Self Help Books I Read This Month

I've never been a big self-help reader. Perhaps I never felt like my self needed helping before. But it seems that life (mostly parenting Eddie) has me feeling quite overwhelmed these days, so I have read several recently.

The Five Love Languages // Gary Chapman

For the record, Dave and I have a very happy marriage. We have joked in the past that we are basically the same person. The one area where we differ a lot is on communication, which is why I decided to read this book. It is an interesting take on how people communicate love to each other. It even includes a little quiz in the back to help you and your spouse determine what your primary "love language" is. The most interesting thing that I found after reading it, taking the quiz, and making Dave take the quiz, is that Dave and I have the same love language - Words of Affirmation. So if you ever want to make Dave or I feel loved, just give us a sincere compliment. It was an interesting read and really helped me think about why I am the way I am and to better understand those around me. There is another version of this book directed towards children, but I don't need to read it to know Eddie's primary love language is Quality Time. I can just tell.
I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday.

ScreamFree Parenting: Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool // Hal E. Runkel

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to parenting a 3 year old boy, I am completely lost. Over the last few months, Eddie and I have been butting heads more and more often (both literally and figuratively). I decided that I need to learn how to be a parent without being angry all the time. That is why I read this book. I enjoyed reading it and a lot of it rang true for me. After finishing it, I have been trying to temper my reactions to the things Eddie does that drive me crazy. I have been working on trying to let a lot of things go and set natural consequences for the things I can't let go. I think that as I am slowly learning to take the emotion out of enforcing consequences, it is helping us both.
The only way to retain a position of influence with our children is to regain a position of control over ourselves.

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys // Stephen James & David Thomas

I just finished reading this book and already want to read it again, but next time I'll take copious notes. It is a great book to read for anyone who has anything to do with boys of any age. I think that is pretty much everyone. But I think it is particularly good for mothers to read, since they have never been a boy themselves. It has helped me understand Eddie better and has actually helped me understand Dave better. And even though I am not a boy (nor have I ever been), it has helped me understand myself better, too. A great thing about this book is that the authors offer real life solutions to help you implement the changes they suggest.
Their dreams need to be encouraged, invested in, and lifted up. And when their dreams are lost or damaged (as they ultimately will be), the need our presence -- not our solutions; they need our care -- not our instruction; and, in time, they need our encouragement to get back up and dream again.

Instinctive Parenting // Ada Calhoun

This book is a sort of the anti-self-help book. Calhoun writes about how people stress and worry too much about parenting methods and instead suggests that parents do what feels right for their own family. I thought it was a fun read, and though I don't entirely agree with everything she wrote, one part really hit home for me: blaming our kids for the things we no longer get to do. Her opinion is that we shouldn't use our kids as an excuse for anything. It made me realize that I use my kids as an excuse for a lot of things. I can't go out because I'd have to load both kids and the giant stroller up. And now I have to plan outings around potty training and our nursing schedule. And soon I'll have to plan them around naps. I can really see her point. If we continue to blame our kids for these things, we would never get to do anything and will basically make ourselves into martyrs for the sake of our kids. And it doesn't really do the kids any good anyway. So now I have something else to work on.
If you let go of some idea of what your life is supposed to be like, of what your life used to be, you can really get into this new life. It's not so hard to feed and clothe and shelter another human being for eighteen years, because love makes you want to do all those things and inspires you to find ways to manage it.


Anonymous said...

good post. I'll hit the library.

Cheeseboy said...

100% scream free = impossible I say!

ScottBoomer said...

Would you be willing to be more patient with Marc and I as well as Eddie?

Krissy said...

That's probably pushing it, Scott.