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How We Love our Kids

“Well I’m sorry, you know, they don’t write books about parenting!”

“Actually, there are many, many books written about parenting…”

Pick a flavor, and there is parenting book for you.  Books and books filled with things you could do more, should do less, ways to make your baby the happiest on the whole block, to obey the first time, to sleep when you want, to eat what they should, to fall into whichever category that could exist.  The book store can be overwhelming.

I actually feel that there are so many options, that I don’t even want to read any, another extreme.  I’ve read bits and pieces of some here and there, but mostly feel like we were doing pretty good on our own.  We weren’t scared of discipline, we know how to invest our time, and our kids are pretty happy, and since they are the only kids on the block, we had that title nailed.

Recently I had been chatting with one of my friends who is finishing up her extensive studying to become an MFT counselor.  She is kind, wise and in just our time on a play date I learned so much about the beauty of counseling, about her desire to help people and the many ways she has in her training. It was eye opening and exciting and so, so interesting to learn just a bit about it.  A mentor of hers who had been a counselor for years and years had recommended a parenting book to her, and she shared with me about it.  How We Love Our Kids

It caught my eye, because she used the word attachment to describe it, which is a big word in the adoption realm, although that isn’t the focus.  She told me it deals with how our parents attached to us, and how that effects how we attach to our children and how we parent them because of it–without us even knowing or realizing why we do the things we do, why we respond to them in the ways we do.

She told me it was a great and powerful book, and since I respected her depth of insight, especially in light of her recent education and how much she has shared with me in just our short time together of how her insight has changed lives, I decided to buy the book.

When I looked it up, lots of comments read, “Every parent should read this book,” which didn’t phase me, because I feel like I’ve read that before about all sorts of things.  I mean, right?  How do you really find the book that everyone should read, when they all say that.

And when it came, it was an easy read, short, entertaining–and it changed my life.

Changed it.  And is still changing it–in ways I couldn’t imagine.  But, this book is different than other types of parenting books;

This book doesn’t focus on us as parents doing more, or implementing some new thing, the right schedule.  It describes specific parenting styles, and as you read, you see yourself written in one of them, describing you and how you respond to your children.  Like a crystal ball–then it tells you why you are the way you are due to how you were raised, and you are like, “How do you know me?” as you check for cameras hidden in your house.

The authors are highly educated, compassionate and have spent many, many years counseling families. (Which, hello, is a good thing to look for when you are looking for advice, experience, kindness, knowledge)  They share some of their experiences in the book, from small, funny fixable problems, as well as deep hurting relationships helped into loving relationships and out of hurtful cycles due to the bits and pieces parents had gained from their own parents, caught in cycles they don’t know how to escape while the one thing they want, a relationship with their children, is being hurt.  A big theme is that the child is not the problem.

Here’s what I learned, knowledge is power.  It was more about knowing myself, and why I was uncomfortable with some things, why I did other things, when before I would not have had the self awareness, or the words to describe why I did it.  And when I saw myself described in one of the areas, I reflected and talked long with Andrew and others in my life, I made easy changes based on a desire to form a deeper relationship with my children.  It was so freeing.  

In the past where I was treading water with them, we now connected–but honestly, I would have no idea, I would have just called it ‘normal life.’  Where I didn’t have the tools, and didn’t know where to look for them, we shared and bonded.  I remember feeling vulnerable at first, and seeing them respond so quickly, so tenderly, and I felt such freedom, such joy.  It’s been fun.  I want to share more specifically soon.

I got together with friends recently and told two of them about the book, and how exactly it was changing my life, and how I see my kids and I growing closer, the strength I see in my kids, and they both bought the book too….

A week later they were both in tears sharing with me what they learned, and how although they were happy with the knowledge, they didn’t love what they saw their actions describing.  Last night, we got together and talked and talked, using so many of the words to now be able to describe our actions, looking at the things we do with new light, what used to be blind spots, “I think I was doing all this because I was avoiding my feelings, and sometimes, avoiding my kids…and I think I do that because…” one shared.

One friend found hurt and pain when reading about one of the parenting styles, realizing that this was the style she had been parented with, and in her eyes, worse she saw it coming out with her daughter, but she had not really known how or why before.  One friend has decided since reading the book to see a counselor for the first time (which is a big deal for avoiders who want to be strong, go girl 🙂, she realizes that she has things in her heart that had been pushed down for so long, it wasn’t allowing her to grow or connect with her children.

With each parenting style there is a spectrum, so not everyone will have tears, it all depends on what you discover about yourself, but often it does bring strong emotions–which is good.  (Feelings are good 🙂

I wanted to share this book with you, because it is good, and although powerful, it is also gentle and nurturing.  Andrew and I feel like even our marriage has been strengthened because of some of the significant tools we have learned.

I am so impressed and happy with what I have learned in this book, and what I have seen in the lives of dear friends, I have even thought about organizing some sort of discussion on this blog for anyone who wants to start reading it now, but I am not sure how.  If you are interested, get it and start reading.  Maybe in a couple weeks I can share more specifically about what I learned about my parenting style, and some of what that knowledge has meant to my parenting and connecting, and the super darn cute ways I see even my littlest kids using the skills I am learning, and now they  are learning to connect with people, #squeal!!

Be blessed friends!

“How you love your kids is a matter of learning to become the truly great parent you’ve always wanted to be.  Ironically, the greatest gift you can give your child is to be the best you’ve ever been.  And who doesn’t want that?  By learning how you love, initially by becoming more self aware, you will know exactly how to love your child better.  It won’t always be easy or a walk in the park, but the decision to see yourself clearly and identify those places you have blind spots will give you a road map to reach your full potential as a parent.” p. 4

Once you read it, it’s true–you know exactly what your children need, and that’s what I love about this book.  It’s not some overarching theme that all are supposed to adopt no matter the child or parent, but it meets you where you are, to parent your children where they are.  Whether you have babies, grown children, or any age in between, you will like and benefit from this book.

“A fortunate, blessed child leaves home having been deeply listened to at each age and stage.” p.115

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Sarah August 12, 2013, 4:38 pm

    Tahnks for this recommendation. I have two bio children (18 and 21) and my daughter is 8, who was adopted as an infant internationally. I have noticed that I am not parenting her the same as my older kids and maybe this book will give me the tools to see what changes I can make in my parenting style to help connect to her on a deeper level.

    • The Tiny Team August 12, 2013, 8:46 pm

      It will happen no doubt! They also have a quiz online you can take! I am so excited for you to read, it’s amazing 🙂

  • Anna M August 12, 2013, 9:23 pm

    I just read another book by these authors “How We Love” about our love styles in relationships and marriage. I will be on the lookout for “How we love our kids”.

  • Candice August 13, 2013, 6:16 am

    Wow. I’m inspired to check this book out AND ironically I have a Chapters gift card sitting on my desk waiting for a purpose. 🙂

  • teamgile August 13, 2013, 4:08 pm

    I have the book How We Love by the same author. Amazing! I have kids from 12-21 and now three foster kids in our home. I can see clearly the ugliness of baggage and the redemption of forgiveness. Thanks for recommending the “kids” version. Can’t wait to get it.

    Love your blog!!!

  • Amanda August 14, 2013, 4:46 am

    Sounds amazing! I will definitely be getting it ASAP! Thanks for sharing your recommendation!

  • Katie August 15, 2013, 1:35 am

    fantastic! love great book recommendations – especially ones with power to heal hurting hearts! any book that has a message such as “the child is not the problem” is a winner in my book. can’t wait to buy and read this! and share it with others! 🙂

    love your darling kiddos! thanks for sharing them with us all! 🙂

    • The Tiny Team August 15, 2013, 8:36 pm

      You’re so sweet–are you trying to keep me blogging, cause I appreciate the encouragement and kind words! xoxo

  • Stephanie C July 16, 2014, 2:54 pm

    Girl you are changing my life! Just ordered the book. So thankful for your encouragement and voice in my life.

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