I know the Bwun is still super little. But, while I have tons of ideas about what types of parenting I do NOT want to use, I haven’t really formulated much in the way of positive parenting techniques. I picked up Supernanny in part to give me some direction and in part because it was on a bestseller list for 2005 – I needed a few more 2005 books for the Countdown Challenge!
For those of you who don’t know, Jo Frost is a nanny who has written several books on childcare. I appreciated her disclaimer in the introduction to Supernanny that no, she doesn’t have kids – but she’s around them all the time and a lot of her techniques come from her own experience and from watching kids with their parents and seeing what works. She has a list of 10 rules, and in each of the sections of the book – eating, dressing, discipline, potty training, and so on – she discusses how the rules apply to the specific task at hand.
My two favorite rules (I’m going to paraphrase them here) are consistency and responsibility. Jo says that kids need to feel like they can count on things being the same way – whether it’s always being disciplined for hitting (rather than sometimes letting it slide) or always reading a book together before bed. Of course, you have to be flexible, and she’s very clear that routine is important. Not a fixed schedule. Honestly, I had already seen a difference in the Bwun when we started doing a routine together, especially at bedtime. The other aspect of consistency is to be unified as a couple in your approach to parenting. Kids shouldn’t learn to expect a strict “no snacks” rule from Mom and “eat whatever you want, whenever” from Dad, for example.
As for responsibility, Jo talks about the fact that we’re adults, and we have to behave as such. It does no good to yell or throw a fit when we’re frustrated with our kids. That shows them it’s ok to lose your temper. I’ve thought a lot about this over the past few months, because there were times when the Bwun was smaller that I just wanted to scream. I imagine it only gets worse as he grows up and starts misbehaving on purpose (isn’t that what boys do?). But it’s important to keep in mind that, after all, these are children, and they don’t have the self-control or mental capacity that we do. I learned this on my trip to New Mexico: kids have small bladders and short memories. They’re going to use the bathroom all the time and forget what you just said. Jo points out that much of parenting is repetition, not only of tasks but words. You have to remind kids of everything, including the things you just reminded them of. Fun!
I don’t think I’ll be keeping a copy of this book to live by, but I really enjoyed Jo’s perspectives and her approach to raising children. I liked how flexible she is, and how easy she makes parenting sound. Ok, not easy, but definitely doable. And I picked up some good ideas about being a positive parent.
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