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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Reading Suggestion: The Parent You Want To Be

I know what you're going to say. "Who has time to read?!?" And I concur wholeheartedly that there are seasons as a parent when you don't have time.

But then we also enter into seasons (short-lived though they may be) when everyone sleeps when they should and we have a teensy bit of energy left at the end of the day to spend on ourselves.

Then, we might read. If you are in one of those seasons where reading is possible, allow me to suggest a book that I found helpful in practical parenting.

The book is The Parent You Want To Be: Who You Are Matters More Than What You Do, by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott (Zondervan, 2007).

The book's main thesis is that by modelling the traits we wish for our children, we instil those traits in them. In other words, it's less about our kids per se and more about us as parents. (Honestly, I buy this to a degree; I don't believe our kids are programmable.)

In order to make us of this book, I first needed to stop pretending that my parenting style was flawless. After I did that, I saw areas where we could rather easily integrate some new, practical ideas.

For example, the good Drs. challenged me to be conscious of how I affirm my kids. I had the habit of affirming the trait versus the action. ("You're so creative!" etc.) The Drs. posit that when we affirm character traits we, in fact, set our kids up for performance anxiety.

On the other hand, when we affirm the action ("Wow! The colours in that picture are beautiful!") then our kids can draw their own, more realistic conclusions about their character and abilities. Without performance anxiety.

Now, I need to confess that I (still) have not read the entire book. I borrowed it from the library and my delay in returning it --only partially read-- stretched into the ridiculous. But each chapter was so darn meaty! It would take me several weeks to think the Drs. Parrot's ideas through and figure out how they could apply to our situation.

I do have the book out from the library again, so soon I should have another couple of chapters of wisdom to apply!

(FYI: The book is written from a Christian perspective, but it is not "religious" as such, and it is accessible to readers of any persuasion.)

What titles make it to your bedside table?

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