I was one of those pregnant ladies, the ones who buy those “parenting books” not just one or two but i’d say probably four different parenting books sit on my bookshelves. All giving their view/take on what makes the perfect parent or how to parent in a particular way to help guide/ mould your little ones to become the best human possible. To be honest despite having these books I still really struggled to find any of them that suited me and my take on parenting. Some I liked, some I loathed but not one of them did I love. None grabbed me internally, you know what I mean? I never had a lightbulb moment with any, none of them resonated with how I felt I wanted to parent.
When I received a copy of “Kids don’t come with a manual, The essential guide to a happy family life” written by Carole & Nadim Saad, in the post last month I’ll be honest I did think, this was going to be another one of those preachy parenting guides. However on reading it I was really pleasantly surprised. This isn’t a book that made me feel that pang of guilt like some of the other books did, nor did it make me want to chuck it in the bin after reading the first few pages. Dare I say it, I kind of liked it, well more than liked it, I got it. Whilst reading it I finally had that lightbulb moment of yes this is my kind of parenting book, this makes sense to me.
So why did I like?
Unlike other books parenting books I have read, this one takes a very balanced approach to parenting, taking into account differing parenting styles. It doesn’t claim to turn you into those mega perfect parents like some others claim to, but aims just to make parenting more enjoyable and less stressful. How fab does that sound!
The authors (a married couple) share their story of how in the beginning of their parenting journey, they both had differing parenting styles which often were conflicting. They learned that in order to parent successfully as a team, they had to set those “parenting styles” aside and both learn to compromise and work together to move forward. This was really what hit home for me. I don’t think hubby would mind me saying that we have or did have different parenting “styles” / “ideas”. Without getting too in depth here’s a summary, I don’t shout, I don’t believe in slapping etc. I suppose you could say i’m kind of one of those (whispers) “gentle” parents. Hubby before we had “mini” thought it wasn’t harmful to slap your child, that mindset of it didn’t do me any harm and so on and he’d admit himself he is a “shouter”. It’s safe to say our parenting styles are different. However we did come to an agreement before “mini” was born that she would never ever be slapped. I don’t agree with it and he knew how much it upset me so we agreed to never ever go there and we have not.
However we still have conflicting issues relating to parenting from time to time. Normally hubby thinking i’m not strict enough or I think he’s too strict etc. Being able to read about a similar situation and how they overcame these issues has been such a comfort for me and really helped me, I suppose you could say understand hubby’s view point a bit better.
So onto the content:
The book is written like a tool kit, with 33 tools in total. These tools cover lots of different topics throughout the 7 chapters. I have implemented some of the different ideas/ tools mentioned in chapters at home one of the most successful for us has been the “I” statements from chapter one. These statements aim to make communication between parents and kids much more positive. I realised how often I could prevent her getting upset by changing how I spoke, one of the examples given in the book is to change phrases like “I’m not going to play with you until you have finished your homework” to ” i’ll be happy to play with you as soon as you have finished your homework”. Turning a negative thing into a positive, something so simple, but really I have found it makes such a big difference.
Another point from the tool kit – tool no 18 in chapter 4 really stuck with me too- empathy and validation. This really focuses on not discounting your childs feelings and expressing empathy for the emotion they are experiencing. This is something I really try to do and have sometimes been criticised for. For example, when “mini” and I are heading out in the car to say the shops she likes to bring a little bag with her and she chooses a few treasured items of the day to take with her. I have seen her become distraught just as we are about to drive off because she’s realised she’s left a single lego brick or a flashcard or something in the house. I remember her doing this once when someone else was driving one day and they said to her she’d be ok we were only heading out for a little bit. She wasn’t ok, she was so upset the whole time. I know to us it’s only a random object, it could even be a hair clip but to her she wanted it and felt she needed it with her and i’ve realised that to her it’s a major thing and therefore I must be more respectful of her and her feelings even if I think she’s making a bigger deal out of the situation than she should. Reading this in black and white really helped reinforce for me that, I am doing what’s right for her and not just pandering to her as some have suggested.
There are lots of other tools/ tips that I love in the book too, such as the section on tantrums and shopping trips, not wanting to go to sleep and a great section on being hooked on screens ie ipads, tv etc, which are well worth a read.
Overall this book is a great read. For me it ticks all the boxes of a great parenting “manual” /”guide” without being too “manual”/ “guidey” if that makes sense? Personally this book really suits me and how I want to parent, so maybe that’s why I liked it so much. I do recommend that if your interested in parenting books that you add this to your reading list, it gives some good food for thought.
It can be purchased here.
*I was sent this book free of charge for my thoughts/review, however all my views and opinions are 100% open and honest as always*