Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Parenting Books (part 2)

So far, as a parent, I really haven't read very many parenting books. I've heard both good and bad about parenting books, and that you have to just take what you want out of them. And, I always felt like I could just do what came naturally. But, as my son is getting older, I'm finding a need for SOME advice on certain areas such as discipline, potty training, basic learning, activities to do with my him, and overall just what to expect as he grows up.

Some of the books I have read in the past are:

"Babywise" by Gary Ezzo

"What to Expect: When You're Expecting" by Heidi Murkof

And I just started reading "1,2,3 Magic!" Dr. Thomas W. Phelan

I'm sure most of you readers have read or at least heard of "Babywise" and "What to Expect When You're Expecting". "1,2,3 Magic" is about discipline and the whole "counting before going to time-out" method. My sister-in-law has been using the method in "1,2,3 Magic!" for about a year now and it has proven to work well for her and her son who is almost 3. I haven't read the whole book, but plan on it and hope to use that method.

So, my questions to you are:

What are your feelings about parenting books? Good or bad?
What are your favorite and not-so-favorite parenting books?
Why do you like/dislike the book(s)?
Would you rather use the books or just advice from others?


Delia said...

Parenting books and me have a love hate relationship. They do have good tips and help. They always help broaden my understanding of parenting whether it is in the way the book intended or not. The hate part comes in that I have a tendency to try to fit my parenting and my children inside the box sized book. I am learning that for us that is not best. One parenting book cannot and will not hold all the answers for everyone and even for each child in the same family. To combat this I try to read parenting books with a prayer in my heart, and often said out loud, to help me know my children and what they individually need. I also take into consideration my own temperament and what will suit me. I find if I do things that feel a bit easier to come by they will happen the right way. If I try to implement parenting techniques that are way different from how I "like" to be than I fail or it doesn't work out right.

You know the phrase "knowledge is power?" Read as much as you can. Sift through it and take away what is most valuable to you. Taking in other people's examples is also priceless. I learn faster by watching an attentive, patient mother than by reading about one. Take it all in and allow it to help you be the best you. That is what I shoot for anyway. Easier to say and read than to do. :)

Tannie Datwyler said...

1 - I like parenting books - but I'm with Delia. I have NEVER read one that I agreed with 100% - it just doesn't happen. Each parent is different, each child is different; there are no perfect answers. But, as a general rule I have a parenting book going all the time so I can be getting new ideas constantly and reminding myself of the things I want to do better and the things I know I CAN do better at.

2 - As for favorite and not-so-favorite parenting books..... Love and Logic is one of my favorites (especially the Early Childhood one), and I also enjoy the What to Expect series. I like The Power of Positive Parenting (but I always take this one with a grain of salt because it is a bit older). Ones I don't like.... sadly, Babywise and 1,2,3 Magic. But you have to remember that is TOTALLY personality. If those techniques work for you, then go for it. Like I said, all parents and kids are different. Those books were just too regimented for me. Love and Logic was perfect for me because it does what it promises, gives love and consequenses.

I think I answered question 3 with 2 up there....

4 - I like advice from others and advice from books, but I might not always take it. Someimtes it's easier to take it form a book because it doesn't feel like you are being criticized by a friend.... does that make sense? But other moms have AWESOME advice, as long as I choose to take it as that, advice, and not the law.

Tressa said...

1 - I'm with the the others: good & bad depending on how I approach it. When I'm trying to find exact & perfect answers, they're bad because no parenting book offers that...even the scriptures don't spell out a specific formula that works in every situation. But, like the scriptures, I have enjoyed parenting books when I can find true principles in them and apply those. I like Tannie's idea of always having a parenting book to read because I think it would help me see things with a larger perspective instead of trying to seek out one perfect answer in one book. I've found books the most helpful when I've read a few and taken pieces from each that seem the most helpful. Somehow it makes it easier for me to sift out what will work at our house and then have more ideas to fall back on if the first approach doesn't work.
2/3- I also did not really like Babywise, but I think it's because I took their push for structure WAY too seriously. My pediatrician recommended a Birth to 5 guide by American Academy of Pediatrics and that's probably what I've referred to the most. Don't spend a lot of $ on it though - you can probably find one at DI or Kid to Kid. This one is very generic - it gives basic ideas of developmental milestones and what to expect at each stage as well as common childhood ailments and problems and how to respond. Like any other book, even it has opinion that you just have to sort out, but I've found it more user friendly than some others. For infants (mainly the first year and even first few months) we liked The Baby Whisperer, but found that all those ideas didn't work for us and had to make adjustments. I think I liked it better than Babywise because I read it before our baby came and then applied the parts that had stood out and I liked and just used it as a reference on occasion, whereas Babywise I was trying to follow like a recipe and feeling like a bad parent if I didn't. I think that approach of reading a little ahead (i.e. read about potty training to decide what approach I want to try a while before I plan to start) has been the most helpful to me. It's easier to not get caught up in every detail and bit of advice in the book.
4- I like both. When I've found myself taking a book's advice too seriously it's been really helpful to just talk to other moms and see how they are doing things and be reminded that there are MANY good approaches. I really like what Elder Ballard said once,"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother." (May '08 Ensign).

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Heather Albee-Scott said...

I think parenting books should be read with a bottle of salt by your side. No one book is going to have all the answers for your child. I suggest reading a wide range of books, but more importantly, talking to others who've been down the parenting road (and reading this blog!).

When I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now 10, I told of friend of mine about taking a parenting class. She laughed and told me how where she is from, Ghana, they don't take classes - they just know what to do!

I think sometimes we put too much faith in the experts instead of realizing we are the closest thing to an expert of OUR child. Yes, consult with physicians, teachers, neighbors and read the books, but don't underestimate your own common sense.

I did like "Operating Instructions" by Anne Lamott, as she was honest in her writings of being a first time mother.