Friday, March 01, 2013

Parental Guidance

Switching gears for a moment to review a non-fiction book (although the cynic in me suspects a few of the "correct" examples given in this book were fictionalized a bit).   Having said that, the examples of what to say and do were invaluable to me as most of the "what not to do" scenarios are exactly what I might say or do on any given day!

Getting to Calm, by Laura S. Kastner, Ph.D. and Jennifer Wyatt, Ph.D.  belongs on every parents' bookshelf!  My copy now rests in a very easy to reach/consult spot, snuggled between  T. Berry Brazelton's Touchpoints and Christie Mellor's The Three Martini Playdate.  As this book offers strategies for dealing with tweens and teens, I've come to it a little late but after reading it from cover to cover, I feel reassured that I may not be TOO late.  (If you have younger children, get this now and read this now--before you are in the midst of some of these scenarios.)  My two older children are 14 and 12 years old, and many of the chapters in this book apply to our situations today.  (The authors suggest keeping this book to refer to the appropriate chapters when needed--when these issues arise--but I found at least 11 of the 14 chapters useful NOW and the other 3 were still worth reading.  I WILL need them!)

I am still working on the calmness.  The authors detail a four-step plan to achieving the calm.  The stories/examples they provide in each chapter offer invaluable instruction as you witness parent/teen interactions.  Some go swimmingly well and you see WHY.  Some plummet quickly and things go horribly wrong and you see WHY.  Changes have been implemented in our house and more are coming.  And now, when I yell and nag, I understand where I've gone wrong much sooner.  It's a process. ;-)

Speaking of where I've gone wrong however, the book made me feel better.  Written by a professor of psychiatry and a psychologist, the authors show where parents go wrong without laying blame.

I usually use this space to discuss reading or writing fiction but once in a while, there are a few other must-have books out there that you should know about.  This is one.  If you are a parent, give yourself this book.  If you are not a parent, give this book to someone else in your life--somebody needs it!