Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected
by Susan Stiffelman
This is a new book that I think is worth checking out. I'll admit that I haven't read the whole thing yet
, but I'm so excited about it because her work has been heavily influenced by Gordon Neufeld
and Byron Katie
, two people who have been huge influences on my thinking. She also writes about "ADD-ish" children and is very familiar with brain research.
IMO, this book has the potential to be very helpful to parents. Much as I love Hold Onto Your Kids
, it's a very dense book that I think is hard to stomach for many overwhelmed, sleep-deprived parents. I've gone back to it several times and I've been surprised at what insights it contains that I wasn't able to absorb after the first reading. Stiffelman simplifies Neufeld's ideas and presents them in a way that is very accessible and I think this is a very valuable service.
What I like about Stiffelman's work is that she not only describes what our children need from us, she also presents the tools that we need to become that parent. I think this is so important. We are often encouraged to be gentle on ourselves as we strive to become better parents, but it can be a tough road without many signposts.
For example, our children need our acceptance. She gives an example of helping a father do "The Wor
k" on his belief that his son should be getting more outdoor exercise. At the end you can see that, while the father may still encourage his son to get more outdoor exercise, he has questioned his thoughts about this and opened his mind to approaching his son from a more accepting place. IMO, these subtleties become more and more important as our children get older. The personal work that we do as parents can have a huge impact on our families.
I had one phone coaching session with the author, and her insights were bang-on. I tend to get tangled up in all the different ideas about parenting, and that can undermine my efforts to be mindful and stick to approaches that I believe in. She not only steered me back to attachment-friendly responses to parenting challenges that I face, she also gave me useful feedback about how to use less verbal strategies with my six year old. She also challenged me to do "The Work" on some of my beliefs. She reminded me that I was undermining my own authority by doing things certain ways with my children.