Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
I just read Dr. Laura Markham‘s new book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. Her whole idea is that kids can be a joy to parent if you follow her tips on compassionate parenting. I’ll admit, my kids are not fun to parent when they refuse to clean the toy room, strategically delay their bedtimes and beg for gummy bears at the drugstore.
How do you react when your kids act up? Dr. Markham says the number one best thing a parent can do is control her emotions. We’re the grown ups, she reminds parents, and the kids are usually just acting like kids. This book addresses parents who want to stop yelling and stop relying on drastic discipline. It’s written for families who want to strengthen their connections and increase their respect for one another. Basically, we want our kids to do what we ask without all of the drama.
My favorite part is when Dr. Markham asks, “Is yelling is the new spanking?” That’s so true. How many adults swear not to spank but then swear at their kids super loudly? Um, well, adults shouldn’t do that. Dr. Markham asks the reader to imagine that her spouse has blown a gasket and is yelling at you at the top of his lungs. Now imagine that he’s three times bigger than you are, and you depend on him completely for your food, shelter, safety, protection. He is your primary source of self-confidence and love. You have nowhere else to turn. Now take those feelings and magnify them by one thousand. That’s what happens inside a child when a parent loses it. The author offers tips for cooling down and gives advice on child-rearing techniques that will work better than yelling, spanking or time outs. Most of the tips involve eye-to-eye listening, not judging and hugging.
Based on her popular website, Aha Parenting, Dr. Markham has put together a solid how-to book for parents who feel their family has gotten out of control. Most of the advice is about changing the way we adults think and act–and once we step it up, our kids’ behavior will dramatically improve.
She tailors her advice for parents who have babies, toddlers, preschoolers and elementary age children. The tone throughout is warm and fuzzy, but I know that her compassionate parenting ideas work. My husband is a master of these techniques, and I’m still learning.