad guy? The nurse told me that I need to be the “wise one” and “teach” Thomas how to sleep. At that I literally had to push past the nurse and pick up my son. I was then told that the clinic was going to recommend “intervention” because I was “not being reasonable.” Emma was confused and exhausted, Thomas looked broken, and I was just so angry. The clinic finished by referring us to a week-long sleep clinic in Brisbane, which we did not attend. We never made contact with the clinic again. Miraculously, almost fatefully, we got an appointment with a trusted natural health practitioner, Sam Spina, that evening. Sam reassured us that Thomas’s waking patterns were normal and that we were doing the right thing and that we should always go with our instincts. He encouraged us to use the gentle parenting approach that we had always wanted to use, and it was such a relief to hear that from a third party. After seeing Sam, Thomas’s colic was, with no exaggeration, instantly cured, his crying less intense, and his sleep a little better. Sam put Thomas’s problems down to a traumatic birth. He applied cranial manipulation techniques which were highly effective and prescribed some probiotics to help his little stomach adjust. It was a major turning point for us and I firmly believe that if it were not for him then our family would be a mess. Every time we see Sam, roughly once every three months, we see even more improvements. Thomas becomes more settled, more focused, and less agitated. We are all much happier as a family, and even though Thomas is not the best sleeper in the world, we accept the fact that babies develop in their own time. Some take longer to walk and talk, some take longer to sleep. It’s just the way it is. Nothing can prepare you for how manipulative some of these sleep clinic professional can be. It is sad that these individuals are the ones who will label our babies as manipulative, trying to get our attention when there is “nothing wrong with them”. I don’t even know how a baby would be capable of being manipulative. They know what they need at the time – they might be in pain, they might be thirsty, hungry, or they might need comfort. The experts will tell you that comfort (or even pain, thirst and hunger in some cases) is not a valid reason to attend to your baby. This kind of advice goes against a parental instinct that is so ingrained that is impossible to ignore. It is part of our DNA, something that has taken thousands of generations to evolve and, if I may extend my opinion, part of the reason human beings have become so successful over time. It is this nurturing instinct that establishes lifelong bonds with our parents and complex and meaningful, empathetic relationships with others. There are no solutions to problems that don’t exist. If I could give any advice to parents, it’s this – prior to birth, ask your obstetrician (if you choose to have one) some hard questions. Ask them “why”, and do your own research independently, and then ask them “why” again. You have every right to do this. After the birth, trust your instincts, listen to your baby, and above all else, ignore advice that you are not completely comfortable with. By the time our baby was seven months old, Emma and I had freed ourselves from the constraints of mainstream infant sleep ideology, trusting first and foremost our own advice and accepting with unconditional love, the unique and wonderful nature of our child.



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Time To Get Nakey Elimination Communication It has only been in the last 50 years that Western children as old as 3 and 4 are still wearing nappies. Prior to that time, parents observed their child from birth and used what is known as ‘Elimination Communication’ to help their babies eliminate. Tiffany Cowling explores this wonderful, old, concept.


over the world, babies environmental and financial? Babies are frequently sit, a bowl for the car, boxes are listened to and able to communicate with and respond of tissues or face washers; wet wipes are communicated with in regards to their to us from birth about their needs for not really necessary and can contain elimination needs. In the West, babies comfort, food, sleep AND elimination. strong perfumes and ingredients. Towels are ‘taught’ to ignore their instincts and As responsive parents we understand or woolen blankets and sheepskins are to eliminate in a nappy. Environmentally the importance of these cues and the handy for baby to lie on. Leg warmers or this reliance on nappies, which can last psychological impact of ignoring them. thigh-high socks for warm nappy-free beyond the age of 3 years, is having a EC is easy, if we remember that the aim time. Lastly, some cloth or biodegradable huge impact as the third largest single is to listen and respond, not to be perfect nappies for the in-between times or for consumer item in landfills. It is estimated or controlling. taking breaks. Have a spare pair of pants that nappies take somewhere between in your bag incase of accidents. It’s ok to 250 and 500 years to breakdown. WHY EC? have your baby in a nappy and to remove EC is about two-way communication, it when you or baby cue and then pop it Financially, families with one child can spend in excess of $5000 on nappies, listening, responding and awareness of back on. barrier and nappy rash creams, wet where your baby is at. In other parts of wipes and scented disposable bags. the world, the benefits are an unspoken HOW TO START These two factors are incentive enough matter of fact way of life. EC fosters good Decide on full time or part time for many who embark on Elimination hygiene, body and genital awareness, commitment level. Talk to family and Communication (EC). But there caregivers. Explain what you ‘EC is about two-way communication, are planning and be prepared is much more to the story. Let us delineate what EC is listening, responding and awareness of for a barrage of negativity where your baby is at.’ not. It is not control, persuasion and skepticism. These responses or bribing. It is not even about catching comfort and a sense of empowerment are natural given our cultural approach every wee. It is not results based. It is in babies. It is fun, easy, practical and and understanding of toilet training. Be not Potty Training nor is it a nappy free natural. It can decrease tantrums, rashes, patient and confident and ask that your destination. It is not about timing, praise smells, messes, UTI’s in little girls, wishes be respected. Remember there or reprimands. It is not harsh or judging, constipation and fear of defecation. It will be ups and downs. The purpose of bonds parent and child together in a EC is communication – the financial successful or failing. harmonious, empowered relationship and environmental gains are a bonus – It is a journey. Fostering communication, awareness of joy, freedom and confidence. It will understanding when your baby needs a and bonds beyond what we are told develop compassion and responsiveness break and occasionally reverting back possible by the media and mainstream in both of you. to nappies is not a failing, indeed it is healthcare professionals, it is truly a a win. It signals that you have heard, heart opening and joyous experience. WHAT DO YOU NEED? understood, respected and responded A great attitude and a sense of to your baby. Regressions, or ebbs, are Historically, babies were responsible for their toilet needs by the time they could humour! On a practical level, gardens, natural, and can signal development, walk. Through steady marketing and sinks and toilets are ample. To make emotional stressors, moving, illness, the need for a more convenient lifestyle, things simple and a little more luxurious, travel or a new sibling. nappies have become the standard there are some simple items to have There are four elements to ‘doing’ in the West, but at what cost besides handy. Bowls or potties where you EC. These elements are Baby Cues, Our

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Cues, Timing and Intuition and they are all used and interchanged everyday. EC is not EC without all four of them.

Baby Cues

Newborns grunt, squirm, wriggle, stare or make a face to communicate they need to eliminate. Spending time observing your naked baby will give good insight into what your baby does. This is the start of the communication. Almost always, babies up to 6 months old who are carried in slings will signal clearly in the car and when carried. As babies get older their cues will change. They may point to the potty, crawl to or play with it, crawl outside, call out, grab or point to their genitals. If you use baby sign language they may start to accentuate it. In all these ways your baby is communicating with you! Choose a cue word or sound. “Wee wee”, “shi shi” or “psssss” are common examples. When you notice baby eliminating, make this sound, even if you can’t respond physically at the time. After a while, you baby will associate that sound wth elminating. When you cue baby, hold them and make your cue sound. Your baby will push and if he needs to go, will go. Newborns can be held in a reclining position or held with back against your stomach, hands under thighs (see pictures on next page). These natural positions promote easy elimination. When baby can sit you can teach them to squat or sit on a potty. Remember that in times of stress or illness they may like to be held again, or take a break. It’s also important not to praise or reward too much, and especially not to be disapproving if baby doesn’t go. Our cues change as our baby gets older and more verbal, but no matter what age, your baby should receive love regardless of the result. The communication continues – it is now two way.


There are some key times when nature takes the lead. Babies will naturally wait to wee until they are naked. They prefer not to eliminate in a seat or a baby carrier or where there is any pressure against their genitals. Babies are less likely to wee when sleeping. Babies often wee while or soon after nursing. Before a car ride, after a car ride, before a walk,

Photo: {Nurtured] by Jen

Our Cues

after you take him out of the sling and upon waking are key times to EC and build confidence.


Intuition plays a major role in knowing when to cue your baby. That little voice that asks, “I wonder if he needs to go?” is often right. Women have been known to call out from across the house, “toilet!” to husbands who have been shocked when upon asking, their babies eliminate. Siblings are very attuned to baby’s needs and can often be reliable guides. Communication is now complete; baby to us, us to baby and us to ourselves.

to do is RESPECT her “no”. Always. And ask, “what is my baby trying to tell me?” She may be embarrassed if you are commenting negatively about smell or messes. You may be obsessing or hovering. If you have become results focused, your baby may decide to wait until you relax again. Remember there will be misses, as there are with Toilet Training. Our babies are very linked with us and can sense our moods and feelings.


There will be times when your baby appears to be uncooperative. She may go on the floor just after you’ve asked her. She may refuse to be held, arch and pull away. She may appear to have ‘forgotten’ everything. The most important thing www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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old Oliver, 4 days

Rosie, 6 wee ks old

ths old Alexis, 5 mon

Kingston, 6 months


ths old Laylah, 8 mon

Evie, 8 month s old

Amy Mann has EC’ed 3 of her children, starting in 2006. Here is her journey...

Joshua, 2 months old

Grace, 3 months old

Grace, 6 months old

Grace,7 months old

Grace, 9 months old

They can sense disappointment, disapproval or conditional love and this may cause them to stop communicating. Have a break if either of you need to, and regroup in a couple of days. Talk to your baby – tell them it’s ok for them to have a break if they are going through something troubling or challenging. Your baby might be telling you that they are ready for a new position, or that they don’t want to be asked anymore, that they want to be held again or that they want to take charge. Toddlers may especially exercise control over this as they get older and learn to assert themselves and take charge of certain aspects of their day, which they can influence, such as dressing and when and where to wee. They may be unwell, teething, distracted, busy, concentrating, emotional. Being aware of this and adjusting your approach is all part of the communication and the trust you have fostered. Laughter and an “it’s just poo” attitude will get you a long way! Our babies are our gurus and listening to them on the EC journey will teach us so much. It will challenge you and push you to let go and ease into parenting. It will open your heart and mind and inspire people around you. It will surprise you and excite you. It will get messy at times, and it will be a whole lot cleaner at times. Within weeks you will have a baby who will not poo in her nappy. But more importantly, within days you will have a deeper bond and connection with your baby. You will laugh, you will sigh, you will have fun. You will communicate and play. You will never look back. Tiffany Cowling has a 2 year old daughter and they have been ECing since birth. Tiffany runs group EC workshops in Adelaide or is available for a one on one consultation via Skype. She can be contacted via www.gypsyfreelance.com

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~ ALWAYS ~ Babywearing Recommendations Melanie Wright, founder of Kanga Collective, Australia’s largest babywearing community, provides a list of things you should ALWAYS do when babywearing


Always wear your baby high enough to kiss the top of their head in a front carry, in a back carry, high enough to touch their forehead with the nape/occipital bone on your head if you look upward.


Learn with your baby! Baby Wearing is a wonderful bond and when you take it slowly and choose a good time of day to try new carries, like after baby has rested or eaten, you will be assured success! Use a mirror, practice over soft surfaces, ask a friend to ‘spot’ you.


Wear your sling or baby carrier tightly. There should be no loose fabric over babies back, buckles should be tightened, baby should be held firmly to your torso. This ensures that not only will baby stay where you want them to in the carry, and not slump down, but that you will be more comfortable.


Airways should be clear. You should not hear any grunting. Babies head should not be resting on his chest. There needs to be at least a fingers width between babies chin and chest.


of course Baby Wearing is a BIG YES!!

Photos: Depositphotos


Squat Straddle – your babies legs should be in the ‘M’ position (aka Squat Straddle), with his spread knees above his bottom. The carrier should travel from the hollow of the knee all the way to the opposite knee. This is called ‘Optimal Positioning’ and must be adhered to for babies best development.


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Burping, Wind & Colic Did you know that burping appears to be a Western cultural practice? That mothers in other cultures do not spend time ‘burping’ their babies to expell ‘wind’? Robyn Noble, Lactation Consultant, discusses some of the common misconceptions around burping, wind and colic.


if all the folklore about burping, wind and colic were true, every baby on the planet would be air-borne!


Burping appears to be an entirely Western cultural tradition. After feeding, the baby is held upright and patted/pounded on the back until s/ he emits at least one obvious belch of air swallowed during the feed. Popular belief is that if this is not done, the swallowed air builds up to cause colic, also called ‘wind pain’. Many are the hours that have been wasted by anxious parents whose burping efforts have not achieved this magical expulsion. Happy are the parents who can boast of a baby who is ‘a good burper’!

is blowing. Western parents worry over babies who do not expel wind orally or who part with large amounts of it orally or anally. Clinically, it can be observed that oral and anal ‘wind’ expulsions mean two entirely different things. There is evidence to support these statements.1 Although sometimes indicating that s/he is not having the ideal feeding experience, the air ‘burped up’ by a baby is in itself relatively inconsequential. To swallow large amounts of air during feeding, a baby has to have a fairly noisy feeding technique. These babies, whether breast or bottle-fed, often swallow audibly while feeding. (Figure 1 sets out the reasons for this.) Babies, like adults, will simply burp up excess air when in a position that allows it. This is usually an upright position, but can be


Common beliefs are that swallowed air, also known as ‘wind’: • passes into the baby’s intestines from the stomach • causes infant colic • needs to be entirely ‘burped’ out of the baby after feeds to prevent colic Although there is actually no evidence to support such beliefs, it has not prevented the marketing of ‘wind mixtures’ and ‘anti-colic’ teats and bottles to reinforce the folklore.


‘Wind’ consumes a great deal of parental attention. When parents comment that they have a ‘windy baby’, it is helpful to ask which end of the baby

any position, including lying down or at the breast. The main reason that we burp babies in Western countries is that we expect to put them down after feeding. If the baby does not burp in an upright position, milk is more likely to be vomited back along with the swallowed air. Having gone to some trouble to get milk into the baby, parents don’t regard pools of regurgitated milk on themselves and the floor as a positive experience! Burping an upright baby as dictated by Western custom (in theory) helps parents avoid excessive milky possets (small vomits) by allowing air bubbles to rise above the milk before the baby burps. In most traditional cultures, babies are carried upright all day in slings or on someone’s hip, which automatically

Figure 1 - Reasons for Audible Swallowing DURING BREASTFEEDS


• poor attachment (feeding with the nipple too far forward in the baby’s mouth) • feeding with baby’s head tilted forward • (See Figure 1a for optimal attachment)

• poor teat design (usually too short) • feeding with baby’s head tilted forward • feeding with a long teat held too far forward in baby’s mouth

• poor co-ordination of suckswallow-breathe rhythm • baby has difficulty forming

• poor co-ordination of suckswallow-breathe rhythm • baby has difficulty forming

• oral thrush • a high arch in the hard palate • congenital oral conditions

• oral thrush • a high arch in the hard palate • congenital oral conditions

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Figure 1a - Optimal Attachment Contrasting with the poorly attached baby (top), the optimally attached baby (bottom) is more likely to have a quiet feed, therefore swallowing less air than poorly attached babies may do. The features of optimal attachment include: • Nipple directed deeply into baby’s mouth on attachment • (Nipple does not need to be pointed at baby’s nose!) • Baby’s chin pressed into the breast all through the feed • Baby’s head falls away from the breast – nothing pushing against the back of the head • Lower lip not visible • All the above automatically achieves asymmetric attachment, with more breast in baby’s mouth below the nipple than above. (More of the mother’s areola is visible above the baby’s top lip than below it.)2

‘burps’ babies without the effort believed to be so important in our culture. Emphasising burping is an unhelpful distraction for parents of babies who vomit beyond the first few weeks of life, because ongoing infant vomiting is more likely to be linked with food allergy and food intolerance. Many of these babies can also be described as ‘colicky’.3


Bottlefed babies generally swallow more air during feeds because even the best teat design currently available does not permit the baby to feed in a completely natural manner. Despite manufacturers’ claims, ‘New Age’ teat designs do not allow normal tongue actions or optimal co-ordination of breathing with sucking and swallowing.4 Unfortunately, general paranoia about swallowed air can lead to further

unpleasant feeding experiences for bottle fed babies near the end of feeds if bottles are held at increasingly impossible angles to try to keep the teat filled with milk. If the end of the teat is pressed down into the baby’s tongue, the result is feeding discomfort and a tendency to choke, cough and gag. The person feeding the baby with a bottle should not impose anything unpleasant on the baby, being aware of the baby’s comfort. Feeding should always be a pleasant experience that respects the baby’s personal autonomy as a human being.5


'Colic' is not a very helpful term because it means different things to different people. To some, colic is simply unexplained crying, especially if it seems related to infant pain. I

define colic as being due to an excess of fermented gases in the baby’s intestinal tract, causing pain, unsettled behaviour, disturbed sleep and episodes of crying/ screaming.6 A colicky baby is quite flatulent, tending towards frequent explosive, watery bowel motions. These can vary in colour between green, brown, grey, orange and yellow. Some label this set of symptoms 'lactose intolerance', but this condition does not truly exist in children under 5 years of age. It is more helpful to look for the cause of the symptoms so they can be dealt with - the colic then disappears.7 Obviously quite different to air composition (mostly nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen), the fermented gases causing such unpleasant symptoms are carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane. Under suitable conditions, large amounts of these gases are fermented by intestinal microbes from the lactose in a baby’s milk feeds. Although often labelled as 'lactose intolerance', it is a distracting focus on lactose as the culprit - a misinterpretation of its role in this scenario. Lactose is at the end of this particular story, not the start.


Lactase is an enzyme made by the cells of the brush border of the small intestine. Without lactase, we cannot digest lactose, a disaccharide sugar composed of the simple sugars glucose and galactose. Under the action of lactase, the chemical bond joining these two simple sugars is split, allowing glucose and galactose to be absorbed into the body. Without sufficient lactase, the excess lactose is fermented by gastrointestinal bacteria, producing gas and acid. A diagnosis of lactose intolerance can reasonably be made only when a genetic or congenital manifestation of lactase insufficiency occurs. This

The baby on the far left has major feeding problems and cannot feed normally from a barrel teat – this is as far as he can tolerate the teat in his mouth. By contrast, the other baby is coping very well with the same style of long barrel teat, with his lower lip touching the flange that screws the teat onto the bottle.


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happens extremely rarely in babies as congenital primary lactose intolerance. These babies have no capacity to make their own lactase. Others who are born with congenital bowel conditions may have varying degrees of lactase sufficiency. Premature babies may also have limited lactase sufficiency until they are more mature. The common form of true lactose intolerance develops in varying degrees of severity from the age of 5 onwards in about 70% of the world’s human gene pool. Therefore those of us who retain a full capacity to make lactase as adults can regard ourselves as genetic oddities! Other temporary forms of lactose intolerance can happen at any time in life as a result of damage to the lining of the small intestine. Bowel infections and food allergies cause this type of damage.8 Some breastfed babies develop symptoms purely as a result of feeds containing too little fat. It leads to milk passing too quickly from the stomach into the small intestine, which simply cannot make lactase fast enough to cope and may happen if: • mothers do not have enough fats/oils in their diets (dieting, missing meals, eating poorly) and/or • breastfeeds end before the baby has finished the feed (because of nipple damage, breast pain, babies who are ineffective breastfeeders, timed feeding regimes).9 Although lactose is important to babies for a number of reasons (see Figure 2), its primary importance is its role in infant brain development. Levels of lactose in the various mammal milks generally correlate to the size of the brains those mammals are genetically programmed to grow. Human milk has the highest lactose levels of all mammal milks. The galactose component of lactose is directly incorporated into the cells of the brain and the rest of the central nervous system as galactolipids. Whether breast or artificially fed, babies are not supplied with galactose other than through lactose digestion. It immediately raises the issue of potentially serious risks to babies who are fed soy milks in their early years, summarised in Figure 2.10


Holding a baby upright after feeds may help reduce vomiting and infant discomfort. Parents soon work out if it is so or not. Babies are unique individuals. It is certainly time for a clearer understanding of 'wind' issues, so parents and the rest of the Western community are freed from unnecessary burdens of preoccupation and anxiety about it. If there is a problem with excess intestinal gas production, the good news is that it can be resolved once the cause is identified and dealt with. Figure 2 - Lactose and Soy Formula

Why do human babies need lactose? • to supply 40% of energy needs • to facilitate calcium absorption • to facilitate iron absorption • to reduce the risks of GIT infection • for healthy growth and development of the brain

Particular deficiencies of soy infant formula • no lactose • soy is just as potentially allergenic as cow milk • high aluminium content • high phytoestrogen levels • safety is unsubstantiated by research

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Robyn Noble has been in the breastfeeding world for over 35 years, 21 of them as a lactation consultant. She set up Australia’s first private breastfeeding clinic, Bayside Breastfeeding Clinic, 18 years ago.


1. DM Paige & TM Bayless (1981) Lactose Digestion: clinical and nutritional implications, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA 51-57 MW Woolridge & C Fisher (1988) Colic, “overfeeding” and symptoms of lactose malabsorption in the breast-fed baby: a possible artifact of feed management. Lancet 2:382 J Gryboski & WA Walker (1983) Gastrointestinal Problems in the Infant WB Saunders Company, Philadelphia, USA 593-596 J Burgess & D Newbold (1993) Food Intolerance in Breastfed Babies. Nursing Mothers’ Association of Australia, Topics in Breastfeeding paper, Lactation Resource Centre, Melbourne, Australia PA Hatherly (1994) The Manipulation of Maternal Diet and Its Effect on the Infant with Particular Reference to Gastrointestinal Disturbance, A Series of Case Studies J Aust College Nutr Environ Med 13:2 1-4 R Noble & A Bovey (1997) Resolution of lactose intolerance and colic in breastfed babies., ALCA Victoria Conference presentation paper 2. Woolridge MW (1986a) The “Anatomy” of Infant Sucking, Midwifery 2:164-171 Woolridge MW (1986b) Aetiology of Sore Nipples, Midwifery 2:173-176 Weber F,Woolridge MW, Baum JD.(1986) An Ultrasonographic Study of the Organisation of Sucking and Swallowing by Newborn Infants. Dev Med Child Neurol 28:19 Noble R, Bovey A (2004) Making the most of attachment. Booklet, Bayside Breastfeeding Clinic, Brisbane, Qld, Australia 3. Colsen S, Meek J, Hawden JM (2008) Optimal positions for the release of primitive neonatal reflexes stimulating breastfeeding. Early Hum Dev 84(7):441-449 Burgess J, Newbold D (1993) Food Intolerance in Breastfed Babies. Nursing Mothers’ Association of Australia, Topics in Breastfeeding paper, Lactation Resource Centre, Melbourne, Australia PA Hatherly (1994) The Manipulation of Maternal Diet and Its Effect on the Infant with Particular Reference to Gastrointestinal Disturbance, A Series of Case Studies J Aust College Nutr Environ Med 13:2 1-4 R Noble & A Bovey (1997) Resolution of lactose intolerance and colic in breastfed babies, ALCA Victoria Conference presentation paper Hill DJ, Hudson IL, Sheffield LJ et al (1995) A low allergen diet is a significant intervention in infantile colic: results of a community-based study. J Allergy Clin Immunol 96(6P+1):886892 Chapman DJ (2006) Does maternal diet contribute to colic among breastfed infants? JHL 22(2):236-237 Hill DJ, Roy N, Heinerg et al (2005) Effect of a low-allergen maternal diet on colic among breastfed infants: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatr 116:e709-e715 4. R Noble & A Bovey (1997) Therapeutic teat use for babies who breastfeed poorly, Breastfeeding Rev NMAA 5(2) 37-42 Brown R (2007) Can bottle feeding really mimic breastfeeding? J Hum Lact 23(1):118-119

EC Goldfield, MJ Richardson, KG Lee & S Margetts (2006) Co-ordination of sucking, swallowing and breathing and oxygen saturation during early infant breastfeeding and bottle feeding, Pediatr Res 59:1-7 5. Bovey A, Noble R & M Noble (1999) Orofacial exercises for breastfed babies? Breastfeeding Rev NMAA 7(1):23-28 6. R Noble & A Bovey (1997) Resolution of lactose intolerance and colic in breastfed babies, ALCA Victoria Conference 1presentation paper 7. R Noble & A Bovey (1997) Resolution of lactose intolerance and colic in breastfed babies, ALCA Victoria Conference 1presentation paper PA Hatherly (1994 ) The Manipulation of Maternal Diet and Its Effect on the Infant with Particular Reference to Gastrointestinal Disturbance, A Series of Case Studies J Aust College Nutr Environ Med 13:2 1-4 DJ Hill, IL Hudson, LJ Sheffield et al (1995) A low allergen diet is a significant intervention in infantile colic: results of a community-based study, J Allergy Clin Immunol 96(6P+1):886-892 DJ Hill, N Roy, Heinerg et al (2005) Effect of a low-allergen maternal diet on colic among breastfed infants: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatr 116:e709-e715 Chapman DJ (2006) Does maternal diet contribute to colic among breastfed infants? JHL 22(2):236-237 8. R Noble & A Bovey (1997) Resolution of lactose intolerance and colic in breastfed babies, ALCA Victoria Conference 1presentation paper 9. MW Woolridge & C Fisher (1988) Colic, “overfeeding” and symptoms of lactose malabsorption in the breastfed baby: a possible artifact of feed management, Lancet 2:382 PA Hatherly (1994) The Manipulation of Maternal Diet and Its Effect on the Infant with Particular Reference to Gastrointestinal Disturbance, A Series of Case Studies J Aust College Nutr Environ Med 13:2 1-4 R Noble & A Bovey (1997) Resolution of lactose intolerance and colic in breastfed babies, ALCA Victoria Conference 1presentation paper 10. ed. Akre J. (1989) Infant Feeding: the Physiological Basis, Bulletin of the WHO, supplement to Vol. 67

Beyond Birth with Julia Jones Do you secretly feel like listing your baby on ebay? “Going from love to hate to indifference in the space of a minute really makes you question your sanity.” It’s all part and parcel of being a new mum. The roller coaster of hormones, sleep deprivation and total loss of identity is enough to make even the most devoted and loving mother whisper under their breath “go the f* to sleep!” Many new mums feel extreme emotions towards their babies, even if we don’t always admit it. Strong emotions don’t necessarily mean that you do not love your baby, nor that you are a bad mother. Often responsive and fiercely loving parents feel exhausted and overwhelmed because their parenting style demands time and energy. If you are not replenishing your own limited resources you risk burning out. “I was worried about my emotional state from lack of sleep, lack of support, then I started looking at the baby and wished I had gave it up!” If your baby was crying you would assume they have an unmet need or an emotion to express. You would treat them kindly. Be kind to yourself too. If you are crying (or swearing or feel like throwing your baby in the bin) then be as gentle on yourself as you are on your baby. Ask yourself which of your needs is not being met or which of your emotions needs expressing. Crying is your body’s way of telling you to make big changes in your life. Find someone to hold you whilst you cry, in the same way you would lovingly hold your crying baby. These strong and stressful emotions are based on your fight or flight hormones, adrenaline, cortisol and testosterone to name a few. These are the hormones that rear their ugly heads when your body believes on a biological level that it is under threat. A typical day for many new mothers may include being up at 5am, forgetting to eat breakfast and still being in pjs at lunchtime. Biologically the body can interpret this as danger. Basic human needs like food, hygiene and sleep are not being met so stress hormones are being released. The brain interprets the circumstances you find yourself in as a mother, no matter how much you love your baby, as a threat or a danger. In my experience it’s not as simple as either being mentally healthy of living with postnatal depression. There are whole shades of grey in between, with bad days clouding your good judgement. Assuming you don’t have a mental illness there are still many basic changes you can make to improve your quality of life, and your ability to mother your baby will improve too. Start by eating, resting and having a shower to send your brain the signal that all is safe and well. You will probably need to ask for help, which may also involve letting go of control and leaving your pride behind. Help can be found in many places, including your local Nurture Village. If you ever feel like physically or verbally abusing yourself or your child seek help now. PANDA, From the Heart or your GP can all start you on the road to recovery. Julia works with pregnant women and new mums who want to avoid feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. She is an Ayurvedic postnatal doula and founder of Newborn Mothers in Perth, Western Australia

www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au |


Is My Child Weaning? It is fairly common for a woman to say “my baby woke up one day and didn’t want to breastfeed anymore”, especially around the seven or eight month mark. However, Lourdes M. Santaballa, IBCLC, CD, HC discusses the process of selfweaning and how it can commonly be mistaken for a nursing strike.


World Health baby. Some mothers favour spoon commencement of self-weaning and the O r g a n i z a t i o n feeding at 6 months (or earlier although possibility of a nursing strike confusing recommends exclusive breastfeeding this goes against the recommendations the mother into thinking that her for the first six months of life, and then of the major paediatric associations child was giving up the breast. Just as a breastfeeding with complimentary and the WHO), particularly if the reminder for me, this week I happened foods until the age of two or beyond.1 paediatrician is pressuring her because to attend two consults, one from a fellow The health benefits of exclusive of the theory of low iron in breastfed health coach, and the other from a client breastfeeding are well documented and children.3 Other mothers prefer child- who I oriented during her pregnancy, there is strong evidence that breastmilk led weaning, where the baby is offered whose babies are seven months old and provides the primary source of nutrition the foods that the rest of the family eats who are suddenly rejecting the breast in the second year of life (from 13-24 at age-appropriate intervals. Either way, more often. In both cases, the babies’ it is important to start solids when baby first teeth are erupting and they are months).2 But we don’t actually have many shows signs of physically being ready, experiencing mouth discomfort (pain). models of women who breastfeed to read baby’s body language and what In both cases, the babies have already that long. It may be becoming more s/he communicates about the food begun to experiment with solids and the commonplace than in past decades, or being offered, and to offer each food frustrated mothers have succumbed to we may see it within certain circles of item in a conscious manner to rule out solids when their babies have rejected attachment parenting mothers, but it is any food intolerances or allergies. The the breast to “make sure that they eat much more of the norm for something”. In one ‘There is technically no such thing as sudden case, the client’s father us to see women who, weaning. Although there are circumstances that was a paediatrician even if they planned can force it, for example, maternal death and forced who urged her to to comply with the separation of mother-baby, as mentioned previously, give the baby solids recommendations, weaning is a process.’ find themselves if he didn’t want the breast. struggling with breastfeeding in the first breastfeeding mother should also take weeks and quickly switch to formula, special care to make sure she offers the Can self-weaning be instant? There is technically no such thing who combine formula/breastmilk and breast before she offers food, so that eventually but swiftly weed out the she can assure that baby gets all of the as sudden weaning. Although there second, or who once complimentary necessary nutrients from the breastmilk. are circumstances that can force it, for feeding starts in a short period of time Though nutrient dense and super foods example, maternal death and forced go off breastmilk and find their baby can offer sustainable nutrition, no other separation of mother-baby, as mentioned food can compare to the nutrition and previously, weaning is a process. Solids weaned before their baby turns one. antibodies or is a living organism as is are introduced and feedings are slowly reduced. The baby begins to walk human milk. IS IT REALLY WEANING? and becomes more interested in play Weaning is actually a process. It starts than in feeds. Teeth erupt and baby with the introduction of the first morsel BABY WEANING VS. breastfeeds all night to ease the pain. of food, sometime around the second NURSING STRIKE When I was invited to write this Another growth spurt kicks in and baby half of the first year, and in the ideal world is a slow and mutually beneficial article, I was asked to mention specifically breastfeeds all day at around the year and decision between the mother and her the seven month mark as critical in the a half. If the mother-baby continues the

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Photos: Depositphotos

breastfeeding relationship beyond the age of two (and the worldwide average age of weaning is anywhere between 2.5 and 4.2) , the child can begin at a school or day-care, mother can return to work or study, the parents may separate and the child spend days and/or nights with the father, so that feeds become less and less. In my case, with a 4.8 year old and 6.5 year old who still breastfeed but only in the mornings and before bedtime, sometimes they ‘forget’ or are too busy. My longest stretch during the Christmas holidays was 36 hours, and I suspect that these will become more and more common. My case is how child-led weaning happens. When a mother wants to lead the weaning, she is recommended to drop one feed every 4 to 7 days so that her body adjusts and she doesn’t develop mastitis, and so both she and the baby can adjust emotionally (plenty of cuddling and talking can substitute the breastfeeding). Many mothers who choose this route can give testimony that what they thought would take less than 2 months suddenly drags into 6 or 9 as the child starts waking suddenly in the night, an illness happens, or anything that makes both of them realise that they

need to take it slower. But mother-led weaning can be swift and respectful; it just can’t be instant if she doesn’t want physical or emotional repercussions.

But what if my baby doesn’t want the breast at all?

Weaning isn’t instant. A sudden rejection of the breast is called a nursing strike. For example, a woman may go to breastfeed her baby and the baby refuses to take the breast. This may happen for one feed or up to a few days. It is generally caused by some external factor that causes the baby to suddenly reject normal feeding. Seven months is common because of the introduction of solids, developmental issues (crawling and standing—baby becomes too entertained to be tied down to breastfeeding for long periods of time), and teething (while some babies may want to breastfeed all night, other babies mouths HURT and don’t want to suck on anything); but a strike can happen at any time. Many mothers become confused and hurt to see that their baby doesn’t want the breast. They feel personally rejected. They become worried because they

want their babies to eat and they want their babies to be comforted. If the baby takes milk from a bottle, she may start expressing and bottle feeding, which is twice the work, and creates a vicious cycle of not wanting the breast since the bottle is ‘easier’. If the baby doesn’t bottle feed, the mother could offer food to make sure that her baby “eats something” and skip a breastfeeding session. Food then also becomes a viable alternative and the breast is less appealing. The mother can accept the strike as weaning (“One day she just didn’t want the breast anymore.”) or decide that she is going to work through the strike and coax baby back to the breast. She needs to use information, support, patience, and love for her child. If a nursing strike happens, the important thing is to identify the cause. For example, a cold which makes it difficult to breathe and suck at the same time, a preference for bottle over breast for working mother,s or the seven month markers. However, you can reverse the cause so that breastfeeding is not a burden to the baby. Un-clog the nose with breastmilk and saline. Learn how to pace feed with a bottle or go back to basics with cup feeding. Offer the breast


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frequently when playing. Breastfeed before giving solids and not after. Use homeopathic remedies like belladonna, camila and Baltic amber necklaces and rub frozen breastmilk over the gums to alleviate teething discomfort. And then go back to basics. Enamour your child and try skin to skin again like you did when they were newborn. Get in the bath, read a book, sit in a quiet room to feed so that distractions are minimised. Breastmilk provides essential nutrients, but it is also a warm and tender relationship between mother and baby that both of you know how to cultivate and enjoy. Don’t give up! Wean at a respectful pace and don’t confuse a strike with weaning. You can make it to the two year mark and beyond with a good support network and by arming yourself with information and determination. Lourdes Santaballa is a tandem nursing mother of two children, a La Leche League Leader, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula, and Health Coach. She lives in Puerto Rico where she is in private practice doing what she loves.

References 1. http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/ 2. Dewey, 2001. 3. Breastmilk is deliberately low in iron to prevent the introduction of foreign bacteria into the gastrointestinal tract. The iron in breastmilk is highly bioavailable, meaning that even though it is “low”, it is quite well absorbed by the human body. It has been documented that human iron stores begin to drop at around 6 months and there exist recommendations by some health professionals to supplement with iron drops at around 4 months or to begin food introduction with meats and other foods high in iron at 6 months. Although it was previously recommended to begin with iron fortified baby cereals, we now know that human amylase (the enzyme that helps digest carbohydrates) is not well developed until after 9 months and that grains are best introduced in their unprocessed form after the age of 1. Food should never be introduced in a bottle. The major breastfeeding associations do not support iron supplementation in healthy term breastfed infants. 4. Babies are ready for food introduction when they meet all or most of the following characteristics: • Are at least 6 months old • Can sit without assistance • When laid tummy down on the floor or an adult’s chest can lift themselves up in a “push up” • Have grown out of the tongue ejection reflex, or don’t force objects out of the mouth with the tongue. • Show interest in food • Can lift objects to their mouths with their hands.In some cases the eruption of teeth can be a helpful sign of readiness but not essential for food introduction. 5. Conflicting sources. It is difficult to determine a worldwide age of weaning when nursing habits differ greatly from traditional cultures to more industrialized nations.

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Returning Home: Why Birth Has Come Full Circle In Part II, Kristin Beckedahl, explores the political debate that surrounds the fundamental human rights issue of where, and with whom a woman, chooses to birth her baby


In Part I of this two-part article 1. INDEMNITY INSURANCE currently s h r o u d e d (in the Summer edition), I shared my Lets back track three months to June by uncertainty - due to national personal homebirth story from 7th 2009. The Rudd government introduced legislation, ongoing reforms and February 2009. Later that year, on national laws requiring midwives to hold changing frameworks - homebirth 7th September, whilst breastfeeding professional indemnity insurance as a within Australia is alive and well. In in the same lounge room in which I condition of practice as members of the a handful of capital cities around the had homebirthed my daughter seven National Midwifery Register. In other country, pregnant women who are months prior, I watched emotive media words, all midwives in private practice categorised as ‘low-risk’ have access reports on the television. More than must hold registration - and indemnity to limited places on publicly funded 2,000 homebirth supporters from all insurance - to be legal practitioners. community homebirth programs. over Australia had braved the drenching It sounded like a safe, reasonable The midwives who work within these rains in Canberra to congregate on requirement. The problem was that in programs are often employed by their the lawns of Parliament House at what 2001 with the collapse of insurance giant State’s Health Department. Also within had been termed the ‘Mother of All HIH - the only insurance product for the community (and the focus of Rallies’. This rally was a vocal response midwives for homebirth was withdrawn. this article), are midwives in private to the Commonwealth Government’s This occurred not because there had been practice. These midwives are engaged by Maternity Services Review (MSR) claims, but because the global insurance families, at their own cost, to provide the Report and the Health Minister’s market had seemingly deemed it not invaluable continuity of care worth the risk. Why insure across the pregnancy, birthing ‘by preserving and supporting a woman’s a small, fragmented group agency, and her right to choose where and postnatal periods. of midwives who provided However, by preserving and with whom she births her baby whilst primary maternity care and supporting a woman’s ensuring the safest practices to do so, these for less than 0.5 per cent agency, and her right to midwives concurrently become personally of Australia’s mothers and choose where and with vulnerable to litigation and ultimately, the babies, when one claim loss of their livelihoods. ’ whom she births her baby could cost the insurer far more whilst ensuring the safest practices to do than the total revenue generated by the so, these midwives concurrently become announcement that medical indemnity product? Essentially, the risk-benefit personally vulnerable to litigation and insurance would not apply to homebirths equation was not in the insurer’s favour. - effectively making them illegal under So since that time, private midwives ultimately, the loss of their livelihoods. This article will explore four new national registration laws, which have been practising without insurance. contentious issues that are placing took affect 1 July 2010. This change in In November 2010, through homebirth in jeopardy. These include the law was seen as a huge injustice to government reforms there was a small the scrapping of indemnity insurance both private practising midwives and breakthrough with insurance for for midwives attending homebirths, the consumers. It also resulted in midwives midwives in private practice. Although federal government’s lack of support being treated unfairly as they became soon after, two serious flaws were for midwives’ autonomy, enforced the only health professionals denied called to be corrected in the Midwife collaboration frameworks between indemnity insurance, despite a $500m Professional Indemnity (Commonwealth midwives and doctors and the increasing support package provided for medical Contribution) Scheme Act 2010. practitioners since 2001. rise in freebirth . Insurance became available but it was for

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Photo: {Nurtured] by Jen

Brogan Harrison’s Homebirth

prenatal and postnatal care, or birth in hospital with that private midwife, but it did not cover the labour or birth occurring at home. Under the government’s policy and Medical Insurance Group Australia (MIGA), midwives needed to be assisting in more than 30 births per year, and also needed to have at least three years professional post-graduation experience before they were eligible to access the insurance scheme. The birth quota might be realistic in metropolitan Australia for a midwife to give assistance in more than 30 births a year, but in regional Australia many midwives are fully employed in doing a range of pre and postnatal support, but do not assist in more than 30 births a year. Therefore, under this MIGA scheme they are not insurable because they do not reach the eligibility quota of 30 births a year. Fast forward to the end of the two-year exemption period on June 30, 2012, and the deadline for the exemption was again extended, to June 30, 2013. In other words, the problem remains the same; if midwives require insurance to stay registered (and able to practice legally), and no insurance company steps forward with relevant policies, then where does that leave these midwives and the families that choose to employ them? The bottom line is that homebirth is not going away, and women will continue to autonomously choose homebirth and it must be funded and indemnified like all medical births are.

lack of interest from insurance companies, the then Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced a two-year exemption from holding indemnity insurance for midwives in private practice who cannot obtain cover for attending homebirths. Although welcomed by midwives and consumers, the exemption was a viewed as a reprieve only. A lasting solution was avoided and is still outstanding. In the 2009/10 budget package: ‘Providing More Choice in Maternity Care - Access to Medicare and PBS for Midwives’, the Federal Government again ignored or side-stepped homebirth - the main practice area of private midwives, and the main choice that women called for in the submissions to the review. Preference was given to the development of collaborative models under obstetric control which often exclude midwiferyled primary maternity care options.


As a result of these new national laws up to 200 midwives in private practice faced de-registration from July 2010, and if they continued to work they risked fines of up to $30,000 and the loss of their livelihood. However, following a distinct www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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Photos: Lauren Caporn Photography

Paula Flinn’s Homebirth

Photo: Holly Priddis Photography

Emma Beddall’s Homebirth

In May 2010, Australian Greens Senator, Lee Rhiannon, drew attention to serious obstructions to maternity reform when announcing the passage in the Senate of a motion calling for immediate action on the obstacles facing midwives in private practice. “Roadblocks frustrating women’s right to choose a range of birthing arrangements need clearing ... It is time governments across Australia joined together to enable midwives to properly do their work” Rhiannon said.


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Although the government also opened up the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to midwives (which allows women to claim rebates for particular care) only a small proportion have become Medicare providers. To qualify for these rebates, midwives must enter into collaborative agreements (as per Determination 2010) with doctors, but doctors as a general rule do not support the initiative. Thus, even though the reform package intended to provide ‘more choice in maternity care’, it actually enables doctors to veto midwives’ ability to provide Medicare rebate to a woman in her care. As there is no requirement or onus on doctors to sign a collaborative arrangement, women have in many instances experienced doctors refusing to collaborate with midwives as the MBS intended. Some midwives virtually lobbied every obstetrician in their State to sign a collaborative arrangement - but to no avail. Hannah Dahlen, Associate Professor of Midwifery at the University of Western Sydney acknowledged the small progress but continues to push for reform as the past president and current national media spokeswoman for the Australian College of Midwives. “Yes, there have been some successful collaborative arrangements with obstetricians, which we must celebrate and continue to embrace when they are achievable, but on the whole with less than 150 midwives taking up

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Eligibility in two years and less than 100 of these claiming Medicare and a tiny number of these claims being for birth care, we have demonstrated the arrangements, as we strongly argued in 2010, won’t work.” Joy Johnston, a midwife in private practice in Victoria and Acting-President of the Australian Private Midwives Association (APMA) says “Obstruction to midwives being able to properly do our work include medical dominance, and insurance. A culture of medical dominance in maternity care today is so deeply ingrained that few are aware of it. For example, until as recently as 1995, Victorian Midwives Regulations required supervision of midwives by doctors. A midwife was required to have a doctor’s permission to carry out a vaginal examination of a woman.” In July 2012 midwives were given the opportunity to get approval as PBS prescribers with the commencement of the first accredited course in administering scheduled medicines; the Graduate Certificate in Midwifery at Flinders University in Adelaide. “The milestone is long overdue as midwives in private practice have been wanting prescribing rights since the 90’s, if not before” says Jen Byrne, the acting co-ordinator for midwifery programs at Flinders. For some it felt like another bureaucratic hoop to jump through as many have been practising competently for years. It will show that midwives are autonomous practitioners who can look after women in their own right, and women won’t need to double dip by visiting GPs for various scripts and tests. This way the midwife decides on the basis of her knowledge and scope of practice what medications to prescribe, store and administer” says Byrne. Most of those enrolled are eligible midwives who will study part-time, juggling their private practices and other commitments over two semesters of online study and portfolio submission. Dahlen insists that doctors and

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governments simply do not understand that women will continue to birth at home regardless of whether health authorities sanction it or not. “Every time women start marching for homebirth the government says, ‘Let’s give them birth centres’, but they don’t expand their birth centres or even build them in some states so very few women can use them and some women just don’t want to birth in a birth centre” says Dahlen. “We absolutely need more birth centres but they are not the whole answer and they will not take away the issue of homebirth. Women will continue to do what they want exercising their right to chose - and if there’s not a professional around, they will do it anyway.”


Photos: Jae Photography

Amelia’s daughter (3) and mum at the birth

Amelia and Dad in the pool

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Homebirth advocates are seriously concerned that these new laws may drive homebirth ‘underground.’ With such limited access to homebirth services, the result may be women birthing without a qualified maternity professional; also known as freebirth. Women will continue to choose homebirth regardless of the legal or regulatory framework surrounding midwifery practice, and other women will heed their call for support if the maternity care system fails to support them to give birth at home. Midwives Australia spokeswoman, Liz Wilkes, says that as a result of the legislation, midwives qualified for homebirth are also withdrawing their registration and acting as ‘birth attendants’, delivering babies outside of the health system, ungoverned by safety regulations or standards of care. “As an organisation, we think this is extremely problematic. There are no standards, there is no quality or safety, there’s nothing. If it gets to the point where there are no registered people providing care in a particular area, women are then forced into a situation where if they want to birth at home, the only option is an unregulated care provider.” Wilkes says she knows of 10 midwives who have withdrawn their registration to work as a birth attendant in the past year. “This is just the tip of the iceberg” she says. Midwives are either ceasing to practice - making it difficult for women to access this service - or are practising without insurance. However, if anything goes wrong, there is no recourse for negligence and the midwife may face financial ruin. Homebirth Australia spokesperson Michelle Meares says “Overly restrictive legislation has meant that the number of private midwives attending birth in Australia has dropped from 200 midwives in 2009 to only 90 midwives in 2011. Some women are having to birth at home unattended, some are being forced into hospital births they do not want. Regional and rural areas have also been significantly impacted.” The other concern within the development of insurance models is it will only be available to those midwives who perform normal, low risk birth at home and no vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC), twins, breech or any other obstetric complications. This opens up the concern that some women will be abandoned by the health system. “What we are most concerned about it that women are going to be left without care providers. So women that choose to homebirth and that may have risk factors e.g. have had a previous Caesarean, are overweight or over a certain age, we’re concerned that those women will no longer be allowed to use a registered midwife if they chose to birth at home, and may instead choose to freebirth” says Meares.


In August 2012 the Australian Health Ministers met for a meeting of The Standing Council on Health (SCoH). The Ministers agreed to yet another extension of the professional indemnity insurance exemption for privately practising midwives until June 30, 2015. This will mean that privately practising midwives will continue to be covered by the national registration and accreditation arrangements. This enables midwives providing homebirth services to have assurance that they will not be forced to abandon women or face prosecution for violating registration requirements. In other words, homebirth midwifery will not become an ‘illegal activity’. The Commonwealth also agreed to vary the Determination on collaborative arrangements to enable agreements between midwives and hospital and health services. This was the piece of legislation implemented in 2010 stipulating that private midwives needed to have signed agreements or referrals from doctors. “It does not solve the problems associated with the private patient status and who provides emergency medical care if required, but it opens the door for health services to try new and innovative solutions when trying to function within the boundaries of a funding system that it essentially designed for doctors and hence a very bad fit for midwives” said Dahlen. At The Childbirth and The Law Forum held in Sydney in October 2012, keynote speakers, panellists of women, doctors, midwives, lawyers and ethicists discussed the role regulation has in protecting the woman, unborn baby and health professional. “Regulating a childbearing woman’s body has serious ramifications and undoes hard won battles our feminist forbears fought for and the unintended consequences should give us cause for sober reflection. Where do we stop once we start and who controls what is acceptable behaviour and what is not, and who has the ‘rights’ and who does not, and what is risky and what is not?” said Hannah Dahlen, Associate Professor of Midwifery.

Photo: Breanne Kerr at Beyond Birth

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™ Michelle Meares also spoke of the current situation motheringthemother

TammyaHalliday “Women make the choice to give birth outside hospital with identified risk factors due to their profound dissatisfaction with the current maternity care system, and in some cases, because of previous hospital experiences that have left them deeply traumatised. Women and midwives who care for them are increasingly having to interact with the legal system during pregnancy and childbirth and are facing marginalisation

Branne Kerr’s Homebirth www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au |


Sian Hannagan’s Homebirth

Adelaide Hills Homebirth Midwives Emma Archer 0411160380 Ros Donnellan-Fernandez 0417851883 Marijke Eastaugh 0417845612 Julie Garratt 0404370701 Karen Parnis 0449120449 Kellie Wilton 0409980745

and discrimination. Some women are even being refused medical care from other health professionals due to their choice to birth at home.” Unequivocally, the safety of Australian women and babies must come first in maternity care reforms. Ensuring the workforce of midwives in private practice across Australia can continue to function efficiently and effectively is one of the most important things that can be done to ensure the safety of homebirth in Australia. Full spectrum insurance must be found to protect women, babies and midwives. For instance, will midwives be uninsured if women develop risk factors during pregnancy or labour and choose to pursue a homebirth? Imagine a situation where a midwife is forced to walk out during a birth because it is no longer deemed ‘low-risk’ and the woman refuses to go to hospital? Such indemnity restrictions will not enhance safety. At the time of writing, the hunt is still on to find insurance for homebirth services. “All efforts must be expended now to seek an insurance product, as it is not acceptable that this choice, one supported by evidence as having significant benefits for women when undertaken in an appropriate safety and quality framework, remains uninsured” says Dahlen. Both women and midwives deserve to have the protection insurance brings. We now must find a solution that protects women’s rights to choose their place of birth and enlist the services of skilled, regulated midwives. One thing is clear, homebirth is not going away and clearly government denial will not resolve the issue. Although the number of women who chose to birth at home each year in Australia is only small (less than 1 per cent) it does not diminish the fact that birth choice is a fundamental human right and women should be entitled to choose where and with whom they share the birth of their

Want a natural birth? Have a homebirth!

www.homebirthsydney.org.au Home Birth Adv 90mm x 150mm.indd 1

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babies. The Australian College of Midwives is currently working with the Government to create a framework that provides effective insurance protection for midwives, affordable access to midwifery services for mothers and a regulatory framework that protects and respects all parties. Let’s hope such respectful, collaborative care helps resolve this issue quickly to ensure Australian women have access to safe and supported homebirths. Kristin Beckedahl is Naturopath, Nutritionist, Childbirth Educator, Doula and mother of two. Her practice BodyWise BirthWise, focuses on naturopathy support for women’s health, fertility, preconception, pregnancy and postnatal health. www.bodywisebirthwise.com.au * References: Rebecca Puddy, Hard labour, The Australian, June 23, 2012 Demand for Homebirth Increases by 30%, Homebirth Australia, Media Release, January 10, 2012 Kate Gorman and Gavin Banks (2012) Face of Birth. New insurance rules to affect homebirths, ABC News, April 27, 2012 Hannah Dahlen (unknown) A big political win for midwives, Hannah Dahlen, Nursing review, Article 24310 Joy Johnston (unknown) Homebirth in the too-hard basket, Nursing Review, Article 10707 Maternity Coalition (2002) National Maternity Action Plan, Birth Matters, Journal of the Maternity Coalition, Vol 6.3 Mardi Chapman (2012) Midwives soon to prescribe drugs, Nursing Review, 31 July 2012, Article 24184 Hannah Dahlen (2012) Pushing Home Birth Underground Raises Safety Concerns, University of Western Sydney, July 10, 2012

Photos: Rebecca Anne & Carly Maree Photography

Preparing for the BIG Question Emily Filmore looks at how parents can best prepare themselves for the Big question about life that is bound to be asked by your child It used to be so easy to define one’s spiritual beliefs. You could easily identify them by affiliation: “I am Catholic (Lutheran, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, etc.).” Further, once you ascribed to a religious doctrine, your way of life was set out for you based on the spiritual practices, traditions, understanding of the afterlife, and notions of life purpose, as well as your ideas about the type of relationship humans share with your religion’s deity. These beliefs were then passed down to children. Through the work of forward thinkers like Neale Donald Walsch, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle and others, New Age Spirituality has entered the collective consciousness of the world. As a result, increasing numbers of people are questioning their previous understanding of religion as static, unmoving, unchangeable and absolute; instead embracing an idea that spirituality can evolve just as we, as a species, do. Initially this shift in consciousness can seem confusing and even haphazard because people who have been accustomed to rules, scripture and regulations to guide their actions now have the opportunity to truly Be Themselves and Choose Their Own Paths. How then, can parents, who may have chosen to reject their own prior ideas about religion, explore their own spirituality so that they can assist as their children have their own spiritual questions arise? Is it even necessary? In my work for Neale Donald Walsch’s School of the New Spirituality, based on the Conversations with God series of books, we help parents present spiritual messages to children in age appropriate ways. Through that work and my personal experiences I have found that children will ask questions about Life and whence we come, no matter their religious or spiritual (or lack thereof) background. So while I don’t think there is anything you are compelled to do, nor are there any right or wrong answers in parenting, only what feels appropriate and beneficial to you at the time, in your situation; you may wish to prepare yourself with a solid understanding of how you feel about spirituality before your child asks you the Big Questions.

But how do you prepare yourself?

Reading books is always a good place to start to explore new ideas, if you haven’t yet begun your spiritual journey; even if that feels like a luxury of time which parenting has temporarily made unavailable to you, small bits can go a long way when paired with introspection! Conversations with trusted friends can be great avenues for exploring your inner truths. Merely taking a moment in the morning to set an intention to get in

touch with your inner self, your connection to others, how you feel about the notions of God, the Universe, Life, the All, the Collective (or whatever you wish to call it) can help you to find answers throughout your day. And of course, establishing a daily practice of meditation can assist you in finding both inner peace and inner purpose. From a Conversations with God perspective (which doesn’t have to be your own, I only mention it for a point of reference), spirituality isn’t really something that you adopt, it is just something that you Are. We are spiritual beings who have chosen to have a human experience so spirituality is really just about the processing of remembering Who We Really Are – an indivisible aspect of God. To you, spirituality may be your oneness with your family, oneness with a flower, gratitude, or a multitude of other identifications. However you define spirituality (or not!), for yourself, will influence how you approach spirituality (or not!) with your child. You may choose to embrace spirituality as a way of life rather than as a set of concepts to be learned. Just know that whatever agenda you have, your child is surely to thwart it!

What if the question pops up before you are ready?

Like most of life’s Difficult or Big Questions, there is probably not an optimal time for this question to arise. Since we are constantly evolving and growing, you may be unsure of how to answer the question “What do you believe?” Please be assured that it is okay and you are not alone! In parenting, our best answers are the ones that are honest and come from our hearts. Children, too, want to know that they are not alone in their feelings, questions and concerns. No matter how you choose to approach the topic, the answers you give are probably not as important as the messages that your demeanor conveys. Maintaining an environment of love and respect, being transparent and showing that you are there to listen non-judgmentally, and answering questions honestly allows your child to voice his or her concerns safely. Emily A. Filmore is the author of the With My Child series of children’s books (www.withmychildseries.com) and Creative Co-Director, Conversations with God for Parents

www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au |


Boys Toys ~ Let’s rethink this concept ~ Our society has dictated that boys wear blue and boys play with cars and trucks and dirt. However, Tracie O’Meara from Dragonfly Toys, discusses stepping outside the square and offering boys toys that would, in society, be considered a ‘girls’ toy


what point in time did society start to dictate that only girls should be given a doll? Is it true that a child’s gender determines whether a doll could be loved, talked to and played with? Perhaps there are boys who would not be interested in dolls but many many boys are-they are just not given the opportunity. A child can only play with the toys that they are given. If a boy is only given cars, then he plays with cars. When my boys were younger I set up a beautiful play kitchen. The centre piece of the kitchen was a handmade wooden oven. My boys played with the kitchen, a lot, but it was interesting to see how they played with it. They spent a long time building the kitchen … somewhere else. They would take all the mini kitchen items and play food and build a kitchen elsewhere, and usually in a terribly inconvenient place; the hallway, a door way, the kitchen. The wooden oven would sit abandoned. The building instinct seemed to be something they were impelled to do. They rarely cooked or ‘played house’ in the traditional sense. This different way of imaginative play is no better or worse than what I had imagined they should do with a kitchen. They created their beautiful world of play. The way they play with dolls is similar. It may not meet my expectation but the dolls are played with and well and truly loved.”

Girls and boys differ in the way that they play, and t h i s becomes more distinct as they grow o l d e r… As they reach three o r

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four years old…a girl tends to enjoy playing mummy with her baby while a boy needs a doll that provides him with an opportunity to pour out his feelings to another, who understands and feels, unconditionally, all that he feels. “ (from Creative Play with your Toddler). From my observations of boys with dolls, the doll is less of a ‘baby’ and more of a friend. The dolls come along with them on adventures. My son’s doll sits next to him while he plays a game of cards. I’ve even walked in on the pair playing UNO together. This is not through a lack of play mates, he has two brothers, but a genuine bonding with a doll. He was given him a t

‘A child can only play with the toys that they are given. If a boy is only given cars, then he plays with cars.’ Christmas time after his 4th birthday. Perhaps if I had given him the doll at another age he may not have taken to him with such passion. He called him ‘Lucky’ and put him on the back of his bike and took him for a ride. He sleeps with Lucky every night, but he doesn’t dress and undress him like I thought he might. He doesn’t carry him around or nurse him like a baby. He is a friend. Children process the world through their play so I imagine if I had a baby and he watched me feed and change him perhaps Lucky would be played with differently. Maricristin Sealey, from Making Waldorf Dolls, states “The special relationship between a child and her doll is dynamic, and often mysterious, as relationships are. It is about love and nurturing, friendship and ownership, the emergence of the self and the subtle expression of all that the child imbibes from the adults who surround her.” The author of the quote above has used the pronoun ‘her’ but it could easily be changed to the opposite gender. It is equally applicable to both boys and girls. The kindergarten teacher remarked at our school, after one class with a large amount of boys who liked to bring their dolls to class, what a wonderful group of fathers they will make. It is something to love about these boys, who at 6 years old, were in no way embarrassed or inhibited in showing their love for their dolls. Dolls bring out a nurturing, caring instinct in a boy, one that is not necessarily brought out with trucks and blocks. Please don’t get me wrong. I believe you should honour a boy’s building instinct with blocks and most boys go through a car phase. No, I’m just saying that a doll can bring out qualities in a boy that are often suppressed. There is no right or wrong when buying a doll for a child but many people opt for a doll made with the image of the child in mind. The doll often becomes like an alter ego for the child, so often people will buy or make a doll with the same colouring, or hair colour as the child. There is no hard and fast rule that a boy should only be given a boy doll but through my own observations of my child and my friend’s children, boy dolls are

Beautiful & unique toys & baby products, crafted from organic, sustainable and recycled materials.

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www.ecotoys.com.au the favourite companions of boys. Rahima Baldwin, author of You are Your Child’s First Teacher wrote “The favourite doll can become like an alter ego for the child, invested with a bit of the child’s own emerging sense of self ”. The way a boy is given a doll can also dictate how he plays with the doll and how the relationship between the boy and the doll develops. Love the doll like the child does! Greet the doll in the morning, kiss goodnight to the doll as you tuck them both into bed at night, have a picnic and cake for the doll’s ‘birthday’. All these actions nurture the child’s imagination and also respects the child’s play. The doll is worthy and should be treated with care and respect. The boy will naturally do the same. Tracie O’Meara is a mother of three boys and owner of Dragonfly Toys - www.dragonflytoys.com.au


keeping the magic of childhood alive..

natural + ethically made toys, clothing, arts + crafts for babies + children www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au | 59 store: dragonfly toys at organic feast 10 william street east maitland nsw

Choosing the Best Milk for your Child

Milk is a complicated subject. Not only is there full-fat, skinny, skim, but also now soy, almond, oat, and the list goes on. What are we supposed to give our children? Lisa Guy looks at the nutrients of the differing varieties so that a more informed decision can be made

Photo: Spikey Hedgehog Photography


so many different before making major changes to your When is the best time to introduce types of milk on child’s diet, such as removing dairy. Here cow’s milk? the market these days, going to the is a profile of some of the more common If there is no family history of cow’s supermarket to buy milk for your family milks available from health food stores milk allergies or lactose intolerance you is not the simple task it once was. and supermarkets. can start to use a little full-fat cow’s milk There are so many varieties of cow’s in your infant’s meals such as porridges milk alone including whole, skim, lowCOW’S MILK or sauces around 9-10 months of age. fat, A2, organic and lactose-free, and Cow’s milk is one of the major After their first birthday you can start then non-dairy varieties such as almond, sources of calcium in most children’s offering them plain milk drinks and soy, rice, oat and now even quinoa diets. Cow’s milk provides more calcium healthy milk fruit smoothies. Don’t ‘fill’ thrown in to make the whole milk thing than other milks, which is essential for your kids with milk though, as they may very confusing. growth of strong healthy bones and teeth, not eat other important foods, which On the plus side, there is now plenty and is a rich source of protein, providing can lead to nutritional deficiencies of choice for parents with children on 8g per cup. Calcium is also important and associated health problems, like special-need diets or who have allergies for healthy nerve and immune function. anemia. Under the age of 1, breast milk or lactose intolerances. The tricky bit is Cow’s milk is fortified with vitamin D, or formula should be your baby’s only making sure that from those available or which is needed to enhance calcium drink, along with some water from 6 out of those that may be consumed, you absorption and bone development. months on. Waiting until then will help choose the right type of reduce the risk of allergies ‘There are so many varieties of cow’s milk ... and prevent your child milk for your child that and then non-dairy varieties ... and now even from both over-indulging will provide them with the important Quinoa thrown in to make the whole milk thing cow’s milk and refusing very confusing.’ nutrients they need for breast milk. good health, and optimal growth and development. Cow’s milk is also a very good source of A2 MILK: Choosing which milk to first give riboflavin, which helps produce energy, There are two main types of proteins your baby is an important decision. B12 for normal nerve function, and found in milk, casein (which makes up a Toddlers aged 1-2 years have unique vitamin A to make sure your child has majority of proteins in milk) and whey. nutritional requirements that differ a strong immune system and healthy Beta-casein is one of the main types of from older kids and adults. Toddlers eyesight. casein proteins that come in two forms, have higher fat requirements, and If choosing cows milk, you should A2 and A1. A2 beta-casein was the need adequate protein and calories for only give whole or full-fat milk, with original type of milk protein found in optimal growth, and specific vitamins 4% saturated fat, to children under the all dairy herds thousands of years ago, and minerals such as calcium, and age of 2. Babies need higher fat, energy- before a mutation of European breeds vitamin A and D. dense foods to fuel their rapidly growing lead to the appearance of A1 beta-casein Different milks vary in nutrient bodies. Children over 2 however can be in these herds. Guernsey and Jersey profiles, so it is important to compare given reduced or low fat milk, which cows generally contain the highest nutrient levels before you buy. It is also has 1-2% saturated fat. Skim milk, with percentage of A2 beta-casein, compared recommended to seek advice from a only 0.1% fat, is not recommended for to most dairies that use mainly Holstein professional nutritionist or naturopath children under the age of 5. cows, which produce most of our A1 www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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beta-casein in Australia. A2 milk basically has the same nutritional content as conventional cow’s milk, and similar lactose levels. The difference is how A2 beta-casein is digested, it doesn’t produce the potent opioid BCM-7, which can cause digestive problems, and undesirable effects on neurological and immune cells.1 Studies suggest that β-CM7 may also play a role in behavioral disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.2

folic acid that cow’s milk does, however, so if you are giving your child goat’s milk, you should also boost their diet with foods rich in these nutrients such as fish, lamb, eggs, cheese, and dark green leafy vegetables and legumes. Goat’s milk contains similar amounts of protein to cow’s milk, and contains A2 beta-casein. The proteins in goat’s milk, and smaller fat globules, tend to be easier to digest and less allergic for infants.


Soy milk is another milk alternative that may be given to toddlers and children who have a cow’s milk allergy or lactoseintolerance, or who are following a vegan diet. Be aware though that soy is also a common allergen in children who are allergic to cow’s milk. Soy milk contains similar protein levels to whole milk, and adequate calories for your growing toddler. Choose a ‘regular’ soy which contains the highest amount of saturated fat, at 4g per cup, over the low-fat variety that are not recommended for children under 2. Fat is not only a good energy source for growing toddlers but is also needed for brain development. Soy milk does not naturally contain adequate amounts of calcium for toddlers, so make sure you buy one that is fortified with calcium. Soy milk contain phytates that can reduce the absorption of calcium, so it is a good idea to also increase calcium rich foods such as broccoli, tahini, kale, yoghurt and cheese in your child’s diet. Make sure you also buy soy milk that is fortified with vitamin A and D. Soy milk is also lacking in vitamin B12, which is found only in animal foods. Soybeans and soy milk contains chemicals called isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens that exert a weak oestrogenic effect on the body. There are concerns that these isoflavones could potentially have an effect on children’s growth and development if eaten to excess. Organic soy milk is safe for

Lactose-free milk has all of the same nutritional benefits as conventional cow’s milk. The only difference is that the enzyme lactase has been added. Lactase breaks down the milk sugar lactose, that causes digestive problems in people with lactose intolerance. This is a good milk alternative for toddlers and children with lactose intolerance, but not for children who have a cow’s milk allergy.


You should always choose organic milk where you can as it is produced without growth hormones, antibiotics, or synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.


Goat’s milk can make a great first milk alternative for young toddlers, especially for those who have digestive complaints such as colic and reflux, or who are intolerant to cow’s milk. Goat’s milk vitamin and mineral content is very close to that that of cow’s milk. Goat’s milk actually contains more calcium, and vitamin A, than cow’s milk, and is a little lower in lactose, which may benefit some children who are lactose intolerant. Goat’s milk doesn’t provide the same level of vitamin B12 or


Pregnancy and children’s health and nutrition specialist

Lisa Guy ND Naturopath & Author lisa@artofhealing.com.au 0414 491 595 www.artofhealing.com.au

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children to consume in moderation as part of a well balanced diet. If you are giving your child milk alternatives it is a good idea to give them a variety of milks, for example: organic regular soy milk on cereal, almond milk in smoothies, and quinoa or calcium and protein enriched rice milk in warm drinks. Only buy organic soy milk that is free from genetically modified soybeans, and chemical pesticides. Also watch out for soy milk brands that contain high levels of added sugars. You can buy sugar-free varieties.


Almond milk is a great alternative for children who are lactose intolerant or allergic to casein or soy. Avoid almond milk if you have nut allergies in the family. Almond milk is a good source of calcium, having only slightly lower levels compared to cow’s milk, and contains vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and vitamin D and A. Where almond milk falls short is in protein, with only 1g per cup of protein compared to 8g per cup found in cow’s milk. Almond milk is also low in fat, which is important for toddlers under 2. Almond milk also lacks the B vitamins found in cow’s milk. Some brands have a lot of added sugars, so read labels carefully for sugar, or agave, rice or cane syrup. Sugar-free almond milks are readily available. Almond milk can be more expensive than other types of milk, however you can make it easily at home.


Rice milk can be given to children who have allergies to both cow’s and soy milk. Rice milk naturally contains very little protein, fat, and calories and is not considered a good nutritional replacement for cow’s milk for young toddlers. You can however buy protein-enriched rice milk with added chickpeas, and varieties fortified with vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin D, which have levels similar to that of cow’s milk. Rice milk also lacks vitamin A and B vitamins. Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic of all the milk substitutes and can make a good alternative to whole milk if you choose a fortified variety that contains all the important nutrients your growing child needs. Rice milk has a naturally sweet taste as it is higher in natural sugars than other milks.


Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) milk is made from quinoa seeds, and has the consistency of rice milk with a nutty taste. Quinoa is considered a superfood as it is rich in phytonutrients and highly nutritious. It is a good source of high quality protein, providing 4g of protein per cup, compared to whole milk which has 8g per cup. Quinoa milk contains 2g of saturated fats, which is comparable to that of low fat cow’s milk, but it also has 5g of beneficial unsaturated fats, including heart healthy oleic acid. Quinoa milk is suitable for anyone with lactose intolerance, milk allergies, or gluten intolerance. However it lacks calcium, vitamin A and D, which are all important nutrients your kids need for growth and development. If you are giving your children quiona milk you must boost their diets with foods rich in these essential nutrients. Good sources of vitamin A and D include fish, meat, eggs, and cod liver oil. Some brands of quinoa have added sugars, so look out for agave syrup or corn maltodextrin on the ingredient panel.


Oat milk is another milk alternative for children who are allergic to cow’s milk, have lactose intolerance, or who are vegetarian. Oat milk may not be suitable for children with gluten intolerance though. Oat milk contains around half the protein content of cow’s milk, with 4 g of protein per cup, so you would need to make sure that your child was getting adequate amounts of protein through other foods in their diet, such as fish, nuts, seeds, red meat, eggs, chicken, legumes, yoghurt, and tofu. Oat milk has more protein than almond or rice milk, which have only 1g per cup. Oat milk is also naturally low in calcium so choose an oat milk that is calcium fortified to a similar level to cow’s milk. It is also relatively low in fat, which young toddlers need. Oat milk is higher in carbohydrates than most other milks, similar to rice milk, and is higher in fibre.


Coconut milk is much higher in saturated fats than any other milk, containing a whooping 51g per cup, compared to cows milk with 5g. Coconut milk is lacking in protein and calcium, so it doesn’t make a good substitute for cow’s milk. Coconut milk is ideal though for making curries, healthy desserts, and other dishes with for your family. It is always recommended to seek advice from a professional nutritionist or naturopath before making any major changes such as excluding dairy from to your children’s diet. Lisa Guy is a homeopath and naturopath who runs ‘Art of Healing’ (www.artofhealing.com.au) and The Happy Baby Clinic and author of “My Goodness: all you need to know about children’s health and nutrition”

References 1. Schulte-Frohlinde E, Schmid R, Brantl V, Schusdziarra V, (1994). Effect of bovine beta-casomorphin-4-amide on gastrointestinal transit and pancreatic endocrine function in man In: Brantl V, Teschemacher H, eds. Beta-Casomorphins and related peptides: recent developments. New York: VCH Weinheim; 155-60. Kurek M, Przybilla B, Hermann K, Ring J, (1992). A naturally occurring opioid peptide from cow’s milk, betacasomorphine-7, is a direct histamine releaser in man. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 97(2), 115-20. Meisel H, FitzGerald R.J, (2000). Opioid peptides encrypted in intact milk protein sequences. Br J Nutr. 84 (Suppl 1), S27-31. Elitsur Y, Luk G.D, (1991). Beta-casomorphin (BCM) and human colonic lamina propria lymphocyte proliferation. Clin Exp Immunol. 85(3), 493-7. Kayser H, Meisel H, (1996). Stimulation of human peripheral blood lymphocytes by bioactive peptides derived from bovine milk proteins. FEBS Lett. 383(1-2), 18-20. 2. Sun Z, Cade J.R, (1999). A Peptide Found in Schizophrenia and Autism Causes Behavioral Changes in Rats. Autism. 3(1), 85-95. Reichelt KL, Knivsberg AM, Lind G, Nodland M: Probable etiology and possible treatment of childhood autism. Brain Dysfunction 1991; 4: 308-319.

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~ Fluoride ~ A close Brush with Poison Whether you agree with water fluoridation or not, it is added to many water supplies in Australia. Some consider this mass medication, against citizens will and others consider it a required step in oral protection. Dr Sarah Lantz reviews the current research in relation to its effects on our health.


is one of those issues that runs deep with people - like vaccination, religion and money. Those in favour argue that its addition to public water supplies and toothpastes has been a boon to dental health, providing a cost-effective and equitable way to prevent tooth decay. Opponents argue that evidence for its safety and efficacy is dubious at best and that dosing the public water supply with a chemical amounts to mass medication. And there is evidence to support both sides of the debate.

Proponents are quick to sell the ‘natural’ aspect of fluoridation, arguing that its addition to water is akin to fortifying or enriching foods such as adding zinc, iron or calcium to breakfast cereals; iodine to salt; or folic acid to flour. They say it’s not adding a ‘medicine’, just tweaking the natural level of fluoride found in water. The problem with this argument is threefold. Firstly, the majority of what we see on food packaging is simply a distortion by the food marketers and manufacturers. Lollies that are laced with vitamin C, or oven fries fortified with Omega 3 fatty acids with the promise of boosting the brain functions of consumers are simply a distortion of science and examples of misleading

of fertilizers and that these scrubbers ‘convert fluoride into a liquid or powder form (hydrofluoroslicic acid) that can be collected and safely added to water supplies’. Despite reassurances from regulators that contaminant levels are ‘extremely low’ and conform to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, fluoride sourced from scrubbers does not undergo purification procedures and has been found to contain various contaminants, including arsenic, lead, and mercury. Along with fluoride, these contaminants bioaccumulate in our cells, bones, blood and organs—even in the pineal gland in WHERE DO I SIT? our brains. If I listened to everything the And overexposed to fluoride we are! doctors, obstetricians, and Virtually all foodstuffs ‘fluoride sourced from scrubbers [which is in contain at least my fellow public health colleagues many water supplies in Australia] does not undergo trace amounts of purification procedures and has been found to fluoride. When water said I would have taken the epidural, contain various contaminants, including arsenic, is fluoridated, it is lead, and mercury. ’ stopped breastfeeding not just the water that is after 6 months and resisted our desires fluoridated, but all foods and beverages for co-sleeping. But I didn’t. And it’s nutritional value marketed as healthy that are made with the water. As a general usually when we’re co-sleeping—with food choices. Secondly, fluoride, unlike rule, the more processed a food is, the one child buried under the crook of calcium or magnesium, is not an essential more fluoride it has. The highest dietary my armpit, the other with a leg thrown nutrient for your body. If you were concentration of fluoride occurs in across my belly—that my intellectual to consume zero fluoride your entire animal and processed foods, especially wonderings as a public health researcher life, you wouldn’t suffer for it. There’s fish. Fluoride builds up in the tissues of and natural parenting mama converge. no such thing as fluoride deficiency.1 animals, and whenever fluoridated water And this is what I have discovered about And thirdly, while fluoride ions can be is used in food production, fluoride will naturally occurring, these are not the be concentrated in the final product. The fluoride and caring for our oral health. ones added to drinking water and oral same goes for cooking with fluoridated hygiene products. Queensland Health water. Adults only excrete 50-60% of the WHAT IS FLUORIDE? Fluoride ions (Calcium Fluoride Water Fluoridation: Questions and fluoride we ingest, children only about CaF2) are naturally occurring and Answers booklet states that the fluoride 20%, and babies and the elderly excrete come from the element fluorine, found in our water is in fact sourced from even less. Fluoride even crosses the in rocks, soil, plants, air and water. scrubbers used in the manufacturing placenta in pregnancy.

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Fluoride remains the cornerstone of modern dental caries management. Fluoride acts as an enzyme inhibitor and is said to work by strengthening teeth, inhibiting demineralisation, remineralising damaged enamel, and destroying the enzymes in the oral bacteria that produce the acids that erode the teeth. And there are some studies to support this. Researchers comparing topical and systemic fluoride action concluded that it was the topical application of fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash products that is most beneficial.2 Even so, there are currently no labelling nor legal requirements to specify the type of fluoride being added to topical applications, and there is currently no scientific evidence of a safe fluoride dosage per person given that fluoride consumption varies from person to person depending on their level of exposure. Research also reveals that when fluoridation has been discontinued in communities in Canada, the former East Germany, Cuba and Finland, dental decay has not increased but has generally continued to decrease.3 At a supermarket outing on a recent trip to the United States, we also noted that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a poison warning on every tube of fluoride toothpaste sold in the US. The warning reads: ‘If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek medical help or contact a poison control center immediately.’ Children swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can suffer acute poisoning at doses as low as 0.1 to 0.3mg per kg of bodyweight. This generally presents in the form of gastric pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, and flu-like symptoms. A child weighing 10kg need only ingest 1 to 3 grams of paste (less than 3% of a tube of fluoridated toothpaste) to experience one or more of these symptoms. As my partner and I passed each other different brands of children’s toothpaste we were struck by the irony of marketing. The manufacturers of children’s toothpastes create products just begging to be eaten by children. They generally tend to be sweet, glossy, glittery, luminescent and smell of

Photos: Rebecca Anne & Carly Maree Photography


bubblegum, strawberries and sherbet. While I was examining the toothpastes, a mother leaned over my shoulder and told me she had recently taken to putting all the toothpaste in a safety cupboard out of her children’s reach. Manufacturers in Australia are not legislated to put a warning label on our fluorinated toothpastes.


Fluorine compounds are listed by the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) as among the top 20 of 275 substances that pose the most significant threat to human health. The Australian National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) recently considered 400 substances for inclusion on the NPI reporting list. A risk ranking was given based on health and environmental hazard identification and human and environmental exposure to the substance. Some substances were grouped together at the same rank to give a total of 208 ranks. Fluoride compounds were ranked 27th out of the 208 ranks.4


The evidence of health effects are far reaching. A review of scientific literature by the Independent National Academy of Sciences found many gaps in the data about long-term health risks associated with exposure to systemically-ingested fluoride. The authors found evidence of increases in dental fluorosis and called for more research on potential links with skeletal fluorosis, bone fractures, bone cancer, joint pain, thyroid damage, mental and physiological changes and dementia.5 According to the National Research Council (2006), ‘it is apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain’.6 In 2012, researchers at Harvard University published the results of a long-term analysis that links fluoridated water to lower IQ scores in children.7 The researchers examined data on water fluoridation levels from a variety of medical databases and compared them to IQ scores of children who lived in the associated neighbourhoods. In total, 27 separate studies were examined which found a direct link between IQ scores and the levels of fluoride in the public


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water supply. Children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas. The children studied were up to 14 years of age, but the investigators speculate that any toxic effect on brain development may have happened earlier, and that the brain may not be fully capable of compensating for the toxicity. ‘Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain,’ says Phillipe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health, Harvard School of Public Health. ‘The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us.’8


1. Stop drinking fluoridated water

Tap water consumption is the largest daily source of fluoride exposure for people who live in areas that add fluoride to the water. Avoiding consumption of fluoridated water is especially critical for babies and children. If you live in area which fluoridates its water (like 87% of the communities in Australia) you can avoid drinking the fluoride in one of three ways: Water Filters: Purchase a water filter. However not all water filters remove fluoride. The three types of filters that can remove fluoride are reverse osmosis, deionizers (which use ion-exchange resins), and activated alumina. Each of these filters can remove over 95-100% of the fluoride. By contrast, ‘activated carbon’ filters (e.g. Brita) do not remove fluoride. Harvesting and filtering rainwater is also an option and our preferred choice.

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Spring Water: Purchase spring water. Most brands of spring water contain very low levels of fluoride. Some brands, however, contain high levels, so ask your supplier. Many suppliers also provide large reusable containers so you are not contributing to plastic consumption. Water Distillation: A third way to avoid fluoride from the tap is to purchase a distillation unit. Water distillation will remove most, if not all, of the fluoride. The price for a distillation unit varies widely depending on the size.

2. Eat a diet of whole foods

A comparison of native and primitive societies have shown a high immunity to dental caries and freedom from degenerative processes compared with the diets of modernised groups who have forsaken their native diets for the foods of commerce: white flour products, sugar, polished rice, canned goods and vegetable fats. Dental caries and gum disease are usually a sign of nutritional deficiencies and a toxic overload. Building resiliency means increasing nutrient dense foods in your diet. These include: • Raw or cultured grass-fed dairy including, milk, cheese, cream, ghee, and butter; • Clean sources of fat such as coconut oil, cod liver oil, butter and olive oil; • Protein such as eggs and grass-fed animal protein; • Fermented or lacto-fermented condiments and beverages such as pickled vegetables, kefir and kombucha; • Organically-sourced vegetables and fruits.

3. Breastfeed your baby

Fluoridated water, which contains up to 300 times more fluoride than breast milk, is by far the single largest source of fluoride for babies and infants. So without question, the single most important way to protect a baby from fluoride exposure is to breastfeed. Breast milk almost completely excludes fluoride and thus an exclusively breast-fed baby will receive virtually no fluoride exposure and will provide your baby with all the delicious and beneficial immuno-properties of breast milk. If you’re not breastfeeding, use clean, non-fluoridated water with organic cow or goat milk formula.

4. Say NO to dental fluoride gel treatments

Although dental researchers recommend that fluoride gel treatment should only be used for patients at highest risk of cavities, many dentists continue to apply fluoride gels irrespective of the patient’s cavity risk. The fluoride gel procedure uses a concentrated acidic fluoride gel (12,300 ppm). Because of the fluoride gel’s high acidity, the saliva glands produce a large amount of saliva during the treatment, which makes it extremely difficult (both for children and adults) to avoid swallowing the gel. Even when dentists use precautionary suction devices, children and adults will still ingest some quantities of the paste, which can cause spikes of fluoride in the blood. The next time your dentist asks you whether you want a fluoride gel treatment, say no. Alternatively, seek out a holistic dentist who does not use nor recommend fluoride in their practice.

5. Xylitol benefits

Xylitol are sweet ‘tooth-friendly’ non-fermentable, sugar

alcohols found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables and can be extracted from various berries, corn husks, and birch trees. Unlike other sweeteners, xylitol has been found to be actively beneficial for dental health, including reducing dental caries9 by inhibiting the Streptococcus bacteria that are significant contributors to tooth decay.10 For dental use, you can find xylitol gums, toothpastes, lozenges, and rinses.


Oral health impacts the whole body. When you have gum disease or plaque, inflammation of the whole body can occur. So getting your dental regime right is important. There are some really good gums, pastes and rinses on the market. Our ‘adult’ favourites include: Ganozhi, Mukti Tooth Powder, and Oral Wellness. Our children love Spry Fluoride Free toothpaste or gel (with Xylitol), gums and mints and Dr Tung’s Floss. Dr Sarah Lantz is a mama, writer, and researcher from Queensland University of Technology with a background in public and population health and author of the bestselling book Chemical Free Kids; Raising healthy Children in a Toxic World. www.chemicalfreeparenting.com.au or www.nontoxsoapbox.com

References 1. NRC (2006). National Research Council of the National Academies, Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards. Washington, DC: National Academies Press 2. Hellwig, E. & Lennon, A. Systemic versus Topical Fluoride’, Caries Research, 2004, 38: 258–262 3. Seppa L, et al. (2000). Caries trends 1992-98 in two lowfluoride Finnish towns formerly with and without fluoride. Caries Research.34: 462-8; Maupome G, et al. (2001). Patterns of dental caries following the cessation of water fluoridation. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. 29: 37-47. 4. Government of Australia, National Pollutant Inventory, http://www.environment.gov.au/epg/npi/contextual_info/ context/fluoride.html 5. Dr. Paul Connett, 50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation, Accessed online at http://www.slweb.org/50reasons.html 6. Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards, National Academy of Sciences, 2006 7. Choi, A. DSun, G. Zhang, Y & Grandjean, P, Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and MetaAnalysis. Environ Health Perspect. 2012 October; 120(10): 1362–1368 8. See Harvard School of Public Health: http://www.hsph. harvard.edu/news/features/fluoride-childrens-healthgrandjean-choi/ 9. Milgrom P, Ly KA, Roberts M, Rothen M, Mueller G, Yamaguchi DK (2006). Mutans streptococci dose response to xylitol chewing gum. Journal of Dental Research 85 (2): 177–181. 10. Maguire, A; Rugg-Gunn, A J (2003). Xylitol and caries prevention — is it a magic bullet?”. British Dental Journal 194 (8): 429–436.

Bushwalk Playgroup There is a growing phenomena in Europe of forest kindergardens. It is a refreshing concept of having our children live, laugh and learn in a natural environment. Vicki Kearney provides a wonderful description of her bushwalk playgroup in Samford just outside of Brisbane


, knock, knock. allowed to have a childhood, not a and we love to all stop, get down on May we come melted down version of adulthood. The our haunches and have a closer look. in?” I ask, tapping the old wooden young child’s work is to play. There is no Butterflies flutter by regularly and whip post with the knuckles of my hand. And hurry, no preparation for kindergarten birds call out. But it’s all part of the walk. just below on the same post, in a similar or school. At the creek, they are just This is not a teaching expedition and manner, are the hands of the little ‘allowed to be’. In fact, the more I sit therefore I do not impose my questions children, imitating so beautifully. The in observation, offering few words or on the children. We, the adults, are there as silent witnesses to their childhood, fairies always allow us into their garden, instruction the better! It is interesting to observe each child, gently guiding them along in their the gateway to the creek. We would not think to pass without respectfully asking how she or he meets each experience or innocence. challenge. Some children go head first On our walk the child is able to move permission to play at their house! And just beyond, lays the creek bed. into it, and others require more time, freely, noise levels are lower and silence can seemingly be experienced through Full with water in the summer and dry showing signs of anxiety. The adults in the group are the play of light and dark beneath the as a bone in the winter, we experience the seasons of the year wholesomely and particularly aware and supportive of canopy of the trees. What does this truthfully. The trees stand tall above, not only their own child’s needs but of give to the inner nature of the child, guarding us from the hot rays of Father all the children. It is a blessing to have a this peace and tranquillity? The song Sun, our delicate skin protected. In the Dad come along each week with his little of the stream as it flows over the bed of stones singing softly and drier months we are able to ‘Outdoors in nature, the child can experience delicately, calls to the walk up the creek bed, lucky to find a puddle “real” stuff, not plastic. They can learn trust and imagination of the child. Children love in which to throw a experience wonder, revealing the magic that the world has to offer.’ the creek and they love few rocks or fish for the to swim and feel the green moss in the stagnant water. This is the Bushwalk Playgroup, girl and last year we also had a Grand- strength in the flow of the water tugging an initiative I birthed nearly 2 years ago, dad. Men bring the qualities of physical at their bodies. Sometimes it is fast after reading about the Forest or Nature strength and a certain toughness. They and they wonder if they can make it to Kindergartens, a common practice of slip into that knowing of what little the other side. With encouragement childcare in Europe. This mixed age boys like to do when outside; they laugh from the adult and holding onto a firm group of children from babies to 5 easily, relaxing into the play of the child, hand their confidence builds with each years allows each and every child the reminiscent of their own early years. accomplishment. The only toys we bring along are opportunity to develop at their own ‘How wonderful that Dad can take a day pace. The older child whose speech is off from his work commitments to come the little wooden boats; otherwise we make use of Mother Nature’s toys. The less developed, who prefers to walk more out and be with me!’ Outdoors in nature, the child can children have their own little knock, slowly is able to be with the younger child, not having to be measured up experience ‘real’ stuff, not plastic. They knock. May we come in?” I ask, tapping can learn trust and experience wonder, the old wooden post with the against his peers. Claire Warden from Scotland, revealing the magic that the world has knuckles of my hand. And just below on founder of Whistlebrae Nature to offer. Often a child will spot a hairy the same post, in a similar manner, are Kindergarten speaks of children being caterpillar or a stick insect on our path the hands of the little children, imitating

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Homework For Parents Many researchers have conducted studies to ascertain if homework is actually beneficial to a child’s learning. Associate Professors Richard Walker and Mike Horsley review the results of the studies and provide guidance on how parents can assist their children with their homework

Photo: Spikey Hedgehog Photography


parents are way that parents are involved in their student learning outcomes. It seems c o n c e r n e d children’s homework. likely that concerns with student This article provides a brief historical learning outcomes would have meant about their children’s homework. Some parents are concerned that their overview of parental concerns regarding that teachers would have been disposed children get too much homework and homework, it then examines the to set homework activities for their that this interferes with family life and definition of homework and reasons students. There is certainly evidence that other valued activities such as sport and teachers may set homework. The teachers were being given advice about leisure. These parents often consider article then presents research evidence the purposes and setting of homework in that homework places stress on families relating to these reasons with particular the late nineteenth century. A historical and children and that these stresses are emphasis given to research concerning examination of homework (Gill and unjustified because homework does parental involvement in their children’s Schlossman, 2003) in the United States not accomplish the goals for which it homework. The article also provides has shown that parents had three is set. Some parents consider that their parents with advice concerning their main concerns with homework in the children do not get enough homework children’s homework activities. late nineteenth and early twentieth and consider that as a consequence centuries. The first concern related to the they do not learn as much or as well as A BRIEF HISTORICAL authority of parents versus the authority children who do more homework. These OUTLINE OF PARENTAL of the school to require students to do parents believe that homework benefits CONCERN WITH homework. Homework was seen as a their children and they consider that HOMEWORK challenge to the authority of parents Homework appears to have been to determine the activities that their their children may, in the longer term, be disadvantaged relative to other children. part of the lives of parents and their children engaged in outside of school. In our recently published ‘Because parental involvement in their Organisations which book, Reforming children’s homework can be both beneficial and advocated on behalf Homework: Practices, detrimental, parents need to ask themselves of parents in the USA Learning and Policy, we have some critical questions about their potential ran campaigns in the argued that while there are late nineteenth and early homework involvement’ problems with the way that homework twentieth century against homework is currently delivered in schools, there children since the advent of mass which led to court cases in which are good reasons why homework compulsory schooling which began to the authority of the school to require should be reformed rather than occur in English speaking countries homework was tested. For instance, in abolished. Some of these reasons relate from about the 1850’s onwards; for 1901 the Mississippi Supreme Court to evidence from homework research, instance, education became compulsory found that a school had exceeded its comprehensively reviewed in the book, in Victoria in 1872, and in New South authority when the school took a student which demonstrate that students can Wales in 1880. Although there has been to court for attending church rather benefit from homework activities. Some no systematic historical examination than doing required homework in the of these benefits occur when parents are of homework in Australia in these evenings. This kind of concern led to the involved in their children’s homework early times, the advent of compulsory banning of homework at this time for activities. Homework can also have a schooling brought with it the students in some grades in some states detrimental impact on students under development of education bureaucracies in the USA. some circumstances, including the and rules and regulations concerning Another concern with homework www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au

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Photo: Spikey Hedgehog Photography

teachers that are meant to be carried out during non-school hours.’ This definition does not include student preparation and study for examinations, tests and quizzes, nor does it include student involvement in out of school tutoring or engagement in extracurricular activities associated with the school. There are many reasons why teachers may set homework. Epstein and Van Voorhis (2001) have identified the following ten reasons why teachers may set homework: the practice of already learnt skills; preparation for new learning activities; to extend and integrate students’ existing understandings; the development of independent self-directed learning skills and the development of a sense of responsibility; to involve parents in the school related activities of their children; to foster communication between the teacher and parents; to promote learning through interaction with peers; to meet policy requirements; to promote an image of the school which accords with parental expectations; and as a form of punishment. at this time was that it prevented students from engaging in outdoor activities after school, and thus represented a threat to the health of students. It was argued that homework created physical and mental distress for students that was harmful to their health. Students spent long hours at school, after which they had to carry home heavy bags of books for their homework, and were unable to partake of fresh air and physical exercise after school. A final concern was that homework interfered with the activities of families. This latter concern has continued to be an issue with contemporary parents, both in USA and elsewhere. Two books published in the USA over the last ten years have strongly put the case that homework is disruptive to family life. Kravolec and Buell (2000) argued that not only does homework undermine family life, it also undermines social and community life and contributes to social isolation and alienation. In their book Bennett and Kalish (2006) also complained about the impact of homework on family life. They report the results of a survey which showed that approximately twenty to thirty percent of parents considered that their children were expected to do too much homework. Bennett and Kalish (2006) suggest a variety of ways that parents can be advocates for their children when they consider that homework demands are excessive. Many parents, both historically and in contemporary times, have been supportive of homework, however. Gill and Schlossman (2003) have argued that in the USA only a small proportion of parents have been opposed to homework. In France, in the context of parental protests in 2012 over excessive homework demands, the general secretary of a parent association which supported homework stated that while homework demands needed to be reasonable, homework was beneficial because going back over a lesson was the best way for students to learn things.


In order to conduct research in a consistent and systematic way, homework researchers have defined what they mean by homework and this definition has been the basis of all the research discussed later in this article. Homework has been defined (Cooper, 1989) as ‘tasks assigned to students by school

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While there are many reasons why teachers may set homework most homework research has addressed the following three questions: 1. Is homework beneficial for student learning outcomes? 2. Does homework help to develop the skills of independent, self-directed learning in students? 3. Is parental involvement in their children’s homework activities beneficial for achievement outcomes and the development of independent, self-directed learning skills? While the answers to these questions are complex and involve many qualifications, as we note in Reforming Homework: Practices, Learning and Policy, some summary statements may be made. In relation to the first question, homework has no achievement benefits for students up to grade three, negligible benefits for students in grades four to six, weak benefits for students in grades seven to nine, and reasonable benefits for students in grades ten to twelve. While most homework researchers have long considered that more time spent on homework is beneficial for achievement outcomes, the most methodologically sophisticated research conducted to date, German research by Ulrich Trautwein and his colleagues, indicates that more time spent on homework is associated with lower achievement outcomes. In relation to the second question, homework is associated with independent, self-directed learning skills but these skills are developed when students receive organisational and other assistance from their parents. While schools may help students to develop self-directed learning skills, a small body of research shows clearly that for students to develop these skills in the context of their homework activities, students’ need to receive assistance from parents or others in how to create a suitable homework environment, how to schedule and manage their time, and how to avoid distractions. In relation to the third question, parental involvement in their children’s homework activities can be both beneficial and detriment for student achievement outcomes depending upon the nature of the parental involvement. The research shows that when parents are over controlling, or interfering, in their homework involvement, this has detrimental effects on student achievement outcomes. This is also true for student motivation in relation to homework activities. The best homework achievement and motivation outcomes are achieved when

parents provide both structure and autonomy for their children. As already noted, self-directed learning skills are developed when parents are able to provide appropriate assistance to their children concerning the regulation and management of homework.


Because parental involvement in their children’s homework can be both beneficial and detrimental, parents need to ask themselves some critical questions about their potential homework involvement. These questions provide a checklist for parents that makes clear some key choices in the way that they involve themselves in homework that is positive and leads to their children learning, but more importantly, develop in their children the skills of self–regulation and self-management that students require for long term deep learning. These critical questions include: 1. What is the best way for parents to involve themselves in their childrens’ homework? 2. What types of parental involvement in homework promote student learning and achievement? 3. How is the ‘right’ place for students to do their homework chosen? 4. What parental involvement practices should parents emphasise, and how can parents reduce homework friction? 5. How can parents seek support from the school system, teachers, principals and the community, and other parents?

What is the best way for parents to involve themselves in their children’s homework?

Most parents are surprised to learn that some research shows that parental involvement in general school activities (i.e. attending the P&C, helping out in the school canteen, or school fetes) has been shown to be more effective in student achievement than helping their children with homework. This is because some parental homework involvement is to the long term disadvantage of students learning long term self -management and self-regulation skills. Parents whose parental involvement in homework is highly controlling and prescriptive, highly demanding and structured and who take over responding to homework demands, are hindering the development of planning, timing, managing and controlling of homework by the children themselves. Even worse, parents who actually complete students homework are actively stunting the development of these skills. Research conducted by Horsley and Walker showed that children understand this well and suggest that parents be ‘guides on the sides’ or provide only direction and assistance with planning. Some research shows that parental involvement in school generally can be more positive for children’s learning than just focusing on homework involvement. For example touching base weekly with the teacher may be far more effective than significant parental involvement in homework. Homework often occurs in isolation and outside most other forms of parental school involvement.

promote student learning and achievement?

Following on from the previous paragraph the implications for parental involvement are clear. It is the type and nature of parental involvement in homework that promotes achievement rather than the extent of the involvement. Over controlling restricts the development of student ability to manage their own learning. Less intrusive parental monitoring of homework tends to promote student homework completion. The critical impact of parental involvement in children’s school work is that involvement in students’ academic work not only provides learning resources, but also improves students’ skills and learning tools, as well as meta-cognitive skills, such as planning and self-regulation. Parents should know that it is the long term learning that is important – not the short term completion of specific homework tasks, the appropriate blend of parental involvement with homework may promote long term attitudes, approaches and motivation. This is the type of parental homework involvement that is most effective

How is the ‘right’ place for students to do their homework chosen?

It is not the actual place that is most important but the ‘routine’ that is encouraged. Parents need to consider how the place chosen for students to complete homework contributes to a ‘routine’ for doing homework; reduces distraction and promotes student concentration, focus and flow; aligns with family and home computer access; and constrains or affords the time available to do homework. The establishment of homework routines helps students develop self-regulatory, self-directed homework planning skills. Since most students tend to complete their homework tasks just before they are due – homework planning and being systematic in preparation is a key part of the development of such homework routines. Furthermore, these sorts of self-regulation skills take a really long time to develop in most children, so we are looking at a long term approach here. Parents should also be aware that they need to develop a line of sight not just to monitor student emotions and body language but the myriad distractions that overcome the forces of concentration in young people – mostly electronic distractions. Helping students develop routines based on their social and family context are crucial in supporting long term learning from homework.

What parental involvement practices should parents emphasise?

Underpinning the homework involvement practices that

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parents should emphasise requires a deeper understanding of the types of homework tasks that students have been assigned. This is a critical question for parents in assisting their children in homework planning. Parental assistance needs to be framed around whether the homework task comprises drill and practice for consolidation and review, or an inquiry activity requiring cognitive growth through new learning. Parental assistance should focus on parents providing scaffolding from the known to the unknown in relation to the homework activity, and to develop positive perceptions and expectations for success. By clarifying the nature and purpose of the tasks, parents will be more able to assist students’ scope and segment the task, seek assistance and plan a timetable. An issue in establishing the nature and purpose of homework may be the different types of homework and homework requirements between primary and secondary schools. Many primary schools (Richardson & Horsley, 2011) provide structured weekly homework assigned at the start of the week and submitted at the end of the week. Homework assignments in different subjects in the secondary school environment can require far greater parental investigation as to their nature and purpose. Once the aims and purpose of homework is clear parental involvement should emphasise practices that promote student autonomy, choice and decision making in homework. Parents should allow students to make key decisions about homework to promote student autonomy, choice and control. Parents should focus on the processes of homework and its completion and planning to promote learning processes and student planning, rather than the actual concepts and skills that are at the core of the homework tasks. In particular, parents should be positive

and encouraging, rather than hostile and critical; to convey attitudes to children, (that they have the potential to do tasks well) to have a positive impact on homework completion and student achievement. Friction in homework can be more completely understood as related to the purpose of the homework. Homework required for assessment purposes increases the stakes of completing the homework and submitting it – leading to increased friction. Grading and reporting on homework completion and performance also increase the possibility of friction. The timing of homework in the teaching and learning of the class, may also create higher stakes homework completion and submission time frames. In all these circumstances, some practices that parents can deploy to reduce friction include; assisting students to establish homework routines that are more self-directed; helping students to manage their homework planning and their homework anxieties; reframing family communication about homework from Have you done your homework? as a communication starting point to What homework is assigned? How do you plan to approach this homework? Focusing on specific aspects of a homework task and helping students to allocate time to these task components can also reduce homework friction.

How can parents seek support from the school system, teachers, principals and the community, and other parents?

Homework is important in the sense that quality homework tasks that seek to contribute to consolidation through practice and rehearsal, or through inquiry and new learning are more important than homework that is assigned to fill time based homework requirements. When it is not clear that the homework activities assigned are quality tasks related to learning, parents should trigger inquiries to teachers and schools as to the real aim of the homework. For parents this might represent a trade off, between homework practices that are time based (20 minutes of homework a night) compared to homework tasks that are higher quality tasks. Parents also need to be aware that different subject domains have different requirements in relation to the aim of homework. Parents should seek clarification about the way that homework tasks set by teachers are supposed to contribute to student learning and achievement. They should also be aware that any new learning or research task may require student scaffolding and support that they as parents can not provide. It is entirely reasonable for parents to ask the teachers and schools how this scaffolding and support will be provided to their children. Finally parents should also understand that communities sometime have access to a community fund of knowledge that may not be reflected in the school curriculum; homework that accesses this community fund of knowledge may contribute to building new linkages between the school, the curriculum, the community and family, and the child. Richard Walker teaches undergraduate & postgraduate education psychology at the University of Sydney. Mike Horsley is the director of the Education Research Flagship at Central Queensland University. Together they have written Reforming Homework: Practices, Learning and Policy, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.

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• • • • • •

Warning: This project might take you months to begin as you stockpile your supplies…just kidding! But seriously, we really do have fun debating the future uses of egg cartons and gift bags as she shoves them into our craft area. If you haven’t yet begun a REUSE pile, that is a great family activity in itself; but in the meantime, you probably have enough things laying around to use for this project anyway and if not they are readily available at a craft store.

What Now:

Recently, we had a family puppet show night, made entirely out of our REUSE pile. No phones ringing, no text messages going off, no Facebook notifications; for an evening we engaged in each other without interruption!


Scissors Paint or markers Glue Shoe Box (for the stage) Icecream sticks Consturction paper or felt to make the puppets and decorate the stage • Glitter, sequins and other decorations • A REUSE pile as tall as your ceiling! We have done a ‘great’ job of teaching our daughter about the three R’s of caring for the environment. She has become especially attached to the REUSE portion of the cycle. As a consequence, she won’t throw anything away. Scraps of felt, paper towel rolls, construction paper, boxes from greetings cards, plastic packaging from toys…I guess I should be happy, but my house might be featured someday on an episode of Hoarders. Look for me; I’ll be lost in the pile of felt clippings! Fortunately, we have begun putting these treasures to use.

We made people puppets out of popsicle sticks decked out with construction paper, glitter, sequins and felt. We cut a window out of the shoe box to make a stage. We decorated the stage to create a fancy ambiance fit for a King at a Shakespearean play. Then the real fun began! The puppets were given personalities and back stories by our daughter. She let her imagination run wild. We took turns acting out different scenes both planned and improvisated. The topics do not really matter. The words said don’t even really matter. None of us can probably remember any of that! The laughter, the fun, the joy – these are what we all took away from our puppet show night!

Photos: Depositphotos

…Well, that and a smaller REUSE pile. Emily Filmore has written a number of books focusing on bonding with your child. You can save 20% off these books if you purchase from www.withmychild.com/nurture

www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au |


A Truly Nurturing Education ~ Part 4 This is the final part of the series on how parents can provide a child with a truly nurturing education. In this part, Dr Andrew Seaton discusses some of the qualities parents need to cultivate in order to be able to sense and nurture the unfolding of their child’s unique nature and ‘deep intelligence’


the first three parts of this article, I explained how parents and grandparents can provide vital aspects of a child’s education, which the technology that is schooling is unable to provide. In parts one and two, I outlined the kinds of experiences and activities that parents can provide to help a child to develop important skills and live with a kind of ‘deep intelligence’, intimately and dynamically connected with the world. In part three, we looked at some ways in which a truly nurturing education can help a child to shake off conditioning, experience a deep sense of self-as-connected-with-all-life, and live a truly ‘conscious’ and liberated life.

allow the mind to take charge, as in conventional education and the modern world in general, the tail wags the dog. As we begin to experience freedom from identification with mind, we are filled with an awareness of our true self as peace, joy and oneness with all life. People, things and events lose their power to trouble and manipulate us. We perceive everything in the world as it truly is, filled with beauty, love and a deeper truth than our intellect is able to fathom. Our uniquely individual expression of talents and abilities comes to reflect a creativity that taps the life force power of the universe. Our expression arises, not from mind, but from Being, so that it respects, nurtures

Despite the presence of so many caring and dedicated teachers in conventional schooling, its overtones are nevertheless authoritarian, both in terms of relationship and a commodity view of knowledge. Such overtones are fundamentally at odds with the psychic atmosphere required for an education for Deep Intelligence. What such a nurturing education really requires of providers is the wisdom that arises from connectedness, rather than accumulated ‘knowledge’ and a self identified with the contents of the mind. It requires relationship characterised by mutual trust. It requires inspiration, and guidance that deeply respects autonomy and the flowering of the universal within the individual.

NURTURING THE SELF THAT IS DEEPER ‘Our mistake has been to identify self THAN MIND with the contents of the mind, and to RESPECTING More important, however, think that adding to the contents of the INDIVIDUALITY than the particular activities In providing an education mind can add anything to the self.’ a child engages in as education for Deep Intelligence, and more important than the physical environment in which most activities take place, is the quality of the psychic environment. Education for Deep Intelligence cannot be delivered by mind energy, only by the energy of presence. The mind is a tremendously valuable tool for building, in the world of experience, manifestations designed in the depths of Being. But the value of mind is as a servant of our true self. Our mistake has been to identify self with the contents of the mind, and to think that adding to the contents of the mind can add anything to the self. When we

and prospers ourselves, others and the world through which we live.


Each young person has their own way of being, their own unique nature and expression of the universal. Each has their own life to live. The technology that is schooling is unable to nurture and draw forth that inner life. And in order to be able to sense, nurture and support this depth and uniqueness, parents and mentors need particular qualities and dispositions.

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for Deep Intelligence, parents and mentors allow each child to pursue interests which arise from their inner core, because those interests are not arbitrary things. Such interests are expressions of something within the young person and, when honoured, allow an unfolding of their life and unique expression of Being. This does not mean that a parent or mentor should allow a child to do absolutely whatever they want. If a child’s interest is in hitting somebody with a stick, to use a very simple and obvious example, a limit needs to be imposed. However, this is not an arbitrary imposition of authority, but an


An education that nurtures a child’s deep intelligence, is a deeper level of education than we are used to thinking about. In seeking to provide such a nurturing education, the ‘knowledge’ that a parent may or may not possess is of relatively little significance. They are preferably fairly accomplished in a wide variety of real life contexts and interactions, as distinct from school-based genres. But what is of much greater significance is a parent’s groundedness in Being. They do need to be relatively free of rigid patterns, definitions and systems. They must be reasonably reconciled to themselves and the world. Parents who can provide such an education are open and authentic, having done away, for the most part, with masks and roles. And consequently, they are capable of intimate connection, of tuning in to a child’s ‘wavelength’, and of evoking a positive response in them. In short, they are people who have substantially awakened their own Deep Intelligence. An important feature of education for Deep Intelligence is the substantial ‘space’ available for talk and listening, particularly between the child and their parent, and particularly as it arises in the context of doing something. Much valuable mentoring is done in such spontaneous focal episodes. To provide this level of education, a parent must be able and willing and have the time to listen deeply to a young person. Such a parent will have the inner resources to validate and honour the young individual, whoever they are, to sensitively encourage their uniqueness, gifts, enthusiasms and individual soul expression, and to inspire them. Such a quality of relationship and interaction cannot be nurtured and sustained in mass society. Education for Deep Intelligence cannot take place in institutionalised schooling,

Photos: Depositphotos

authentic and defensible limit, and these certainly have their place. The manner of the delivery of the prohibition is most important. It must not be a harsh, authoritarian or threatening “No”, which injures the young person. It must not be charged with negative emotion. It must be one that respects the person, but places a limit on their action. The two are not the same. A respectful “No” is accompanied by an explanation. This is important, because even a child not old enough to understand the explanation, can feel the energy of love and authenticity behind it, just as surely as they feel the negative emotion behind an authoritarian prohibition. Whenever practical, the explanation comes before the prohibition. This makes the prohibition less jarring to the child. It also allows the child to draw their own conclusion that the action is not okay, before the parent or mentor makes that point. More generally, in a truly nurturing education, a child needs sensitive and respectful guidance. They do need help in learning to distinguish and reject those thoughts, interests and impulses which arise from conditioning or a sense of self-asseparate. Ultimately, such guidance needs to consist of more than parental authority and power. It means helping the child to feel the difference between a sense of self-as-separate and a sense of self-as-connected-with-all-life. It means helping them to experience how the latter can inform choices and guide the former. Providing such help and guidance, in such a way that it is not rejected, requires something special of a parent or mentor.

where one adult has responsibility for a mass of students. It is a fundamental contradiction. Awakening and resonating with the depths of another person is inconsistent with having to deal with a mass of people. Universality and Deep Intelligence have their place in the dimension of depth, not of breadth. In an education for Deep Intelligence, the child engages in a wide variety of activities in a wide variety of social contexts and physical environments. At times they may be in a very large group, at a concert or a seminar, for example. At other times they may be on their own. In general, however, one adult can work with no more than a few children, and there must be plenty of opportunities for one-on-one interaction.


Never has there been a clearer understanding available of how human beings function well, and of the kinds of experiences, conditions and relationships which truly nurture such functioning. Of course, not everyone wishes to see it or to act on its implications. Certainly, governments cannot do it. But some of those parents who resonate with the picture I have painted in this four-part article may wish to do what they can to provide a more nurturing education for their child. There are many ways and opportunities for each of us to reeducate ourselves for Deep Intelligence. Any of us who wish to, can cultivate and embrace the sense of self-as-connected-withall-life, listen to the promptings arising from Being within, and raise and educate our children for a life of greater calm, strength and presence. After teaching in primary and secondary schools, Dr Andrew Seaton worked in school-based and district-based advisory and leadership capacities. He has been a university lecturer in education, and has done extensive consultancy work in educational change. Andrew’s Ph.D. thesis titled, ‘Investing in Intelligence: An Inquiry into Educational Paradigm Change’, was completed at Deakin University in 2005. His website is at www.andrewseaton.com.au


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~ To Dig or Not to Dig ~ THE HISTORY AND WHY

Origins of the no-dig garden are generally unclear but it was made popular by a lady in Australia named Ester Dean in the late 1970’s. The no-dig gardening method has now become very popular today amongst organic gardeners across the globe. No-dig gardens are ideal for areas where your soil type maybe poor draining (clay), too free draining (sandy) or even just too hard to dig (shale). Trust me starting a garden, as an adult on hard soil is difficult enough without being a little person eager to create his or her own patch of edible goodies. If you have your no-dig as a raised bed they are not only fantastic for children to reach easily but also great for the elderly, handicapped and anyone with a bad back, due to the ease in which one can access the top soil layer and plant, tend and harvest.


No-dig means just that, no digging and this can be achieved or completed by creating a traditional layered garden (lasagne garden), using one of the new corrugated iron style raised garden beds or even just using large containers such disused wheelbarrows and so on. Really you are only limited by your imagination. I suppose you could call all container growing no-dig. But that’s another article for a later date. You can even create a no-dig garden on concrete or pavers if you wish. It is basically where layers of organic material are placed on top of the soil rather than dug into it. They are sometimes called composting gardens which, is quite fitting as the mix of materials used are very similar to that of creating a successful compost heap. This mix of materials is basically nitrogen rich materials and carbon rich materials. For little people and big people alike these can be referred to as green and brown materials; much easier I think. The traditional no-dig garden is generally 2mx3m, any bigger and you and your children will have trouble reaching the centre to plant and harvest. What are green materials? Anything that is high in nitrogen such as: Lucerne, fresh green lawn clippings, old vegetable crops, manures, compost, blood bone, manure pelletised fertiliser, green leaves, green plant clippings and pruning’s.

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What are brown materials?

Anything that is high in carbon such as: Sugarcane, dry grass clippings, dried leaves, straw, dried prunings and twigs. N.B If any of the items you are using are dusty either use a white dust mask or wet them down before use.


You will need the following ingredients: 1. Wet newspaper 2. 3 bags of compost or manure 3. Organic manure pellets or organic blood and bone 4. Liquid seaweed or fish fertiliser 5. Seedlings of choice. Approx 6 punnets depending on what is chosen. 6. 3 lucerne bales + a mix of green materials: 7. 1 sugarcane bale + a mix of brown materials 8. Tools: garden fork, shovel, trowel, watering can, hose, gloves

Method: No Dig Garden

1. Lay down a thick layer of wet newspaper at least 6-10 sheets thick. Either on mown grass or a hard surface. Make sure that the sheets over lap, this will ensure no light gets through and that the grass and weeds below die. Then sprinkle with blood bone or manure pellets. 2. Now place layer of course brown materials such as dried leaves, fine twigs and dried plant clippings. This can help with drainage. 3. Now alternate layers of your green materials, lucerne, manure, green plant waste and compost. The greater your mix of green materials the better. Wet each layer as you go, but not so that it is sodden. Build up your layers to at least 50cm high, the higher the better. 4. Once all the materials are used, place a layer of sugarcane on top as mulch. This will prevent moisture loss and stop weeds from germinating. Now leave this for two weeks to settle down. Be aware that being a composting garden it will shrink down to about half its original height in this time period. 5. Planting – pull the sugarcane back and create small pockets within the lucerne and compost layers and fill with extra compost or potting mix. Plant your seedlings into these pockets and water in well with a seaweed solution. Pull your sugarcane back into place. 6. Once you have had your first successful crop all you have to do is repeat steps 3, 4 & 5. This will ensure the successful continuity of your no-dig garden. Here you will need to choose a reasonable size container as potato plants will grow to around 60-100cm high and will need space to spread their roots out and produce potato tubers.


Plant leafy crops such as, silverbeet, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, cucurbits and brassicas, eggplants, snowpeas, beans, tomatoes and capsicums. Potatoes do well also once the garden has been going for a while and the middle has composted down well.

Avoid planting root crops and seeds directly in newly created no-dig gardens. Wait a few seasons until a good, composted layer of lucerne has accumulated.

Remember this is a composting garden, so you will need to add more materials as the garden breaks down. I usually top up mine between crops and seasons.

Edging a traditional no-dig garden is recommended, as they can tend to spread out and lose shape as they break down. I use sugarcane bales as surrounds or you can use old phone books, bricks, pieces of untreated wood and so on. Fertilise weekly with a seaweed or fish liquid fertiliser for best results.

• •

Check your garden after the first week by checking to see whether the middle layer is warm and moist, if dry add more water, if it is cold add more green materials. To do this, pull the mulch layer back and check with your hand.

Children just love being involved in the creating of a lasagne layer garden. It’s easy to create and maintain and you can do it on a tight budget just resourcing green and brown waste from around your or your neighbours yard. It helps if you have a few chooks too as you can not only eat their eggs but collect their droppings and bedding for such gardening projects. Fab Idea: I actually plant into the top of my sugarcane bale surrounds and once they have broken down and the plants harvested I can use them as a brown material product in the top up process of the no-dig. Win win all round! Claire Bickle is a qualified Brisbane based horticulturalist, educator and writer, with 20 years experience. She holds a Diploma in Horticulture and an Advanced Permaculture Design Certificate. For more great gardening ideas check out www.plantlifebalance.com.au


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Book Reviews by Sharon Dowley

Children’s Books The Karate Tournament

Author: Patricia Merker Illustrator: Lauren Wilhelm Pick-a-Woo Woo Publishers $14.95

Perth publishing house Pick-a-Woo Woo has a penchant for positive, inspiring tales, and The Karate Tournament from US author, Patricia Merker, is no exception. This is the first of three titles in the Grand Master/Little Master series (followed by Sink or Swim and Love Has Many Faces), and it’s the perfect place for children to start the adventure. Eight-year old Haley awakens on the morning of her karate tournament full of butterflies - and unrestrained trepidation until her mother tempts her with a curious offer. Transforming into the voice of the Grand Master (who might speak to Haley in many guises) she challenges Haley to view the day as a game, suggesting that in order to shed her nerves and find composure, she must first give ‘calmness’ away. Amused by her mother’s behaviour, Haley attempts to rise to the challenge and in doing so surprises herself and learns a valuable lesson in cause and effect. It’s an engaging story, nicely illustrated with colourful drawings by Western Australian artist, Lauren Wilhelm. Merker was inspired to pen the series by her two children, after whom the stories’ protagonists are named. She first conceived the books as an interactive series, and each title includes a set of letters which parents are invited (if they wish) to interact with their own children: it’s about building communication, learning a valuable lesson and helping children become empowered individuals (the second book is about facing fears and the third about dealing with hostility). The Karate Tournament is an enjoyable read and the series, an affirmative journey for young minds.

Parenting Books Why Dad’s Leave Meryn G. Callander (with John W. Travis) Akasha Publications, 2012 US$19.95 Early into Meryn G Callander’s Why Dad’s Leave, the author quotes an American study estimating 30% of fathers in the US leave home within the first few years of parenthood. It’s a startling statistic and it’s

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one of the catalysts that spurred Callander (author, wellness expert and former social worker) to write this book with John W Travis, a doctor, initiator of the world’s first wellness centre (in California) and her professional and personal partner of over 30 years. Together they have a daughter. What Callander and Travis call the Dynamic of Disappearing Dads (DDD) is both the physical – and/or emotional - withdrawal of men from relationships after the birth of a child. They argue it’s the result of many factors – from societal demands to personal childhood experience, and in particular a lack of significant parental bonding as a child. This book looks at the ‘phenomenon’ of disappearing fathers in a wider discussion of parenthood and relationships post childbirth. Essentially it’s an examination of the role men play as fathers (and fathers to be), the role women play in relation to their partner’s fathering and the immediate and long-standing implications for children. Why Dad’s Leave is heavy on quotes from wellness experts yet it’s also a personal work at times, with the authors opening up about their own often difficult journey through marriage and parenthood. With most parenting literature directed at females, it’s certainly a unique angle and it’s a book that might be equally appreciated by both sexes. The authors suggest the book is best directed at those yet to become parents, at the same time acknowledging that those who have experienced the birth of a child, and child-rearing, are more likely to ‘get it’.

The Focused Child Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs The Focused Child Trust, 2012 $29.95 Yoga is a practice centred on ideals of focus, self-discipline, tolerance and stillness, qualities that, according to authors Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs, are ideally suited to the role of parenting. Subtitled How Yoga Can Help You Raise Happy, Healthy, Contented Children, this is not a guide to the physical practice of yoga, but rather a look at how the qualities inherent in yoga ‘as a lifestyle’ might help parents face the sometimes overwhelming demands of caring, nurturing and raising contented and well-adjusted children in our fast-paced and ever-changing society. The book is divided into sections dealing with self-esteem, emotional stability, children’s health and ‘a balanced perspective’. In between these broad headings it covers substantial ground, from creativity to conflict-resolution, toxic overload to media overload, self-discipline to spirituality and suggestions on dealing with a range of children’s issues including fear, anger and anxiety.


The authors intersperse their discussion with quotes from Vijayadev Yogendra, a Melbourne-based teacher of Patanjali’s Classical Yoga, with whom both authors trained. It’s clear the authors are dedicated yoga practitioners and they write with passion about the potential of the practice for parenting and personal experience. Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs are both parents, psychologists and yoga practitioners with over sixty years of experience between them. The book is easy to read and there’s worthwhile discussion applicable to various age groups, from toddlers to teens. While it will obviously appeal to those with an affinity for yoga, you don’t have to be a yoga devotee to take something away from The Focused Child.

Worrying about our children’s health, happiness and well-being is the prerogative of every mother, yet worries and anxieties are by no means restricted to adults. According to the Kids Helpline organisation, anxiety disorders (considered a serious mental health problem) affect not only one in four people, but they are one of the most common types of mental health issues for children. In response to her eldest son’s diagnosis with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) at just 5 years of age, Nicky Johnson took action. Johnston penned and illustrated a short story in which the protagonist, Bayden, overburdened by the monster, Mr Worrythoughts, also takes a stance. Sick and tired of feeling helpless, he unleashes his superpowers, unearths his positive thoughts and vanquishes the evil Mr Worrythoughts. From the first line, the book is positive and uplifting and it features expressive illustrations in pastel and pencil, also by the author. It’s inspiring to see a mum take such a proactive and creative stance to help her child overcome his fears. Johnston has since written a second book on a similar theme (and is working on a third), she has developed Parent/Teacher Resource Kits and helped promote awareness of mental health issues in young children at schools, conferences and support groups. She was awarded the “AusMumpreneur Making a Difference Award 2012”. And Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts! has been adapted into a professional theatrical production which is currently in its second year of touring primary schools in Victoria. Most surprisingly, according to the author, she been approached by parents all over the country who have used her story to help their own children deal with anxieties. Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts! is a modest tale but modest can sometimes make more than a little impression.

Photos: Depositphotos

Photos: Depositphotos

Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts! Author & Illustrator: Nicky Johnston Nicky’s Art Publishing, 2008; www.happyhero.com.au $16.95


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What’s on?

Where to go?

What do to?

A Little Bird told me: don’t get into a flap, we have a nest full of ideas and information for families.

www.alittlebird.com.au is a one-stop online resource full of

alittlebird.com.au alittlebirdkids

ideas, activities and things to do for kids and babies. Come fly with us as we build a community of happy, healthy parents and kids via our easy-to-use website and popular Facebook Page.

A Little Bird told us about some inspiring days out for parents and some fun to share with your kids. All around Australia, there’s loads of things happening to keep the little ones entertained. Australian Breastfeeding Association Seminar Series 2nd - 16th March (Live online 6th - 12th March) A national seminar series for health professionals, featuring top international and Australian speakers in seven locations across Australia and online. www.breastfeedingseminars.asn.au National Playgroup Week 18th -24th March Check out your State's Playgroup Association for fun events and activities celebrating the role of playgroups in aiding children's development and socialization. www.playgroupaustralia.com.au ROC Teens Workshops 23rd -24th March Creative Parenting specialist Claire Eaton offers ROC TEEN workshops for teens in all Australian capital cities, helping teens build their own Resilient, Optimistic and Confident (ROC) life. www.creativeparenting.co/roc-teen-workshop Neighbour Day 31st March Australia's annual celebration of community, aiming to encourage closer, friendlier relationships between neighbours and to strengthen communities. www.neighbourday.org

International Midwives Day 5th May Celebrate the importance of midwifery and give thanks to the midwives you know and that have helped you birth your bundles of joy! www.midwives.org.au Compost Awareness Week 6th - 11th May A week of activities, events, and publicity to improve awareness about the importance of this valuable organic resource. Get grubby in the garden with your kids and teach the importance of compost in helping the garden grow. www.compostweek.com.au/core

Mothers' Day Classic 12th May Happy Mothers' Day! If you're feeling active get running in the The Mothers' Day Classic - a national walk or run that raises money for breast cancer research. www.mothersdayclassic.org




Baby & Kids Market 28th April Pick up a bargain, or sell some preloved goods of your own at the Baby & Kids Market at Nathan on Brisbane's southside. www.babykidsmarket.com.au

Pinky McKay Baby Sleep & Toddler Tactics Seminars 26th & 27th April Best-selling author Pinky McKay presents two seminars to help parents with gentle and loving options for dealing with infant sleep issues and with active toddlers. www.pinkymckay.com

Pinky McKay Baby Sleep & Toddler Tactics Seminars 20th April Best-selling author, Pinky McKay presents two seminars to help parents with gentle and loving options for dealing with infant sleep issues and with active toddlers. www.pinkymckay.com

Lifestart Kayak for Kids 24th March Sydney's own oneof a kind paddling event, attracting competitors and spectators from all over the state to benefit children with a disability or developmental delay. www.kayakforkids.com.au

Community Street Party 7th April A great day out with a variety of delicious food and fun family entertainment planned in celebration of The Royal Victorian Eye and 150th anniversary of Ear Hospital's 150th. www.eyeandear.org.au




Easter Sunday at The Waterfront 30th March Free family entertainment, including art and craft, footy clinics, face-painting, water play and dancing. www.waterfront.nt.gov.au

Elimination Communication Workshop 20th April Interested in learning about Elimination Communication? Learn about this natural practice with a hands on interactive workshop which goes through theory and practice. Interested interstate participants can take part via Skype. www.gypsyfreelance.com

Elizabeth Handmade Market 19th April Showcasing a diverse range of quality, locally made handcrafts ranging from toys, papercraft, and home dĂŠcor items to clothing, jewellery, and accessories. www.elizabethhandmademarket.com

State Education Week 6th - 11th May This annual week-long celebration recognises the talent and achievements of students and teachers in state schools. Schools will be hosting their own events, including morning teas and open days, to special school parades and art shows. www.education.qld.gov.au/com munity/events/edweek

WESTERN AUSTRALIA Wear a Bear Day 24th May Show you care and wear a bear to raise much needed funds for the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. www.pmhfoundation.com Fremantle Street Arts Festival 30th March - 1st April Australia’s biggest street arts festival returns in full force to Fremantle this Easter long weekend. Performers from around the globe will invade the streets, turning them into over 10 stages to amuse, astound, and amaze the whole family. mathildasmarket.com.au

Come Out Festival 22nd - 31st May Emerging from the Adelaide Festival of Arts, the Come Out Festival is now Australia's premier arts event engaging children in high quality, professional arts experiences. www.comeoutfestival.com.au

Mathilda's Market 26th May A shopper's heaven for those who want to stylishly dress their children or decorate their kids' home environment, but don't want to buy mass produced, chain store items. Held at Launceston and Hobart. www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/festi vals/Street_Arts_Festival

Product Reviews: Thermo Chef $795

Imagine one appliance that can do virtually all of your food preparation and cooking in a fraction of the time? Healthy, preservative free food, made with ease! Well, I found it! The Thermo Chef is an all-in-one appliance that dices, chops, mixes, whips, grinds, mashes, minces, juices, blends, beats, heats, kneads, steams, boils and weighes food. I’m pretty sure it does even more than that too! And the great thing is that you are only dirtying one jug, not a host of knives, pots and pans. Whilst there is no end to the things you can make in a Thermo Chef, some examples that are so quick and easy are: winter soups, dips and salsa, doughs and batters, risotto, cocktails, sorbet as well as steaming a whole meal, inlcuding meat. However a word of warning: it may seem a little complicated when you first get it, but once you get the hang of it, you will be addicted! www.newwaveka.com.au

Goat’s Milk Soap $3.90

Looking for a healthy, natural alternative to clean yourself and your family? Well, I found a beautiful product made from goat’s milk and sustainable cold pressed vegetable oils and scented with pure essential oils. The smell of these soaps (I have lavender, rose geranium and patchouli) fills my bathroom. However, for those with highly sensitive skin (including psoriasis and eczema), there are unscented soaps too. One of the first things you will notice is the softness of the soap on your skin. That is becuase the soaps are ‘superfatted’ with organic coconut oil (meaning that more oil is used resulting in a soap that has a skin moisturising content, obtained through the free oil and natural glycerin). These would make the perfect gift for someone special as it comes beautifully wrapped in eco-friendly brown wrap with a lovely green string! www.grassrootsecostore.com.au

Medela Swing Maxi $449.00

Medela have released their ‘Swing Maxi’ double breastpump. I fount the double pump to be great as it allows you to be able to express one breast (if bub is on the other!) or both breasts at the one time (if at work or bub is sleeping!). This version has what they call ‘2-Phase Expression technology’. This essentially mimics a baby’s natural sucking behaviour. The first phase is called Stimulation mode, which is a fast pumping rhythm to stimulate the milk ejection reflex and to start the milk flowing. The second phase is called Expression mode, which is a slower pumping rhythm to express milk gently and efficiently. I know my baby does exactly that, so to mimic this in a machine is incredible. I found that this pump was also more comfortable for my shape than others that I have used. www.medela.com

Boxed Play

$65.00 for 10 activities Boxed play are activities, including materials and instructions, delivered to you. Many of the activities are simple but great fun. For example, I recieved the ‘Black Etching - Night Sky’ which included black etching paper and a scratch stick (which surprisingly draws wonderfully on the etching paper!). However, whilst the activity is great, the beauty of these prepared activities is the ‘Talking topics’ that are also included to encourage discussion (engagement and bonding) with your child. For example, one of the talking topics in the Night Sky states “When you think about the night sky, what is your favourite?”. Other features of each activity include songs to sing while doing the activity, books to read that follow on from the activity and extension activities ~ if you don’t want the fun to end! www.boxedplay.com

I’m Toy Oven $119.95

Who said toy kitchens are just for girls? Have a read of our article on page 55 and I’m sure many mums will be convinced their boys also would love to play with a toy kitchen! And what better way to equip a kitchen than with a high quality wooden oven! The oven is complete with four hot plates, turning knobs for the hot plates and the oven, opening oven door and slide out shelf! The imaginative play that can be had from this one piece alone is amazing! I can’t count the number of times William has placed things in and out of the oven! Not only does the oven look estheticially pleasing, it is also designed and produced from environmentally friendly materials and sustainable rubber wood. All materials are also child friendly. www.ecotoys.com.au

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Nurture Parenting Magazine - Issue #4  

Nurture ~ Australia's natural parenting magazine in print! Nurture is your destination for thought-provoking, evidence-based articles on the...

Nurture Parenting Magazine - Issue #4  

Nurture ~ Australia's natural parenting magazine in print! Nurture is your destination for thought-provoking, evidence-based articles on the...

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