Books and Articles for parents
Here are some articles about parenting from our Uniting Church SA newspaper, New Times.
Raising well-rounded children by Shannon Short
The war on girls by Steve Biddulph
The wait of wanting by Caryn Rogers
From time to time the Childrens and Family Ministry Team are asked to recommend resources on parenting. Recognising that no single resource meets the needs of every family, here are the most useful resources we have come across. They can be used by individuals or in group situations. There are also reviews from KUCA News (KN) included.
1. 9 Ways to Bring Out the Best in You & Your Child
2. Boundaries with Kids
3. Faithfully Parenting Preschoolers
4. Five Love Languages of Children
5. How to really love your child
6. Kids' Skills
7. Parenting and Child Care - a Medical and Moral Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Children
9 Ways to Bring Out the Best in You & Your Child is written for parents, but any teacher or worker with children could benefit hugely from reading it. This is a book that could revolutionise both the way we treat children in our homes and schools, and the way children accept and put into practice taking responsibility for their own actions. It's a book that makes me want to stand up and cheer on just about every page.
Maggie Reigh takes the view that parenting is not about controlling children and exercising power over them, but about empowering both parents and children. It is about turning power struggles into powerful relationships, about creating rather than reacting, by shifting our perceptions and asking and listening rather than judging and correcting.
The 9 chapters cover:
• mutual respect and 'cracking the old parenting mold'
• your vision for your family (your family's core values)
• mutual empowerment: build self-esteem, turning negative reactions into 'response-ability'
• dealing with feelings, because helping children to identify, name and effectively handle their emotions is crucial to their health and the health of your relationship with them
• developing meaningful communication, recognising and avoiding 'roadblocks' to communication, learning to identify whose problem it is anyway and focussing on problem solving rather than apportioning blame
• encouragement that builds resilient, self-motivated and responsible children rather than praise-dependent children, or setting children up for failure - the art of giving the gift of courage
• living together harmoniously, conflict resolution and kids, believe it or not, getting along peacefully with each other
• discipline in a loving, respectful context: punishment teaches children to avoid being punished ...'how to cover one's butt and not get caught'; discipline with integrity for both parents and children identifies the underlying causes of 'misbehaviour' and manages challenging behaviour through solution-focused discipline. This empowers both child and adult because it encourages assertive behaviour, healthy respect and observes everyone's boundaries.
• parenting with Spirit and embracing delight - a revolution from within.
Combining insight with practical ideas, anecdotes and humour with principles and techniques, Reigh shows how to add life and laughter to the family's everyday lives while raising children who are full of life and spirit, yet respectful, responsible and resilient, and caring human beings.
Parenting, she says, is a matter of the heart...
Caution: This book is not for control freaks who aren't prepared to let go; it is for those who want to be empowered rather than powerful! This book, along with Kid Skills by Ben Furman (available from St Luke's Innovative Resources, Bendigo) should be mandatory reading for every parent and teacher, in my opinion. Both books encourage us to look at children in positive ways, treating 'problems' as opportunities rather than difficulties.
Boundaries with Kids - When to say Yes, when to say No; to help your children gain control of their lives
Authors: Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Helps grown-ups teach children how to become stewards of their lives, behaviour, and values by establishing healthy boundaries with them. This is an excellent book for parents, children and family ministry workers and classroom teachers. This is one of the most useful parenting books I have read. It not only gives you the practical skills it also teaches the principals behind the skills. An excellent read.
• Available as book, video course and workbook
• See also: Boundaries with Teens
Faithfully Parenting Preschoolers
Author: John Bucka
Practical advice for parents that have children in preschool. Helps evaluate priorities, values and expectations. Encourages personal faith growth and mutual support through the daily joys and trials of parenting preschoolers. Includes case studies and practical information on 21 common parenting issues.
See also: Faithfully Parenting Tweens and Faithfully Parenting Teens
The Five Love Languages of Children
Authors: Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell
• Knowing and using your child's love language can help you make your child feel secure, loved and more willing and open to interact with you and your family.
• See also: The Five Love Languages of Teenagers; The Five Love Languages (Making Marriage Work)
How to Really Love Your Child
Author: Ross Campbell
Provides parents with the skills and techniques that can begin to help make their children feel truly loved and accepted through every situation of child rearing from physical touch to discipline and from affirmation to spiritual nurture.
See also: How to Really Love Your Angry Child
By Ben Furman
Publisher: St Luke's Innovative Resources © 2003, 2004
Translated into English and published in Australia in 2004
This is a fabulous book, enough to (almost!) make me wish I was still teaching in a classroom! I certainly wish it had been around both when I was teaching and when I was parenting small children. Kids' Skills is a method by which children can overcome difficulties - behavioural or psychological - by learning new skills.
It was originally developed in Finland with 4-7 year olds, but works equally well with older children and can even be adapted to teenagers and adults. It is based on the idea that "children do not have 'problems,' only skills that they have not yet learned." [Kids' Skills p4]
Kids' Skills requires a significant change in the way we think about children's 'problems':
• we need to mentally shift gears, from perceiving children's difficult, anti-social or aberrant behaviour as a 'problem' to a recognition that the child is lacking a particular skill required to behave differently.
• We also need to involve the children as active participants in their own problem-solving, not impose an adult solution on the child.
By converting problems into skills we turn a negative situation into a positive one, with benefits all round.
Kids' Skills ...
• helps people pull in the same direction - parents, teachers, peers, and the child
• directs both adults and other children to become more supportive of the child
• provides a positive framework for building self-esteem in the child
• builds positive relationships between child and parent, child and adult, child and other children
• provides motivation, success and life-skills in a fun way for the child.
The Kids' Skills method was developed to enable parents, teachers and child-carers in any situation to be able to use it, for many kinds of children's issues - ordinary everyday issues as well as more significant and serious needs or problems. There are 15 simple steps to follow to enable the child to identify the skill s/he needs to develop, and to follow through until the skill is mastered and the 'problem' disappears.
Kids' Skills is:
• straight-forward and easily understandable so that anyone caring for children can understand and use it
• a method that children like and enjoy, so they are more likely to cooperate
• appreciated by parents, not only because their child's behaviour improves but it also improves their relationship with their child, and their relationships with each other as they work together for the benefit of their child. It does so by taking the blame out of the situation, instead viewing everyone as a resource to help the child.
Kids' Skills has received wide acceptance in many countries, and is practised by medical and teaching professionals and by kids and parents in countries throughout Europe and Ireland, Iran, Bulgaria, Canada, Kurdistan, USA and Australia. Kids' Skills enables us to see that "the best keys to a solution may actually lie in our own hands." [Kids' Skills p9]
Parenting and Child Care - a Medical and Moral Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Children
Author: William Sears and Martha Sears
• Medically authoritative, spiritually focused, refreshingly practical advice on Christian parenting - from childbirth classes to discipline, and everything in between!
Childrens and Family Ministry Team have a number of articles relating to the controversial resources from Growing Families International (Growing Kids God's Way, BabyWise, etc). We will email them to you on request.