Friday, February 6, 2009

Concrete Things You Can Do to Support Parents and Children in your Scene

1- Give Children Attention. Say something to them: just be your true self, whatever you are thinking, they are open to that. Children act better when they get attention. In the beginning of a meeting if a group gives the children some attention, they are often happier and better behaved for the rest of the meeting.

2- Develop childcare as an ongoing relationship with a child – it takes some time to get to know a child before they are comfortable with doing stuff with you away from their parents.

3- Offer a slot of time, to spend time with a child on a weekly basis

4- Integrate children and adults: it’s more pleasant to watch children with other adults to talk to; it’s more pleasant for the children to see adults enjoying each other and not feel a burden to them.

5- Include children in the planning of any activity, like a sewing workshop for instance.

6- Doing something child-friendly? Ask a kid if they want to come along. (Lizxnn has been taking Siu Loong for critical mass rides for three years and she loves it.) Children can benefit from activities their parents don’t do and parents can benefit from the time to themselves.

7- If a baby is crying because it needs to be held and the parent has their hands busy and can not hold it; offer to hold the baby.

8- If a child is making a disturbance in an area, offer to go outside with the kid so the parent doesn’t have to leave the event.

9- Meet parents at their level: come visit them at home or where ever their spaces are. Let parents talk about being parents: realize having a child is like having the most intense love affair you have ever known (says one parent. Another says – not.)

10- Acknowledge children: don’t treat them like they are invisible

11- To announce that we are OK with children making noise (at meetings we wish to make parent-w/small children-friendly), we can talk over them, and value mothers and children sticking around. The announcement can help put mothers at ease.

12- Give us a smile!

ALSO - When providing child care at political events (and every event should have child care!)

13- Visit the children and childcare providers in daycare – and say “Hi!” Childcare providers can feel isolated from others at the event. Have a cup of tea with them! (suggested by Siu Loong, age 5)

14- Parents with different aged children have different needs. Parents with younger children or children who aren’t comfortable leaving their side yet would benefit from childcare that was off to a side of the same room or more central to the main events. Parents with older and more independent children benefit from having them in a different room or floor. Either way, childcare must be assessable.

15- Parents need to give more input to the day-care providers, about their and their children’s needs during the planning of the event, in order for the childcare provider to better assist them. At least tell them you are coming and the age of your child/ren.

16- It’s comforting for parents to know childcare is available, even if they don’t use it

AND - Contemplate

17- How much work/consuming being a parent is: 24/7; in the beginning years it’s hard to even think straight: one is still adjusting to being a parent and young children’s needs are very intensive

18- That radical parents don’t fit in at mainstream places, like their children’s schools - so when they go to an anarchist gathering and don’t feel supported by their own culture – how bad that feels.

- - -
These suggestions are from the “Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Anarcha-feminism & Supporting Mothers and Children” workshop at La Revolta! To get a copy of the 22 page workshop handout: you can download it from: or send a dollar to Vikki Law P.O. Box 20388 NY NY 10009 or China Martens P.O. Box 4803 Baltimore MD 21211 USA

we are always looking for more suggestions to add to the list or whole new lists! get in touch! <3

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind--a call for submissions

Extended Call for Submissions:

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: a Handbook for Radical Parenting Allies

New deadline: August 31, 2009!

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind is a book geared toward the non-parent radical community about how to be an ally to the parent(s) in their midst.

This book is going to be a collection of some of the best minds out there. We're looking for activists, allies, and radical parents to submit the most kicking stuff to make this the best book ever for getting down to business: let's make a better world WITHOUT leaving out the mamas (and papas, partners, child-care providers) and children this time!

We are extending the deadline!! We realize that each place we go, we meet more people, hear their experiences, and are referred to even more people whose actions, thoughts and stories we should include. We realize that it is better to take the time for the project to evolve and grow before putting together a book.

Thus, we are restructuring our goals and deadlines while we keep learning, teaching and networking with this exciting work. We do not have a final deadline for the book, but will continue compiling our submissions into a half-yearly zine series.

That said—we have a new and exciting zine available for three dollars (see the post below for more details). We plan to do another “work in progress” zine—to share more of our submissions as the project evolves-- this summer. The deadline for submissions is July 1st, 2009.

We want to know how you do support children and their caretakers in your collectives, organizations or communities. We are especially interested in experiences that also take into account factors such as race, class, gender, single parenthood, and/or mental health issues.

Word limit is from one sentence suggestions to 5.000 word essays.

Deadline for Zine #3: July. 1, 2009

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind--zine #2 now available!!

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind--work-in-progress zine #2

While amassing submissions for the handbook Don't Leave Your Friends Behind, co-editor China and I have made a work-in-progress zine of several contributions.

Zine #2 is 31 full-sized pages of stories, experiences and suggestions by both radical parents and their allies on building family-friendly movements, including:

*how theories on early childhood development support our arguments for anti-authoritarian parenting!

*organizing childcare at LadyFest Baltimore!

*providing childcare for children with special needs

*2 stories of parenting in collective households

*a children's crusade in Cambridge

*lessons learned from the mothers & children of the zapatista communities

Send $3 ($5 for two copies--you can give one to the ally in your life!) to:

V. Law
PO Box 20388
Tompkins Square Station
NY, NY 10009

(or e-mail us to get a pdf of the zine for mass-distribution in your community)

Let's keep spreading childcare goodness to the masses!!