Do you ever think we spend way too much time preparing for the wrong things? Think about it. We spend way more time preparing for our wedding than we do our marriage. More time preparing to get pregnant and “have a baby” than becoming parents.
Gary Chapman’s new book, “Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents” takes a look at preparing for parenting both in mind and practice. Early in the book he says, “In addition to attitude changes, we also need to take practical steps..” And this book helps you do both very effectively. If you’d like the chance to win a copy, read on!
Topics covered include scheduling, finances, differences among children, social skills, and loads more. I’d like to tell you about some nuggets that struck a chord with me, or especially impressed me.
The degree to which you help your child live within healthy boundaries by the age of 10 will largely determine the quality of the relationship you have with your teenager.
This book gives you things to think about, like the above quote, and also tangible suggestions on age appropriate tactics that “allow the child the opportunity to be part of the decision.” I appreciate, too that even having said that, the book doesn’t tow the line of modern parenting “wisdom” but acknowledges that at some point, when persuasion fails, it’s necessary for parents to simply exert their physical size and strength. The example he gives is regarding getting your child to get in their car seat. There are lots of ways to give the child choice, but at some point, the parent needs to pick the child up and buckle them in, like it or not. This applies across other areas, of course, as well.
I remember hearing when our boys were young that a child that balks at being told “no” needs to be told “no” a lot more to get used to hearing it.
Modeling for our children is addressed in a couple of different ways. First, we are encouraged to ask the question, “What do I need to change in order to be the kind of model I would want my child to follow?” But the book also reminds us to notice the positive things..things we’re doing well that we want our children to model.
I was thrilled to see a discussion on making the most of teachable moments. I think this is something that a lot of parents overlook, missing out on so many opportunities to speak truths into their children’s lives. Teachable moments can make the most of our failures, our successes … even movies, driving, and trips to the park become ways to impart our faith, pass on our values, or teach our kids to pray.
Chapman introduces readers briefly to a variety of educational choices that parents have. I love this, because many parents take the back seat when it comes to their kids education. Just like many do with a child’s spiritual education. The church, the school system…they’re not the God-ordained leaders of your child’s education (Biblical or secular). Not to say that they can’t be tools that you choose to use to benefit your child. It is wise for parents to consider the options that are available, and make a conscious choice.
Talking it Over
One of the best aspects of this book is that each chapter includes a section at the end with questions. These questions do a couple of things…they get you to think about the topic, and they spur conversation between you and your spouse. (I was also highly impressed that a book on parenting included a chapter on marriage…important stuff!) Can I tell you, these questions are outstanding…just outstanding!
Whether you are hoping to be a parent one day, or have children already, this book (and especially these questions) will be a benefit to your marriage and family.
Years ago, Greg and I decided to always have a book we’re reading through. And ones like this, with questions that spur conversation are the best! I can’t tell you what a blessing this practice has been to our marriage.
Win Your Own Copy
The publisher of the book has kindly offered to send a copy of the book to one lucky reader. Sign up to win a copy for yourself, or for a friend. It would make a great gift for expecting parents! (I would hesitate to give it to a couple who is not yet expecting–awkward).
[Congratulations to our winner, Alicia!]
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for writing my review. All opinions are genuine and are my own.
*This post contains some affiliate links. Part of why I created The Sparrow’s Home was to be able to share resources that I’ve found useful or wonderful in some way. Every so often, I’m fortunate enough to become an affiliate with the makers of these fantastic resources. This will never add cost to my readers.
Susan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com