By Ross W. Greene, Ph. D.
I didn’t even need to read the description of this book to know that it was one I needed to read. Since shortly after he was born, I have struggled to understand his communication style, love language, stressors etc. The first years of his life were filled with a lot of screaming and tears, on both of our parts. Things are much calmer now but there is still so much about this little boy that is still a mystery. So I read and analyze and practice and pray. And I take a lot of deep breaths.
I felt that this book was largely targeted at people who have less attached styles of parenting than I do. There was a lot of talk about consistency and positive encouragement as opposed to degrading and punishing. Those are great tips but what’s a mom to do when she does all of those things and is still struggling? Many of the case studies were about children with disorders but some of the ideas were still beneficial to my relationship with my high need, intense son.
- these children have difficulty accessing their “hindsight file” and therefore are unable to access the information as to how they’ve handled similar problems in the past.
- they are unskilled at recognizing the impact of their behavior on others
- he and I need to take time to reflect on the accuracy of his interpretations, the effectiveness of a given response, or the manner in which his behavior affects others
- provide cognitive roadmaps that help him stay rational in moment’ he is likely to become explosive (perhaps give advance warning that this situation is something that may be difficult to deal with so pre-plan a way to deal with it calmly)
- we need him to look at us as people who can help him thing things through instead of as adversaries
- he becomes disorganized in the midst of frustration
- how does it feel to the child to be inflexibly explosive? (Probably frustrates him as much as it does me when he can’t maintain control)
- flexibility and tolerance are skills that need to be learned – they come more easily to some than others
- the consequence you administered on the back end following the last explosion must be accessible and meaningful to the child on the front end the next time he is becoming frustrated
- kids need help accessing the file in their brain that contains the critical information or roadmap.
- is a child resisting because he is not motivated enough of because he is incapable of maintaining the state of mind to walk through the pros and cons of compliance?
- a disorder is how the problem may be presenting itself but it doesn’t always give indication of the precise difficulties your child is experiencing
- in a vapour-lock situation, downshift slowly before going into reverse (otherwise you’ll blow out the transmission)
- Basket A: important behaviors worth inducing and enduing a meltdown over: safety, things that could be harmful to your child, other people, animals, or property, and other non-negotiables. Teaches child that you are an authority figure. (Should initially be a very empty basket).
- Basket B: Important matters but aren’t worth the meltdown. This is where you will teach your child the skills of flexibility and frustration tolerance. Most important basket. Teaches them how to engage in a give and take, staying calm in the midst of frustration, taking another person’s perspective, coming up with alternative ways to solve a problem. Tell your child, “If we disagree, I’ll let you know if I’m willing to work things out. We will try to think of good ideas.” Start with empathy to signal to your child that you understand what he wants and that you think it is a legitimate desire, and that you are his advocate rather than adversary. Then, “Let’s think of how we can work this out?”
- Basket C: Unimportant behaviors that aren’t even worth saying anything about anymore. Eating a variety of foods, wearing mittens etc. It is different than giving in because you decide ahead of time to put it in basket C.
- It becomes you, the parent, who is the primary determinant of whether or not he has a meltdown.
- Phrases such as No, You must, or You can’t automatically puts it into basket A, so use very rarely.
- The real world is a whole lot more about resolving disputes and disagreements than it is about blind adherence to authority.
- Sometimes basket decision making can be delayed. “I’m not yet sure if that’s negotiable or not.”
- some children have trouble actually recognizing that they are frustrated or even experiencing things like hunger or fatigue that is leading the to frustration
- Use rudimentary works for feelings: happy, sad, frustrated. At the end of the day ask “What made you happy? Sad? Frustrated?” Then start expanding to confused, disappointed, excited, bored, annoyed etc.
- A child walking away our of frustration is a good comping mechanism. He doesn’t want to hurt you.
- Keeping your child coherent in the midst of frustration is goal number one. A frustrated child needs help.
- Why is this so hard for my child? What’s getting in his way? How can I help?
- Sibling relations: each child needs help/attention in different areas.
- don’t allow inaccurate inferences about each other get in between relationships.
- Consequences not enforced detract from your credibility
- vapour-lock commencing means “I’m stuck. I need help!”
I promised a while back that I would share the title that made me literally gasp when I read through what was available in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
About 5 years ago I found a blog that spoke to my heart. I decided to take the plunge and I ordered her book. My favorite part of this book was that I could read it one-handed, while nursing my son. It taught me much about being a homemaker and showed me the importance of how that role works in harmony with the role of wife and mother. It was so great, in fact, that I lent it to a few fellow mother/wife/homemakers. And one loved it so much that it was never returned… actually, we mostly just didn’t have a lot of opportunity to cross paths after that point. I borrowed a copy from a friend last year (who bought the book on my recommendation) because I just HAD to read it again. I was going to borrow it again this year but… I don’t have to. No, the book is not included in the bundle. The AUDIO is! This means that I can upload it onto my tablet and press “play.” That’s even better than a one-handed book. Hands free books are amazing!
The book/audio: To Love, Honor, and Vacuum by Sheila Wray Gregiore. It’s It has been about 5 years and I still read her blog and now have a few of her books. I have even had the opportunity to hear her speak and meet her and, yes, she is a pretty fantastic and genuine person. I don’t always agree with her views but her writing always challenges me to think about why I believe what I do and how I should live it out. Her writing has improved me as a homemaker, mother, wife, and believer.
Check out what else is in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
Have you been looking for a handbook that tells you exactly what your children need from you as a parent? A positive parenting handbook with practical techniques that you can implement right away? I’ve read a lot of parenting books and many of them tell you that positive parenting works better than punishing but most don’t tell you how to do it. The Child Whisperer does.
I have a close friend and, between the two of us, have four little boys within three years of each other (I’m not including my littlest in this comparison or her baby-to-be any day now). We are both passionate about mothering and read a ton of books and articles on parenting to try to understand our children and what they need from us. We try to exchange advice but what works for her kids often doesn’t work for mine and vice versa. It didn’t make any sense. If I didn’t know better, I’d say her kids are too energetic and aggressive and, if she didn’t know better, she would think my kids are too subdued and serious.
Her boys are typical “all boy” kind of kids. Loud, energetic, rambunctious, busy. Mine are the complete opposite and could be described more as quiet, sensitive, focused, detailed. Her boys run and climb all day. My boys read stories and sit on the floor playing cars all day. They are just plain different.
Through the Internet-based bunny trail, she came across a graphic (I’ll share the link later in the post) that explained our boys to a T. Actually, it explained them to their Type. I have studied a number of different methods of personality profiling and have found Energy Profiling to be the most reliable method of determining and understanding the inner workings of a person.
Here’s the cliff notes version of how the four types applies to our boys:
Type 1: The Fun Loving Child: K is 4 years old. He bounces when he walks. He has squealed with excitement since he was just a few months old. He gets super-excited when he gets to visit with friends. His interest bounces from one activity or toy to another. His emotions are the same. He bounces from excited to heartbroken to excited within the span of two minutes. He thrives in a fun and light atmosphere.
Type 2: The Sensitive Child: C is almost 6 years old. He walks so quietly that you often don’t know he’s standing right behind you. His is soft spoken and is very particular with whom he shares his thoughts. He loves long hugs and snuggles. He sometimes reads for hours a day. When he (finally) decides to clean up his toys, he will put the toys in their proper bins. He notices things that others don’t and remembers the details (like who gave him which gift when he was 3 or if the vet’s truck got new tires). A stern or angry voice can cause him to crumple and will often cry and need to be held while he sorts out his feelings. He thrives when he feels loved and connected.
Type 3: The Determined Child: D is 2.5 years old. He stomps and marches everywhere he goes. He roars just for the sake of making noise. He climbs and jumps and runs. He pushes his body to the limit and takes risks just to get his heart pumping. His emotions are explosive and he reacts quickly to whatever he is feeling and might think about the consequences of what he says and does later. He is full of fire and passion. He thrives when he can be physically active.
Type 4: The More Serious Child: Biscuit (His name starts with “I” but that just gets confusing so I’ll use his nickname instead) is 3 years old. He walks with purpose when he has a mission and allows nothing to get in his way but, if he doesn’t accept the mission laid out for him, nothing can convince him to move his feet. If someone else wants to play with him, it must be by his rules. When he gets overwhelmed around other kids, he naturally removes himself and plays independently for a while. He has the ability to focus so completely that it is difficult for him to move his attention elsewhere. He feels things intensely and does not shift through emotions easily. He thrives when he feels heard and respected.
Does your child fall into one of those categories? Or is he/she a blend of a couple of them? Chances are that your child exhibits one of those main traits more strongly than others. If you want a little bit more information, you can view the graphic I talked about right here. While the overview graphic is great, the real meat and potatoes is in the book. Read the book with the hope to understand your children more, and walk away with practical discipline and communication techniques for your children. It if filled with tips to overcome issues that you have with them as well as understanding issues they have within themselves. There are sections explaining how to apply the knowledge of your child’s type to any stage of life you’re in, from birth to adulthood. It truly is a handbook that you’ll want to refer to time and time again.
If I could recommend that every parent read one parenting book (excluding the Bible because that is so much more than a parenting book), this is the book I would recommend. It comes in Kindle format but I would recommend the paperback because, once purchased, you can go to the website and send an email to claim bonus offers of the audio version, eBook, and a free parenting webinar and video profiling course. Last, but not least, I want you do know that I was in no way asked or compensated for this review and recommendation. I just want to share all the amazing information that I’ve learned through this process and want other parents to benefit from knowing the nature of their children. *The links in the article are affiliate links so I may make a small referral commission (at no extra cost to you) if you choose to purchase through the link.*
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Title: The Art of Strewing
Author: Aadel Bussinger
Publication Date: 2013
Place Acquired: Homeschooling Omnibus 2013
About the author: Aadel is a homeschooling mom of 3 children and married to her high school sweetheart, a “career army man.” Her children have always been homeschooled and her unschooling journey began in 2008 when her family moved into an RV during a military move. You can find Aadel blogging at These Temporary Tents, on Facebook or on Twitter and a few more places.
Describe: After introducing herself and giving a brief explanation of what unschooling is, Aadel explains what strewing it. She explains that it isn’t just something useful for unschoolers but that it is a technique that any parent can learn to introduce new ideas to our children. It is such a simple idea and, yet, there are still some basic questions to answer about it. Questions like: Where do I strew? What can I strew? How do I strew on a budget? What should I avoid when strewing? Aadel answers all of these questions and a few more in her book. She also talks about developing proper expectations (or lack thereof) toward strewing and how to accept the journey your child can take you on if you allow him/her.
Analyze: I loved the layout of this book. It was very simple to follow and Aadel wasted no time in jumping right into the nitty gritty. The book flowed so smoothly from topic to topic that I hardly noticed the chapter changes. It covered all the bases in how to strew in various life areas: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational. I loved the line, “We strew to get involved, to relate to them, and join them on this grand adventure!” Who can argue with that kind of logic? Using her own experiences and that of other homeschoolers, Aadel walks you through the practicalities of applying the concept of strewing to your family, no matter the circumstances you are currently in.
Evaluate: Although she calls it an instruction manual, I felt like it was more a manual of encouragement to relax and follow the natural path of parenting. Aadel has an uncanny way of delivering all the facts, answering your questions, and telling you that you’re already on the right path, all in a book that can be read in one evening. I especially appreciated her viewpoints on strewing attitude and atmosphere. I know that I can always use the reminder that my children learn more by what I do, and how I live, than by what I say.
Recommendation: Though this book is written with unschoolers in mind, I believe it is something that could be appreciated by anyone with children. As parents, we want to open all the possible doors for our children that we can and strewing is one way to do that. Strewing is something that encourages a parent to get to know their child and get involved in their child’s world. It is about showing your children the proverbial doors and letting them decide whether or not to walk through them. As an added bonus, the parents often rekindle a love of learning in themselves as well.
Title: Planner Perfect
Author: Jenny Penton
Publication Date: May 17, 2012
Place Acquired: Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle
About the author: Jenny is a homeschooling mom of 8 who, while growing up, watched her mother’s diligent use of a planner. Her mom’s use of a planner to manage her home and plan her life’s goals and dreams inspired Jenny to create a system that worked for her own life to help her manage her home and life. Jenny’s passion is “to inspire women to live with purpose and intent; switching focus from task slave to goal aficionado.”
Describe: The first few chapters of her book are not about how to create a system for yourself but rather about recognizing the need you have for a system in your life. She explains about setting up a special place for yourself to plan and dream and then goes on to explain how God put those plans and dreams in to your heart to pursue. Then comes the more technical section of the book dedicated to how to use loose leaf to capture your dreams, track your goals, and plan your projects. She gives tips on how to plan parties, vacations, how to plan the perfect Christmas, and more. The last portion of her book is dedicated to examples of how to set up the different pages to keep your life in check as well as how to use a journal and meal planner.
Analyze: As I read this book several months ago and have since set up my own home management binder, I did not expect to glean a lot of new information. The reason I chose to read this again was because of a couple of posts I read on Jenny’s blog about how she is unschooling her children. I could relate to her as a fellow unschooling mom who enjoys having a plan and a bit more structure to the home than some other unschooling blogs I have come across. After gaining some insight about Jenny’s life and family, I was able to take fresh eyes to this book. I took a page and a half of notes. That’s a lot considering the book is 48 pages long (according to my ereader) and can easily be read in one sitting (assuming you don’t have little ones interrupting, which I did so it took me a couple of evenings). It was so full of information and ideas that I think I could read it a third time and still come away learning something.
Evaluate: It’s about more than staying organized. It’s also about being refreshed and inspired every day. It is about allowing yourself to recognize and grasp those dreams that God placed in you and then setting a plan in motion to accomplish them. “Once you are a true “Planner Perfect Gal,” you will soar!” There are a lot of methods out there that will tell you what to do, but not many help you figure out why you’re doing it in the first place. Anyone who knows me likely knows how much I value a slower-paced life to help you stay on track with your priorities and Jenny’s book has some wonderful explanations of why and how to accomplish this. There are so many different books, articles, and blogs out there on the “how” and yet so few truly help you figure out your “why.” Planner Perfect encompassed the whole journey from telling you why a plan is important, to helping you figure out the direction your plan should take, to giving you the tools you need to get there.
Recommendation: While I haven’t adopted the complete Planner Perfect system, I have made use of many of the techniques and ideas in the book. I think there is something special about giving yourself permission to dream and plan and put it all on paper. Plus, since I’m rather frugal, I appreciate the fact that she encourages the use of loose leaf (especially considering I just bought several packages for 15 cents each at Walmart a few weeks ago during their “back to school” sale). Organizing tasks is easy and any old planner system can do that. If you have tried other systems and became bored or distracted, or even if you have never tried a planner/binder system at all, check out this book and give yourself a kick start by starting up your dream engine again. Once you have your motivation and mission, you’ll find that the tasks start to fall into place.
Title: Hula Hoop Girl
Author: September McCarthy
Publication Date: 2012
Place Acquired: Homemaking Bundle
About the author: September lives nestled in the rural hills of the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. She has been married to her husband for twenty-three years and they have ten children. She home schools, writes on her web-site, and serves the Lord through sharing her life-story, while striving to raise the next generation with virtue. If you were to stop in for a visit, you would find a child (or two): on her lap, books strewn across the couch, a collection of pet frogs in a canning jar on her table, and a row of rain boots by the door.
Describe: This book was written to the people who have so much going on in their lives that they have trouble keeping up with it all. So many people living in Western cultures have gotten used to feeling the need to accomplish and commit to more than is possible, or even healthy. September’s goal is to let her readers know that our identity isn’t tied to our to do lists. She gives some practical steps to help you identify your “hula hoops” and choose which ones are worth continuing to spin and which ones could be put on the shelf, either temporarily or permanently.
Analyze: She dives right in with her hula hoop analogy and keeps that theme running throughout the book. It felt like she overdid it a little bit on the analogy use but I can see how many moms could relate to that constant motion. I did relate very much to her desire to learn to find “balance, flexibility, and acceptance to keep a focus on what is truly important.” She mentions walking through seasons of exhaustion and defeat and how these seasons can affect our physical, emotional, and spiritual state. Since I have just come through one of those seasons and walked into a season of peace, I was intrigued enough to keep reading. I was curious to know how another mother (and one of 10 children at that!) found her way through that season, and I’m always looking for help on finding ways to stay centered on the One who gives me rest.
Evaluate: The book was written in a very easy to follow format. I really liked her step-by-step chapter sequence: Step 1: Find your Center/Purpose. Step 2: Figure out what’s is causing your stress. Step 3: Encouragement and reminders that it is worth it to move forward through this season and so on. (That’s my own paraphrase/interpretation of her first few chapter titles.) It is a very similar process that I have taught in business enrichment seminars in the past and it is great to see it applied to the whole of living life. The very first note that I wrote down while reading this book was to pray to God to reveal my unique gifts and how me how to use them. Another challenging thought was the sin of coveting. McCarthy put out the challenge that when we compare ourselves to those who seem to have it all, we are not focusing on who God created us to be. She also stated the humbling truth that this line of thinking sends God the message that you think He forgot something when he created you – the very something that you are coveting. Her final chapters are about prioritizing your relationship with God, your health, and discovering which hula hoops He wants you to spin.
Recommendation: Mothers, all people nowadays actually, are held to an unreasonable and unhealthy standard of busyness and we live in a perpetual state of fatigue. McCarthy writes to those who are feeling the burden of wanting to keep up with everything and everyone. I think that we could all use a reminder on the importance of rest and how to get more of it. If you’re looking for advice on how to choose which hula hoops are meant for you and which ones you can (and, dare I say, should) put on the shelf, this book is worth a read.
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. This means that, if you purchase and item through a link above, I will make a commission. I was not compensated in any way for this review and purchased, read, and reviewed the book on my own accord. I always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers’ own.