Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Parenting advice for the responsible parent

Like it or not, we as adults, are what our parents and grandparents made of us The person we are now is the result of historical parenting patterns transmitted or slightly altered, from one generation to the other. The good news is that we can change it and detach ourselves from the generational matrix. The bad news is that we need a lot of time and effort and very often the help of a therapist.
     Your Living Legacy is not a self-help book, but a guided tour of discovering yourself as a parent. It may happen that you will discover something radically different from what you expected. Based on over two decades of practice, it offers a rare mix for this kind of book-- of theoretical framework and practical checking, examples and exercises.  
     My experience with parenting books is that you either have one or the other, but maybe I am not literate in this domain yet. It also has the right balance of using simple wording for describing sophisticated parenting situations, which is another asset of the book, the author stays away from the temptation to show off high skills in juggling with complicated scientific terminology.
     Based on her clinical practice, the cases revolve around the mother-daughter relationship, which limits the perspective to a certain extent. It simplifies the discussion, but on the other hand eliminates the cases when the father is also an active parenting actor with a definitive role in the education process.
     Instead of focusing on the child as the main parenting problem, the author took into consideration 'what the parent is doing that might create or contribute to the problem'. A logical approach, as most of the child’s problems originate within the family. Further on, the choice of the parenting style is highly influenced by 'how you were raised as a child'.
     The dynamic of the relationship between mother and daughter is very complex and the merit of the author is to focus briefly on the most important interactions and potential sources of conflicts. For instance, “ rebellion” can also be a plea to get the parent to set stronger limits'. These issues are analyzed in the smallest detail through an extensive list of 20 parenting styles, defined generally as 'patterns of behavior that are your typical ways of interacting with your child, especially when you are under stress'. The questionnaire at the end of each description helps you find your own parenting style and gives short suggestions about how to go beyond the negative patterns.
     The sooner the problems are identified the better, as there is always the possibility to change the pattern and save the relationship with your child. Through communication, listening and learning from your child, besides seeking advice from a professional therapist, things can be changed for the good, and the mistakes used as a ladder to growth.
      It is a book that raises awareness and challenges you to ask questions -- it is never too late to start reading.

Rating: Four out of five stars
Disclaimer: The publisher offered my the book via NetGalley.com, but the opinions are, as usual, my own.

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