Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Fantastic, Helpful, Insightful, Practical, Gentle Parenting Book Giveaway!

At first glance I thought the book Raise Happy Children looked a bit 'gimmicky', but I could not have been more wrong. This is by far and away the most practical and helpful parenting book I have come across, and if you don't win the free signed copy I am giving away this week, I highly recommend that you buy it anyway!

The book, originally published as Teach Yourself Bringing Up Happy Children, first got my attention when I read this rave review from Sue Gerhardt, psychotherapist and author of the brilliant Why Love Matters:

"This is a parenting book which stands out from the crowd: easy to read without being superficial, lots of useable advice on recognisable situations, and gives a sense of being safely guided by very experienced and wise experts. It's a book which can range from practical advice to raise blood sugar with a snack after school to a spiritual dimension. Much of its advice is based on very solid research and understanding too. I liked this book very much."

Raise Happy Children is written by Glenda Weil and Doro Marden, two parenting experts at the UK charity Family Lives (formerly ParentLine), who are also mothers of seven children between them. Their work as experienced listeners, helpers and in Doro's case, a psychotherapist, shines through every page of the book as they offer practical and helpful advice with the focus on the emotional life of both adult and child.

A core principle of the book is to ACT not REACT in stressful family situations. The authors offer a formula based on traffic lights to remind parents to stop and think before jumping in with a gut reaction.

A (adult) - is the red light that tells you to STOP and THINK.
Ask yourself: 'What's going on here for me?' 'How do I feel about this?' 'What do I need to happen?'
C (child) - is the amber light reminding you to WAIT and think of what is going on for your child.
Ask yourself; 'How does she feel about this?' 'What does she need to happen?'
T (tools) - is the green light that indicates you can GO ahead and use your tools.
Ask yourself: 'What skills and ideas can I use here?' 'What can I say or do that will help us get what we need?'

This book is jam packed with creative ideas and practical suggestions such as this one. On every page they offer parents a fantastic array of 'tools' to use in a whole spectrum of parenting situations, from anger, tantrums and fights to listening and talking about feelings. Throughout the book the emphasis is placed on understanding yourself as a parent, your own emotional motivations and the experience of your own childhood. There are practical exercises in each chapter to help you do this, either alone or with a friend or your partner. In many ways, this is a 'self help' book, offering a huge amount of insight into your own identity as a parent and challenging you to consider your personal experience of being valued, heard or even hugged as a child yourself, in order to be better placed to create happiness in your own family home.

This is a real crash course in many of the skills that therapists learn. The book offers guidance in dealing with your child's feelings in a way that makes them feel heard, acknowledged and validated. Other chapters cover topics such as Skilled Listening, Problem Solving, Talking about Difficult Issues, and Boundaries and Freedom. In the final section, the authors explore the meaning of Happiness, looking at ways in which parents can help their children find real joy in life through connectedness, humour, nature, creativity - to name just a few.

A short review simply cannot do justice to the wealth of information, insight and practical help offered by Raise Happy Children. This is not a book to read in one sitting, rather, it will sit on a prominent shelf and be plucked down often, perhaps when you are tearing your hair out, or maybe in those quieter moments when you find yourself thinking: I wonder how I could have handled that better. The real strength of the book is that the authors maintain towards their reader the 'positive unconditional regard' of a warm and understanding therapist, or better still a mother at her best. They remind their readers:

You as the adult can start to make changes in the way you relate to your children which will lay down pathways for happiness in their brain and affect how they feel and behave...Whatever age your children are, it is never too late to make a difference. And don't worry if you sometimes forget to use your new skills. Your children will give you plenty more opportunities to practice them!


The winner has now been picked using a random number generator from random.org:
Comment Number 24: Elaine Johnson

I was not paid to write this post and all views expressed are entirely my own.

If you wish to buy a copy, you can do so in the UK from Waterstones or in the US from Barnes and Noble, or other good retailers.


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37 comments:

  1. Cant believe I haven't read this yet...the act, not react concept is something I really find important and beneficial that works so well.

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  2. Sounds like a fascinating book! I'd love to read it. :)

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  3. Thanks for your review, it's on my wish-list!

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  4. cheryl bradley3 April 2012 at 14:27

    Questioning my parenting abilities every day at the moment and need to find a new way to be handling my four year old and my own reactions. Too many frowny faces round here at the moment. Even this review gives me something to mull in the wee hours. Hope to get my hands on a copy soon!

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  5. Sounds wonderful! Thank you for posting! Stephanie Cox

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  6. Would love to win a copy.
    Kristibelle18 at yahoo dot com

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  7. I'm always looking for new ideas, and we'd love to win a copy!

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  8. This book sounds great, I'd love to read it and get some tips/guidance now that our little one is starting to really take notice of the world (and everything we say and do!). Thanks for posting about it. :)

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  9. Thanks for that great review. Sounds like book I would love! Cammy Brunton.

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  10. Would love to win a copy, thank you. Louise Campbell-White

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  11. Another great book to counteract all the awful but popular advice out there. Thanks for bringing it to our attention Mama Mule. I am a bit of a parenting book addict and like Cheryl above as new challenges are presenting themselves, I need to review some of the books I have. I would love to add the ideas in this new book to my arsenal!

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  12. Sounds like the type of book I need to read, as a young parent who is still learning I do worry so much about my future reactions to less than ideal behaviour. I do not want to be a stressy mother who guilt trips my baby like my parents always did to me.

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  13. I really want to win it! xxx

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  14. Sounds like a wonderful book! Look foward to the random draw :) I am blessed to have had wonderful parents but my partner could really benefit from sometthing like this. I'll certainly be getting myself a copy regardless of the comp outcome after such a review anyway. Thank you for sharing.

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  15. I would love to win a copy of this, to be able to add more to my own skills as a nanny and childminder. :-)

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  16. I would love to read this book. It sounds like it would be a good companion to What Every Parent Should Know which I found invaluable as a mother to a baby. Now I am needing some help with raising a toddler!

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  17. Sounds like a great book! Would love to win a copy :-).

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  18. i've recommended this for my community library project x

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  19. Sound an interesting read.....some useful tips without being too formulaic........janeyliz at gmail dot com

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  20. Thanks for the review and recommendation!need all the guidance i can get these days!!!!

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  21. Will have to buy this one if we don't win x

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  22. need all the help I can get! x

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  23. This sounds like a great book - I'm looking forward to reading it and sharing with my husband. I'm a big fan of Sue Gerhardt's too. Thanks Mama Mule for the recommendation!

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  24. This looks like a great read! Thanks for the give-away and the suggestion!

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  25. My son is just starting to have tantrums, and I'd love some more tools for helping him through them.

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  26. karina84@ufl.edu8 April 2012 at 13:44

    Today is one those days when I could really use a book like this...

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  27. Thanks for doing this giveaway! :) If I win, my email is grigory99 at yahoo dot com

    *crosses fingers*

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  28. Sounds a good book - I'm always interested to read what others are doing/recommend as it's a good way to pick up things I may not have thought of myself! Thanks.

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  29. You have no ideahow desperately I need to read this book. Is that a light at the end of the tunnel I see?

    Laura Frith

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  30. Sounds fab! I start my volunteer training for Family Lives on May 1st. Very excited!!! x

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  31. Thanks for the post...sounds helpful!

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  32. I am always looking for a good book to read!

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  33. Sounds like a wonderful resource. I'd love to be the lucky winner!

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  34. Sounds good, I worry endlessly about how happy my little boy is, he seems happy but struggles to behave well, maybe this would help us. Blessings for all the mothers who have commented here. x

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  35. Must be good if gets your seal of approval. Sick of super nanny type parenting advice. Might work for some but naughty steps and the like? *shudder* This gentler form of advice seems much more me. Would love to read more.

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