It’s Not All Mary Poppins

A discovery!

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.

January 16, 2013 - Posted by | books, parenting, parents | ,


  1. Mary, I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot from reading your blog. I’ve recently completed my fourth year of teaching, and this last one I taught Pre-kindergarten for the first time. I loved, loved, loved working with the little ones (ages 3, 4), and I’ve tried many of the approaches you have discussed in this blog (ex: your post about whining). You really should write a book. πŸ™‚

    Thank you! It’s always so good to hear my ideas and experience have helped someone. I love three- and four-year-olds, too. They’re so engaging.

    Comment by Carole | January 16, 2013 | Reply

  2. Oh, and I ordered the book you recommended.

    Wow! And this without me talking about the content at all. I’m flattered you value my opinion that much.

    Comment by Carole | January 16, 2013 | Reply

  3. I ordered this book today too! Thanks for the recommendation!

    You’re welcome. I really do think you’ll find it valuable.

    Comment by | January 16, 2013 | Reply

  4. Excellent! You SHOULD write a book. I have the same feeling about dog training books. When you start feeling like you know more than the authors, you lose interest.

    That’s it, exactly. More, or at least just as much. Really, if you’ve been doing a job for close to thirty years (eep! when’d I get to be that old??), you shouldn’t have a whole lot left to learn. If I were still regularly floundering, I should be looking for a different career. This is not the same as not being open to new information — remember how I raved about Growing Up Brave not so long ago? It’s just that, after long enough, there isn’t much new information.

    Comment by IfByYes | January 16, 2013 | Reply

  5. I was momentarily super-excited because I thought you actually *did* write a book. So, if that’s encouragement for you to think about it, excellent! πŸ˜€

    Comment by Hannah | January 17, 2013 | Reply

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