Between Parent and Child

Ryan Brubaker's picture
Submitted by Ryan Brubaker on Sun, 2006-09-10 01:12

I saw this book recommended by several people on an old SoloHQ thread. My wife and I are hoping to start a family in the coming year so I thought this would be a good book to start getting prepared for fatherhood.

Having finished the book, I would really like to hear from others what ideas they found most helpful from the book.

Overall, I thought the book had really great ideas. I was most struck by the fact that I couldn't recall ever hearing a parent talk to his children in the ways suggested by the book. It took a while to get used to the hypothetical conversations in the book since they were so unique. I also really liked the emphasis on creating a sense of independence in a child and the techniques suggested to foster that attribute.

There were two areas of the book I felt a little uncomfortable with. The first was that the hypothetical conversations presented in the book always ended positively. However, I doubt that such happy endings are always the case in real life, no matter how skilled the parent. I would have liked to see at least one conversation, preferably a whole section, on what to do in case the techniques presented in the book fail to calm a child down during a tantrum.

The second area was on how the author dealt with emotions. Here are a couple quotes from the book:

But all feelings, wishes, desires, and fantasies are permissible, be they positive negative, or ambivalent. Like all of us, children cannot help how they feel.

It is more important for a child to know what she feels than why she feels it.

After the baby arrived, Jordan expressed his resentment by squeezing him, yanking his feet, being very rough with him. Mother admonished him: "The baby is not for hurting but you can draw a picture of him and then cut the picture into pieces if you wish."

Now I realize sitting a nine year old down and lecturing him on the primacy of existence and the fact that emotions are not tools of cognition will be of little help. But it seems a little dangerous to pretend that all emotions are valid, even if it is a child who hasn't fully developed his cognitive ability. The author does seem to hint that eventually children will realize the truth about emotions.

When we genuinely acknowledge a child's plight and voice her disappointment, she often gathers the strength to face reality.

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I wanted to let you know that I am planning a post to answer some of your questions. I am very passionate about these subjects and have lots to say about your great questions. I'll get to this in the next couple of days.

Also, bravo to you for starting to get ready to parent ahead of time. Too many people just wing it. Parenting is too important to be done without a great deal of thought and planning.


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