• A friend of mine won’t read any parenting books. She says that they cause her to feel guilty because she doesn’t utilize even a small percentage of the parenting techniques advocated in them. I totally understand her perspective.

    Although I love the guidance of the books and the suggestions on how to effectively communicate with my children, sometimes the advice isn’t always realistic. The last parenting book I read also put me off of them for awhile. Basically, the only way I could implement the positive communication techniques the book encouraged would be to hire a full-time chef, a nanny and a personal assistant. Sometimes, I really do have to say the words “Because I said so.” Maybe not every time, but when the stove is on and oil is splattering and my children are fighting, it is okay to say “Figure it out” while us parents figure out our mess too!

    Yet I don’t want to give up getting guidance from these expert authors. So, I’ve taken on a new manner of reading these books. I read them as though they are a buffet of food. I don’t put everything on my plate, just a few items. I find the one or two items I want and leave the rest. For example, I recently read a book about empowering one’s children to solve their problems by themselves. I don’t remember anything other than the one point I plan to practice and implement right now. In this case, that is to implement the ‘sportscaster’ technique of observation for resolution. Instead of being the one to come up with the solution for a sibling dispute, I am working on saying, gently and without provocation, what I see happening between them and asking them each for an idea on a resolution.

    May I suggest that the next time you read a parenting book, instead of overwhelming yourself and feeling inferior, you pick one tip that resonates with you and try to implement that for a few months? Who knows, it might not be right for your family. Or it might be, and you will find yourself utilizing the technique often. At which point, you can go back to the buffet for a second helping of guidance.