Friday, August 29, 2008

Parenting Book Reviews--Part Two

When Anger Hurts Your Kids: A Parent's Guide by McKay, Fanning, Paleg & Landis

This book is one to skim, not read. It spends several chapters presenting research, most of which makes you feel terribly guilty if you've ever gotten angry with your children! However, I strongly doubt that the results would be the same if the families included in the study were all Christian families who practice regular confession and forgiveness of one another.

The most helpful aspect of this book was, like Scream-Free Parenting, how it focused on parents' reactions, not on kids' behaviors. There were several charts which list common "trigger thoughts" which parents have when kids disobey, like "she's doing this to annoy me" or "he's testing me." After the trigger thought, there is magnification--an emotional reaction like "I can't stand this" or "I hate this." From there, we label the behavior: "disrespectful," "selfish," "out of control," and by then, we've worked ourselves up into a damaging state.

The authors suggest "coping thoughts" instead. Here are the most effective seven:

It's just a stage.

This is natural for this age.

Don't take it seriously. Keep a sense of humor.

This is just natural impulsiveness.

He isn't really trying to do it to me. It's just how he is coping right now.

She can't help (crying, being angry, interrupting, needing attention, etc.)

Just get through it. You can cope. You don't have to get angry.

I think you can take this too far--you don't want to make excuses for your child or let yourself off the hook in your duty to instruct them when they misbehave--but thinking calming thoughts instead of thoughts that get you worked up is certainly a helpful strategy.

This book was no magic bullet for me--I still have six kids pushing my buttons, remember!--and I'm still not always able to identify why I get so angry in certain situations, but this book did give me some helpful insight and perspective.

Do You Know What I Like About You?: Jump-Starting Virtues and Values in Your Children by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

This book was pretty light, I thought--I got the idea after the first couple chapters--but it is also practical. The emphasis is on noticing and affirming positive behaviors and attitudes in our kids, and who doesn't need a little "jump-start" (or re-start) on that? We're all so busy dealing with the negatives, that it's easy to forget this all-important aspect of child training.

Each chapter focuses on a different virtue or value with a Scripture verse, a story, a poem, and talking points or activity ideas.

I have one child that NEEDS this so much and does so much better if he's getting it, and this book gave me more ideas on traits to affirm and bless in him, and my other children.

1 comment:

DebD said...

(coming over from semicolon's blog).

I don't think I'd enjoy the first book (sounds like it would have made a better article than book).

The 2nd one sounds like something I could use again and again. Its so easy to fall into the "mommy says 'no'" habit.