Someone once told me that they read parenting books looking for experts who support their child rearing beliefs and when they find the one that does just that, all the rest are garbage.
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.
Image credit: http://www.amazon.ca