I was chatting to a good friend of mine over the weekend about parenting. In particular about our lack of ‘training’ as parents. She explained how when she bought a puppy she enrolled in puppy school and was taught every detail about how to raise her dog…but when she had her child, bar a few NHS new mums classes, like so many of us, she expected herself to be able to care and raise a newborn and now school child without any experience or training!
She’s doing an absolutely wonderful job and it doesn’t look like she needs any training…but it got me thinking about myself, I’m currently almost 5 years into, in my opinion the most important job of my life, raising my kids, and I’m just ‘winging it’. Unlike most jobs, I’ve done no extra CPD and I’m literally relying on my ‘instincts’.
So I picked up of a copy of Raising Happy Children for Dummies by Sue Atkins and threw myself into some training.
What did we like about it?
- It’s aim! I particularly adore the aim of this book, which in my opinion should be every parent’s aim, to enable their children to grow up happy. Sue Atkins explains the importance in aiming for true self esteem where by kids areas to become ‘happy, confident, well-balanced adults’.
- Positivity– I’ve read some parenting books, articles, blogs etc and come away feeling a bit rubbish about myself and the things I ‘was doing wrong’…cue the mum (parent) guilt! This book is certainly not in this category. It’s full of positivity and you feel like you’ve got a friend in your ear telling you you’re doing a good job, whilst offering you short and snappy gems of advice or questions to help you do even better. I loved that this book didn’t allow me to dwell on problems. I’m guilty for overthinking parenting decisions and I appreciated the style of this book telling me the potential problem, getting me to think about it and then giving me some advice and moving on- brilliant.
- Experience– It can be tough as parents to accept advice off others as we are the experts of our own family. However, this advice doesn’t feel pushy instead it comes in the form of questions, short ideas and suggestions and it’s backed up by experience; Sue Atkins is a parent herself as well as a former teacher and deputy head teacher. She’s also a parenting coach and regularly appears as the parenting expert on ITV’s This Morning, BBC radio and Sky News. I found her experience as a reception teacher, for example, really reassuring when I was reading her pages about preparing children for primary school.
- Use as a reference guide– Like the other ‘dummies’ guides, you can use this book as a reference to dip in and out of as and when you need it (and have time!). I find it comforting having it on our shelf, that I can use it if a new parenting problem arises!
- Dedicated Chapter to Parenting of Children with Special Educational Needs– I liked that Sue Atkins has provided a chapter dedicated to parenting children with SEN. It’s not an afterthought. And the advice reflects her understanding of the specific challenges parents of children with Special Educational Needs may face.
- Covers Toddlers to Teens– Whilst we’ve not needed the section on Teens yet, I loved that this one book covers such an age span. I like the idea that I don’t need to change books and will get a continuity of the same style of parenting advice throughout the years.