I have my fair share of parenting books. Some have been given to me, like Trees Make The Best Mobiles and others I bought in a panic hoping to get a handle on a particularly trying situation, I Brake For Meltdowns: How to handle the most exasperating behavior of your 2-5 year old.
I have what I refer to as my parenting handbooks. Books by Alyson Schafer, Michelle Nicholasen, Barbara O’Neal and Barbara Coloroso are always kept close at hand for when I need guidance, a quick how-to, or a solid suggestion – something to ground me and keep me from tipping over the edge. These books empower me and give me confidence because let’s face it, being a parent can be a lonely job, fraught with insecurity and unknowns.
Some times I find the answers that I am seeking and other times I just roll my eyes and put it back on the shelf. Whatever the outcome, when I flip through the pages of these books, I instantly feel a connection to a community of parents, and my situation doesn’t seem so unmanageable.
Alongside my handbooks sit my theory books. Leonard Sax reigns over the shelf with a few titles by other experts thrown in for good measure. I read these when I am reflecting on what kind of parent I want to be, to check of my own behaviour and when I want substantial answers that a Google search cannot provide.
There is one parenting book that has yet to be usurped from its place of prominence on my bedside table, A Pocket Guide to kids are worth it! by Barbara Coloroso.
This tiny, pocket-sized book is a compilation of highlights from my all-time favourite book, kids are worth it! Each night before going to bed I read a few pages and like an affirmation, I feel equipped to handle the next day’s challenges.
On page 19 Coloroso outlines the four steps of discipline:
- Shows kids what they have done.
- Gives them ownership of the problem.
- Gives them options for solving the problem.
- Leaves their dignity intact.
The principles seem so simple, but parenting is emotionally charged and easily influenced by stressors like lack of sleep, financial worry, feeling overwhelmed, etc. By reviewing a page or two nightly, it’s like rehearsing for a fire drill. The more times something is practiced, the more ingrained it becomes and the more like second nature it feels mitigating those pesky external stressors.
I am definitely not winning any Mother Of The Year awards but when I do make mistakes (which is daily) I want to know how I can do better and Barbara Coloroso always shows me how I can be better.
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