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Book Review Swap with The Consciously Parenting Project | Sarah MacLaughlin, LSW

Today I am reviewing Rebecca Thompson’s just published book, Consciously Parenting: What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families and she is reviewing mine! Rebecca’s site: The Consciously Parenting Project is totally helpful. There are online parenting forums, tele-classes, and more. Your community of support for better parenting starts here! Creating, nurturing, repairing…that says it all. Enjoy the review below and read Rebecca’s write-up of mine here

Before I even cracked open my copy of Rebecca’s book, I was struck by the nuance in the title. I noticed that she said “emotionally healthy families,” not, “emotionally healthy kids.” She intentionally, I am guessing, took into consideration theentire family unit. Wise woman—I hadn’t yet opened the book and already I was learning something.

Once I dove in and start reading, I got to about page six before I started folding down pages and reaching for my highlighter. This book is a treasure trove of good, solid information for parents. It is truly connection-based and teaches parents step-by-step how to shift the way we are looking at our children, not just their behavior.

The approaches in this book are rooted in neuroscience, but are written in language that is accessible to anyone with a high school diploma. Rebecca gives the reader a framework for “beginning the journey of change” from the parent you are (with good explanation for how that came to be!) to the parent you may want to become.

Chapter seven which is entitled, Feelings: Messages from Our Internal Guidance Systemis such an excellent guide for understanding emotional intelligence and literacy that it alone is worth the price of the book. The repurposed story of The Three Bears brilliantly illustrates how easily we humans can become emotionally dysregulated. Through the tale of Goldilocks, she shows what hyperarousal and hypoarousal actually look like when they play out in family dynamics, including how one regulated person can help others maintain their equilibrium.

Rebecca uses a warm, encouraging tone and weaves personal and real-life stories throughout. She takes the time to dissect interactions thoroughly enough for many “a-ha” moments to occur. She also underscores the importance of self-reflection at the end of each chapter with a list of Questions to Ponder. Rebecca’s insights about setting limits, supporting children, honoring adults’ feelings, and decoding behavior are all well organized and very easy to understand.

I love this book’s stake-in-the-ground tenet that relationship is the foundation for everything. This is well described in chapter three:  “Only the Relationship Matters: The parent-child relationship is more important than any behavioral intervention, consequence, or punishment.” Who doesn’t want to read more about that? Consciously Parenting is a hugeresource for families all on its own, so the great news is that it is book one in a series of four. Stay tuned for more helpful advice from Ms. Thompson.