Since I’ve been a teacher, children’s pastor, and parent over the past 10 years, I often get asked questions about parenting from my friends and family. I’ll be the first to admit that (a) I don’t know it all, (b) I screw up often, (c) My children are far from perfect BUT I do love learning and trying to do better and different when things aren’t working. I find myself turning to several well-written books and blogs when I need some inspiration or tools in my parenting tool-box. They encourage me and educate me on the difficult and daunting task of raising and disciplining our children. We have chosen to take the route of gentle discipline with our children that involves seeing “discipline” ad discipleship and teaching. We feel that so much of parenting is based on relationship with our children. We also want them to see Christ in us and help point then in the direction of a loving, graceful, yet just God. The following books and websites are some of my favorite places to help us:
* Happiest Baby on the Block – Harvey Karp. MD.
This book was amazing to us when our children were newborns. The steps really work!
Karp, a pediatrician in Santa Monica, Calif., and assistant professor at the School of Medicine, UCLA, offers a new method to calm and soothe crying infants. While nursing or being held satisfies some babies, others seemingly cry for hours for no reason. Karp recommends a series of five steps designed to imitate the uterus. These steps include swaddling, side/stomach position, shhh sounds, swinging and sucking. The book includes detailed advice on the proper way to swaddle a child, the difference between a gentle rocking versus shaking and more. According to the author, virtually all babies will respond to these strategies although some trial and error may be needed to find the most effective calming method.
* Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child – Marc Weissbluth
Here Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a distinguished pediatrician and father of four, offers his groundbreaking program to ensure the best sleep for your child. In Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, he explains with authority and reassurance his step-by-step regime for instituting beneficial habits within the framework of your child’s natural sleep cycles. He:
– Pinpoints the way daytime sleep differs from night sleep and why both are important to your child
– Helps you cope with and stop the crybaby syndrome, nightmares, bedwetting, and more
– Analyzes ways to get your baby to fall asleep according to his internal clock–naturally
– Reveals the common mistakes parents make to get their children to sleep–including the inclination to rock and feed
– Explores the different sleep cycle needs for different temperaments–from quiet babies to hyperactive toddlers
– Emphasizes the significance of a nap schedule
* Your ___ Year Old – Ames and Ilg (Gesell Institute of Human Development)
* Grace Based Parenting – by Tim Kimmel –
Now Dr. Tim Kimmel, founder of Family Matters ministries, offers a refreshing new look at parenting. Rejecting rigid rules and checklists that don’t work, Dr. Kimmel recommends a parenting style that mirrors God’s love, reflects His forgiveness, and displaces fear as a motivator for behavior. As we embrace the grace God offers, we begin to give it-creating a solid foundation for growing morally strong and spiritually motivated children.
* Playful Parenting – Lawrence Cohen, MD.
To Cohen, children of all ages have an ongoing need for connectedness, security and attachment; playful interaction with parents is an important way to develop such bonds. Through play, parents can help their kids develop greater confidence, express bottled up or difficult feelings, recover from daily emotional upheavals, negotiate agreements, express love and not least have fun. In his therapy practice, Cohen has used play to help both severely troubled and securely attached kids negotiate the daily travails of life; he demonstrates how to prevent and address serious problems with silliness and laughter. Cohen acknowledges that it is sometimes difficult for busy and harried parents to relearn play, and that playtime is both physically challenging and tiring. However, using examples from his practice, research and personal experience, he intelligently guides parents through the possibilities awaiting them if they are willing and able to loosen up. The book explores play with compassion, but is often so funny that parents will find themselves chortling out loud with recognition and anticipation.
* How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk – Adele Faber
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk is an excellent communication tool kit based on a series of workshops developed by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Faber and Mazlish (coauthors of Siblings Without Rivalry) provide a step-by-step approach to improving relationships in your house. The “Reminder” pages, helpful cartoon illustrations, and excellent exercises will improve your ability as a parent to talk and problem-solve with your children. The book can be used alone or in parenting groups, and the solid tools provided are appropriate for kids of all ages.
* Positive Discipline – Jane Nelsen
For twenty-five years, Positive Discipline has been the gold standard reference for grown-ups working with children. Now Jane Nelsen, distinguished psychologist, educator, and mother of seven, has written a revised and expanded edition. The key to positive discipline is not punishment, she tells us, but mutual respect. Nelsen coaches parents and teachers to be both firm and kind, so that any child–from a three-year-old toddler to a rebellious teenager–can learn creative cooperation and self-discipline with no loss of dignity.
* Your ____ Year Old – Ames & Ilg (Gesell Institute of Human Development)
From a child development perspective, great information at understanding your child at age. I’ve found that understanding the “why” behind the behavior always helps me with how to deal with it. GREAT and inexpensive resource to have at each age. The books are great from an informational standpoint. although some techniques will seem a bit dated.
All this to say, with anything I take bits and pieces of what works for our family. Not all the information is exactly right on in any given source. I wouldn’t want a formula to raising my children. And also, although I’ve used these resources MANY times, I believe that the gospel gives us much of what we need with tools for parenting. Look at yourself first, look at your relationship with God, look at your relationship with your kids. How are you showing Christ to them? How are they showing Christ? What is our role as a parent in showing them Christ? What do both you and them need to do to look more like Christ? Pray. Search God’s word. Love on them. Remember time passes so quickly, yet we only have one chance.
What resources have you found invaluable in raising your children?