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Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting Paperback – May 1, 2014
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"This book... is an absolute go to for all parents, therapists, anyone who works with, is, or knows parents of young children. Not only is (Janet) amazing in person, this book distills her wisdom into words. I can't wait to share it with all the parents I know!" - Dr. Wendy Denham, PhD
"Janet's writing is an exceptional combination of knowledge, first hand experience and lots of heart. Her caring and dedication to helping parents and educators is outstanding. Through her extremely compassionate and easily understood delivery of valuable information and insights, ultimately our precious children are going to benefit greatly." - Deborah McNelis, Brain Insights
"This book is inspiring and will give you the tools and information you need to transform your relationship with your baby, and to find your own passion for parenting. Check it out today." - Lisa Sunbury Gerber, Regarding Baby
"Take Magda Gerber's Educaring Approach, add passion, 20 years' experience with babies and parents, mix with insight, humor and a way with words, and you get this little gem of a book."
About the Author
- ASIN : 1499103670
- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (May 1, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 150 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781499103670
- ISBN-13 : 978-1499103670
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.38 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #23,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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...until AP failed me. I loved spending every second with my son, I carried him everywhere, co-slept, nursed him until he self-weaned at 3.5yo, kissed him every chance I had, obsessed over his diet and bowel movements...only to find out this was never enough. He wanted more and more and more of me, until my self-sacrifice took a toll on my health and emotions. Just as an example, leaving the house was a 1-hour ordeal that started with "mommy don't go," moved into guilt trips "mommy I cry angel tears for you when you leave," proceeded into demands for treats or toys, and culminated in a heart-wrenching scream-fest a block or so down the road for all neighbors to see (might I add, in the arms of his dad which he adored, and who quit his job to be a stay-at-home parent). We were all out of give.
Having amassed an extensive library of parenting books, I revisited some of them in search for answers. Magda's book struck me differently then. I just had to be honest with my son (I have to leave tomorrow to go to work), validate his feelings (I know you don't like me to leave, I hate to go too), and comfort him if he cried without having to stop the meltdown (I see you're sad/disappointed....). Then magic happened. I could leave the house! That elusive `more" that my son wanted from me was validation, he wanted to know that I understood what he was going through, he did not want me to never leave the house. I started to pay more attention to how *I* felt and responded to his feelings. The key was to not take his feelings personally - they were his - but to make sure they were all acceptable in my book (including hysterical crying).
When I had my second baby, I decided to give RIE a more serious try. I read Janet Lansbury's blogs, followed her advice on Facebook, and a number of very smart parents who have now become "my village". I am blown away by the results. It's true that every child is different, but I am doing things very similar this time around (I'm still nursing on demand, co-sleeping, etc., etc.). The only difference: I am paying much more attention to my child, not assuming anything until I stop, watch, and think, and offer minimal intervention when I find out the cause. For e.g., my baby fusses and cries, I go over (no, no longer running frantically fire-drill style), I calmly say: "you sound upset". Then ***I OBSERVE*****. I don't pick up, latch on, and rock around the room until the crying stops. I look for clues as to what might have upset my baby. 90% of the time involves situations for which hugs and milk are the wrong response (such as toy fell off her reach, I stopped singing, brother left the room....). And then, I don't pick up the toy and put it in her hands, I simply validate: "you're upset because the toy fell. You were having fun with it." And then DO NOTHING. Simple, right?
Another situation: 6-mo old baby is congested, and wakes up mad throughout the night because she can't breathe and she can't nurse. With the first baby, the solution was saline spray followed by the Nosefrieda (my arms and feet wrapped around my squirming child, heart aching from having to put him through that). I knew the process did not hurt one bit, because I had resorted to spraying his nose in his sleep and he didn't even wake up. With the second child, I showed her the spray bottle and simply explained what was going to happen. First few times she squirmed and cried just as hard as my boy....until I RIE-d the process further. I just put her on her bed, and did not try to subdue her at all. Just told her what I was going to do and waited for her "permission" - any sign of readiness to proceed. I sprayed, she smiled, and it was over. Husband almost fell on the floor (yes, he often had to come help me hold the kids from flailing around while I cleaned their nose, all 6ft of him).
One of Janet's first chapters gives you the keys to resolve such situations. She proposes a role reversal. Think about yourself incapacitated, and your child (or some big bulky tall person) taking care of you. They show up with strange instruments, hold you down, and proceed to insert things into your nose - your only breathing apparatus!!!! - and you gag at the feeling, but you are powerless. Wouldn't you scream and fight too? (I've read alien abduction stories that went like this...). Going back to the separation anxiety example, suppose your loved one is leaving the house for an indeterminate amount of time over which you have no control, and he looks like he can't wait to get out the door, rushing through the house collecting clothes, keys, coffee, etc., you totally invisible at best, and at worst a nuisance. Wouldn't you cry too?
This book should be read by all parents - new and seasoned. I am not advocating RIE over any other parenting philosophy (although now I strongly prefer it). I think this book is a must for showing you how to think through situations from the eyes of a child (not just telling you to do so) and giving you the tools to respond in a respectful way (in other words the `how-to' missing from the Gerber and Montessori books). In addition, the book fills a very big gap in parenting books: how to raise emotionally intelligent children. I had read all about how important emotional intelligence is, all about how empathy is a better predictor of success than IQ, all about how boys grow up emotionally illiterate, etc. I had read Freud's writings inside and out while in college and knew early experiences might doom my child to perpetual counseling. I knew ABOUT the importance of all the above, but did not know the HOW to go about raising a child who knows what they feel, and knows that whatever they feel is ok (not what they do, what they feel - not advocating permissive parenting here), and knows how they want to be treated. (My older child has coached me through my mommy-tantrums a couple of times now).
The book is a collection of Janet's blogs, so one commenter questioned the need to buy the book at all. However, once you go down the RIE path, you will probably encounter resistance because your parenting will appear odd (what do you mean, you don't shush a crying baby? "You're ok" is the wrong thing to say?!! You don't want me to say "Good job!"??). To have a book that you can hand to your husband, nanny, parent, or whoever is taking care of your child (or judging your childcare), is much more convenient than printing out or forwarding blog articles. In addition, you can choose to purchase the audio version - which is what I did. I get more "listening" time than reading time these days. As an added bonus, Janet's voice conveys warmth, confidence, and happiness - a reminder that the childrearing years are good times, not drudgery to wish away or over with. Instead, she advocates an almost Zen approach to parenting: slow down, observe, listen, and be present. Even a messy diaper change can be an opportunity to connect with your child. In today's busy life where parents focus on doing more more and more for and to their child, this book points out the benefits of doing less, but doing it with your child. I am very indebted to this lady for the amazing difference she has made in my parenting.
While I had read many of the relevant articles on her Website, Janet suggested that I read this book because it gives an overview of RIE parenting (I love how personal and engaged she is on Facebook!) even though I have a 3-year-old. Most of the book is geared more toward young infants, but the second half of the book is more about toddler discipline. While yes, you can just read the articles on Janet's Website, I still strongly recommend the book because it moves in a very linear fashion and makes a lot more sense than reading a hodgepodge of articles in no particular order (or just the ones you think are relevant to your situation). I feel anybody would be missing out on the whole picture by skipping this book.
The biggest benefit my son and I have gotten from this book is a better and more present relationship- I enjoy his company so much more and when I am with him I am much more focused on the moment. When he was 2 and much easier to distract and keep busy by exploring the house, I had everything under control- dishes were always done, clothes were always washed, dried and put away, and his 7 p.m. bedtime gave me plenty of "me time" to recharge my batteries at the end of the day. Once he turned 3, however, I had almost no time to myself. I was drained every day, he needed constant attention and wanted me to play with him rather than keeping himself busy for a few minutes while I cooked dinner. Bedtime had somehow become 9:30pm instead of 7, and by the time he was finally in bed, I myself went to sleep shortly thereafter. I was unhappy, distracted, and I was having a hard time enjoying his presence much of the time (don't get me wrong, I do love him dearly!). We were both unhappy as a result of all of this, actually.
One of the last chapters in the book talked about self-care and setting/enforcing boundaries. Something just clicked in my head and I realized this was the reason we were both so unhappy. My son needed me to be present - even if it was for short but intense periods of time - and I needed time to recharge on my own. That night, I told him my expectations ahead of time (as Janet suggests throughout the book) and guided him through our bedtime routine. Of course, he resisted and wanted to keep playing with his toys. Whereas I would have usually waited until he as "ready" to avoid a meltdown right before bedtime, I repeated myself once and when he resisted again, I walked to him and took his hand saying "You're having a hard time with putting your toys down to get ready for bed, so I am going to help you." He wasn't too happy at first, but about 10 seconds into the walk to the bathroom he stopped his fussing and actually opened his mouth for me to help brush his teeth. We followed the same procedure for bedtime, and though there were a few hiccups, everything just seemed so much more peaceful. He was in bed by 7:30 that night, and I had plenty of time to myself. We both woke up refreshed and it was probably the best, smoothest morning we'd ever had.
I know this is just the beginning of a journey for us, but Janet has changed my entire outlook on parenting my son and has given me so much hope for the future. I definitely recommend it - and it's such a quick read that even those with only a few short minutes between tantrums can finish it!
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It completely aligns to my visions of parenting and I will be looking into more of what Janet has written.
I recommend it to everyone who deals with children.
Janet - thank you for such a beautiful book.