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

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,037 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Parenting can be such an overwhelming job that it’s easy to lose track of where you stand on some of the more controversial subjects at the playground (What if my kid likes to rough house—isn’t this ok as long as no one gets hurt? And what if my kid just doesn’t feel like sharing?). In this inspiring and enlightening book, Heather Shumaker describes her quest to nail down ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by TarcherPerigee (first published August 2012)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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 ·  1,037 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Adele Stratton
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Best handbook for parents of preschoolers. Ever.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all parents
Parenting books are always going to be a mixed bag and people are going to read those that seem to support their ideals, creating a kind of echo chamber. I try to avoid this by reading books that rely heavily on scientific studies rather than on "well everyone knows that you're supposed to...." sort of reasoning.

Shumaker does a relatively good job of referencing the studies she uses to support her work, though I would have liked a stronger bibliography or more source citation. She also tends to
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Terrific book. Parents should always build their own parenting styles and practices on belief and practice--a parent who feel rock-solid comfortable with their own ideas will make their kids feel comfortable, too, knowing that mom and dad stand for something, have some non-negotiables. So--I wouldn't advise anyone to use this as a manual.

With that said, the book is full of different ways to look at common practices ("Say you're sorry!") and can serve as a spur to re-thinking some of the things y
Chris Norbury
Most of one’s success in life is based on using plain, simple common sense. Most of one’s success raising children should be based on common sense too. Ms. Shumaker's book drips with common sense on every page. Her main premise is instead of trying to raise our children to become mini-adults, we should use common sense to understand the why's of their behaviors, and then raise them to become the best children they can be, with appropriate challenges and success at each stage of their development ...more
Charly Troff (ReaderTurnedWriter)
Reread 2021: Having read a lot more parenting books now, this is no longer my favorite, but it's still a really good one. It was the first that introduced me to this type of parenting, which I love. I strive to be this kind of mom. I don't agree with everything in the book, but I love the principles it is based on (like the idea that kids have rights we as parents need to support or that kids can learn to set their own boundaries with our help).

Original read 2017: If you are a parent, read this
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenthood
Some of it I love, some of it I will not incorporate into our life. Some of the chapters were not convincing at all even while relying on child development specialists to make her point. While I wouldn't say No to weapon play, I would also not buy my child a toy gun. Just as I wouldn't buy an American girl doll. It is important for me, being the one who buys the toys, that I am supporting what I believe is a good company, a good kind of toy etc.

I loved the overall themes of letting children pla
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am loving this book! I wish all parents would read it!
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
There's a lot about this book that I really admire: the emphasis on protecting play, encouraging kids to work out their own social relationships, and empowering adults to parent how they'd like. I like 99% of the research she journalistically cites (although I wish she had proper endnotes or footnotes) and a lot of researchers feel like old friends.

The book focuses on the preschool years, and the progressive preschool where Shumaker went (and where her mom still teaches) is the ideal. There's de
Sam Martin
Jul 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
All-time favorite parenting book. I wish everyone would read this - even people whose only interaction with children is a wave on the sidewalk. If all children were allowed to navigate childhood with this level of understanding from adults, the whole world would be changed for the better.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I really liked the fresh perspective this book took on parenting, and I intend to utilize several strategies I found here. In many ways, some of these ideas were a huge relief. My son was Montessori schooled through kindergarten, and it was mostly a good fit for him (not, unfortunately, for my daughter), but one thing my husband and I still laugh about to this day is how seriously the teachers took roughhousing and how we were even instructed to eliminate it at our house. My husband's evening wr ...more
Rebecca Reid
When I first saw it in the Netgalley catalog, I was startled by the title It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker (Tarcher, 2012). Not share? Isn’t that the first thing we teach our babies during play dates? I was delighted by some of the concepts in this parenting book, not because I agreed with it all, but because it opened my mind to different ways to approach teaching my children about relationships, compassion, and deali ...more
Overrated Parenting
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
I reviewed off a free advance reader copy from the bookstore where I used to work.

This book is all about the free play philosophy of child-raising. Basically, the book (and philosophy) maintains that children learn a host of invaluable interpersonal skills through self-directed play with minimal adult intervention. I found the book completely eye-opening. Of course, the book is written for typically-developing, mainstream children, but I still found so many things that were applicable to my high
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book didn't really offer me much in the way of new information, but I can agree with most of the information she shared.

*I prefer her solution to sharing to the RIE solution, however, both solutions make more sense for a daycare where none of the toys belong to any of the children rather than moms-at-home with their babies having play dates. I think Super Parents Super Children might have the best solution for moms.*

What drove me insane about this book is that the author is inconsistent and
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I can recommend this book to any parent or care giver. It's especially geared for younger (say the under 5 y/o crowd) child, which is a pivotal time in child development.

The content of the book fits my overall parenting philosophy of allowing a child to develop and learn, and this book matches my weaknesses (I'm less versed in social-emotional areas). I found the ideas novel yet sensible, and before I was done reading the book, I had already tested out a few of the ideas (with success).

I gave it
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
A friend recommended this, and I'm glad I read it. So sensible! Some of her recommendations I'd have a really hard time implementing, but it was a great reminder to remember where kids are developmentally and not expect too much too soon. If they're not hurting people or property, it's going to be OK! Kids desperately need play to learn. She offers suggestions for helping kids to work towards dealing with conflict on their own, and good reminders for parents to look to the feelings underneath be ...more
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wish I'd had this book when my oldest was about two. A fantastic, common-sense resource full of wonderful advice for parents. I love that, unlike other resources, it actually gives you things to and not to say. ...more
Anna Schubert
Clear, thoughtful, well written. A bit repetitive, but honestly, that's helpful when you're working on changing verbal parenting patterns. ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Readers of “Peaceful Parent, Happy Child” and “How to Talk so Kids will Listen” will find a lot of familiar territory in this book as far as acknowledging emotions, conflict resolution, and enabling confident, self-assured kids.

The parts I found the most helpful were how to coach kids sentence by sentence through peer conflict and asserting one’s desires while still being kind. I think sometimes people assume kids figure out interpersonal relationships on their own but at least in my preschoole
Taylor Kundel-Gower
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mama-stuff
I have gained a lot of practical tools from reading this book. For one, we are much more lenient on roughhousing now. We have also ditched forced sharing in most situations and allow our kids long turns. It has stopped a lot of fighting and resentment. This book gives me a really simple way to gauge my kids’ behavior; are they hurting someone (physically or emotionally)? Are they destroying property? No? Then don’t sweat it, even if their behavior isn’t meeting each and every adult expectation o ...more
Sarah Casady
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Nothing that a typical peaceful parenting / emotional intelligence book won't tell you. Each chapter was incredibly repetitive and went over the same exact idea for far too long. the ideas are all very basic peaceful parenting concepts - essentially have your child learn how to control themselves rather than control them. I'd recommend Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids over this book for someone interested in peaceful parenting. ...more
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: babies
One of the best and more transformative parenting books I have read! I deliberately read it slowly over 9 months, reading one chapter at a time and trying to implement that I had learned. Having my toddler dictate his big feelings to me and writing them in letter form. Encouraging by boys to work problems out between each other and set their own boundaries. Encouraging roughhousing and physical play. Letting them take as long a turn as they want, and then they gladly give away that toy when they ...more
Bonnie Luttkus
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While I didn't agree with everything in this book, I definitely appreciated the gentle and practical approaches to many parenting issues. With scientific and child development backing, it gave a lot of great insight into how little brains work. The best part was the extremely practical examples given in each chapter. ...more
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent and super practical book with specific calls to action (phrases to use, ideas to try, etc) at each chapters end.

I found these topics extremely useful: mediating conflict, emotion coaching, sharing people and toys, sex education.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Some helpful ideas and reminders, but a lot of goofy junk too. I was looking for a book to help with fights between siblings close in age - this was not it.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
My favorite parenting book so far. I do have a caveat, but I can't decide if it's big enough to knock off a star. Review later. ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all parents
I would love to be a "renegade mom" and follow the precepts of this book. Unfortunately, my youngest is already beyond the age this book is geared towards (2-5 year olds). If I ever get my hands on grandchildren, I will definitely implement these ideas.

The only real rule for renegade preschools is something my dad always used to say to us: "You can do that as long as you're not bugging anyone." This book says: "If it's not hurting people or property, it's OK." The other parts of the book explai
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Wow, this took me even longer to get through than I had thought, based on the start date that I had logged here. That's more because of the format rather than the content--this book is organized so that each chapter examines different aspects of the "renegade rule" and then goes through suggested wordings or actions in different scenarios with toddlers. So I think it'll be very useful as a reference, but I would have liked there to just be one summarizing essay at the front that went through eac ...more
Tamara Cassinat
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has a lot of good advice and approaches to parenting that I agree with. A lot I won't be able to apply until kids are older but that's OK. A great reference for later on ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So glad Sham bought this for my birthday so that have it as a reference. So many takeaways and will definitely be rereading. Each chapter has very practical sections at the end of things to say and to avoid saying, as well as invaluable "out and about" suggestions.

For now, I especially loved:
* taking dictation from your tot (writing letters, making signs -- using their exact words)
* sections on creativity and praise (observe, don't judge)
* kids don't have to say sorry (explaining; are you ok?; g
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
loved this book. there were definitely some techniques in here that totally helped me help my daughter through her twos. my god, i would take any help i could get. most everything in this book makes sense to me and helps me meet my kid's needs without having unnecessary battles. i love the communication stuff. it's a quick and easy read, which doesn't explain why it took me 3 months to get thru it, but with a toddler and a baby that's actually pretty fast.

i've used the advice and philosophy in
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Heather Shumaker writes books for children and adults. She began writing books in elementary school and is now an award-winning author of several books for adults. The Griffins of Castle Cary is her first book for children.

Before she became an author, Heather tried many jobs, including: milk maid, sailor, llama trek guide and fire crew. She also lived at the South Pole and sorted garbage and recyc

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