A few months ago, I was approached by Samantha Vickery from Love Parenting, a Facebook page and website I have been a fan of for some time,here). It took me way too long to get to it, what with my son's birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, buying a house and moving, but I finally did and am kicking myself for not doing it earlier.
To say I dug this book is putting it mildly. I feel like Sam and I are long-lost mother-twins. I want to be her new best friend. She's a mom, a gentle mom, who wishes to help other parents tap into their instincts, drown out the static from the mainstream, and give their children what they need most, rather than what society says they should have. She's looking to help parents do what they know is right, not what everyone tries to tell them they should do. She's out to do the very thing we're all looking to do - help the parents, so they can help their babes, so we can all change the world together.
She writes informally. This is not a textbook. This is not a highly scientific, rather inaccessible manual for experts. Reading this is like having an intimate conversation with a like-minded friend.
For those who are like her, we'll enjoy the reinforcement in a frank way. For those not yet there, you'll enjoy the smart presentation of information sans judgement. One needn't be in a certain place in their parenting journey to read, enjoy, and learn from this book. Open-mindedness, however, is a prerequisite, as is the case with most reading.
Some favorite quotes from the book include:
"In dreading the 'terrible twos' you are in essence creating a self fulfilling prophecy for your child." This term and the thoughts behind it are huge pet peeves of mine for this very reason.
"If we enable them to be free in their environment, guiding and insisting only when absolutely necessary, they will soon discover for themselves which things to repeat and which things to file away under ' a learning experience.'"
"A controlled child will either rebel or grow into a controlled adult." Free all the babes!
"I need to respect his choices as an individual. If he refuses to give up a particular toy, that is his choice to make."
"Such a simple change of me giving the control back to him made a world of difference. Toddlers need to be involved in decisions that involve them."
"Try to be fully present with your child throughout this process, and instead of thinking about what still needs to be done, just enjoy what you are doing right now."
"A child who is welcome in his parents bed is actually likely to be far more independent, secure and confident than a child who sleeps alone."
"To a child who has not yet learned to ignore his evolutionary instincts, sleeping alone just feels wrong."
"...make sure you are making full eye contact with your child each time you speak to her."
I could go on and on, but, you know, I should probably leave something for you to read on your own.
Below you'll find a quick pro/con list, but since I'm the type who always saves the best for last, I'll start with cons.
- a few grammatical errors that would bother nobody but an English teacher like myself
- only available as an e-book as of this time - I need to touch and smell my books, especially if I really dig them and want to take notes
- it is referred to as a guide instead of a book, which, for some reason, I just dislike
- the term "smacking" is used almost exclusively instead of "hitting" or "spanking" and for someone as opposed to abusing our children as I am (and as she is), I feel the terminology lessens the intensity and reality a bit
- there is a section on tantrums that I feel goes a bit astray (with the excerpts from the two books she's used as resources) before coming back to her point, a point I completely agree with
- a little disorganized, but nothing I found too distracting - there were times it felt more like a stream of consciousness than an organized "guide"
- no judgement
- not a lot of facts and figures that makes me feel like I'm back in college (thus, not reading carefully...don't tell my former professors or students)
- she's believable - I really feel like she doesn't just talk the talk, but walks the walk, too, and I respect that
- everything else!
I recommend this book to you, your like-minded friends, and those in your life who don't know what the heck you're doing or why. You've been spinning your wheels trying to explain it for long enough. Let Sam take a turn!