Parents need continuing education, too

          Lawyers are required to get 15 hours of professional training every year, teachers attend workshops on how to become better teachers, all kinds of professions require their practitioners to maintain and improve their skills.  Our most important “profession” is parenting, but we must maintain our skills on our own. Most people preparing for their first child read and study about child care and development, but may become complacent after they feel they have the hang of it. Children grow and enter new stages with new challenges, and there are new books based on new ideas and research.  It’s just as important to understand how to expertly parent your teenager as it was to know when to expect her to smile and roll over.

          I’ve been a mother for 17 years, but I’ve recently read two books about babies and toddlers that had some new ideas I found very helpful.  “The Happiest Baby on the Block” (Bantam, 2002) and “The Happiest Toddler on the Block” (Bantam, 2004) are both by Dr. Harvey Karp.  His baby book explains the system of the 5 S’s (swaddling, side or stomach position, shhhh-ing, swinging, and sucking) that almost magically calm any crying baby.  The toddler book has some great techniques for keeping getting what you want from your toddler from turning into an explosive battle of wills.

          I also recommend “Yes, Your Teen is Crazy – loving your kid without losing your mind” by Dr. Michael J. Bradley, (Harbor Press, 2003) which helps parents understand how to respond lovingly to their adolescents’ seemingly inexplicable and maddening behavior.  He reminds us that, though teenagers may appear to be young adults, they are far from it. Essential decision-making pathways in their brains are not yet formed, and they need a special kind of understanding and guidance to discover who they really are and learn to make their own good choices.

          I didn’t agree with everything in any of these books, but they all helped me.  Even reading a parenting book I don’t agree with helps me by focusing me on whether I’m doing the best possible job.  I hope you’ll pick up a book and continue your parenting education!

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About tisawhite

I'm a mother of 4 children. I stay at home and I'm Catholic.
This entry was posted in parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Parents need continuing education, too

  1. Sarah says:

    You make an excellent point Tisa! I read the Harvey Karp books a while back–but should probably pick them up again at some point. You’re making me scared about the teenage years: ‘Yes, your teenager is crazy’ sounds like we could have some drama here in the Corrigan household…

  2. tisawhite says:

    I’ve been very lucky with my teen. All her teachers love her and say what a wonderful sense of humor she has!

  3. Becky says:

    I’ve not heard of the teenager book but think i should read it. Even though my teenage son is a very good kid, we do occassionally come to a very huge rock in the road and I’m not always sure how to climb it therefore i’m never sure i’m doing the right thing. The joys of parenthood right…

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