Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Family Building

Over the weekend the older girls and I (13 and 9) went to Half Price Books. The oldest wanted to buy an Agatha Christie book - she loves mysteries and was getting tired of Nancy Drew books, so I hesitatingly let her buy And Then There Were None. Of course, I forgot to tell her not to read it before bed, and the next morning I had a hard time waking her up. "I didn't sleep at all last night, Mom!" Live and learn.

Our 9-year-old picked out another fiction book, and I (of course) went over to the Parenting section, pleased to find a book called Family Building, by of one my favorite authors, John Rosemond. (I also snuck his book, Because I Said So - couldn´t help myself!)

I'd only read various articles of his, and heard him speak (one of my favorites being Parenting According to Genesis (and Grandma)).

This book nicely sums up his parenting philosophy (all of which is traditional - perhaps what Grandma would have taught - not based on post-modern psychobabble) in five principles:

1. It's about the family, not the children.

2. Where discipline is concerned, it´s about communication, not consequences; leadership, not relationship (this one really piqued my interest).

3. It´s about respecting others, not high self-esteem (I´ve been thinking a lot about the self-esteem thing lately, which Rosemond calls a ¨nefarious concept.¨).

4. It´s about manners and morals, not skills.

5. It´s about responsibility, not high achievement.

He´s very black and white, and doesn´t care much about being politically correct, so some may take his dry wit as offensive. I don´t. It challenges me to think about what I am doing in light of principles I say I believe in.

For example, he asks: ¨Are you raising an ungrateful, demanding, petulant brat (UDPB)?¨ Then he ask three questions. If you answer ¨True¨ to even one, then you are raising a UDPB, ¨Because,¨he says, ¨you should have answered true to the other two questions but didn´t, because, like most American parents, you´re in heavy denial concerning your child.¨ Got me.

He makes no apologies for stressing that the husband and wife relationship should be stronger than the parent-child relationship. He strikes hard at what he calls the ¨frantic family syndrome¨( ¨to actually be a family in the true sense of the term requires a commitment to spending a good amount of time in the pursuit of nothing more than being together, enjoying one another´s company (sitting in the same room staring at a television set doesn´t count).¨ He calls for a hard look at second incomes and extra-curricular activities (OUCH!). He thinks a little fear of parents is good for kids, and ¨because I said so¨is a valid reason for telling a child ¨No.¨

Anyway, I enjoy reading about parenting (politically correct or not) much more when I know the author´s been married for 37 years, and his kids still live in the same town with him. Now that speaks to me!

Hopefully we´ll get to talk more about some of this later this week.


Anonymous said...

Yeah but does he account for that tug in your heart when you need to discipline for the well being of your child and you HAVE to LET GO?!

I now have teens and what I wouldn't do for bickering and pint size kids again.

I am the shortest in the family at 5'8".

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the review!

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Thanks for reviewing this book. It sounds like something that goes along with our parenting style, and I can always use some refining as well as reassurance that we're okay.

Code Yellow Mom said...

This sounds liek some great food for thought...I might just have to check it out (I'm on a parenting book jag at the moment:))Thanks for the review!

Beck said...

That book sounds excellent, actually. We've been looking for something just like that, I think.
And yay for Agatha Christie!

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Hmm... good stuff. Especially the mutual respect over "self-esteem." That's giving me something to ponder. I look forward to your further thoughts on this, and you've also given me the urge to stop by Half Price Books. :)

Elise @A Path Made Straight said...

That sounds like a book I would like to read - thanks for reviewing it for us!
I look forward to more posts from you about it! ;)

Robin Green said...

Oh no,you mean I have to go back to the bookstore AGAIN and get this book. Oh, please, don't make me...it sounds great.

Theresa said...

Sounds like a book I would be interested in. I'm going to look for it the next time I'm at the bookstore.

Thanks for sharing it with us. I'm not sure if I told you this before but I like your style of parenting and it's seems to be right in line with how I want to be. You're a great mentor! Thanks!

Lana said...

hhmmm? I'll have to go look him up. Sounds good.

Christine said...

Great resource! I'll be checking that author out. Thanks for the review.