Review: I thought this was book was amazing. I almost never buy a book I’ve already read, but I liked it so much, I wanted to have a copy to lend and for reference. I even read big sections of it out loud to my husband in the car. I love the writing style and I really feel like the author understands what it’s like to be in the midst of parenting, having the best of intentions, but dealing with your own frustration on a daily basis. She is not afraid to tell me all the things I’m doing wrong with my kids, while at the same time sending the clear message: I can do better.
Rather than being condescending, I found the author encouraging and inspiring. After reading this book, I’m determined to behave differently in a wide variety of situations. Now and then, whenever I get into a conflict with one of my kids (mainly my oldest), re-reading sections of this book can help me to find the calm I need to handle the situation effectively without losing my temper. This is the #1 book I recommend to other parents.
This book is based on three guiding principles: Regulate Yourself, Foster Connection, and Coach, Not Control. The main idea, as I see it, is that when your child is misbehaving or having a meltdown, instead of doing all the things that come naturally like yelling/punishing/threatening, you should 1) hold it together yourself and 2) show your kid love. No matter what. Afterward, when everything is calm, you can 3) deal with the issue in a respectful way that shows the kid that you are on his side.
The author also makes a big point of saying that kids have big emotions that they can’t handle and it is our job as parents to teach them to accept and deal with their feelings, not repress them. If we, as parents, lose it when we get frustrated, how can we expect kids to handle their big emotions? Also, the author asserts that any misbehavior is a sign of not feeling connected to us. Connected kids want to behave.
My husband and I have spent the last few days implementing this philosophy with surprisingly successful results. When son tripped, but didn’t sustain any injuries, he started crying as he usually does. Normally I would give him a quick hug and basically tell him to walk it off, which would result in him being whiney for several minutes afterward. This time I just held him while he cried. My husband came over to try and quiet him, but I told him I was doing an experiment, so he left us alone. He cried for about 1 minute and then said he wanted to go play.
After a few days of making a point to be more compassionate, he recently stopped his meltdown after 4 cries, basically mid-wail. Instead of waiting for us to tell him to stop crying, as he would in the past, it was as if he thought to himself, “Why am I doing this?” and stopped on his own. It was amazing. He still gets upset about problems which seem pretty minor to me, however, by making a point to stay calm and be understanding and accepting of his feelings and emotions, he has been incredibly happy and cooperative over the past few days and fairly quick to get over his disappointments and frustrations. (Personal Rating: 10/10)
This post has been submitted to Modern Mrs. Darcy