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P4P Posts & News - Parenting for Peace | Marcy Axness, PhD

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So sorry — my blog feed has a fever and is taking a rest. I hope it’s back soon!

Meanwhile, you can access my recent blog posts here.

P4P Useful News

For Beauty

Sometimes even the most beautiful thing can make us a little sad, like this brilliant photographer's series "Removed." He cut out the phones from the images, leaving emptiness that seems far greater than merely the space where the smartphones used to be. It is so interesting to read the comments about this! It isn't his (or my) intention to shame phone addicts (I'm somewhat one myself; most of us are!), but to shine an interesting light on our own behavior, with the intention of striving to grow. That is what P4P is all about! (And yes, I had an item in the Summer issue about the handheld device conundrum.)

View set to music in Facebook (where the comments thread is fascinating) here.

For those w/o Facebook (do you exist, lol?!), view w/o music at the photographer's website here.

For Health

Do you know how early your child's reading readiness begins developing? Key brain circuitry for reading is wiring up long before you may think! Infant development specialist Eliza Parker shares the importance of CRAWLING on hands and knees for healthy brain development, and issues this gentle caution: "Some babies crawl with one knee and one foot or scoot on their bottom. These babies very wisely found a solution for getting around! However, these options can actually indicate that they’re having difficulty finding both hands and both knees (there are many possible reasons why this can happen). So, they can miss out on some of the benefits of crawling." Like Dr. Selznick above, she advises parents to listen to your gut if you're feeling that your baby is missing out on key milestones. Article

For Knowledge

I was recently enchanted by a video from (the not-typically-enchanting) Business Insider. It features Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of Spanx, recounting what her father used to do around the dinner table that was a key contributor to her success.

Some commenters object to the term "failure," but I don't think our deepest emotional selves care about being PC and we all succumb at times to feeling like we've failed. What do we do with that makes all the difference! School in particular is ripe with the experience of failure, and this wise dad had a fun, loving way to help his kids re-frame and embrace "failure" in a way that nurtured their willingness to try new things, to embark on challenging projects. See what you think… and if you come up with your own spin, I'd love to hear about it!! Business Insider's video (on FB)

For Beauty

In my book and in my teaching I highlight the importance of beauty in daily life, particularly for the young child whose senses and worldview are still forming. I recently stumbled this enchanting image of peonies, one of my favorite flowers. Writes the artist, Thomas Darnell:

“Like love, beauty can be very powerful and therefore subversive and transformative in a healing and nurturing way.

“We habitually take care of our physical selves on a daily basis but often ignore our psychological, spiritual and emotional health. My work takes ephemeral beauty and makes it more accessible for longer. While darkness, fear and pessimism are an integral part of our world, creative arts can lift us to our higher selves and remind us that life is worth living.” Gaze & enjoy!

For Health

We’ve probably all heard some version of this cautionary tale as an urban legend, but here is direct experience by one of my Facebook friends. Yup, it really happened!! Chiropractor Jennifer Lovdahl writes,

“It’s been 6 years since I bought this ‘Happy Meal’ at McDonald’s. It’s been sitting at our office this whole time and has not rotted, molded, or decomposed at all!!! It smells only of cardboard. We did this experiment to show our patients how unhealthy this ‘food’ is. Especially for our growing children!! There are so many chemicals in this food! Choose real food! Apples, bananas, carrots, celery….those are real fast food.”

One of the comments points out, “The receipt has disintegrated more than the food!!” Indeed.

For Knowledge

This isn’t a breezy, bullet-pointed listicle, but it is SO important, and (yes, I’m a research wonk) truly fascinating. It’s worth your reading effort. A study published in an important psychiatry journal shows that “good but distracted” parental attention (like the kind that may happen with a smartphone around) may have detrimental effects on babies’ development, especially their ability to process pleasure.

Yes, the study was done with rats and their offspring, but keep in mind that some of our most important brain science discoveries have come about this way. The researchers set up a rat equivalent of cell distractions for the mother rats, then watched how the babies developed into maturity.  The scientists themselves were shocked at what they discovered. Curious?? Read on…

Of Ants and Men

Beginning with his rural childhood in Alabama, the life & work of famed biologist E.O. Wilson is the subject of this award-winning PBS program that is wonderful for the whole family. So many aspects of this lovingly crafted work made my soul rise and my heart swell. Viewer comments: “…remarkable insights into why we are here, how we are interconnected, and why we should care, especially for the earth and all her creatures–both great and small.” “…most exciting film I’ve ever seen on PBS. It changed my life and outlook. I feel like I belong and everything makes sense now. God bless the most wonderful Ed Wilson. He has accomplished much to inspire civilization to evolve in a loving and practical way that makes sense.” Buy here or watch free (w/ ads) here.

Roots of Peace

Do you anguish about how peace will ever take root in the Middle East? Do your heart a favor and watch this 3-minute video about Ein Bustan (which means “Spring in the Garden), an NGO whose mission is social change through education. What they are doing in their school is what Parenting For Peace is all about: nurturing & educating a generation for whom peace is the familiar, the natural, the sought-out path!

In families with school-age children, charitable giving and/or volunteering can be a wonderful part of the holidays. Might your family make a donation to support this kind of work during this season of peace? Read about / give directly to Ein Bustan here; or support the peace education efforts of ReGeneration here.

An Aha! on Screens

For me, one of the best gifts is clarity — insight or information that lets me understand something in a new, clearer way. Screens, devices, and video games persist as one of the stickiest points in parenting life, with tons of conflicting opinions and research muddying up the issue. So Michael Mendizza’s recent Touch the Future post on the topic hit me like a wall of Oh-my-gosh-YES!  He points out that just as BPAs (the bad stuff in plastic) disrupt health by mimicking our natural hormones, “screens are dead but mimic living systems. Compared to a living face the same face on a screen is sensory deprivation, containing a distorted fraction of the information and meaning of the living system it mimics. The more we interact with the dead counterfeit the less attuned, sensitive and empathic we are when relating with a real face.”

A Gift of Expression

“This was my hallway last Wednesday.

Broken.  Sharp. Treacherous.

This was my hallway.

It was my son who did this.

Sometimes, often really, things break – irreparably.  And it takes your breath away … straight away.

So begins Kathleen Fleming’s gorgeous, brief essay on meeting anger. It is raw and ragged, lays the truth out bare.

Writing like this makes my heart swell with gratitude. That someone is willing and able to express feelings, impulses, with such eloquence makes me thankful. Read more…

Baked Apple Roses

If I were going to be here for Thanksgiving, this is the dessert I would make.

Heck, I’m going to pick up the ingredients on the way home from LAX and make them as a welcome-home treat anyway!

These are enchanting, and — like many recipes I pass along to you — involve several simple steps that are easy to involve your children in.

And there’s a YouTube easy-peezy visual guide — what could be simpler?!

I’m pretty sure that whomever posted the link on Facebook mentioned that they carry the right kind of puff pastry sheets at Trader Joe’s. How does it get any better than that??!

Beautiful Baked Apple Roses

A Living World

In the course of my 3-day class in Rio, I’ll be sharing the handful of concepts I have encountered over my 25 years of research (7, to be exact) that stand out as key, enduring principles that can guide and illuminate us in life.

#3 of these ideas is that Life is alive, dynamic, reciprocal and responsive. One of the most memorable, life-changing things I’ve ever read is this interview with Cleve Backster about his discoveries of just how alive everything around us is.

It ran 18 years ago in The Sun, which was my favorite magazine back when I had time for such things as leisurely, literary reading. I’m grateful that The Sun is magnanimous enough to maintain open archives online. Give it a read. I promise you won’t be disappointed. The Sun

Dear Holiday Gifts

If you’ve been with me awhile, you know my devotion to BEAUTY and SIMPLICITY. I teach them as key criteria in many things — including choosing your child’s toys. And in turn, a key criteria for beauty is, What is it made of? So one of my favorite sources for beautiful play-things is A Toy Garden. Your child will find nurturance in the sensations of natural fibers and hand-honed wood. Sure, you may pay a bit more than at Walmart, so I invite you to trade quantity for quality in holiday gifts. They carry many precious, small items as well as furniture pieces. A child’s table & chairs set or play kitchen will serve for years, and likely become a family heirloom. They need to be ordered early, which is why I’m running this now!! A Toy Garden

My Cell Myself??

“One teacher observed that the students ‘sit in the dining hall and look at their phones. When they share things together, what they are sharing is what is on their phones.’ Is this the new conversation? If so, it is not doing the work of the old conversation. The old conversation taught empathy. These students seem to understand each other less.” — from a New York Times piece, “Stop Googling. Talk to Me.” It points out that our phones are “psychologically potent devices that change not just what we do but who we are.” It will be decades before we truly know exactly what kinds of changes, so let’s not have your kids be guinea pigs in the meanwhile, eh? P4P is all about fostering your child’s social & emotional intelligence, so my strong advice is to begin early having strong boundaries like “no screens at the table.” One dad’s way

Kid-Friendly Eats

Not only are these easy, delish & freeze great (for easy meal later), but I love how you can get the kids involved in making them — which is often a secret way to get them to later eat them! A child’s small hands are perfect for hollowing out the peppers and an older child can measure and mix the herbs & spices… stir up the mixture… and even young ones can help spoon it in. I sub ground turkey and brown rice, and like to add some toasted pine nuts. I think yellow & orange peppers have the smoothest flavor. I sprinkle the final cheese on top at the end and put the entire crock under the oven broiler for 3 min. so it browns. Not gonna lie, I was truly skeptical of this, but am always game to find a new crockpot dish, and I was so surprised — these are YUMMY!! Recipe

Screen Struggles?

On pg. 323 of Parenting for Peace I quote a mom who never imagined that 18 years into parenting — and dealing with serious decisions on things as daycare, learning disabilities, the dangers of teen sex and drugs, etc. —  she’d write an article confessing that “struggling with screens” had been her most persistently challenging parenting issue of all. (And that was back in the quaint 80’s when it was mainly just TV and video games.) If you can relate, check out this savvy idea from a 21st century mom dealing with exponentially more screens. Her aikido-esque approach flips the struggle into an opportunity for a child’s self-regulation & responsibility. “How I Limited Screen Time By Offering My Kids Unlimited Screen Time”

Early Education: A Perennial Puzzle

Though play-based early education may be ever harder to find, it’s worth the treasure hunt. This according to new report Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose: “Teacher-led instruction in kindy has almost entirely replaced the active, play-based, experiential learning that we know children need. … When children have educational experiences that are not geared to their developmental level or in tune with their learning needs and cultures, it can cause them great harm, including feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and confusion.” Washington Post article | My related  DrGreene.com guest blog, “The Importance of Playing, Puttering and Pretending,” which has been shared by over 17K readers — clearly, this strikes a chord!

Are You Covered?

At a particular time in my life, Suze Orman felt like a lifeline. Her fierce devotion to women’s financial empowerment is legendary, and she makes resources & tools available to everyone. She recently wrote something I want to share with you, because it intersects with my work empowering you to be the most confident, easeful parent possible: Do you have an adequate life insurance policy? Suze writes, “There is no way you can tell me you love your kids more than anything if you don’t have life insurance. That’s not just some odd disconnect. It is dangerous. And it’s your kids’ future you are putting in danger.” She then walks you through the surprisingly simple points of understanding & remedying the situation. Get the info from Suze

Pregnant Fathers?

When a couple announces that they are having a baby, the role of the mother is tightly defined. Her family, friends, co-workers and even strangers treat her in an unambiguous fashion: she is doted on, showered with attention (sometimes to her dismay), and regarded in a way that emphasizes her mother-to-be status. Her partner, on the other hand, has no designated, well-choreographed role to play. He is usually left to stumble along his path to fatherhood with little direction, or acknowledgment of his own internal processes. Though it is rare for a father to be considered pregnant along with his partner, why should he not be given this consideration and status?  Read more

On Being a Father

“I have said for years that women are changelings; they morph into different creatures at different ages and stages, while guys are more like golden retrievers. Toss the ball and they chase it. Becoming a mother is one of these dramatic morphing events and the role of a father is to adapt and adapt again, like a fireman with a net ready to catch, hold, applaud and encourage. You can’t do that clinging to whatever it was you thought you needed. Pass me another Bud. When Carly is screaming and my wife is at her end, can I be that fireman with a net or do I scream the loudest? Can you imagine a greater spiritual practice, meditation or Samurai training?”

–Michael Mendizza

Read Michael’s essay

Summer Salmon

My daughter will be visiting next month and has already requested this longtime summer family favorite: Poached Salmon & Potato Salad w/ Fresh Herb Sauce. I still have the aging news-print recipe I first cut out of the LA Times in July of 2000! I was thrilled to be able to find it online for you. I have since stopped eating tofu, but I make an exception for this, cuz I don’t want to mess with perfection. (Believe me, nobody will know it’s in there.) I opt for the mayo over sour cream, and be careful w/ the garlic — 2 cloves can make it pretty intense. The sauce recipe makes enough to double the salad recipe, and it is delish — enjoy!!

Recipe (you have to register, but it’s worth it)

Speaky Motherese?

You know, “baby talk”? Our RIE teacher taught that not only did we not need to use baby-talk, but that it was a subtle form of disrespect to do so. (It conveyed, “I don’t trust that you will attend to me if I use a normal speaking voice.” ) Research has been done on so-called “motherese” and the results can be a little confusing (like so much parenting “guidance” out there, right??). Yes, it’s been found that babies seem to more readily attend to (prefer?) the exaggerated pitch contours and slower speech of motherese; and some language-learning gains have been documented through motherese. But the gains are marginal and filled with what we call “confounding variables.” Good Slate piece on it

I Never Knew: How Mother’s Day Began

Poet Muriel Rukeyser said that the world is made of stories, not atoms. And I was amazed to discover this story about the beginnings of Mother’s Day. From its ancient roots as “Mothering Sunday” to its modern form… what an eye-opener! Particularly (and poignantly) how the founder of the modern observance, Anna Marie Jarvis, ended up devoting her life to trying to repeal the holdiay. She was particularly outraged at the growing greeting card business capitalizing on Mother’s Day, when the original spirit of the day was for quiet reflection and hand-written letters of appreciation written for mothers. See why I may be buying carnations for future Mother’s Days! Video (3 min)

Mighty Women

It is soul-nourishment for children to hear stories of people who have done great things. Especially around the milestone nine-year-change, this reassurance about what has been accomplished, what forces can be mastered, helps children to be able to trust Life. A Mighty Girl, the “world’s largest collection of books, toys, and movies for smart, confident and courageous girls,” has just released Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science and the World. A fairly advanced read (i.e., parents, help), I think this would make great story & chat fare for school-age children & tweens of both sexes! Book at Amazon (you can “Look inside”)

Connection Basics

I first learned about the wonderful Circle of Security program at a breakout session of the fantastic APPPAH conference Myrna Martin put on in gorgeous little Nelson, BC, in 2008. I thought, “This is brilliant!!” And it is. Circle of Security is a program that helps parents really GET in a practical (rather than just theoretical) way how attachment works. It gives them tools to strengthen and enrich the connection between them and their children. The invitation to notice which is more challenging — when your child is “Moving Out” or “Coming Back” — brought a BIG new ah-hah moment for me! If you have 4 minutes to spare, here’s pretty much all you need to know on the subject!!  Video | COS site

Presence Nurtures

I’m happy to have authored the lead article in the current issue of “Empowering Birth” magazine, whose theme is NURTURE. My article is a primer on presence — being fully engaged “right here, right now” with your body, your thoughts, your feelings. Of the seven principles that form the foundation of Parenting for Peace, presence is #1. I particularly focus here on ways to nurture yourself with presence during pregnancy, as you prepare yourself for birth and parenthood. I share the pages of this issue with some wonderful other authors, including the incredible Dr. Sarah Buckley w/ the latest on ultrasound concerns.

Nurture Begins in the Womb

Pioneers in the field of prenatal and birth psychology have been declaring for several decades that a baby’s experiences in the womb have lifelong effects. Though not on the front lines like David Chamberlain or Thomas Verny, I myself have been lobbying at least 20 years for this awareness. The idea has not always been enthusiatically received, to put it mildly! Well, 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer observed that all truths pass through 3 stages: 1) they are ridiculed; 2) they are violently opposed; 3) they are finally accepted as being self-evident. Would an enthusiastic piece on fetal origins count as “accepted as being self-evident?” 🙂 “Great Expectations” in The Economist

The Love Men Need

Harvard just released the results of its 75-year long (!!) study of what men need to lead happy lives. They considered a HUGE array of variables (inc. certain anatomical measurements, ahem). It is fascinating to see the different effects of a “warm relationship” with mother and with father (and how the lack of it plays out in life). Pretty amazing, how the study’s director sums up the findings: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points to a straightforward five-word conclusion: Happiness is love. Full stop.”  Read about the study

Love Your Heart

February isn’t just the month for hearts on oh-so-expensive cards, but also for the heart beating in your chest. In the spirit of American Heart Month, here are two yummy recipes with oatmeal, considered one of the most heart-healthy foods you can eat!

Loving = Learning

“Why do people get married? Because we find someone who wants to be a student of us. And why do people get unmarried? Because over time the students become teachers and everyone’s teaching but no one’s learning, and we forget how to attend to each other.” So begins this piece by Kelly Flanagan, who suggests, “When we are constantly encouraged to attend to the shiny surface of things and to move on when we get a little bored, making our life a meditation upon the person we love is a revolutionary act.” Key to a Loving Marriage: Less is More

Standing for Health

After reading that even strenuous workouts cannot compensate for the damage incurred by prolonged daily sitting, I was inspired to create a DIY better-than-treadmill desk: a stepper at the kitchen bar with my laptop perched on an inverted mixing bowl. (I’m not kidding!) A Time magazine reporter reports a similar story at the end of this article about how sitting is the new smoking! (If you’ve got wee ones, you can ignore this; you’re on the run always, lol.) The key is reversing gravity, often. Time article Mercola article

Nighttime Reading?

It used to be one of my most delicious delights, crawling into bed with a book or magazine and reading till my eyes droop. I confess that in the past year I’ve slipped into the less wholesome habit of scrolling through the Facebook feed on my phone instead. New research reveals that looking at light-emitting screens before bed can wreak all kinds of havoc with your health. At the very least, get a blue-light filter to enable on your device at night — I did!    Read (not at night!)

Screen Alternatives

Concern over TV’s effects on children seems quaint, now that television is just one of many screens beguiling our kids. Aside from TV’s known negative effects on cognitive & intellectual skills, the jury is still WAY out on how these instant entertainment devices influence a young brain’s developing capacities for social intelligence skills like self-regulation, self-reflection and imagination (i.e., peace, joy and innovation). So here are a few engaging alternative activities for the little ones! Ideas

Enchanting Toys

A Toy Garden has long been one of my favorite sources for open-ended, natural, creative gifts for kids of all ages. An important aspect of things we give our children which is often overlooked… is their beauty. Everything here is beautiful! In an era when it can be hard to find items made of wood and other natural materials, this is a treasure trove.  Visit

Enchanting Book

One nice tradition is to add a new children’s holiday book to the family collection each year. One of our family’s favorites was Night Tree by Eve Bunting. (Though publlished in 1994, when Eve was 3, it is still available!) This story of one family’s unusual Christmas tradition celebrates nature, family connection, creative gifting, and a meaningful spirit of the holidays. See

Not Enchanting, But Important

Parents, here’s a tough one requiring all your critical AND intuitive powers. This vaccine was brand new when my daughter was a teen, and there was far less information available. Interesting about different countries allowing for open discourse on the matter. Have you had to make this decision yet?  “Merck’s Former Doctor Predicts that Gardasil will Become the Greatest Medical Scandal of All Time”

Threats to Marriage

Take a look at # 9 on this list — about the “Next Shiny Object” syndrome and how it impacts how we are able to be in relationship. This is just one more reason (taking the long view of envisioning your child’s success in marriage) to invite wonder, simplicity, and even [gasp] boredom into your child’s life. The author writes, “When we are constantly encouraged to attend to the shiny surface of things and to move on when we get a little bored, making our life a meditation upon the person we love is a revolutionary act.” More

Simplicity Primers

What we put our attention on increases. This isn’t just fuzzy power of attraction stuff, this is also Brain Function 101: when we tune our attention in a certain way, either positively or negatively, we initiate a flow of biochemicals that carve brain pathways for more neurons to travel down that same (positive or negative) pathway in the next minute, hour, day, year. Here are four gems from my “Simplicity Series” — tiny little articles that serve as a primer on practical ways to use the 7 P4P principles to tune your positive attention. Go

Paleo Pumpkin Bars

As a confirmed sugar-holic, I’m always looking for healthy ways to feel like I’m having a treat. These are a-maz-ing! I made them on a weekend when I was off all sugar cold turkey, and these were incredibly satisfying. I accidentally got a can of (organic, natch) sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin, and they were so good I’m sticking with my “mistake”! The 2nd time I made them I used grapeseed oil in place of melted coconut oil (since I didn’t care for how it “congeals” when it hits the cold batter). Let me save you from that: use the coconut oil! Try ’em

Skin-to-Skin Miracle

One of my favorite people in the world of birth eduation is Nils Bergman. Born in Sweden, raised in Zimbabwe, now in South Africa, this public health physician and neonatal researcher urges, “If EVERY baby (full term or prem) could get skin – to – skin contact at birth, and be left on mum’s chest for the first few hours of life, we would not create so many problems caused by the stress of separation from mum. If the baby is premature then add technology, but with the baby in her SAFE place, on mother’s chest!” Here’s an enchanting 5-min. YouTube w/ Nils

Egg & Sperm Care

If you know me or my book, you know “parenting before conception” has been my song for quite some time. And this isn’t about guilt, blame, or self-loathing… it’s about compassionate insight and the empowerment that comes with knowledge! Scientists say there is now “overwhelming evidence” that poor health can be recorded in a father’s sperm or a mother’s eggs. Drinking, smoking or eating badly can put a baby’s health at risk years before it is conceived, though the biggest impact is in the three months before conception. Read more

Kale-Quinoa Yum

A mom on one of my coaching calls wanted ideas for feeding a picky eater. One of my tips was to make something that looks & feels like a food he likes, but that has 1 or 2 new healthy ingredients in it. I gave these as an example for her (they resemble potato pancakes), and was intrigued enough to try them myself. Omg, they are SO delicious — warm or cold! And unlike many recipes, this one actually comes out looking just like the photo. (And I have never been a quinoa fan… till now!) Recipe says they freeze well, too. Try ’em out

Kids Not Talkin’?

The writer of this blog post writes, “This year Simon is in 4th grade and Grace is in 1st grade and I find myself asking them every day after school, ‘So how was school today?’. And every day I get an answer like ‘fine’ or ‘good’ which doesn’t tell me a whole lot. AND I WANT TO KNOW A WHOLE LOT!!!!” If this feels familiar, try her great list! (There’s also one linked for teens.) I wish I’d either been this clever or had her list 10 years ago! If you don’t yet have school age children, bookmark it. Time flies. Read the list

Sleep-Trained Babies’ Stress

So timely in light of the newborn sleep brewhaha, therapist and Parenting for a Peaceful World author Robin Grille reminds us of a bottom line to be aware of when looking at this study on “controlled crying”: “What this research does not tell you is that when cortisol levels remain high, the cortisol can begin to destroy neurons in the emotional-regulation regions of the child’s brain. Controlled crying… risks reducing brain matter in the areas related to emotional intelligence.” The study

I’m A Proud Mama

I rarely use this platform as a blatant bragging op, but here I go: my son Ian returned Sunday from 10 days in Abu Dhabi, where he was music director for a production at the NYU campus there. I had been hearing a bit about it — rehearsals went on most the summer — and yet when I found this little news item in an online publication by NYUAD students, I was touched to read about the mission and vision of the show, and that it was first created in response to 2 NYU suicides in 2003. My boy**, doing good work! (**Alum of Oberlin, not NYU as reported.)  Story

Just for Grins

When I was pregnant the first time, a friend gave me this piece of advice: don’t start with the kiddie music too soon or you’ll go nuts. Baby can like YOUR music. Ian’s early favs were Joe Cocker, Tracy Chapman and (don’t judge) Paula Abdul. With my current knowledge, I’d say that’s cool within reason (no big slammin’ bass) while they are babies, but once they’re more verbal, it’s what I call “adultifying.” That caveat out of the way, this baby’s obvious (and now viral) adoration of Katy Perry is just…FUN to see! Watch

Bedtime Peace

One of my all-time favorite nighttime books for young children is The Midnight Farm. It meets my criteria: human and animal forms done beautifully (in the breathtaking illustrations) and soothing, rhythmical text. Wonderful for a child afraid of the dark. This book was “born” soon after my son, but only a couple weeks ago I learned something new and fascinating about it. If you’re curious, read the 3rd customer review here and my comment to it to clarify the mystery!

Jim Carrey…Guru?

Falls right in line with the summer fun theme of this issue to include the very funny Jim Carrey (who is a devoted dad and for a moment awhile back was an autism awareness advocate with girlfriend Jenny McCarthy). But this isn’t him yukking it up. This is straight-up wise sh**, as he might put it. This video blends gorgeous images and music with excerpts of a commencement address Carrey recently gave. A taste: “So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.” Hear more

A Purrrfect Idea

Let me make one thing clear: I’m usually agnostic on the subject of videos featuring cats. BUT… this 19 seconds of video is worth 10,000 words in expressing a profound and powerful teaching: how to respond when a little one (or ANYONE) for whatever reason is not able to regulate his or her own inner state (of fear, frustration, anxiety, etc.) Sometimes we do it literally, physically, like this mom, and sometimes we envelope them figuratively with our calm, loving assurance. Watch

We ARE Energy

The young child “feeds on our consciousness” — and the graphic in this article is very effective at getting us to think about just what are we feeding our kids. The article highlights new research (published in the prestigious journal Nature) showing that plants can draw energy from other plants, and extrapolates how this probably works at the human level as well. This is just one more reason why mindfulness practice is so helpful in every way for parents! Read up here

Graphic Blog Post

You’ve heard of graphic novels (VERY cool) — well, along comes a graphic blog post, natch. And hallelujah, it’s written (drawn?) for parents of toddlers, who may be too bleary-eyed to read text. Enchanting, and oh so true! Take a look

33 Genious Hacks…

…”guaranteed to make a parent’s life easier”! From playtime to snack time to child safety innovations. Some of these really are kinda brilliant. Even though some seem almost useless (to me, at least), I’m sharing this with you because I always appreciate discovering innovations I’ve never imagined. I suggest using #28 rather than an iPad if you want to build your child’s brain and imagination. And #13 is straight-up amazing — who knew??!  Check ’em out!

For the Funny of It!

Sometimes it’s refreshing to read something that isn’t designed to educate you, enlighten you, or evolve you — but quite simply to make you laugh. I’ve gotta admit, I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. Maybe it’s my weird sense of humor, but it could work for you, too. (I discovered this while reading a different article about notable logo revamps of 2013, interesting if you follow trends in graphic design.) But the funny “logo fails” of 2012 are here.

7 Habits for Happy

Most of us are familiar with (at least the concept of) “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” made famous by Stephen Covey. Here’s a recent list of 7 daily choices made by highly happy people. (And happy people ARE effective!) Science tells us we have control over about 12% of the factors that can increase our happiness, and this list is shown by research to get the most bang for that little bit. (I’m solid on 6 of them — how about you?) Read the list here.

What R We Missing?

In our multi-screened, portable device world, the scene of 3 friends sitting “together” all staring down at their iPhones has becoming disturbingly normal. But it must not feel quite right, which is likely why Gary Turk’s brilliant 5-minute YouTube film on the subject has gone viral: over 37 million views in less than 3 weeks! “Look Up” envisions a glimpse of parallel lives, with and without the ubiquitous hand-held screens. Great to pass on to your older kids! Watch the film

Loving in the Dark

Since May is National Mental Health Month, I’m including this excellent blog post, 10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression. As the daughter of a bipolar mother, I’ve wrestled with depression, though (knock wood) it has not visited me for some time. Depression can be hard on a partner, who may struggle to know how to reach us or love us. For me, #5 and #8 would have been so helpful. How about you? I’d love to hear which of these speaks to you! Read

Empowered Birth in Los Angeles

“Empowered Birth” is Step Four of the seven steps in Parenting for Peace, so how awesome that my pal Diane Speier is coming from across the pond to present her new Birth Empowerment Workshop! A weekend intensive, June 21/22 at The Sanctuary in WLA. It doesn’t replace but complements other childbirth classes, by focusing on the emotional and spiritual dimensions of preparing for birth and parenthood.
Info & registration

Teaching Apology

We have all witnessed it countless times — and we’ve probably even done it ourselves: the painful, awkward “apology demand”! You know, it goes something like, “You need to tell your sister you’re sorry for knocking over her play-house.” Or whatever it is. Here is a simple, helpful apology format that really gets to the heart of the matter! Great for kids over 7, and for younger ones, we can model this for them to imitate…later! Read more

Carseat Recall

Evenflo Company is voluntarily recalling more than 1.3 million child safety seat buckles due to the risk a child might not be able to be removed quickly in an emergency. The recall applies to select models sold between 2011 and 2014. The models in question are crashworthy, and can continue to be used to transport your child safely, if you are not experiencing difficulty unlatching the buckle. Find more details,  information & instructions here.

Solid Gold Insights

My bar is very high when it comes to parent guidance and education. Not gonna lie — I’m way picky! Janet Lansbury is one of the best, imho. She is a RIE teacher in Los Angeles and has a very loyal following, for good reason. Check out her blog articles, which offer wise practical guidance, beautifully expressed. From “3 Stories That Could Change the Way You Parent” to “Cutting the Cutesy with Our Kids” I find her stuff wonderful! Check it out…

Birth Art Café

Art, dance, poetry, song — all wonderful ways to bring awareness to subtler dimensions of your new experiences of pregnancy, birth and motherhood. Tamara Donn (of Woman to Mother in the U.K.) developed the Birth Art Café process, in which new and expecting moms gather to explore and share their experiences through drawing, painting, and sculpture. Here’s a lovely 5-min. video on this most extraordinary offering I wish every new mother could have access to!

Angry Too Much?

Do you find yourself wishing you could be angry less and loving more? The tools offered by NVC (Nonviolent Communication) help us train ourselves to frame our thinking in terms of unmet needs and the feelings they trigger—which tends to open hearts and minds—rather than in terms of blame or judgments, which shut down openhearted connectedness. Build your emotional vocabulary with the feelings inventory. NVC can truly enrich your life.

Against the tide…?

A big part of Parenting for Peace is recognizing how today’s culture exerts tremendous pressure on well-meaning parents to make choices that simply aren’t good for kids, or for our human family. Parenting for a Peaceful World author (and pal of mine) Robin Grille offers encouraging thoughts on cultural resistance to the attachment message. (Though he’s addressing care professionals, it’s so helpful and relevant for parents, too!)

Take Your Child’s Temperament

A MUST-READ!!  Wise parents realize they need to demonstrate love and guidance differently to their choleric child than to their melancholic — if there is to be peace in their home and success in their future. Vivid descriptions & case stories draw the reader into a fluid, friendly understanding of this ancient system for seeing ourselves and our children with clarity & compassion.

A Key to Fertility

I am thrilled to once again be back in the pages of Pathways to Family Wellness, an outstanding magazine about making informed choices for family wellness. My piece in the current Special Birth Issue (with articles from such key writers as Sarah Buckley, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Jennifer Margulis to name a few) is “The Mind- Body Connection in Fertility & Pregnancy.” Go to the eMagazine article

P4P on iTunes!

I feel like I’ve really made it now — I’m available on iTunes! “Good Life Academy” founders Siggie Cohen and Hayuta Cohen engaged me in a casual, fun and free- wheeling podcast conversation. We covered a lot of ground: some funny frustrations moms face, the tech screens that vie for our attention, how to talk (and not talk) to children, and lots more. Listen (It’s 1st in the list of the podcasts)

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