Parenting Books Review

Welp, I broke down and read a bunch of parenting books.  I'd been trying to get the "cliff's notes" versions of techniques via Google for the past 3 years- but it just wasn't cutting it for the last month or so. 

Since I went back to work full time mid-August, Ada (and I) have been struggling.  She handled the arrival of Dax SO gracefully- she is the most loving, kind big sister in the history of siblings.  But, when I went back to work to such a hellish year (disclaimer: it isn't hell- I adore my students- it's just the workload that is near unbearable)- she immediately began acting out.  Tantrums, pretending she didn't know simple things that she's known for years (numbers, letters, etc) on purpose, constant boundary pushing- anything to get some attention.  And I, on the otherhand, was constantly losing my patience; and then spending far too much time afterward lamenting and regretting how I'd handled things.

So I hopped on Amazon and pretty much purchased any book I'd ever heard mentioned in passing about child rearing.  I've been really happy with what I've read so far- and... get ready... they're already WORKING!  Can I just say- thank the good Lord we (I) read them early- who knew how easy it can be to completely screw your kid up on complete accident!?!?!?

Here is my "book report" for those of you that either asked, wanted to ask, or will ask in the future! :)
The first book I read was "Love and Logic for Early Childhood."  A main strategy in this book is constant choice giving- which I initially was completely against. (Ie: do you want to pick up your stuffed animals first, or your Pet Shops?  Do you want to drink juice or water?  Do you want to pick your nose or use a kleenex?  Do you want to bring your penguin or puppy in the car? Etc.)  I really don't want to raise a kid who thinks her opinion ALWAYS matters, and feels entitled to participate in all decision making, or is just downright bossy.  However, after :
  • A)reading the entire book and understanding the psychology behind it (and the dramatic consequences if you DON'T allow them to feel comfortable making choices early on- think caving to peer pressures or rebellious teen in 12 years);
  • and B) see how WELL it works around here within the first battery of choices- I'm a total convert.
Another technique that has proven really useful is doing everything with empathy.  If you feel yourself getting angry- step away.  Put them in their room.  Etc.  If you punish with anger (sheepishly raising hand, here), the kid automatically reverts to feeling resentment towards you and learning nothing. (This is a big ingredient for creating rebellious teens,too)  If you do it with empathy ("I'm so sorry that you refused to take a bath when Mommy asked you, but you have to sit in time out until you can be sweet girl")- they are then capable of taking responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistake. Also- no dwelling.  Once they are being sweet, it's over.  No lecturing, no lessons re-taught, no re-hashing of the events that led up to the punishment.  Just love.  And logic.  :)

Lastly, the detriment of being "drill sergeant" and/or "helicopter" parents.  I'd tried so intensely to be NEITHER of these (barking orders or hovering to constantly please)- that I'd become this bizarre concoction of the two.  They both teach the kid learned helplessness.  Neither lets said kid learn from mistakes while they're young- and mistakes just get bigger and badder with age.  So- again, so glad we started when we did.

There are MANY more smaller techniques given in the book- how to improve mornings (HERE! HERE!), how to make meal times more smooth, how to eliminate bickering/etc misbehavior in the car (HERE!), etc- if you're struggling with a toddler OR have a baby that will eventually BE a toddler- get it and read it.  And then do it.  :)
Next up: "How to Really Love Your Child."  I'm actually not finished with this one- it was recommended by Tiffany at Another Texas Family- but it's the 4 intrinsic needs that MUST be met for a child to feel unconditionally loved.  Eye contact, physical touch, undivided attention, and discipline (different from punishment- think routines and expectations). This is just knowledge that will be nice to keep in the back of my head at all times- not necessarily any tools for parenting- other than the basic fact that your child has to be confident that you are madly in love with them before any parenting tools will actually be effective.

And, the one that's still waiting for me is "The Five Love Languages of Children."  If you know me, you know I'm obsessed with the original "The Five Languages of Love" book- I swear by it for relationships.  So, why not!?  Can't hurt.  Nice little supplement to the other two.  :)
And, while I was on Amazon- I went ahead and ordered Pocahontas for Ada. She's hell-bent on being an Indian for Halloween (so cute!)- so we are doing a little research on the part.  Ada is DYING for the turquoise necklace from the movie, so it looks like I'll be digging out my jewelry making utensils in the next few weeks!

Ada is responding to the Love and Logic techniques like they are magic.  We are back to having a blast together most of the time- it's so good to have my precious, sweet, funny girl back!  Love her to absolute pieces- through thick and thin!

1 comment:

Another Texas Family said...

All great books. Some other favorites of ours are 'Gospel-Powered Parenting' and 'Family-Driven Faith'. All parents struggle in one way or another. My mantra has become 'pray a lot'! Some things work, some don't but God knows our needs and hears our prayers.