I'm a huge fan of constant development and improvement, and I've found that books have had a profound effect on my life over the years. The right book at the right moment in time, has helped shape me more that any piece of culture or societal influence. So it is no wonder that when it came to motherhood, I turned to books to help articulate my thoughts on the practical aspects of raising my son, and how these would collectively help support my philosophy on the matter.
There are so many decisions concerning our children we feel we need to make as parents. Some small, some not quite so small. But we feel the weight of them all as though every single one of them will shape the person they ultimately become, or their chances in life. I'm not sure how justified this thinking is, but what I do know for sure is that parents want to do the best they can for their children.
With time, we learn so much and the thinking around parenthood evolves to a point where what was previously considered appropriate now seems utterly mad with the benefit of hindsight and research. Every generation naturally wants improves on what the one before did, and on and on it goes as we seek to gently parent our children.
When my son was born, I set out intentions for the kind of life I wanted for him. As a certified A-type personality with a tendency to overachieve at the expense of my wellbeing, I knew first-hand that achievements and accolades were not going to be used as a measure for how "successful" his life or childhood would turn out to be. Instead, I focused on happiness and inter-personal relationships. I narrowed down on what I felt was essential to set him up for a healthy, happy childhood and later on a good dose of independence and fearlessness as he sets out to carve his own way in the world - a solid foundation built on love and affection. Naturally I did not automatically know how to go about doing this, so I turned to books.
A few titles come highly recommended by fellow parents, and I wanted to share them with you as well in the hope that they help do the same for you as they did for me - bring you clarity of thought on your leanings on the subject, and help you articulate your sentiments so you know how best to live out the life you want for your children day in and day out. You will note that I am careful not to sell one parenting philosophy as the holy grail - this is because I wholeheartedly belief there is no such thing. There is just what you want for your children, and what works for you as a family. And with time, with the benefit of experience and emerging thought leadership, even that may change for you. But it is important that parents be left to decide these things for their children, and not be made to feel guilty or lacking for deciding on one thing over the other, or harshly judged for it.
With that I will leave you with my recommendations below, and hope you find them a useful start.
- The book you wish your parents had read, Philippa Perry
- Elevating childcare: A guide to respectful parenting, Jane Lansbury
- The importance of being little, Erika Christakis
- Calm parents, happy kids: The secrets of stress-free parenting, Dr. Laura Markham
- The Montesorri toddler, Simone Davis
- No bad kids, Jane Lansbury