If you follow me on Goodreads, you know that I love reading books, mostly, parenting books. I have more books on my “to-read” shelf than “read” for obvious reasons. Some of the books I have or was planning to read are already outdated as my children grew out of 1-6 age phase and are moving steadily towards teenage phase.
My love for reading parenting books doesn’t mean that I love all the content I read. It also doesn’t mean that I try to implement everything that is told in those books with the hopes of having a perfect child or perfect communication skills with my children.
I know my parenting style is a mish mash of my own parent’s parenting style and my own instincts based on my personality. Still, I love reading parenting books reading because:
- I learn more about myself through parenting books. They make me think about my own childhood and my parents. I think about my personality, my husband’s personality and my children’s personalities. I listen to myself; reflect on my own feelings and my own thoughts.
- I am more aware of my parenting. I observe myself in different situations with my children. I observe how they react to my various actions and keep them in mind. I also notice what I give my children reflects directly back to me. I teach my kids the art of impatience, inappropriate display of anger and miscommunication. Parenting books give me ideas how to handle some of these situations better.
- I recognize that my children are not my extension. There are totally different people with different personalities. I also understand that all children are different as all adults are different, even if they are the children of the same parents. Parenting books help me understand my children, their different personalities and respond appropriately.
- I now know my children are not stubborn. Their personalities are developing and they want their decisions and opinions to be heard. Parenting books help me relieve myself of my prejudices.
- I observe my children for cues and clues to direct me to the right path. Parenting books help me read their signs and identify underlying issues, if they aren’t obvious at the first look.
- I try not to react instinctively. I try to question and find the real reasons behind a conflict or a disappointment. Even though many people advocate trusting our instincts, sometimes my instincts urge me to yell at the top of my lungs. Parenting books help me stay present instead of jumping guns, i.e. go to another room, close the door and wait until I get my act together.
- I am more patient with my children. Parenting books helped me question myself to figure out when and why my fuse was shorter. I asked myself why I really yelled my kids. I don’t yell at anyone else. Over the time, I found 2 main reasons: lack of sleep and stress due to overload. Now I try to eliminate those traps as much as possible to reduce any outburst.
- I appreciate the infinite capacity of my children. I try not to discourage them or impose any limits on them. Parenting books teach me ways to expand their horizons and encourage them; keep them confident and curious. They also remind me that in some cases best way to parent is to just let them be.
- I accept myself as is, i.e. a loving parent who is striving for progress not perfection. I try to be a better parent to raise my children to be decent adults. I learn with my first child. If I realize I make the mistakes, I try not to repeat them. I don’t beat myself down for lack of perfection.
- I appreciate my parents even more. Not because they raised me and my brother, in an era without the kinds of references or guidance we have available today, the best way they could, with love, but because, most of the time, they give better advice than some of those parenting books.