Reading this book was like chatting with a wise, compassionate woman who has experienced every aspect of being a parent. It was more like a conversation than listening to simple advice. The author, Elisabeth Stitt, happens to be one of the most knowledgeable voices among parenting coaches and counselors. So what she has to say is grounded in an awareness of what works.
Each chapter delivers practical wisdom about a game-changing parenting issue. Topics are treated in an informal, conversational style, as if listening to a friendly, experienced coach. Each chapter contains examples and stories from the author's personal experience, recommendations, and exercises to reinforce her points.
My favorite is Chapter 8, which is about consequences. This is one thing every parent has to get right, and it's all too easy to get it wrong. The key is to articulate - in advance - what the consequences will be for violating what's most important to the parent. Then communicate these to the child. And of course, following through. All this is far more difficult than it sounds, but if not done well, control of child behavior breaks down. Stitt gives us the best how-to treatment I've ever seen.
Another favorite is Chapter 9, which focuses on empathy. They say a parent's love is the key ingredient in raising a child, but how much expressed love can there be without this key element - empathy? Her recommendation for expressing empathy is to use active listening, absolutely the most effective approach. She gives numerous examples of how to express empathy this way. And once again, her advice is totally on-target, the best treatment of this all-important topic I've ever read.
My 5-star recommendation: I believe every parent should read and reread this book while working through the challenges of preparing their kids for life.
I always check out new books about parenting. I'm a parent, a grandparent and a pre-school teacher, and I've taught parent-child communication. I love kids, parenting came easily to me, and still, I needed input and advice along the way. But I found, still find, so many tomes on perfection, on rules and prescriptions that result in guilt for the parent who fumbles, the child who disappoints. So many rigid systems and ideas. I'm giving Elisabeth Stitt five stars for her kind, wise, relaxed and eminently intelligent approach to raising children. As I read, I felt like I was in conversation with someone who was listening carefully to me, who was anticipating my questions and thoughts and fears. Her exercises were actually fun and doable, and they made me feel hopeful, not burdened. She doesn't minimize the difficulty of being a parent, and she's clearly focused on raising children who are successful human beings. What's fresh in her approach is that she manages to be specific and flexible, demanding and gentle, all at once. She's skill-based, she certainly makes her point that parenting is a language that can be learned, but she never preaches; she's a couch, the kind you love to train with.
Although this book was written for parents, I read this book as a teacher, and found many relevant points, as well as much encouragement for handing some of my tougher students. I teach 8th grade, and although you wouldn't think it, many of the students exhibit traits that are commonly displayed in younger children: though middle schoolers usually keep them below the skin, their emotional behaviors can easily be exposed under stress. Elisabeth's descriptions of the pure human nature of the children she's worked with had me nodding, and accepting, while building a fresh attitude with which to brave the sea of faces in weeks to come. I also found the book accessible and easy to read, all the while remaining enriching and worthwhile. It wasn't the type of book that you buy and then have to keep promising yourself to read. It is broken into small, readable sections, and written in a clear and comfortable way that is both friendly and entertaining. I especially appreciated some of her metaphors. All in all, my only concern was that in tackling a range of age levels in one fell swoop, she jumped from material that would be relevant for one group of parents, those of smaller children, to subjects that would be way above them, and only relevant to parents of oder children. In the end, however, I decided this was just the kind of book a parent of young children would want to read. After all, it addressed their immediate issues while filling them in with just enough information to be prepared for the upcoming years, which, of course, turn out to be just around the corner. I love a book that is important, and direct, and leaves me feeling that I got something I can use. I also like to get the useful information quickly, and easily, because like everyone else, and especially every other teacher, I don't have much time. That is why I give this book five stars. It delivers on both accounts.
I'm not even a parent yet, and I found this book a valuable read, as when I become a parent (if it happens!), I feel I'll have some good strategies and perspectives at the ready. Elisabeth has practical and insightful suggestions (made manifest through specific scenarios that I can imagine will one day be very familiar), and useful exercises that serve to define and reinforce your parenting goals. And her descriptions of how to run a weekly family meeting I feel will be especially useful (as she says it will help facilitate a truly joint-parenting partnership, and I want that!) As I'm not a parent yet, I don't necessarily have a 'wish list' of the kinds of topics I would have liked to have seen covered in the book, though it seems like the topics I _would_ have liked to have been covered, were!
Elisabeth has a conversational writing style that is fun and easy to read. I'd recommend this book for other potential parents as a way to envision the situations you will (very very highly likely) find yourself in, to have your strategies (particularly with regards to optimal phrasings of your thoughts!) in your back pocket.
I am about halfway through this book and since it is so new, wanted to share my experience so far. This book is a pleasure to read, filled with helpful parenting nuggets. It has exercises throughout to help parents internalize the material. There is also a chapter for step-parents and blended familes.
Transitioning from singledom to wife and step-mother left me searching for tools to succeed at this unchartered territory. Elisabeth's book couldn't have presented itself at a better time! A quick, easy read with personal stories and experiences that were relatable, allowed me to build on much needed confidence. I feel equipped with a plan to not only allow our girls to thrive, but to allow me to find my place. Thank you, Elisabeth!
As a busy working mum with two small kids, this book is a godsend. I loved the bit about active listening and Elizabeth's technique of giving children options really does work. I keep going back to this book and come up with a new takeaway each time. It is an easy read and filled with interesting anecdotes and refreshing honesty.
Though a grandmother, , I found this book very interesting and could have used some of the tips while parenting. I really like the exercises that the author has included and I am sure that they will be very helpful in keeping things organized for a new parent
Having spent the last 30 years in the field of Early Childhood Education as a Preschool Teacher and Director, a Parent Educator and currently a Program Director for a School District Preschool Program, I have read many books and articles on parenting. Parenting as a Second Language is a book I would highly recommend to families. It is easy to read, interesting and focuses on topics that are relevant and important. The writing style makes you feel like you are having a conversation with the author. The Exercises are practical and helpful to your personal style of parenting. I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh, new approach to a book about parenting. I give it 5 stars and am thrilled to have a new book to recommend to my families. Susan Dawley, Program Director, Parent and Parent Educator