Four Moms: Negativity; Books; the ‘S’ Word; Ezzos and Parenting Books; Vaccines; More

4moms35kids-1Raising Olives last posted on managing with only littles. It’s a keeper.
Life in a Shoe has a great post on drama, space, and Bible translations.
Smockity shares her most popular ‘how-to’ posts.

Q. What do you do for ear-aches?

Mullein, and a goldenseal and garlic oil mix, a few drops. If I don’t have that, or sometimes in addition, I bake half an onion until it’s softish and smells really good. Don’t burn her with it, but as soon as she can stand the heat, hold the half onion against her sore ear, like a compress.

Then we eat something, because all those good smells make us hungry.

With all the measles outbreaks, aren’t you worried about the fact that you did not vaccinate your kids?


Okay- whether to vax or not is a decision I think every set of parents really has to make for themselves, and it’s one of the hardest parenting decisions out there.  I don’t blame those who vax, and I don’t think I’m a superior person because in the end, we quit (our oldest two we vaxxed, the third we started slowing down and following our own schedule, which meant she didn’t get any after about 8 months, the youngest lot received nary a one, except tetanus).

More about the recent outbreak and why it has nothing to do with us not vaxxing  here.
Dr. Tenpenny on measles:
Why is there such HYSTERIA over measles? It is a rash, fever and desquamation of skin on hands and soles after 10 days, signaling the end of the infection and the resultant lifetime immunity. Doctors in the 1940s (the last THINKING doctors, IMO), wrote many articles about how important a measles infection was to long term health and vitality.

Now, we act like measles somehow equates to DEATH. Nearly every adult over 50years of age had measles as a child. Parents need to read a little about measles…and ask YOUR parents about the time they had measles. Get a grip on the unfounded fear of this virus!!

What do you say when people bring up questions about socialization and homeschooling?

My brother, who is a homeschooling dad, says, “Well, I was very socially awkward, and I was public schooled. I think it’s the child’s natural bent, not the product of the place where he was schooled. Don’t you know any socially awkward adults who were public schooled?”

Here’s why his approach works really well- he ends with a question. Quite often when I hear somebody say something negative about homeschoolers and socialization I find it both extremely helpful, and sometimes hilariously funny, to ask them, “What do you mean by socialization?” The one who asks the questions controls the conversation.

Sometimes, they actually do not know. That’s when I am amused. Sometimes they don’t mean what you assume they mean, and then you can have a productive conversation. And sometimes it is an opportunity to use the line I learned from the first homeschooler I ever spoke to when I asked her the dreaded S question, ‘but what about socialization?’

She said, “If you wanted your kid to learn Spanish, would you stick him in a room with twenty other kids who do not know Spanish and expect the kids to learn Spanish from each other? Why do we suppose children learn socialization best from other unsocialized kids?”

I don’t feel like we did a lot of outside activities, and my seven kids are a mix of socially awkward and socially adept. And all of them were exclusively homeschooled except for preschool for three of them, and Kindergarten for one of them. Of the three who did preschool, one had a full school year of it, 3 days a week, one of them only had preschool for three months, and I believe JennyAnyDots was only in preschool about six months before we got her.

Here’s something else I have observed- sometimes what people view as socially awkward or ‘immature’ is merely the public school lens they use. My older kids were viewed as socially immature by a lot of public school teachers at the church we attended because they:
objected to their age-mates goofing off and interrupting Bible classes with irrelevant nonsense
were not familiar with pop culture, but did know who Mozart was
were not embarrassed to be seen with their parents or to be affectionate with their parents
weren’t interested in ‘crushes’
didn’t dress slutty
their modest clothing was seen as immature.
See ‘Growing Up Brash,” and Sheltering and Weird Homeschoolers.

I know you’ve said you don’t like the Ezzo’s books. Can you explain why?

I think their flaws when it comes to advising what to do with breastfed infants are widely enough known I don’t have to go into it, but I dislike their advice for babies so strongly (I think they are actively damaging to infants, both physically and emotionally), that I hide their books when I come across them in thrift stores.

Their advice for older children may be less damaging, but I still don’t much care for them.  I read GKGW, but it was several years ago (at least 15 years). I don’t remember specific details to support why it did not sit right with me. In general,I disliked the arrogance of them calling their method ‘God’s Way.’ It struck me that it appealed to and fostered selfishness on the part of the adults,and the Ezzos seemed to me to see parenting through an ‘us’ vs’ them’ lens, that the relationship between parents and kids was approached primarily through an adversarial viewpoint.

As far as details to support my points- I can’t recall any.  I reall only remember one specific thing from the book now, and I don’t think it was actually my biggest objection, it’s just silly enough for me to remember it. I liked that they stressed that the husband/wife relationship is first, and that you will actually make your child feel more secure if both of you are on the same page and so forth. But what I did not like at all was a silly, artificial, gimmicky way they suggested you ‘train’ your children to understand that your spouse comes before them – when dad comes home from work the kids are not allowed to rush to greet him and hug on him, but have to sit elsewhere (the floor? the couch?) across the room while mom and dad sit next to each other and chat a few minutes to emphasize that the kids are second class citizens in their own homes.

Obviously, that’s not how they put it, but that is how it struck me- I did not like the artificiality of it, and to me their method didn’t convey a healthy “Mom and dad love each other and are one” message, but an us against them, ‘you lot are second class citizens here’ message.  And you know, my husband LOVED being rushed by his kids when he got home from work.  He thrives on it, it feeds and nourished his heart, it built him up, it made him feel good, and it filled that hole in his heart he had from being abandoned by his own parents as a baby and a toddler (Mom left when he was an infant, and His dad kept him ’til he was about 18 mos or so).  Why would we follow the Ezzo’s advice and deny my husband that special time he adored?

So what do you recommend?

First, you have to have some confidence in your own authority as a Mom, and the fact that you ARE the parent.  And you have to have a lot of love and affection (these are not two things- they have to go together- authority/love; love/authority).

Next, you need common sense.  As my friend Cindy Rollins has said, almost any parenting approach works when combined with basic practical, common sense and almost no method works for a ninny.  So don’t be a ninny.

Furthermore:   Each of us has has to pick out the seeds we don’t like and accept the meat we do like, and that will be different for each of us based on our backgrounds, personalities, and where we are at that moment in our lives and parenting. I loved Dr. Dobson’s Dare to Discipline the first time I read it, when I had a very defiant 3 year old who said things to me like, “Don’t touch me. I will knock your head off,” and, because of my own background, I was very confused about the distinction between spanking and abuse. But I doubt I would love it so much if I reread it today, at least, that’s what the Equuschick tells me.

I really liked another series we had that some people might consider a little overstrict. However,  it was actually exactly what I needed to hear at the time that I heard it, because, after five or six years of infertility, I was so amazed and delighted at the fact that we actually had another child that by the time Pip was two, I was well on my way to spoiling her rotten- nothing she did, no matter how naughty, ever made me think anything but “Awwww, oh my goodness, she is so totally adorable.” I *needed* to hear some firm and strict advice as a wake up call so I could separate my utterly besotted love for my child from her actual behavior, which was, frankly,  pretty obnoxious at times. I needed, at that moment, to be reminded that she was being disobedient and disobedience, backtalk, sass, dishonesty, and sneakiness are not charming traits, no matter how charmed I am by the wee toddler who is engaging in every one of those unpleasant behaviors.  At yet another state in my parenting life, I benefited from being reminded more of grace and mercy.

Children also go through their own developmental stages, and what is appropriate for dealing with a 2 year old isn’t what works best with a teen, and sometimes, what worked well with my girls didn’t work at all with my son, who is more action oriented than word oriented.

The best parenting book of all, of course, is Proverbs, and Hebrews chapters 11 and 12 is pretty useful, as well.

“Discipline,” it is important to remember, comes from the word disciple.  And while I believe it is unarguable that it sometimes must include unpleasant consequences and even punishment, that’s far from all it entails.  And I think this is a pretty good litmus test for whether a method is truly universally applicable, or limited by time, culture, money, etc.

Recommend some good books?

Such an open ended question.  I posted a pretty good collection of free downloads here.

I have some really fun and interesting free books for armchair travelers here.


  • Wondering if any of you moms had a child that when going anywhere is always excited to go and has just the worst time? Be it Sunday school, outings with grandma, anything- my 6 year old daughter focuses on the negative and says she had a terrible time. Not sure why she is like this or how to help her. Thanks!!!!

It seems to me that the same methods we use to treat a Cinderella complex might be effective here.
Sometimes with a child who is negative, we ask them to stop and name three good things for every complaint. Negativity can just be a bad habit, and you get rid of bad habits by replacing them good habits. Which is, of course, easily said, but not so easily done.

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  1. Vi
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    Ah, the great socialization question. Even as a homeschool grad of several years I STILL get variations on that question. One of the rudest ones I’ve heard on that theme is “Did you have any friends?” Why thank you for just implying that no one would want to be around me unless forced to by the public school system! Another gem is “But you are too normal to have been homeschooled!” I usually deflect it back at them and ask why they think homeschoolers are weird and inevitably it comes back to some homeschooler they knew who was “different”, probably in the same way your kids are different and I and my siblings are different. That last one always makes me laugh because I always think that most of the, ahem, unsocialized homeschoolers I know would never think of being so rude as to blurt out something like that.

  2. Headmistress, zookeeper
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    One of the funniest assumptions we met with was when the HG was in Uni. She was her professors’ favorite student in nearly all of her classes. One history prof in particular had her back in his office for extra discussions on a regular basis. He loaned her books, complimented her writing and thinking, suggested future courses to her, wanted her to do grad work- and after about six months of this, he learned she was homeschooled. He got this blank, stunned look on his face, and then sort of stuttered something like, “So, did your parents ever let you, you know, think independently?”


  3. Elizabeth S
    Posted September 21, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you about Ezzo. Thank you for being bold enough to say that.

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