Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Growing in Parenting - My New Favorite Book

Sometimes it feels like I am using my life to get a PhD in parenting and child psychology.  Too bad life experience isn't enough to officially grant you the doctorate.  I could use the income that could generate; unlike my unsolicited and uncompensated book review you are about to read.

Recently, I finished reading a very insightful book by Dr. Laura Markham.  I don't remember how I learned of it, but the subtitle was the attention grabber for me.  'How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting'.  I knew there had to be something within the pages of this book that I needed.

I have a confession to make.  I struggle with yelling.  It's shameful, I know, but I am working on it and making good progress, too.  Yelling was a challenge for me when my older group was young.  Every time I get any bit emotional, positive or negative, my voice rises.  Honestly, I thought I had this problem behavior beat for good.  Alas, I was wrong.

It only took a heap of stress to bring it back full circle for me, but I was ready this time around.  I noticed it right away and set out to do something about it.  Yelling is not communicating.  It is not connecting.  It serves no good purpose unless you are trying to warn of imminent danger or get someone's attention from a great distance.  The root of my yelling is frustration and lack of planning on my part.  I don't think it fits into either of those categories, and I know it's destructive.  My yelling does nothing to foster relationship, communication, self-esteem, cooperation, or any other desired aspect of family life.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids; How to Stop Yelling and Start Communicating  by Dr. Laura Markham is the first non-textbook book that I have allowed myself to hi-light.  I have this aversion to marking in my books.  I don't know why.  It's just me.  However, I wasn't too far into this book before I knew I had a treasure trove of useful information in my grasp, and it would be to my benefit to get out my trusty hi-lighter.  I color matched with the book, of course.  Now, I can flip through and easily spot my vibrant, orange markings for quick reference.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids is the first book I've read on parenting that lays everything out simply, in an easy to read format.  There was no tripping through this book.  I couldn't wait to read it, and I am sure I will read it cover to cover at least one more time.  This is an excellent book for those thinking about becoming parents, new parents, and those of us that are in over our heads with child rearing.

I love that the research is current, the information is useful and applicable, and we aren't left guessing in any regard.  Learning the 'whys' behind the behavior of my children gives me even more strength and patience when helping my wee ones through their stages of development.  We have a variety of backgrounds within our household.  The information within this book is the perfect tool for me to learn to use empathy in gauging my responses to my children for the ultimate benefit in my goal of raising self-disciplined children.

Raising this batch of children is an entirely different journey with much more clearly defined goals.  Due to our more advanced ages it is imperative in my thinking for us to raise independent, motivated children that are free-thinking, driven, and self-disciplined.  When they are in their 20's and 30's their life will look at lot different than that of my older children, and even that of my husband and myself.  I come from a young family with both of my maternal grandparents still very much a part of my life.  When my youngest children are my age they will be lucky if my husband and myself are even still walking this earth, let alone have involved grandparents.  It is essential for them to have the skills necessary to succeed independently at life.  I take this charge very seriously.

"Loving guidance gives children the support they need to understand and regulate their own emotions, so they can behave as their best self without being pulled off-track by the pressure of deep feelings.  He learns that actions are to be limited, but he is okay, complete with all his complicated emotions.  That feeling of "goodness" is what helps all of us make progress toward our good intentions."

The above quote from the book pretty much sums up what I love about the information Dr. Laura Markham teaches us to utilize in effectively raising self-disciplined children.  Deep feelings are a STRONG driving force in our home due to the complexities of our family dynamics.  That is why I chose to hi-light the part of the sentence in orange above.  Over time we have learned how to implement what I am learning through Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids and the loving guidance of Dr. Laura Markham.  I highly recommend this book to all parents interested in connecting on a much deeper level with their children and truly understanding them in a way that facilitates gentle guidance toward self-discipline.  I know I will be giving this book as gifts for years to come.

For more helpful parenting resources and information click here.

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