Ok, so Parenting is challenging, right? They don’t send us home from the hospital/birth center/inflatable pool in your living room with a handbook that tells you how to handle every situation you will come across as a parent. As a parent to two active and spirited (that’s the nice way to say totally crazy, right?) boys, I am always on the lookout for a book, blog or homeless guy standing on the corner that might have a fresh new perspective on parenting that will help me make sense of it all.
I had just begun reading a book on positive discipline (“I will positively take away your Legos next time I step on one with bare feet!” That’s it, right?), when I was invited to read an advance copy of ‘Courageous Parents | Confident Kids,’ edited by Amy Tiemann, PhD. The book’s tagline promises to discuss “letting go so you both can grow.” I was immediately interested, as I’ve been struggling with how to help my sons gain independence and confidence without looking like a neglectful mother. Helicopter parenting be damned, I started reading.
‘Courageous Parents | Confident Kids’ is broken down into several parts. Each part contains chapters written by different women, all mothers. The very first chapter discussed the importance of self-care for mothers, nay, women (because we aren’t just mothers). The author of the chapter made some pretty good points, including the need to model self-love and self-acceptance as a means of demonstrating it to your children. There were a few exercises to complete at the end of the chapter, as well as a few challenges. One that I am going to try (and it may take more than one try to get it right) is not criticizing myself for an entire week. The author also emphasized the importance of finding your tribe (helloooo, Livemom!) Having moved to Texas from California without knowing a single person outside of my husband and sons, I am learning the importance of finding your tribe/establishing a network of support firsthand.
There is an excellent chapter on becoming your own parenting expert and breaking-free from feeling guilty for not following the ‘What Not to Expect…’ books by the letter. Do you remember those books? Sheesh. Talk about anxiety-inducing! I remember thinking, “how am I ever going to digest all of this information?!” Good thing I stopped trying, I think I would have been a mess before my children ever made their entrances into the world.
Maya Frost, the author of the chapter entitled ‘Developing Your Own Courageous Parenting Style,’ coined a term that is a combination of the words “fear” and ego.” Ladies and germs, I give you: “Fego.” She says that pushing our kids in the direction we feel they should go is fear-based parenting. We may think we are doing our child a favor by mentoring them and showing them what we wish we had done when it was our turn, but really we are keeping them from becoming their own person and learning through life’s many successes and failures. I took lots of notes during this chapter!
Linda Criddle penned an excellent chapter about Internet safety. She discussed when it might be appropriate to allow your child to have his or her own email address and ways to educate your child on the potential dangers lurking around the Internet. My five-year old knows how to open my laptop, wait for it to connect to the internet, and find his way to PBSKids.org. And he doesn’t even know how to read yet! My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw my son look for, and locate, the “P” on the keyboard, because he knew that was the first letter in “PBS,” and he selected the correct site from the history list that popped-up. When I was five, I was outside playing war or building a tree fort. It’s definitely a different world, and our children are growing up in this technological age. We must teach them how to protect themselves in ways we never had to consider when we were their age.
The last section of the book is all about becoming politically involved in your community. The authors of the section are women from MomsRising.org, TheMotherhood.com and the blog PunditMom. I found the insights of the authors to be fascinating. I have a degree in political science and at one time wanted to make politics my life. I became a bit jaded and dropped out of politics. Want to know why? I got tired of the old boys’ club that existed in my party, and the fact that women were so ugly to each other, mainly because they were trying to fit in with the club. Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, co-founder of www.MomsRising.org, stated that as women, not only do we have to deal with the ever-present “glass ceiling,” but we mothers also have to deal with the “maternal wall.” It made me tingly in my feminist place to read that “women without children make about 90 cents to a man’s dollar, women with children make about 73 cents, and single moms make only about 60 cents to each dollar earned by a man.” If that’s not enough to get you politically-motivated, I don’t know what is!
The book ends with several comments made by women on the aforementioned websites. I found them all to be wise, funny and encouraging. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. There is truly something that will speak to mothers of babies and children of all ages, from birth to college. ‘Courageous Parents | Confident Kids’ brought together a fascinating group of women and in effect, created something of a one-stop shop for information and encouragement on motherhood, being a woman and raising confident, independent children.
To receive your very own FREE downloaded copy of ‘Courageous Parents | Confident Kids,’ surf on over to MojoMom and sign up! There are no hoops to jump through, no trial offers to complete. Simply a free book . You must sign up by April 19, 2010 in order to receive the free download, so why not click on the link and sign up now? After April 19th, ‘Courageous Parents | Confident Kids’ will be available on Amazon.
Written by Jennifer Ford