Parenting Books

In the previous post you mentioned there are not many child rearing books you like. What are the few you do suggest? Any books from tantrums, to potty training to activities...I need to read up and get prepared for toddlerhood and beyond!

Someone once had this same question - but I've never answered it here. Here's what I told her...

Most of my parenting ideas are my own silly theories; what I learn from talking to other parents and just experimenting with what works. I am fairly opinionated - but my strongest opinion is: there is not one right way to raise children because every child is so different. There's just not a best or a better.

Anyhow, having said that, people occasionally ask for a book recommendation. And the truth is I don't know - but I did read this one: The New First Three Years of Life by Burton L. White. And I have had more people ask for its name. Here's maybe why...
It suggests that the first three years are the most important of life (in all truth, I think that whatever age your child is "now" is the most important time but I like to read about how important the first few are because some days it doesn't feel that way)
It suggests that we not even worry about teaching or disciplining before a child is six months - just love them, love them!

It reminds us that at nine months children reach a happy plateau, they will play with one toy on and on, laugh and entertain themselves. But its important not to take advantage of this time; before they get bored and start fussing remembering to switch their toy or move them to another activity. The idea is to prevent the demand cry - by giving the most attention when they are happily playing - instead of when they are crying. One way I interpreted this: if my baby started crying in his crib I would casually enter the room - not even looking at him - as if though the sunlight brought me in - not the crying. Once I did "notice" I would try and cheer them up in the crib (ie. playing peek a boo) before I got them out. And the second their little frown cracked into I smile I swoop them up with a "What a happy boy!".

The author suggests that preventing the terrible two's and tantrums is possible (and personally, I think that terrible two's are nothing compared to terrible three's so I really heeded this advice). There are a lot of suggestions - but one main thing is really sticking to your word. If you say I'll play with you in a minute - do. And if you say no more cookies and you are in the grocery store and tears have started - still don't give the cookies.

That's the flavor - a lot of every book like this is some silliness - which toys are good and which ones aren't - its really more about what works for you and the child.

I have also been asked - what next - if they are already three - then what. Your Child's Self-Esteem is by Dorothy Corkille Briggs. This is an older book with no quick fixes because its more preventative - how helping your child with self-esteem will help them with life. Its a bit hard to read and a little slow but really worth while - in fact, I like the concepts better. It reminds us that the way we talk to our children really matters - the actual words, the tones, and how they perceive it. For example, instead of saying, "Good Boy!" as praise - be specific about what makes them good,"You are so good at listening!" If you know Cheryl, she kept it on her bedside while raising her children.

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