The Parenting Book, Nicky & Sila Lee
Written by the developers of the The Marriage Course and The Parenting Course (both produced by Alpha), this is a great all–purpose parenting manual. It’s not a short read (at 450+pages), but parenting is not a short project either!
The material is divided into 5 sections:
· Understanding how families work – chapters on what families are for, how you build a healthy family life, creating special times and helping siblings relationships
· Meeting our children’s needs – this is basically an extension of the five love languages (by Gary Chapman). There are extended sections the power of words, one-to-one time with children and listening to them.
· Building character through setting boundaries – deals with foundations of discipline. They use an acronym HALT to consider when dealing with all issues (is anyone involved hungry, anxious, lonely or tired?) and deal with those things first (including yourself). Then they outline boundaries with different age groups until you are letting go and guiding, including how to help teenagers think through potential scenarios and consequences as they make their own choices.
· Helping children make good choices – chapters address dealing with anger, stress, depression, eating disorders, sex/sexuality, alcohol and drugs, money, TV and internet. Helpful and instructive, particular for older children. They raise issues that you might not yet have thought about, or hope you may not ever have to deal with – such as how would you react if your teenager told you they were pregnant?
· Passing on our beliefs and values – family identity, dealing with the big questions of life and building a child’s their spiritual life. The Lee’s are Christian and write from that point of view, but it is also not the main topic of the book. There are more detailed books on teaching the faith and passing on values, but these chapters are still helpful.
This book is well-written, well-researched, detailed and very balanced. It has made me even more certain that their Parenting Courses, run with DVDs at a number of churches, would be time well spent.
One of the most refreshing parts about it was the quotes by various people, especially Nicky & Sila throughout which shared both positive things but also the mistakes they felt they had made along the way. This lent humility to the whole book – it is written by people who are real, who tried hard, who sometimes stuffed up, but who kept persevering. That is the type of parents I want to learn from.