by Libby Wasem
The information, technological, and human rights explosions of the last few decades have made this a very different world from thirty years ago in which to parent children. Everything is changing on the outside and yet children still need the basics: nurturing, clear limits, and the parent as teacher of survival skills. This article offers a reading list to begin or continue on your road to being the most effective and emotionally connected parent possible.
"Parenting from the Inside Out (How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive)" by Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell should be required reading to become a parent. The book helps parents understand their own childhood and learn to develop their own parenting style for the twenty-first century.
"Parenting by Heart (How to Stay Connected to your child in a disconnected world)" by Ron Taffel and Melinda Blau was an incredibly helpful book for me. This rational and compassionate book dispels the negative myths that have sabotaged parenting efforts for the past fifty years. Practical suggestions for everyday coping abound.
Day to Day Strategies for Coping with Children and Staying Sane
"Nurturing Good Children Now" by Ron Taffel and Melinda Blau starts with an introduction titled "Reclaiming Our Children". Years of popular theories of child raising have come up short in dealing with the whole person and the culture in which they exist. This book breaks down the tasks of child raising into ten easily understood areas of skill training based on the age appropriate needs of the child.
"Parenting with Love and Logic (Teaching Children Responsibility)" by Foster Cline and Jim Fay is my current most favorite book on parenting. The book highlights a discipline system that allows parents to use their sense of humor along with the patience required for the job. The goal of this discipline system is to allow parents to increase the enjoyment and fun they have with their children. This is a practical and caring approach dealing with many ordinary day to day challenges.
"SOS! Help for Parents" by Lynn Clark offers a "practical guide for handling common everyday behavior problems". The author provides the step-by-step information on how to use "time outs" in detail along with very specific advice about developing positive self-esteem and talking to your child.
Anything by Barry Brazelton!!! This pediatrician from Boston is compassionate, humorous, and ultimately practical. His work helps with understanding what is normal at what age.
Developing Positive Self-Esteem
"The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience" by Martin Seligman is the base primer for the development of positive self-esteem. Dr. Seligman was a leader in the field of Positive Psychology which looks at what we have done right so we can keep it up.
"Boys of Few Words (Raising Our Sons to Communicate and Connect)" by Adam J. Cox is of special interest to me as the mother of sons and grandmother of grandsons. Brain structures give female children an advantage in learning social and communication skills. This book addresses how to help our male children learn to communicate effectively in the present and the future which significantly enhances positive mental health for men and their future female partners.
Libby Wasem, LCSW is staff director for Fredericksburg Counseling Services. Libby has been in the Social Work and Counseling Field for 35 years. She has also raised three sons. Her agency is a member of Mental Health Partners which is sponsoring "May is Mental Health Month" which focus on increasing awareness of mental health issues in our community. Also, active in this group are the RACSB, Mental Health America, Snowden, and NAMI.