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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Parenting Book Reviews - Very Brief overview

A friend recently asked us for some ideas for parenting reading material.  I shot off a quick email summarizing some of the books we've read, appreciated and used.  I am not promoting any of these, just throwing out my comments for your interest:

We started out using 'To Train Up a Child' by Michael and Debi Pearl. It requires wisdom to sift out some things we felt were just too radical.  But some situations call for 'radical'.  It was a good read, but I wouldn't use this as my sole 'go to' book - nor would I follow it rigidly. Reminder: every book we read (other than the Bible) needs to be sifted through the lens of Biblical wisdom. 
  
Our other 'go-to' was Shepherding a Child's heart by ...Tripp.  Again, this is a favourite for many parents we know and seems harmless enough.  I can't fault the book except it being longer and tedious reading.  Some great concepts laid out and I appreciated that the focus is the heart of the child and letting God's Word be the instructor.

My new BEST parenting book all-round is now Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel.  This is a GREAT resource and covers all the bases in a general aspect.  It doesn't seem to be a practical 'how-to' however - which 'TTUAC' (to train up a child) is more like that.

I read 'Don't Make me count to Three' by... Plowman before I read 1-2-3 Magic.  By doing that I prejudiced myself against 1-2-3  Magic.  The Plowman book basically is a simpler version of TTUAC and less extreme, more appealing reading.  But she juxtaposes her concepts against the prevailing trendy popular 1-2-3 book (which is not explicitely 'Christian' in any way).  Her point is kids need to obey 1st time, no exceptions.  Giving them a 3 count teaches them they can ignore you the 1st 2 times.  Sounds fair enough, except she set it up as a straw man argument (where she presented falsely the opposing viewpoint only to break down that false idea).  1-2-3 is not saying that at all, and I actually felt it was a more practical book in addressing far more realistic and complicated situations.  I highly recommend 1-2-3 and have seen really solid families and good parents using it with great results.  It really is not recommending we teach our children to disobey the 1st 2 times!  It is a method that respects the child but implements clear, strong boundaries and the 1,2,3 method is instructive and firm all at the same time.  

Most of these methods are really about training the parent more than the kid! (As in, parents get up from what you're doing, engage and interact with your kid, teach them what you want them to do, don't be lazy, focus on your kid, and with a few helps here and there he/she may surprise you with his positive responses to your efforts).

There is just a brief overview of a few.

Also, while appealing to a certain audience, and to us for the first few years, I now see 'Baby Wise' (previously titled 'Growing Kids God's Way') by Ezzo with reserve.  It is all about programming babies and toddlers and making them conform to your wishes and lifestyle.  Geared specifically (insert tongue in cheek here) for Engineers, Babywise is formulaic because it elevates a method to the level of morality and instructs parents to ignore instincts insinuating that instinct from our sinful nature is inherently bad.  Following the 'method' is better.  (I am very sorry we ever followed this book.  I really believe it was emotionally harmful to our children.  I have backpedalled ever since).

A better all-round manual was Entrusted with a Child's Heart by Betsy Corning.  This is also a video curriculum.  Her style was simple, to the point, un-embellished but filled with practical, helpful ideas/support.  Some of her advice impacts my actions, words and decisions on a daily basis.  I think it is one of the best general materials out there.

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