Sunday, January 22, 2012

Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves

Many years ago, when Kyle was about six years old and we lived in a culdesac, a little neighbor boy asked his mom, my next-door-neighbor,

"Mommy, how come when I get hurt, you come running outside to help, but when Kyle gets hurt, his mommy stays in the house?"

Parenting style, Kid; that's why.

Today, my Kyle is so-far doing pretty well, in spite of or due to that style.  Hey, don't get me wrong--I kissed his boo-boos and joked around to distract him from his tears, like everybody else does; but if there wasn't gushing blood or screaming, I kept watching my shows stayed calm. I just didn't freak out when my kids showed negative emotion. I had grown up being denied any expression of sadness or anger, so maybe that's why I let my kids feel.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I've been reading Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming Parent-Child Relationships from Reaction and Struggle to Freedom, Power and Joy (a book whose title couldn't be more perfect, incidentally).  I loved it from the start, and my passion has grown; this gem is now on my Top-2 books for how to raise healthy, well-adjusted kids. This is not a sponsored post of any kind; I don't actually remember how I stumbled upon this book at Amazon. I've never met or spoken with Naomi Aldort (though I would love to). I just feel like this book can change parents' and their children's lives; it's truly that good, so I want to tell you about it.

Here are some excerpts that made me nod my head and jot "Yes!" or "Wonderful!" in the margins. I've added my thoughts in brackets.:

*About kids having meltdowns...

When giving attention to a sobbing or raging child, you may feel discomfort and even panic. You may perceive the child as suffering beyond her ability to cope.  This perception, however, is really about your own discomfort.  Therefore, the rush to distract a child from her hurt or frustration, to compensate for a disappointment, or to minimize the importance of her plight is a response to your own anxiety, not the child's. [Wow! So profound and true!! Every parent can recognize this, and if you say you don't, you're probably lying.]

*Bending the world to fit a child's every whim can hinder the natural development of his emotional resilience. [Why can't parents let their kids want once in a while? (see previous)]

*The child who experiences our peaceful presence [when they're upset] is bound to conclude that going through intense emotions is a part of being human. [And maybe even grow up to go through emotions, rather than around them.]

*Loving yourself will also help you to keep your child free from the burden of providing love for you. Your child is not here to give you love and gratitude or to fulfill your dreams and aspirations. [Even great parents forget this sometimes.]

Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves does have some touchy-feely parts that might make some parents roll their eyes, but to the greatest degree, I cannot argue with Ms. Aldort's wisdom, and I agree that reading this book and implementing the ideas in it would be a gift to yourself, as well as to your child (or grandchild), a gift that would last for generations.

Although my children are mostly grown now, I still very much enjoyed this book, which validated my parenting choices, yes, but also articulated the rationality behind them, even if I (or the neighbor kid) didn't know it at the time.

I love this book! Can you tell?

To learn more about Ms. Aldorts book, workshops, etc. click here.

To read any of my posts related to specific parenting issues, check these out: (RespectFamily IdentityEducation & Limits/BoundariesAttention, or Follow-Through.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Sounds like I should get that book. Thanks for the post.


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