My husband and I lived variously in Canada, France and West Africa. Shortly before having our first child, we had to choose where to settle. We decided on Canada because it’s a comparatively child-friendly nation. We were able to make choices for our boys around their births, healthcare, schooling and extracurricular activities that would have been impossible in France. The critical, independent choices I made for my violent son would also have been impossible there.
One significant issue was the freedom to homeschool. The ‘mainstreaming’ of homeschooling in North America was a great gift to us. It allows me to make sure my son is academically in tandem with his peers while we work on his developmental issues. I never wanted to homeschool, but schools present too many roadblocks set up by administrators, teachers and peers for a developmentally struggling child.
I’m grateful that I was able to choose a homeschooling organization (http://selfdesign.org/) registered within our provincial ministry of education. Far from isolating us, our enrollment and participation required a public school student number and the fulfillment of all the requirements of any public school student. Homeschooling massacred us financially, but would you rather struggle financially or have a child in prison by age seventeen? Having children means hard choices.
A supportive and open society is crucial to all of us raising kids without community and family support systems. North America’s information systems are a gift to all contemporary parents. We have the greatest opportunity of any generation, and of any other place on the globe, to learn daily from the newest research on every discipline almost instantly. There’s never been a better time to raise children and to do the best by them.
I have worked in writing, editing and publishing. I reported and photographed as an on-staff journalist (and won a national award) in the Canadian Arctic; and was associate editor for specialty medical journals at a Montreal medical publisher. I’ve had two Harlequin novellas published in two different anthologies (US and UK) in multiple languages.
Illustrations and acrylic-on-canvas portrait are my original works.
My reading list and resources:
The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene, PhD (Harper, 1998-2010) and his nonprofit website http://www.livesinthebalance.org/ — Reading his theory that these kids are developmentally behind altered the entire trajectory of my son’s life.
Debunking ADHD: 10 Reasons to Stop Drugging Kids for Acting Like Kids by M.W. Corrigan (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014)
Healing ADD by Daniel G. Amen, MD (Berkley, 2013)
Hold On To Your Kids by G. Neufeld, PhD & G. Mate, MD (Vintage Canada, 2005)
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, PhD (Fireside, 1998)
Superparenting for ADD by E.M. Hallowell, MD & P. Jensen, MD (Ballantine, 2010)
What to do When Your Temper Flares by Dawn Heubner, PhD (Magination, 2008)
Boy-specific (sorry, I can’t vouch for girl-specific resources):
Raising Cain by D. Kindlon, PhD & M. Thompson, PhD (Ballantine, 2000)
Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax, MD, PhD (Basic, 2009)
I also refer to a host of books on psychiatry, spirituality, stress reduction, wellness, eating for body & brain health, and general psychology for parenting my child[ren].