Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the look, feel or contents of a parenting book. Okay, it’s true: I can’t actually see you out there in cyberspace, but I imagine that I’m not the only one with my hand in the air. Although I’m a self-proclaimed self-help book junkie (and that includes the topic of how to be a better parent), I do find that parenting books can overwhelm me with tips, tricks, suggestions and even threats…if you don’t do ‘x’, your child will suffer.
So, I’m happy to report that I found the opposite to be true with The Childproof Parent, co-written by Melissa Benaroya and Robin Dowdy. This beautiful book (it really has a lovely, inviting design) contains just the advice this mama needed.
As they explain in the book, Benaroya and Dowdy are certified and credentialed in several parenting and counseling techniques. They are also co-founders of a Seattle organization, Mommy Matters, that provides support and coaching for parents. Basically, Benaroya and Dowdy have done all the reading, observing and testing of the parenting techniques and boiled it down to five simple, yet effective, ways to respond to our kids.
But before you get into responding to your kids, they caution, we need to recall who we are. Yes, the first topic covered is: YOU. And the importance of being YOU for your kids. Not far behind YOU is your relationship with your partner. These two elements (YOU and YOUR RELATIONSHIP) are key to being a childproof parent. After reading this book, I think of the “childproof parent” as someone who weathers the storms of their kids…whether the ship is rocking, the waves are crashing, or the boat is peacefully docked in the port, basking in the sun, that parent maintains who they are. And being true to who we are, flaws and all is the life preserver for us for our families.
I don’t want to share all of their tips because I think you’ll enjoy their book. Let me just say that I read the book in one night (a thumbs up for this busy mama) and I used the first technique (reflect) the very next day when my seven-year-old son was out-of-control angry that I had given him a consequence for some behavior. Did the glitter and stars drop from our living room ceiling at this moment? No. But what did happen? I reacted in a way that helped keep me calm, eventually helped him calm down and allowed us to move on to a more positive moment. Now that’s a technique I can embrace.
So, go ahead. Check out just one more parenting book. You’ll be very glad you did.