As any parent knows, there are a lot of people ready to tell you how to raise your kids! Besides your in-laws, there’s plenty of parenting books on shelf here at the Library. I recently read (and enjoyed!) Taking Back Childhood: Helping Your Kids Thrive in a Fast-Paced, Media-Saturated, Violence-Filled World.
The author writes in a tone that is friendly and conversational. She packs her book full of real-life examples. You really can’t roll your eyes at her conflict resolution or discipline advice when she’s willing to use her own grandsons as examples!
We’ve all heard the warnings about kids watching too much television. This book explains why parents should be cautious with screen time in a way no other source I’ve read has done. The author discusses the observations of preschool and kindergarten teachers who have seen children’s play changing over the years. She explains the difference between play that is merely mimicking what is seen on TV (as with action figures of TV characters) and true creative play where children invent storylines. She talks about avoiding “single purpose” toys and instead thinking of toys like props and providing items that could have multiple purposes.
My favorite part of the book, chapter 4, discusses what she calls “sharing power” with your children:
Most of us use our parental power in one of two ways: either we exert our power over children (telling them what to do, holding the line, expecting obedience) or we give that power away, that is, we give in to our children’s wishes and just let kids do as they want. But neither of these approaches can fully meet the needs of children, especially in these challenging times… Fortunately, there is a middle ground between the power extremes—a place where we can share power with children—and it is here that kids can learn what it is they need today: how to get along with others using skills of dialogue, cooperation, negotiation, and joint problem solving.
If you are a parent or caregiver looking for techniques to deal with the “fast-paced, media-saturated, violence-filled world” that we now live in, then I recommend this easy-to-read, ready-to-use-today parenting book.