The Norm Letter #2
April 2012

Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.

- Leo Tolstoy

Hello everybody

So many messages came in thereís hardly room for them all. But Iíll try.

Hi Norm..... So glad to see the newsletter ! Your birthday present to all of us !!

Thank you. - Deborah

How did you know?

I think a two-way is brilliant and that you will be deluged with requests and comments, Norm... do you have time and energy to give to this now? You have a few challenges including the situation referred to as old age, I surmise. You are a tough old bastard, clearly, and it looks good on you. I appreciate so much any writing you have time to share.... Every time I find myself in a discussion regarding parenting or kids and adults together, I refer to several authors, and you are there.... the work goes on.... so glad to hear your voice again.... love from B.C.


You are back from teaching in Thailand, dear friend. Good to hear from you.

Hey Bro Norm,

I like your tenacity and perseverance related to "Parenting Without Punishing" and applaud the work you have put into the cause for children all these years.

The family as we know it, is disintegrating, or worse, has disintegrated, and one wonders if thre's any going back. Best not to go back if you look at our case! Of course, we 3 were victims of the worst kind of abuse ...

- Lila H

Thank you, sister Lila.

Hello Norm,

Glad to hear you are feeling better.


STOP Corporal Punishment in Schools

Right. We got half the States to ban CP in schools already, thanks to the indefatigable Jordan Riak ( and persistent childrenís advocates like him. It took only 40 years.

Dear Norm,

I have had a similar experience in raising 2 sons in the 60's as you did. I learned my democratic child-rearing techniques from Rudolph Dreikurs. I attended classes to learn from his book,"Children:the Challenge. I then taught the courses and practiced that beautiful lesson of RESPECT,RESPECT on my sons.

It is now 50 years later and MY experiment worked perfectly. I have one son with a Ph.D,was a professor and who has a wonderful family in Brisbane,Australia.

My other son not only has a Ph.D and was a professor... but then got a Law degree from Stanford and has a beautiful family. His eldest son is entering Harvard in the fall. Yes,it works! And then it passes down to the next generation! As violence passes down does a family atmosphere based on respect, as you know!

Since the 60's I have voraciously and obsessively studied ever scrap of info about child abuse specifically and what causes human behavior in general.I have read Jordan Riak's website for many years getting reference sites on this most important subject.

I am so glad to hear about you and your work to give parents a plan to follow after they give up the horrendous traditional punitive methods. I have personally concluded after 50 years of study that this form of parenting and religious-based "discipline" is responsible for most of the "EVIL" in the world.

So, here is my e-mail address and name. It is easy for me to think that no one else in the world understands this basic concept of treating children like one would like to be treated. I am so glad that I have now found another concerned person. Future generations need exposure to this tradition-rejecting new way of treating our most vulnerable children. Thank you for caring to do this work.

Barbara T

It is not often, rarely, actually, to hear from someone who has tumbled on to the Truth of childrearing without punishing. Iím delighted to hear from you, Barbara, and we need to hear more of your story. Like, how did you happen to find Dreikurs? I had not read him, nor Adler. It was A. S. Neill who showed me that it is best to throw out punishment, and John Holt who said toss out praise as well, and go with trust and respect. That was 1961.

Isabelle: Welcome Back Norm! Still enjoy your letter. Something to share:

I recommend: Sharon Salzburg's Book: The Force of Kindness

Sharon teaches meditation in the Buddhist tradition and a favorite excerpt from this book is :

"When we are dedicated to the development of kindness, we are no longer forcing ourselves into a mold we think we have to occupy; rather it becomes a movement of the heart so deep and subtle that it is like a movement of the sea close to the ocean floor, all but hidden but affecting absolutely everything that happens above. That--is the force of kindness."

Sharon has much to teach us, profound wisdom to guide us if we will only do the practice. I read her in the Shambhala Sun magazine. Good to hear from you, Isabelle

Leslie W

I tried to teach my child with books.
He gave me only puzzled looks.
I tried to teach my child with words.
They passed him by often unheard.
Despairingly, I turned aside.
"How shall I teach this child?" I cried.
Into my hand he put the key
"Come," he said, "play with me."

- Unknown

Beautiful! Thank you. I say to young mothers, "It is not yours to teach. It is the child who teaches, if you can only learn it. THEY are the experts on children and childhood.

Dear Norm,

I just discovered your website and am very interested in it. We have never spanked but sometimes do get a bit anxious when we just don't know what to do about certain things. It's sad to say but when you don't spank, bribe, punish, reward, criticize, insult or threaten... sometimes you just don't know what to do!

I would like to receive The Norm Report, please, and would also like to know if your book is published so that I can get a copy of it. I really appreciate you giving it out for free (I believe that is the best way to make a change in the world!) but it is much easier for me to read if I have it in book format. If it's not possible I'll definitely print it out :).

Thank you for everything,


"Parenting Without Punishing" is out of print, but is posted on my website, , available for downloading and printing without charge.

You donít know what to do? You have to jettison the idea that you need to teach the child. Almost all misbehavior is caused by the parents, and most all punishment is for normal child behavior. We grownups donít know enuf to stop issuing orders, better we should watch and learn. The child is born full of wisdom, as we once were, but were layered over with the parent/school/church/society conditioning in what we "should" be. The child is the expert on children and childrearing. It is ours to set aside our self-importance. - Norm

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