Parenting books that help you find your way when the going gets tough
When our kids were little, I read a million parenting books. I knew that I didn’t want to raise our kids like I was raised (“Children should be seen, but not heard”). I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I wasn’t sure what to do.
Our generation depends on books, web sites, and You-tube to guide us through the dark night of uncertainty. Dr. Spock told me what to do if one my daughters had a cold and couldn’t breathe very well at night. But what was I to do when 7 year old Naomi came into my room crying hysterically that everyone hated her and she had no friends! I wanted to comfort her, reassure her that she was loved, and tell her that all would work out.
I read three books that were my compass during those years. My first guide book was a series of books by Louise Bates Ames about each year of your child’s life. Each book outlines what is normal and expected for each year–It is invaluable. What is normal for a three year old or a five year old? Ms. Ames provides a roadmap that helps you find your way.
The second book that saved my parental life was Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s “Raising your Spirited Child”. We were blessed with a very cranky, sensitive, loud, irritable, joyful youngster that challenged us for the first 20 years of her life. We thought that she was a “one of a kind” kid until we read this book! Kurcinka provides practical suggestions to parents of kids that go nuts because the seam on their socks drives them mad!
But the best book, my bible of parenthood, is the marvelous tome by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish’s — “How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk”. This book changed my parental life.
Faber and Mazlish studied with the famous child psychologist, Dr. Chaim Ginot. In this book, they share what they learned. Their message: if you want your kids to talk to you, avoid the impulse to reassure them, solve their problems, or give them a lecture. That just shuts them up. As they say “Children need to have their feelings accepted and respected”.
Here is their formula for helping children deal with their feelings:
You can listen quietly and attentively.
- You can acknowledge their feelings with a word (“Oh..Mmm..I see..”)
- You can give the feeling a name (“That must make you mad!”)
- You can give the child her wishes in fantasy. (“I wish I could make your friends treat you nicely!”)
They remind us that all feelings can be accepted, but certain actions must be limited.
Their book has much more. It is down to earth, with illustrations that show common problems with kids of all ages, homework for readers, and questions and answers. Moreover, Faber and Mazlish’s book approaches parenting with humility and humor. Published over 30 years ago, it is still fresh and helpful to today’s parents. For more on their books, log on to www.fabermazlish.com.
What are your favorite books? Share the gems you’ve found! Join the family talk conversation!