As a mother of four children, having been raised by parents who were sadistically  abusive, I knew I  had no model by which to raise my sons.  Given the background I had, my boys have turned out joyfully,  miraculously well and happy and well-adjusted.  I had a LOT of help to accomplish that, the single most important thing I've ever done in my life, and I'd like to share some of those resources here.

Spring, 2008  Chris is now 27, helps run an ice cream shop, and creates all their exclusive ice cream flavors.   I may have the dads mixed up, but I believe the dog is Chris'. 

Ben is 25, graduated from Western Oregon University, with majors in Interpeting and Spanish.  He and his beautiful wife, Sara,  both live and teach in Rochester, NY, where they interpret for the Deaf at Rochester Institute for the Deaf.
David is 21, and lives with his beautiful girlfriend.  They are struggling college students, and love every minute of it.  They are awesome swing dancers, and spend a lot of time in their organic garden.

Joe came to me a few years ago, and said, "Mom, I've had a mom my whole life; now I'm becoming a man, and I need a dad, and I'm going to be spending more time with Dad.  I don't want you take it personal, k?"  So I had an empty nest four years early!  I'm a happy mom!  I treasure these young men like no other treasure on earth....and the fact that I could be the mom I have been is indeed a miracle, given the experience I had as a kid.  If I can do it, ANYONE can be an effective parent.

Though we have been divorced for over a decade, I also give due credit to the children's dad.  Richard Cavaletto has been supportive and given all he had as well,  allowing these boys to be raised in an environment that while he didn't understand, or often agree with, he supported.  Divorce is never easy for families, but I believe we have modeled that it doesn't have to be ugly, or make the children choose between or stretch to reach two families.

I started out reading, and I've never stopped.

First I read


Husband-Coached Childbirth : The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth -- by Robert A. Bradley, Ashley Montagu;

Nursing Your Baby by Karen Pryor

What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know: The Truth About Diet and Drugs in Pregnancy
by Gail Sforza Brewer

Family Bed -- by Tine Thevenin

The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost (Classics in Human Development) -- by Jean Liedloff

Magical Child -- by Joseph Chilton Pearce

Your Child's Self Esteem -- by Dorothy Corkille Briggs

Children: The Challenge -- by Rudolf Dreikurs

Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, Revised Second Edition: For Their Early Years - Raising Children Who Are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful -- by Jane Ed.D. Nelsen

Positive Discipline A-Z, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition: From Toddlers to Teens, 1001 Solutions to Everyday Parenting Problems -- by Jane Ed.D. Nelsen, et al

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too -- by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish

The Absorbent Mind -- by Maria Montessori

Play Therapy -- by Virginia M. Axline

Dibs in Search of Self -- by Virginia M. Axline

Sidetracked Home Executives(TM)
by Pam Young, Peggy Jones

Clutter's Last Stand: It's Time to De-Junk Your Life! -- by Don Aslett

Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types -- by David Keirsey, Marilyn Bates;

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to Respond -- by Patricia Evans;

Not everyone comes from an abusive background, AND if you do, ANYTHING by Alice Miller is important reading

The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self -- by Alice Miller; 

The Truth Will Set You Free: Overcoming Emotional Blindness and Finding Your True Adult Self -- by Alice Miller, Andrew Jenkins (Translator);

The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting -- by Alice Miller, Andrew Jenkins (Translator);

Dad & Boys - Christmas 2005