Thursday, September 11, 2008

Parenting Books

I've been doing a lot of reading lately! Between the physics books for the class and parenting books for the fighting, I've got a lot of books under my belt right now. Summer break is a tricky situation for my family. I like to take a break and my kids are old enough to be fairly self-entertaining. BUT when we don't have something regularly scheduled that takes up a lot of time, like school work, they can get on each other's nerves and then things start flying (literally--my youngest likes to 'throw her weight around').

In trying to find some help with the sibling nastiness, I reread a couple of books. Two by Adele Faber, "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk," and "Siblings Without Rivalry," and I read one by Haim G. Ginott (the guy Faber worked with), "Between Parent and Child."

I enjoy all of the books, but I'm having a hard time getting enough information from them. In some ways I like the Haim G. Ginott book the best because he has more information about the general principles along with some examples. Also, Faber uses a hypothetical group session model with sharing stories to help illustrate examples, and I find that forced and distracting.

Reading parenting books is always enlightening. Sometimes in the "Aha! I think I need to do that!" way and sometimes with great chagrin as I think "Wow. I have been destroying my children's self-esteem for years because I was doing that."

I particularly like the very concrete advice by Faber on hitting; pay attention to the child who got hurt and don't come down like a screaming banshee on the agressor.

One thing I'm trying to remember is to validate their feelings. I love Dr. Ginott's saying "birds fly, fish swim, and people feel." Something I find maddening is that when I try to empathize with my children's feelings they tend to glare at me. I just can't figure it out. I think right now it might be because it's new and because sometimes I'm just not in the frame of mind to empathisize and they can tell it's just show.


Rational Jenn said...

I have read, and often refer to, the Faber books. Haven't read anything by Ginott, although if it's more theoretical/principle-based, maybe I'd like it more. I also find the "group therapy" model distracting, but I do like the theory and what Faber has to say.

I find it helpful that I have a close friend (and even Objectivist!) who is on the same plan. When we get together, we help each other parent better and talk about some of the theory and how to apply it to our specific situations with our kids. I've been slowly improving in the Not Yelling department, I think because it's easier to parent well when another parent is around. Do you know any other parents who like Faber who you already get together with sometimes?

Another book I liked is by Barbara Coloroso called "Kids Are Worth It." Along the same lines as Faber. I especially like what she has to say about teaching kids to solve their own problems without mom becoming judge, jury, and executioner. Because I already have enough to do! I've had success with my oldest two, now that my daughter is over 3.

Kim said...

I'll have to try out that book. I can't even get close to estimating how many times the kids are playing nicely and then practically at each other's throats over something and then it's like a death-spiral from there. They seem to get stuck in a pattern and have a difficult time getting out. Thanks for the suggestion!

John Drake said...

I've read Faber's and Ginott's books as well and found them pretty darn helpful. I think a lot of what Ginott and Faber say is consistent with the Montessori approach. Now that my son has started a Montessori pre-school, I see his teachers interacting with him exactly as Ginott recommends. Its really helped me to see that behavior actuallized.