Naomi Aldort: Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves
As for me...
This is really the first parenting book I've ever read. I am about 1/3 of the way through it. Page 19 really scared me with "Putting to final rest the old concept of expecting a child to do what a parent says does not come easy." Yikes! I can't tell Felipe what to do and expect him to do it?? This is still freaking me out somewhat. I keep wanting to find a chapter called "And Now For The Real World." I have to be at work on time, for one thing. I can't just sit around and wait for him to feel like getting in the car to go to school. He has to get in the car when it is time to get in the car! ...and that's just one example.
BUT - When I express misgivings like these, I feel a bit like the resistant teachers in the workshops I deliver. I show them that the best way for students to learn is to do, to interact, and to have authentic experiences. And they say "But we have to get the kids to pass the multiple-choice test at the end of the year. We can't do all this - we have to drill them so they can pass the test!" And I'm thinking, the point isn't to get the kids to pass the test, it's to get them to be thinkers and lifelong learners! Besides, if you do all this, instead of drilling them, they will do even better on those stinking tests!
...so that's how I feel when I say I can't let go of my expectation that Felipe will do what I say. I feel like those teachers. Like, if I could just let it go and do it "the right way,' (in this case the Naomi Aldort way), then maybe Felipe would actually be even better at getting in the car when I need him to, etc. etc. etc. But - I'm not quite ready to take that leap yet.
Another thing I've noticed about the book is that it has really taken a LOT of the stress of parenting (and single-parenting) off my shoulders. Even when I can't put my finger on a precise reason, I notice that thinking about the general philosphy put forth in the book (S.A.L.V.E.) makes parenting easier. Even when it isn't easier, it seems easier. I'm more relaxed about things - maybe it's "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change," or however it goes.
One more thing - I just got to the chapter on love, and in it Aldort talks about giving the child your full attention, and she says that is what love is. Furthermore, you have to follow the child's lead - you can't hang out with him on your terms. You have to do what the kid wants to do! She says when you do that, the child will just light up with joy and confidence. Well, I hate to think about the possibility that I've done anything less than the best for Felipe at any point (I'm not saying I think I'm perfect - just that it's uncomfortable for me to face that, b/c Felipe is so important), but I am trying to go easy on myself b/c really I think I'm just starting to come out of a year of survival-mode after a very abrupt and traumatic end to my marriage... which is all to explain this: I read the bit about full attention = love just a few weeks after basically discovering it for myself! One day Felipe wanted to ride his vehicles around the house, and wanted me to ride one with him, and I did, and it just made his day, I mean even more than you would ever expect! I immediately noticed how important it was to him and started thinking about why (and riding the vehicles more often!).One thing I picked up on before I read this part of the book was that it was his idea - I was going to do something else, but he asked me to ride vehicles with him and I just up and said yes, and dropped what I was doing to play his game with him. So I've been trying to do that more often too, now that I have seen how very very much it means to him. Just spending time with hiim was not enough - and even spending time with him plus giving him my full attention still wasn't completely fulfilling his needs. He needed this - time with me on his own terms.
...OK I guess that was long!! I have been really wanting to talk about this book but my only options IRL are A people who will call me crazy or B people who have never been parents... than I remembered this forum! :o)