Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Recommendation: Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Making a Heart-to-Heart Connection

So I read this parenting book from cover to cover. I've shocked myself because although I read loads of fiction and plenty of biographies, I rarely read a "self-help" book of any kind. And I certainly don't read the whole book. The Bradley Method Birthing book...nope, I skimmed it. What to Expect When You're expecting...I read month one and never opened it again. My mother-in-law has sent plenty of good parenting books my way which sit on my bed side table which displays my good intentions, but they never really get read. I think mostly I parent by intuition, and I try to pick up ideas and thoughts from conversations with other moms or teachers (or supernanny).
This book caught my attention after a friend read it and kept mentioning it in her facebook status updates. I was skeptical at first, but then remembered another book she had suggested to me years ago. We both delivered our first child in the fall of 2004, she had delivered in a birth center without pain medication and I had a c-section. We saw each other not long after our births, she shared about her experience and after hearing about my c-section she encouraged me to read this book called Supernatural Childbirth. I'm not sure exactly what was said, but I definitely remember feeling angry and thinking, "You're about two months too late. You make it sound so easy just to make the choice to have a baby at home and effectively say no to all major interventions. I made the best choices I knew how to make and waded through a lot of pain to try to have a natural childbirth. You are in outer-space if you think that a pain free childbirth is even possible."
I don't think my friend had any intention to hurt my feelings, and I'm sure she had no clue how alone and sad I felt about what happened when my daughter was born. She was maybe the first real person I knew who had a birth outside of a hospital, and she certainly got me thinking. Eventually, I got pregnant again, and by that point, we were planted in San Antonio where home birth and midwives are quite prevalent (at least compared to Indy). I met loads of people who had delivered at home, and even a few who had a VBAC at home. The decision to go this direction was super scary, and the book she had recommended came to mind. I stumbled across it at a used book store and read it three or four times while I was pregnant with Julian. It spoke of praying for and having faith for the outcome you want for you pregnancy and delivery...even to the point of praying for a painless delivery. I didn't have faith for that while pregnant with Julian, but with Schroeder and Maggie, I certainly prayed for a short, easy, as close to pain free delivery as possible, the kind of delivery that Jewish women had in Exodus Chapter 1. You can read my delivery stories for both of them to see how that turned out.
So after a year of hearing about this book, I finally jumped on Amazon and ordered "Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Making a Heart-to-Heart Connection".


This book made me do what I think all "self-help" books should. It made me think. I've shared on several occasions that I struggle with anger while parenting. I mentioned earlier in the year that I was trying to focus on the word peace in regards to it in my home, specifically with my kids. I think I kept going back to anger because it was a form of power over my kids. When I didn't have the energy to do anything else, I used anger because it worked (sometimes, sort of, and definitely on a short term basis).
This book made me think about power. I'm convinced that parenting has nothing to do with controlling a child's behavior and has everything to do about teaching a child to control their own behavior. It's a subtle difference, but a powerful one, I think. I was using anger (usually in the form of shouting) to control my child's behavior. But now I'm not controlling their behavior but instead guiding them to control their own behavior, then all of a sudden yelling isn't necessary. The need for it is eliminated. I'm also more focused on controlling my own behavior, keeping my own temper, not throwing a fit myself. I can only control myself not my kids. This also negates the use of shouting 95% of the time.
This book made me think about giving my kids options on how to accomplish an ultimate goal. What's important is the ultimate goal. Many times there are many valid paths to it. This would give the kids room to have power over themselves and to problem solve. Power over one self is freedom and kids need and will demand freedom. Did I mention that giving options or being open to my kids suggesting alternative paths to the same goal is extremely difficult? "Are you arguing with me?" "Are you trying to undermine my authority?" "Who is the parent here?" "I'm the parent!" Yep, this conversation is common in our household, and, yes, I would definitely use the phrase undermine my authority to my children. Why not boost their vocabulary in the process?I'm trying to learn to say. "That's fine. If you have a better plan, execute it. I think you are smart and resourceful, but if you need help to think a plan through, I'm here. Peace out."
This book made me think about discipline and that it doesn't have to hurt. It simply needs to help them learn good habits and good decision making. Keep the ultimate goal in mind, a human being that is healthy, happy, and a productive member of society (or something like that).
I attend a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at a church on the south side. This year, the heart of the leaders is to help each mom grow in her own mommyhood. We all have different styles and opinions. We all have different kids, too. So we aren't there to compare but to encourage each other. This book has encouraged me so I'm passing it along. Read it from cover to cover. No skimming!

1 comment:

Esther said...

Thanks for sharing, Mel! It's not always easy to be honest about our struggles in parenting and yet we all go through them. How much better if we are honest and share with one another and learn from each other, instead of us all going through the same mistakes on our own. Definitely going to check out this book. Miss having you here to bounce mommy and parenting ideas off of!