Recommended Reading for Parents
I'm Okay, You're a Brat!: Setting the Priorities Straight and Freeing You from the Guilt and Mad Myths of Parenthood
Author: Susan Jeffers
I first asked myself the question "Where did I go wrong?" when my first child was less than two years old! This was quickly followed by the thought "I haven't really had time to go wrong yet!!! So maybe it's not me, or at least not just me!"
As the years went by and raising another child it became more clear that it most likely wasn't me! On discussing various difficulties with other parents in the IAGC someone pointed me towards this book, and boy what a relief it was!
In the first chapter the author says "When my first child was born I was filled with fairytale expectations about the joys of parenting, it was a time of great celebration, but the party soon ended, all the revelers went home and reality set in. And as my days as a parent turned into weeks, into months, into years, into decades, the question never left my mind: "Why didn't anyone ever tell me how shockingly hard it was going to be?""
The author throughout the book talks about the conspiracy of silence that surrounds having kids and says only the nice side of having children is ever spoken about. She also spends much of the book talking about guilt peddlers, people who either make you feel guilty if you don?t have kids (for example parents putting you under pressure to make them Grandparents!! And people who put mothers under pressure to stay at home to look after their kids.
Having just finished this book for the second time (and it has given me renewed confidence) I have decided that I will pass it on to my two daughters. (If the contraceptive talk went in one ear and out the other, this book will make them sit up and think!!!)
The author quotes Bill Cosby in his book on Fatherhood. "I guess the real reason that my wife and I had children is the same reason that Napoleon had for invading Russia, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Since then however, I've had some doubts, primarily about my intelligence."
As I worked my way through the book I came across many passages that really struck a chord, for example on page 47 where the author states "privacy never resides where a child resides". She makes five points about privacy, one of them being "Privacy is reading a book- knowing there will be no interruptions" and as I was reading this particular point I realised that my eldest daughter (the one on whose account I originally bought this book) was hovering in front of me babbling on to me about something regardless of the fact that I was reading a book! I had to laugh! Then I told her "This book is a must read for you!"
The author points out that some people are born with what she calls LBP genes (Loving Being Parent) genes, and for those people parenthood is wonderful, for others without these genes and she includes herself in this groupparenting can be a complete disaster.
While reading this book I thought back to a time when I used to say to my girls "I am not Cinderella" as they constantly said "where's my dinner?", "I'm not eating that!" "Where are my shoes?", "What did you do with my schoolbag?" You get the picture! The rest of the sentence I said in to myself so as not to upset the little darlings "Cinderella had two ugly sisters, not two ugly daughters!"
In chapter 4 the author tells of a woman who had a teenage daughter who every time she didn't get what she wanted would go into her room and slam the door (glad I'm not the only one with one of those!) This clever mother, all else having failed, removed the door! She kept it in the basement for a week; in the meantime the daughter discovered what living in a glass bowl felt like. When the door was replaced it was never slammed again! (Now why didn't I think of that?)
The author talks about how it is natural for children to pull away from their parents, and that the tantrums and periods of silence, distain etc., are all part of growing up and are not necessarily a failure of parenting. However she points out that "Knowing that the upsetting traits of your children are all a natural part of the process doesn't make them any more pleasant." "Oh Darling, you threw your food on the floor, isn't that developmentally wonderful!"
In Chapter 5 the author states "while western society loves to blame parents, usually mothers, there are many influences that determine our children's behavior". She goes on to point out that it is the Childs circle of being that determines the Childs fate, and she lists the many things that have influence on a Childs life,such as birth order, grandparents, friends, the books they read and many more whichwhen you think about it makes sense.
Chapter 8 starts off by stating the airline instruction "For those of you who are traveling with small children, be sure to put on your oxygen mask before assisting your child." She says the underlying message is "for the safety of the children, adults come first, common sense tells us we can take proper care of our child onlywhen we ourselves are physically and emotionally healthy."
I couldn't agree more, I think we often forget how important it are to look after ourselves especially us parents of EA kids where every stage is much more intense.
The final chapter is a survival guide, the author suggests that you include other things as being just as important as children in your life, relationship, career, contribution to community, spiritual growth, friends, personal growth, alone time and play time. Having all these things in your life makes it much more balanced and healthier for both parent and child. And finally she says PRAY A LOT!!!!!!!!!
All in all a really good laugh out loud in parts book and one I would highly recommend.
Reviewed by "Fidget"
Disclaimer: This is not an expert site, it is run on a voluntary basis and as such is based on opinion and experience but we hope that it acts as a signpost for educational resources and other support services for Irish families with exceptionally able children. By using this website you accept that any dependence by you on such information, opinion or advice is at your own risk.