I get to read a LOT of great parenting books. Not everyone feels this way, I know, but here’s what I love most about reading them: more examples, testimonials, and belief in seeing children in a new way. And that, my friends, is what Positive Parenting is–seeing children in a new way–one that affords them status as fully human and deserving of kindness and respect.
Seeing Children in a New Way is also a chapter title in Rebecca Eanes new book: Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide. And an essential guide it is; particularly for parents who are looking for a way out of the, crummy behavior–yell & punish–feel guilty & disconnected–more crummy behavior cycle.
Rebecca shares her story of frustration and redemption along the parenting path and details how she found a more connected way to engage with her children (win!). The book is brimming with excellent zingers such as this:
“Undisciplined parents cannot effectively discipline children, so calm yourself down first.”
“(W)e, the parents, set the precedent for how human relationships are for our children. We can set the standard high or low, to be respectful or disrespectful, to be encouraging or discouraging.”
” Hard phases cannot be rushed and good phases cannot be frozen; we must take it as it comes and do the best we can with the bad and savor as much as we can of the good, because there is no stopping it either way.”
So much about this book is great, and I especially love the few chapters that serve as “homework” for grown-ups. The first of this nature is entitled, Important Self-Work. And boy, isn’t that a good place to start? This chapter covers some sacred ground: rewriting your own story, changing thought patterns, and identifying triggers. Important stuff. I also love the chapter dedicated to Defining Your Family Culture. This section pays appropriate homage to the fact that there is no one “right” way to conceive of family life. I thought these Seven Pillars of Family Culture were wonderful:
- Values–Family values such as integrity, respect, honesty, responsibility, for each other and the broader community,and fairness are taught by example.
- Dispositions–(I)t’s important to learn and respect each other and to find ways for all of the different dispositions in the home to live in harmony.
- Expectations–Going beyond relationship expectations, children learn your expectations of society, of people of different cultures and races, of employers and jobs, of government and politicians and restaurant servers and firefighters.
- Habits–Our children pick up our habits–the good ones and the bad ones. Try to form or continue positive habits.
- Communication–Positive communication builds positive bonds.
- Conflict Resolution–It is absolutely vital to model peaceful conflict resolution, to teach it to your child, and to expect it from everyone in the home.
- Traditions–Rituals and traditions solidify the family unit and help children a feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.
Honestly, the whole dang thing is pretty fantastic and even the most seasoned mindful mama or papa might find a handy tidbit or two in Rebecca’s chapter about how to navigate top parenting challenges. This book is a useful guide for any parent who wants to incorporate more emotional management, compassion, and joy in their parenting experience.