How I choose my parenting books
Some thoughts to consider before implementing advices from so-called experts into your family
In this article I will highlight a few points, what matters to me with every book I read. With those points you can then decide for yourself, which books you want to apply on your precious children.
I have no problem with that because in my opinion those are things that make no difference in the end in a child’s life. It’s matter of preference.
Because of these different approaches my time during my studies to become a small children educator was very intense. I was being confronted to find out what my beliefs are concerning ways of educating, raising kids.
For now, I will not name them. I will not tell you the ones I loved and the ones I hated. What I will do, is to highlight a few points, what matters to me with every book I read. With those points you can then decide for yourself, which books you want to apply on your precious children.
- Do a quick browsing through the book. What is the overall tone of it? Does the author make you believe that you are only a good parent by applying his ideas? Does it sound like you need to apply his book (s) letter by letter to have success? If it’s Christian literature, does it say that you are only a good Christian by applying his methods? If it does, here is my suggestion: if you are an insecure parent, don’t even read the book. It might make you feel bad as a parent and make you even more insecure. If you are a secure parent, read it, take the good out of it.
- In Christian literature, there are two main categories of books, going back to one theological belief:
- a.) Does the author believe that the child is wicked from birth, and that with your parenting, you have to “make them aware how wicked they are and that they are sinners? That you need to “redeem them” in order to become good adults?
Doing some research for this article I fell on a teaching from a minister I never heard about. He explains that kind of theology in an understandable way:
“The mother cannot tell what her tender little infant may grow up to be—tall or short, weak or strong, wise or foolish—he may be any of these things or not—it is all uncertain. But one thing the mother can say with certainty: he will have a corrupt and sinful heart. It is natural for us to do wrong. “Folly,” says Solomon, “is bound up in the heart of a child” [Proverbs 22:15]. “A child left to himself disgraces his mother” [Proverbs 29:15]. Our hearts are like the earth on which we walk; leave it alone, and it is sure to bear weeds.”
“Little babies are born innocent. Everybody knows that babies know nothing when they are born. They do not know right from wrong. They do not know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. They do not have evil imaginations of the heart. The Bible says that the “imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” not from his birth. It is only when children know to refuse the evil and choose the good that they can have evil intentions, evil purposes, or evil choices of the heart. Until they know right from wrong, their actions have no moral character, they can do neither good nor evil, and they are innocent before God. The Bible teaches that children must reach the “age of accountability” before they can commit sin.”
When I read a book, I try to get “the spirit”, the heart of its content.
Even with my favourite books, where I gained great insights, I do it that way. No step-by-step book-application on my children. No automatic copying of methods into my family. But I take the idea behind, the principle behind, and implement it in our family the way we get the best result. Follwoing is an example of how we applied it:
- I always do some research on the Internet.
With most of the popular books there is some interesting information about the author, about children who grew up under that teaching.
I search for people who are happy with the author and read why. I search for people who can’t go along with the teachings, and read why.
There is even one author whose two adult children cut off all contact with their parents for years.
Facts like that make me ponder. Do I really want to follow this author’s advice about how to treat my children and teenagers?
And please: If you are unsure about being a parent, maybe because you can’t just copy what your parents did… don’t swift that responsibility to any so-called experts on child education. If you have a bad feeling about something a book says: Don’t do it. Take responsibility for what you do and why you do it. Don’t blindly follow the advices you read in any book about child rearing. My purpose here is not to tell you what I think about a specific book I read. The purpose of this article is to help you, to know what YOU think, what YOU want, what YOU believe.