Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why I Read Parenting Books and A Book Review: Beyond the Birds and the Bees, Raising Sexaully Whole and Holy Kids

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 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'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. 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'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. 
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  1. The Popcaks are terrific! I've been wondering if there were any good Catholic books on this topic. Thanks!

  2. I'm one of those people who avoids parenting books. :-) But I think I'll read this one. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I'm definitely with you on taking what's useful and leaving the rest when it comes to parenting books. Since my usual strategy when I need to learn something new is to read all about it, and since I am shown daily that I don't know all about parenting, I find that I look for parenting books fairly regularly. I look for recommendations from trusted sources, I read reviews to find out the scope and tone of a book, and I try to get most of the ones I'd like to read from the library so that, if I find it really doesn't fit with my life, I can simply return it. I also find that, since I've been at this parenting thing for a while now, I have a better idea of what will work and what won't in my own home with me and my family. Thanks for the review of this one!

  4. I love reading parenting books! Any you would recommend for the raising of young children?? I'm reading Child Wise right now, ever heard of it?

    1. No, I haven't heard of Child Wise. I assume it's by the Ezzo's who wrote Babywise? I'm not really a fan of the Ezzo's, in general, so I'm not sure what I woud make of it.

      I really like the Popcak's book, Parenting with Grace. I also think Playful Parenting is pretty good. I also like Raising your Spirited Child, although I don't think any of my kids are really "spirited".

    2. Thanks Amelia, and yes, it is the Ezzo's. Some of it I like but some is a little much I feel. I've read most of Raising your Spirited Child, and I liked that one! Never read anything by the Popcak's, I'll have to look up their books. It's funny bc when I lived in Steubenville I went to church with them!

  5. I really need to pull that book off of my shelf and reread it.
    I love reading parenting books. Take the useful information and leave the rest behind! :)

  6. I've been waiting for you to review this. Thanks!


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