“Summer” reading: Parenting books!
I actually just posted this, just a bit ago, as a comment in response to Melanie’s request for parenting book suggestions, but I thought it would make a good blog post, too. (I edited it slightly from its original form.)
I do have a few parenting books, but I must say that I have not read many of them cover-to-cover. Here’s my problem: It’s hard for me to sift the wheat from the chaff. Sometimes I read a book, and it might be like, “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. NO!” and then the “no” part ruins my perspective on the “yes” part. It throws into question everything else in the book, for me. So… then I “have” to go back to the Bible, to discussions with my husband, and from advice and encouragement from other mothers whom I respect. I think I do better with examples in real life than from books.
I did read some Ezzo stuff (cover to cover) before my oldest was born, and while many of the things we implemented from there were very effective, and we continue to this day (like the eat, wake, sleep cycle), I don’t agree with their, “You WILL toe the line” approach. They have a one-size-fits-all attitude, and I have seen that that doesn’t work, especially for kids who have learning disorders. I get the impression that they think that even learning disorders are rooted in the child’s sin, and I just don’t agree with that. In fact, treating my son Grant’s behavior as all rebellion/sin when he was younger just about destroyed our relationship, and I’m glad we got some intervention and a diagnosis that he actually had a LD, and that gave mercy to our parenting of him, which may have saved his life. (Honestly. An alarmingly high percentage of kids with his LD commit suicide because they live in a world where they feel/are completely misunderstood.) He had — at four years old — developed the perspective that, truly, we didn’t love him. Ack. Since that time, I have strayed more and more from the Ezzo approach.
I have gotten more out of one parenting class I took as part of the second hour of a Bible study (it was group the first hour, classes the second hour, not that that matters all that much!!!) when Ethan, who is now nearly 12, was about one. And, I have spent a LOT of time in conversation about parenting with a friend of mine, Brenda, whose oldest is a year older than mine.
Both the class and Brenda took many of their directives from Tedd Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart. It’s funny — the book almost invariably gets either five stars or NO stars from reviewers. It’s pro-spanking, so that seems to be the reason. It also comes from the perspective that children have a sin nature, which many people don’t believe (I do!), and they find the author’s wording to that effect offensive. I have never read the book — if I didn’t know Brenda, and if I hadn’t taken that Bible study class, I might be dissuaded by some of the negative reviews. But, I have seen the beautiful fruit, in the lives of their children, produced by Brenda and her husband, and the teacher’s children. So, just based on that, I’d recommend the book. I do though, definitely agree that spanking is not the ONLY effective form of discipline, and there are many times where spanking is not appropriate. Spanking doesn’t work for every issue, and it’s always my goal to find discipline that WORKS.
I started to read a book last summer: Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel, and got about 1/3 of the way through it. Honestly, I stopped reading it partly because everything he said, I replied, “Yes, I agree with that. Agree. Check. Yup.” And it felt like I wasn’t gaining any new ground. Much of the book, if not all of it, deals directly with the parents’ attitudes, and how that affects how we deal with our children. However, it was a good confirmation to me of the grace of God and the changing effect that my husband and my church have had on my attitudes about parenting… I mean, I grew up in a VERY legalistic home, and there was many things where I said to myself, “I will not do that as a parent,” but I needed to fill the void with something better that what had been modeled to me. I still feel like I have a long way to go, but Grace-Based… confirmed to me that a) I was right to set aside some of the things I did, and b) what I have picked up in its place was good. I did find some of the book hard to read, just because it brought up bad memories of my childhood.
A book that I have that I have not yet read is Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in you and your kids by Scott Turansky. Again, I haven’t read it, but it’s funny — a friend quoted from it semi-recently in her blog, and I was like, “YES. That is so true,” without realizing at first that it was from that book.
So… it looks like I need to read my own suggestions, and read them all the way through. I’ve put them on my “summer reading list” — I put it in quotes, because it seems like I have LESS time over the summer to read.