It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker

“Bold. Unconventional. And downright useful! Through science, stories, and her Renegade Rules, Shumaker beautifully shows us why letting kids be kids may be the single most important thing we can do as parents.”
—Anthony T. DeBenedet, MD, coauthor The Art of Roughhousing
It's Okay Not To Share by Heather Shumaker
From raising mini-Francophiles to banning sleepovers, parenting trends come and go, but there are certain tenets that persist as fundamental rules of American child rearing: no kicking, hitting, or saying ‘I hate you’; insist on saying ‘sorry’; and always, always stress the importance of sharing.
Heather Shumaker’s It’s OK Not to Share (Tarcher/Penguin paperback, August 2nd), flips all of these traditional notions upside down and presents a bold new set of rules based on one simple idea: let kids be kids.
Too often, Shumaker says, we forget that our kids’ brains don’t yet work like ours do. When they’re forced to hand over a toy before they’re ready, they don’t learn important lessons about generosity; they simply feel cheated out of a toy.
In It’s OK Not to Share, Shumaker teaches adults to ‘take off their adult lenses’ and address issues of morality with more child-friendly methods. Her ‘Renegade Rules’ include: Let Kids Express Their Anger By Hitting and Kicking

  • “I Hate You” is Nothing Personal
  • Allow Kids to Choose (and Reject) Playmates
  • Toy Guns Are OK
  • Let Them Swear
  • Sex Ed Starts in Preschool
  • Boys Can Wear Tutus

Off the cuff, these rules can be jarring. She’s saying my kid can do what?? She’s crazy! However, each is backed up with evidence from pediatricians, child psychologists, and teachers (as well as Shumaker’s own experience as a parent) that put it all in perspective. Just as forcing kids to share won’t make them generous, banning toy guns won’t teach them nonviolence, and avoiding angry feelings won’t put them in a better mood.
At their core, each of the Renegade Rules is about teaching love, compassion and self-expression—and about accepting that our children aren’t perfect; and that’s OK.
It’s OK Not to Share is a manifesto for a dynamic new way of looking at parenting and discipline.
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Tarcher/Penguin; On-sale: August 2, 2012
Trade Paper 15.95/ISBN 978-1-58542-936-3