Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Favorite Parenting Books

I used to think I was a calm and patient person - that was until I had children.

Instead of a single book review today, I want to share a short list of books that have helped me regain the calm me that was there before I spent my days with little people who are perfect masters of pushing my buttons. I certainly still let my emotions get the best of me still - and more often than I'd like, but remembering things I learned in these books always helps bring my family back together much better than I would have done on my own without their lessons:

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk

This book is a short, easy read. There are even cartoons! They model example conversations between parent and child. Some have worked well for one of my children, and not much for the other, and vice versa, but there are many techniques included, so you can see what will work for your family. 
I remember being in the park one day, and irritated at my child for constantly asking for things - toys, ice cream, etc. I used a line from this book that I had thought sort of silly, and was shocked when she reacted almost exactly as the book said she would. I didn't think it so silly then. I went back and re-read it!

This is actually not dissimilar to the above book in some ways, but focuses more on my parental actions than my words (but words are still important to). It teaches the value of natural consequences, and the importance of letting children fail - in safe, and semi-controlled ways when they are small to help avoid bigger more dangerous mistakes when they are older. Before this book, I was a mom who was prone to step in and 'help' whenever a saw frustration on the little faces. Now I see more mistakes, more small failures, but also a lot more pride when they try again and succeed. 

Repeating myself drives me nuts, and I have also learned to say things once, but mean what I say. Now my kids  know I mean it too.

I actually still in the process of reading this one, and only halfway thought, but I love it so much so far, I already want to recommend it. 

We live in a tiny house, and 'stuff' becomes overwhelming very quickly. This book has helped empower me to declutter all the toys and other things that feel so wonderful, but are also suffocating us at the same time. I don't think we are all the way to 'simplicity' yet, but we are moving the right direction, and feeling the benefit of it already. I am looking forward to learning about simplifying our schedule and other areas of our life as I read onward.

Do you have a favorite parenting book? I'd love to hear about in in the comments. Thanks!

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