Heads up, parents! When was the last time you took a bath, not just to cleanse your bod, but for inner hygiene as well? So many of us are on the go, taking care of the little ones (no matter how big they are) that we neglect the mom or dad in the mirror.
Seasoned therapist and parenting coach, Robin Kevles -Necowitz; a mother of 2, unless you count the 4-legged Nugget Necowitz, then it’s 3 kiddos, penned this book as a guide for others to put remind us that we deserve calm in the midst of chaos in our lives as well.
She begins by acknowledging that teaching clients how to parent and actual parenting are two entirely different things. It isn’t until you are in the trenches that you can have a clear understanding of the dynamics involved. She makes it abundantly clear that this book will not make you the perfect parent, nor will your children adhere to your every whim. She does hold out hope that by reading about her experiences and using the tools she offers, that dysfunctional cycles can be halted healthier, happier families will become more of the norm.
Taking note of history, baggage, beliefs and triggers is crucial so that parents don’t unconsciously fall into the same patterns of parenting that previous generations exhibited. Working on self comes before the ability to meet the needs of the children. Remember the oxygen mask on the airplane metaphor. You can’t be there for your children if you are passed out on the floor from oxygen deprivation.
Many parents believe that their children come first, almost at all cost. While providing shelter, food, clothing, education and love are essentials, making the child the center of the household is counter-productive. In the chapter Creating A Family Hierachy That Lets Kids Thrive, Kevles-Necowitz posits:
1. Kids at the top think they are in charge.
2. Kids at the top don’t feel safe.
3. Parents can’t communicate their experiences and foster respect from the bottom of the hierarchy.
Now, this doesn’t imply tyrannical, ‘because I said so,’ authoritarian parenting, but instead, loving guidance.
She goes on to give case studies as examples of healthy and unhealthy parent-child interactions. Treasures in the book are the simple tidbits:
Detaching with love
Trust the process
Don’t Let Perfect Get in the Way of Good Enough
Rules are Rules
Speaking of that last line, I particularly liked the ‘new rule’ concept in which she acknowledges that sometimes the old rules just weren’t working, so there is a need for adapting. An example is: ” This just in, we do homework after school, not after dinner.” or “We ALL clean up after a meal.”
Lots of demonstrative love and praise are sprinkled throughout as the author encourages using sweet names to encourage behavior change, calling the child ‘hon’ or ‘sweetie’, while reminding them of what they need to do.
Time off from parenting duties is crucial as well; meditation, engaging in a hobby, going to a spa, playing a musical instrument, and yes…as exhibited on the book cover, TAKE A BATH!