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    OT: Favorite parenting books

    Here I go starting a thread again...and this one is to be blamed on a bit of nostalgia too, but it's my dh's fault. He decided to clean out the drawer of his nightstand and aside from about a thousand ultrasound pictures of children who all have the exact same head (thank you, genetics!) he also handed me a stack of my randomly scrawled notes from many years past. Somehow these nightstands have always escaped my usual whole-house pre-move purge and therefore are quite a random collection of papers. The treasure in the midst of a lot of randomness was my list of notes from my absolute favorite parenting book, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey, PhD. I read this book years before I started looking into homeschooling, and it was hugely formative to my approach of dealing with my children. I have to give her so much credit because our family life has been such a joy.

    So, feel free to join into this thread and share your own favorites; but something else that might be helpful to all of us busy moms are to also provide the main reason you love the book in a nutshell. We can always rabbit trail if we have time and hunt down the book; but then again, we might also simply need that nutshell!

    My nutshell for the ETL-DTD book is her main point to move parenting from a place of fear to a place of love. She explains:
    1. Fear separates; love unites. Love increases security and provides safety.
    2. Fear judges; love enjoys. Love travels from the worthy to the worthy.
    3. Fear focuses on what is missing; love looks for the highest and the best in situations.
    4. Fear looks for blame; love seeks solutions. Love accepts what is.

    To do this she offers:
    7 Powers for Self-Control (to help keep you cool in moments of conflict):
    1. The power of perception: No one can make you angry without your permission.
    2. The power of attention: what you focus on you get more of. Focus on the specific action you want your child to take rather than a too-general statement (e.g. "Be Nice" gets you nowhere)
    3. The power of free will: the only person you can make change is YOU.
    4. The power of unity: focus on connecting instead of trying to be special (or right!).
    5. The power of love: see the best in one another.
    6. The power of acceptance: this moment is as it is.
    7. The power of intention: conflict is an opportunity to teach.

    From these seven powers come the...

    7 Basic discipline skills:
    1. Composure: living the values you want your children to develop (teaches integrity).
    2. Encouragement: honoring children so they will honor you (teaches interdependence).
    3. Assertiveness: saying no and being heard (teaches respect).
    4. Choices: building self-esteem and willpower (teaching commitment).
    5. Positive intent: turning resistance into cooperation (teaches cooperation).
    6. Empathy: handling the fussing and the fits (teaches compassion).
    7. Consequences: helping children learn from their mistakes (teaches responsibility).

    HTH's!
    AMDG,
    Sarah
    2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
    DS, 16
    DD, 14
    DD, 12
    DD, 10
    DD, 8
    DD, 6
    +DS+
    DS, 2

    #2
    Sarah, I love all your advice on this thread, so I'm definitely going to check that book out!

    My oldest is 9, but I read "Hold on to your Kids" by Gordon Neufeld when she was little, and it was really, really helpful to us to see the big picture. Can't say I always (or evenly mostly) manage the "connection before direction" but it is a good reminder. I should re read that, actually, now that my kids are older--I'm sure I would get different information out of it. Similarly, "It's ok not to share" was formative for us and has certainly helped us survive toddler years!

    I also liked Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne when I read it 5 or 6 years ago, but I don't think it would resonate with me now. I agree wholeheartedly that you need to proactively create space and time for your children to be children (Neufeld talks about this too) but I don't think that children need sheltered from everything about the world, or that the home *needs* to be calm all the time (I'm all for organization and no screaming of course) and I certainly disagree with making up stories for why the sky is blue rather than just telling them, on their level, the science behind it. Payne certainly has a Waldorf essence to his work.
    DD1: Third grade: reading, spelling, piano, and art along with MP Mammals, Lit Guides, LC yr 1, and R&S 3 so we are ready for 4NU next year
    DD2: MP Kindergarten
    DS 1: MP Preschool package
    Me: Autoimmune Protocol athlete who loves chai tea with coconut milk, a good book, and the mountains

    Comment


      #3
      Fireweed Prep ,

      You are so right about needing a reread! That’s exactly what I was thinking when I found my cheat sheet. I have one child in a stage that is definitely pushing my buttons, and have been feeli NV a bit rusty around the edges. You do end up starting to forget certain things, especially when one breed of difficulty disappears for three children but is back again in child #7!

      I will look up the first one you mentioned - it sounds like it is cut from the same cloth as the one I listed.

      AMDG,
      Sarah
      2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
      DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
      DS, 16
      DD, 14
      DD, 12
      DD, 10
      DD, 8
      DD, 6
      +DS+
      DS, 2

      Comment


        #4
        My reading has been along the lines of Neufeld and Kim John Payne as well.

        My big take-away from Neufeld was basically the title of his book, "Hold on to Your Kids," i.e. keep your children physically close so you can develop the other levels of spiritual, emotional, and psychological closeness. He explained that since humans are natural bonders, children need to have physical access to loving caregivers so then can bond "upward," (my word for bonding with adults). When children are left to their own devices, say in schools where the class is too large compared to the number of adults, the children will bond "horizontally," i.e. with one another. This may look cute when the children are small and all about wanting to be with their friends, but by the time the child gets to pre-teen/teen we have problems because the child has bonded with peers and looks to peers for approval and advice. The peers have no experience, no wisdom, no mature guidance to offer, and the children have little respect for parental input, so young people can get themselves into trouble.

        For me, Kim John Payne's work, and others I read/know like him, showed me the tremendous value of a steady routine for young children, and how to connect/speak to a child so he will comply. I learned from this how much easier it is to maintain a disciplined environment when a child knows what to expect from the day and from parents. Also, along these lines was the importance of not giving small children too many choices, even the choice of "the red one" or "the yellow one" can become problematic. One of my sons learned from some good early educators, "You get what you get and you don't get upset." This type of lesson is likely intrinsic in large families, but in small families (like mine) it is far too easy to cater to a child's whim. Many times I rued my willingness to go along with a child's desires!!! And paid the price!

        Also, Dr. Leonard Sax (psychologist/family physician) really helped me get my mind around the importance of respecting gender in children. He wrote, "Why Gender Matters," "Boys Adrift," and "Girls on the Edge." It really helped me understand the differences between developmental stages in male and female brains in young children. I think he says that the brain development doesn't level out until around 30. And how important it is to honour a boy's need for a strong physical sense of himself, and not get caught up in trying to make everything nice, and non-violent in boys' play - i.e. to let boys be boys. We've discussed this type of physical energy of boys on this forum when we find them needing to move around or roll on the floor for their lessons. He advocates separate gender schooling even in the younger grades. One reason he cites for this (that amazed me) explains why often boys take over sports and girls aren't sporty (of course this has changed a great deal in recent years). Apparently, even little boys have a highly aggrandized sense of their abilities, so when a five or six-year-old boy gets out on a mixed-gender sports field he is all pumped up about his prowess. Girls have a much more accurate assessment of their abilities, but, although the girl may be better than the boy, the boy's confidence in himself intimidates the girl and she believes he is better at the sport than her. Go figure!

        Thanks for the thread Sarah and

        Fireweed Prep!


        Monica

        Comment


          #5
          I second the recommendation for Hold on To Your Kids. That author was actually the first person to plant a seed for homeschooling for me --- thinking that it was hard to keep them connected to me, when they were gone all day.

          My oldest was in middle school, and my husband called me to listen to a radio show -- the case against homework. I scoffed. But after listening, I realized that it was brilliant. I don't know how I hopped from The Case Against Homework to Hold on To Your Kids, but it was an eye opener. And Fireweed Prep is right. It's time to bring that book back out. The paragraph KikaMarie lists above is SPOT ON. He calls it the blind leading the blind, literally. Imagine a boat full of kids in an ocean. Someone is the leader, but not because they know more. It's by default of sorts.

          For those of you who are into audiobooks, it's on Hoopla, for sure.

          Leonard Sax is excellent as well --- you'll hear Andrew Pudewa referencing him often. I also enjoy Micheal Gurian's work too. Lots of gender specific stuff.

          Don't forget Anthony Esolen. I've read Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, as well as Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child. My children were horrified to see me reading those -- the titles are very much tongue in cheek. I also have Defending Boyhood: How Building Forts, Reading Stories, Playing Ball, and Praying to God Can Change the World waiting in the wings to read.

          Dr Meg Meeker is another one of my favorites, too.

          I tend to lean toward books that celebrate the unique, God given differences between our genders, and how to use those differences well, instead of squelching them.
          Plans for 2019-20

          DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
          DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
          DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
          DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
          DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
          DS6 - 5 - MP K

          [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by DiannaKennedy View Post
            I tend to lean toward books that celebrate the unique, God given differences between our genders, and how to use those differences well, instead of squelching them.
            THIS. Absolutely! I have also read Meg Meeker, and some of Esolen too.

            Loving this! Thanks to all thus far for chiming in!

            AMDG,
            Sarah
            2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
            DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
            DS, 16
            DD, 14
            DD, 12
            DD, 10
            DD, 8
            DD, 6
            +DS+
            DS, 2

            Comment


              #7
              Oh I am totally now going to get the newest edition of Hold on to Your Kids. :-) I think Amazon only has the newest one on Audible, weirdly.

              I think the reason I didn't get as much out of Kim Jon Payne (though I do agree with all that KikaMarie said) is because we were already very immersed in the strong rhythm, few choices type of parenting for littles. When my oldest was 1 and 2 years old, we were part of a parent child class at our local Waldorf school. I do think Waldorf has a lot to offer the very young child, and You are Your Child's First Teacher is helpful for that, too.

              I'd love to read some of those Anthony Esolen books, too! I've seen them mentioned for a few years, but haven't gotten around to them yet.
              DD1: Third grade: reading, spelling, piano, and art along with MP Mammals, Lit Guides, LC yr 1, and R&S 3 so we are ready for 4NU next year
              DD2: MP Kindergarten
              DS 1: MP Preschool package
              Me: Autoimmune Protocol athlete who loves chai tea with coconut milk, a good book, and the mountains

              Comment


                #8
                I don't feel quite qualified to list this book as we have only been 'using' it for maybe 9 months but it has been SO helpful to our family. It is 'A House United: Teaching Self-Government' by Nicholeen Peck (and thankyou to the mum who mentioned it on the SC Facebook page). It has so many of the elements mentioned by Sarah above, and that I have found valuable from other books especially 'Parenting Towards the Kingdom' by Phillip Mamalakis. But the thing I needed, because I have kids with special needs, and because I struggle to remember and stay focused myself, was the way Nicholeen breaks down how to implement these things. Also, because she has worked with many difficult foster kids it gave me confidence that her advice could work even in my family.

                She provides direct but kind ways of communicating, and it has really helped me to know that I don't need to get cranky (I have not perfected this yet, but it has really helped). I realised that a big part of why I get cranky is that I am overwhelmed, and really don't know how to get these kids to listen to me!! This book has given me specific ways to handle so many situations. Things like knowing my kids need to learn to accept a 'no' answer. Or rather I need to teach them that. Breaking down the behaviour like this has really helped me to understand what is going on. I have even written things down on index cards and carried them around in my pocket for when needed (as she suggests) when I have been learning a new thing to say/do in response to my kids behaviour. My kids love that they know what the rules are in such detail, and if I am losing my calm they will tell me, not disrespectfully.

                Even though I am needing to freshen up again (waiting for my paper copy to arrive in the mail as I have been struggling with repeat reading this on my kindle!) it has really helped with my having automatic responses to difficult situations (eg. my son's ASD has been getting worse over the past few weeks but even in the midst of some unpleasant situations I have the same predictable words which is helpful for the both of us.) My husband was completely sold when our 4yo daughter asked him to use the same ways of communicating/disciplining as I had been using...and we have both been amazed to hear my 7yo son and 4yo daughter ask each other if they can 'respectfully disagree' with one another.
                Sarah

                Aussies from Sydney, Australia
                Miriam 10yo
                Jonathan 7yo
                Elissa 4yo
                Thomas nearly 2yo
                Baby due 1st July 2020

                Comment


                  #9
                  That sounds excellent, Sarah - thank you so much for sharing. It does sound along the same vein of the one I shared in that what it focuses on is YOU - learning how to be disciplined yourself, so that you can be an effective parent. We have one right now who thinks so far ahead that she actually disobeys because she has come up with her own solution. It’s not a heart issue, it’s a thinking issue. She really, truly wants to be “good,” but she gets herself in trouble anyway because she thinks she has it all figured out. Definitely needing the refreshers folks have been offering! I just picked ETL and HOTYK at the library yesterday, but this sounds like a good one, too!

                  AMDG,
                  Sarah
                  2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                  DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                  DS, 16
                  DD, 14
                  DD, 12
                  DD, 10
                  DD, 8
                  DD, 6
                  +DS+
                  DS, 2

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Fireweed Prep View Post
                    My oldest is 9, but I read "Hold on to your Kids" by Gordon Neufeld when she was little, and it was really, really helpful to us to see the big picture. Can't say I always (or evenly mostly) manage the "connection before direction" but it is a good reminder. I should re read that, actually, now that my kids are older--I'm sure I would get different information out of it. Similarly, "It's ok not to share" was formative for us and has certainly helped us survive toddler years!
                    Bumping this up to say "Thank You." I just finished Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. This was SUCH a great read. I read so many books on attachment parenting when our first children were babies, and it has always been the way we have approached things. But we are at such a different stage of life now with mostly teenagers instead of mostly littles. Reading this now, when our children are wanting and needing to branch out in their lives, was so good and helpful. A reminder of why we parent the littles the way that we do, but to also keep in mind those same principles as they become young adults. It was a very freeing thing to realize that attaching to other adults outside the family is actually more important than to peers. Not that all peer interaction is bad; that's not what they are saying either. But just that peers are so much less necessary than strong relationships with adults who will continue to help our children mature and develop strong personal identities rather than equally immature peers who can't really help with that. And the info on cultivating and maintaining the attachment with ALL your kids, regardless of age, was a great refresher on the points that are covered in Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline. Very much in line together.


                    Fireweed Prep , thanks so much for mentioning this one!
                    AMDG,
                    Sarah
                    2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                    DS, 16
                    DD, 14
                    DD, 12
                    DD, 10
                    DD, 8
                    DD, 6
                    +DS+
                    DS, 2

                    Comment

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