I've read a lot of parenting books over my 12 years of motherhood. I know a lot of people don't like to read parenting books. I know a lot of people specifically advise against reading parenting books.
A lot of people say that reading parenting books are a sure-fire way to make you feel like you are doing everything wrong. I'm not a lot of people.
Maybe it's my personality, but I almost never waste time feeling guilty. I just don't. Never fear, I have plenty to feel guilty about, but guilt just isn't an emotion I spend a lot of time on. I forgive myself, I know Jesus forgives me, and I forgive others...so it's all good.
I don't like to pigeon-hole myself into one parenting philosophy and I don't follow anything 100%, but I do like to have a general game-plan or idea. I can't just leave my parenting up to my whims. That would be a disaster, knowing me. I'd be all loosey-goosey one day and strict, tight-ship the next. Consistentency is not my fortitude, that is for sure.
I find reading parenting books to be very helpful, they either strengthen my resolve to keep doing what I am doing, or they give me tools or ideas to change something I am unhappy about. I'm have no problem taking what I like and leaving the rest. I find it very helpful to take bits and pieces of other's people's ideas and advice and put them together into an overall game-plan that I can keep in mind to help me get through those tough days.
I think the main problem that most have with parenting books is that people are complicated. A person's outcome in life (who they are when they grow up...whether that is a saint or an ax murderer) depends on many factors and their upbringing/parenting is just one among many. The thing is, parenting does matter...it's just not the only thing and no way of parenting can guarantee a specific outcome, because people are complicated and have free will. Not to mention the fact that genetics and certain physiological factors can also play a role. But, that doesn't negate the fact that parenting DOES matter and that we should all be striving to be the best parents we can be.
So.....here is the latest parenting book I have been reading.
I love this book. I can honestly say that it might just be the most helpful parenting book I have ever read. And, I've read a lot in my time. If you have just little kids you might be saying, oh, I don't need this book yet, my kids are too little.
But...there is always a but....it's never too early to start thinking about this. And, they give some really good ideas and tips and advice for different stages of development...starting with infants all the way through teens. In fact, I think their advice for babies and young children is especially helpful. They address certain sensitive issues (like self-touching in little kids and masturbation in older kids) from a uniquely Catholic perspective that you really won't find in any other book.
The authors do heavily espouse the style of parenting best known as attachment parenting. While I don't like labels, it is the parenting style which has always worked best for our family. So, naturally, I agree with a lot of what they say. However, whether or not you follow attachment parenting, I think they make some good points....points that are well worth consideration that I hadn't really thought of before (things like how a baby learns attachment and to seek comfort from their primary caregivers can help them develop the necessary skills for intimacy within marriage as an adult).
However, even past that, they have wonderful advice for nurturing your relationship with your child, dealing with puberty, helping teens navigate dating relationships and great tips and advice for just about every stage in between. And, it's not just about helping your kids have a healthy sexuality, but about forming healthy relationships (and avoiding bad ones), helping your children form an identity statement and helping your children foster their own spiritual life.
The book is easy to read, but chock full of information and you need to read it slowly to really absorb everything. A theme of authentic Catholicism is woven throughout the entire book, and the book is written from a uniquely Catholic perspective that continuously references The Theology of the Body and authentic Church teaching. That said, I think even non-Catholic, Christian parents could get a lot out of this book, because it just has some really good advice and ideas in it about nurturing the parent-child relationsip and helping children respect their bodies without ever feeling shame about them or their bodily functions.
There are even some great ideas and information to help parents in their own marriage foster greater intimacy.
You should read it.
Linking up with Jessica.