Friday, February 25, 2011

Reading About Parenting

Sometimes I wonder if reading books about parenting actually makes me a better parent or just a confused parent. After a few pages I start to second-guess my every instinct and wonder at the long term consequences of every action. But then I read something really helpful and feel so excited to make progress on something that was bothering me.

My current reading is Siblings Without Rivalry, another book by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. The book is not new. It was published in 1987 but has been republished 4 times. I guess that is part of my litmus test for parenting books. Is it just a new fad or something that has been around a while and used with success over generations? At the same time, some of the old parenting books should die a sudden death. What to Expect When You're Expecting? Complete rubbish. Dr. Spock? So outdated.

But back to Siblings without Rivalry. The books starts with the same principles as their other book, then moves on to real problems siblings have: property rights, physical violence, and resentment. This little gem was in my reading today:

Insisting on good feelings between children creates bad feelings.
Allowing for bad feelings between children leads to good feelings.

Next time my two are fighting and feeling mad at each other I will do my best to remember this.

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit that I've stopped reading parenting books/magazines. I used to read them, and then apply their techniques to how I approached parenting. After a few years I simply gave up and decided to go freestyle. I agree that most of these books are educational and impart useful advice, but my ability to recall what to do for every freak'n squabble, or creative play or bedtime routine became a chore in and of itself. I've learned to go with my gut or at least to go with what I've learned from other parents. A good example is this: I read that children shouldn't be exposed to computers until the age of seven. By the time my 5-year old hit kindergarten she was devastated to find herself sitting in a computer lab with zero knowledge -- she didn't know how to use a mouse or click on an icon or anything. She was ignorant. The teacher and other children had to help her. I had no idea kindergartners were expected to use computers and apparently, neither did the parenting expert who wrote the article on the subject. Thanks for writing this post -- gave me something to think about. :)