Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Book Review


I really admire those who can plow through multiple books in a month.  Some of my favorite bloggers like Princess Nebraska read crazy amounts of books! I'm so impressed!

These days I try to get a little reading in before bed . .  . but what often happens is that I read for a page or two and get so tired I can't go on!  I love to read, I really do, but it's a very slow process for me. That's why I've made it my goal to try and just read 20 books in 2013.  For me, that will be a stretch!

This month I did complete one book: The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp

The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful and Cooperative One- to Four-Year-Old: Revised Edition

This is the thing about parenting books: as a first-time mom, I can't help myself.  I devour them.  I like to feel as informed as possible about things I don't know much about and as a first-time parent with very little baby experience (never baby-sat tiny kids, I was the youngest in my family and my extended family), I really needed to feel more confident about what to "expect" if you will.

But the problem is that after my daughter was born, I became really frustrated when so few of the methods or expertise really worked. 

When my daughter was first born she was such a howler. I just remember hours and hours and hours of crying.  And she resisted all methods of sleep-training.  I was one strung-out, exhausted momma.  I later realized that I had to let all of the "expert advice" go and parent the child I had - not the perfect textbook child written about in all of these self-help parenting books.

The only books that I really found any value in was The Happiest Baby on the Block (also by Harvey Karp) and The Baby Book by William Sears. That's why I decided to delve back into the genre again with The Happiest Toddler now that my 17-month-old is starting to act a lot like a sassy 17-year-old.

In his book, a lot of Karp's advice made sense and aligned with what we already try to do to prevent tantrums in the first place (keeping our daughter well fed with frequent small meals . . . ensuring she is well-rested or that we can accommodate her need for rest when we are out and about. . . frequent "time-ins" with mom and dad) but I think what really appealed to me the most was everything he wrote having to do with parents playing the "ambassador" role and how to better communicate so that the toddler feels heard and understood. I realized that I tend to talk/reason with my daughter as if she is much older. I've started using "toddlerese" and getting down on her level, particularly when there is a melt down happening and she has actually stopped in her tracks! However, I have to admit that I feel like a goon using it in public.

Other things I've tried and had good results with are his techniques having to do with patience stretching and kind ignoring (at first I wasn't really sure about it and still I use it only very sparingly).

I really like that Karp takes a positive, confidence building approach to parenting toddlers and I'm appreciative that he acknowledges just how hard it is to be a modern parent. . . but I have to say that I’m doubtful about time-outs as discipline, particularly at this stage in my daughter's development. However, I'm willing to consider it as an option when she's slightly older.

Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Have you read any good parenting books recently?  Any that you'd recommend to me? 

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