Through From Left to Write I have had some great opportunities to read and review books. I again have the opportunity to read and review Raise the Child You’ve Got – Not the One You Want by Nancy Rose.
I have plenty of family and friends who don’t have blogs and don’t participate in the world of social media, yet they see the influx of articles and news pieces about parenting and the pressures of being the perfect parent. It is so easy to judge all the other parents out there and how they are “doing it wrong”, but sometimes we don’t look at our own parenting and what we might need to approve upon.
Everyone talks about how “terrible” the twos and threes are, and I will be honest, I have my very rough days too, but I think a part of the problem with this age is that kids are learning how to communicate, and that learning process can be difficult. Deciphering what it is your child is saying, responding in a manner that they can understand as well. Then there are the issues that arise when you don’t respond with what they want. Sometimes we get frustrated and give up. Trust me, I am not perfect, I have definitely given up or given in, and I am not proud of that.
This excerpt below is one that really resonated with me:
“If you want to really know your child and have him open up to you, you must be emotionally present. By doing so, you give your child permission to show all of himself to you. What does it mean to be emotionally present? It means letting our children communicate all their feelings, not just the pleasant ones. It can be a challenge to be present with children who feel sad, angry, or incompetent, but it is worth the effort (and is the only way you can teach them appropriate ways to express difficult emotions). If your child senses that you want to know her thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, she will let you know in words. Let your child reveal the full picture of who she is by making it clear that you want to know everything about her and can handle whatever she has to tell you, not just the good stuff.
When parents give the impression that they do not want to know the bad stuff, their children will often express their struggles by acting out, rather than talking. Notice what your child is telling you through his behavior. For instance, if he is terrified of giving a report in front of his class, he may not necessarily tell you; what you may see instead is your child bullying his younger sibling. We should be tuning into not just what is said, but what is unsaid, perhaps as you see him having moments of quiet sadness by himself before going to school.”
This resonates with me for two reasons, the first being that I don’t ever want to be that parent to tell B he can’t do something (or should do something) because he is a boy. If he is frustrated I want him to be able to tell me. I also want him to know that it is okay if he cries. When he falls and hurts himself and cries, I do everything in my power to make sure he feels safe and comforted and that whatever injury happened isn’t serious. I make the effort to make sure the words “boys don’t cry” don’t come out of my mouth, and it is an effort, because sometimes I say that statement. I don’t want him to ever feel like he can’t show his emotions. If he is angry because I took his toy away, I want him to be able to tell me. I want to have the opportunity to tell him that because he threw it at my face means he can’t play with it for awhile. He can be upset that I took it, but I will always be there to tell him why his actions caused a reaction.
At least he will tell me when he’s done getting his picture taken
The other reason I love this piece of the book is because I grew up in a house where my parents pacified my sister and I. This is a behavior that STILL happens. When I get frustrated with one of my parents because of something they did, instead of having an adult conversation about it, usually they pacify it (or ignore it). For example, one of my parents was supposed to come to San Francisco with my sister and I to spectate me in the Nike Women’s Marathon. This was a plan for 7 months, and the day I had to book my flights said parent backed out. I found out via my sister and when I expressed my anger and frustration, the person threw money at the situation. Over a year later and I am still obviously frustrated about it.
Enjoying SF on a sisters trip!
I do love my parents, but I don’t feel like I can sit and have a real conversation with either of them about how I feel regarding my relationship with them. I never want B or any future children to feel like that, I want our children to feel like we will always hear them out and have a rational discussion about how they are feeling, judgement free. But that I will also give out consequences when their behavior is unacceptable.
Now you get your own chance to win Nancy’s book! The giveaway is open until 11:59 on January 22. The winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to get back to me. US only. Check out more posts for the book tour and Nancy’s appearance on the Today show!
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How do you feel about the excerpt above?