I am occasionally asked by a parent to recommend a parenting book. Given that this is what I do for a living, I should have a tidy list at my fingertips, right? Yes, I should. A well-thought-out list with headings and categories, with good representation of varying approaches and parenting styles. I absolutely should.
Embarrassing as it is to admit — and it is!! — I don’t.
It’s not that I’ve never read a parenting book. Once upon a time I read them compulsively. Probably dozens of them. I read them not so much because I felt at a loss as a parent, though of course I learned tips and tricks, picked up some good ideas, but because I found them interesting. Parenting books were fun and stimulating. Interesting, as I said.
But, you know? When you’ve been doing the job for 27 years, the books become … jest a smidge less rivetting. I have seen trends and fads come and go, heard one expert after another suggest this and that approach in one book after another. Some I largely agree with, some have taught me some good stuff; others cause me to alternately laugh at the sweet naivety or shudder at the self-absorbed brats that dreadful approach will set loose upon the world. After dozens of books read, over a couple dozen years, most of them blur together, and so, when asked, I go all deer-in-the-headlights and am absolutely no use to the questioner at all. Embarrassing.
I really should do something about that.
A couple of weeks ago, when a client asked me to recommend a book, I decided I would do something about that. I culled my own shelves and found a few of my favourites, and then, thinking I should probably have something a little more current in my Recommended Reading list, I trotted over to the library. Pulled a few likely suspects off the shelves, took a couple home.
And I discovered …
I’ve written a book!
Okay. Not really. But if I had, this would pretty much be it. Probably the only book you’d agree with 100% is one you wrote yourself, so, yes, there are a few points at which I diverge from the author, but they’re peripheral points, not detracting from the authors’ main points, method, and philosophy.
So, yay! I now have a book I can recommend to parents who ask. Beyond Time-Out: From Chaos to Calm, by Beth A. Grosshans, with Janet H. Burton.
I will tell you more tomorrow.