When I first saw the title of this book Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Making a Heart-To-Heart Connection, written by Danny Silk, I almost decided not to read it. I figured I already know how to love my child, that’s the easy part, it’s all the other stuff that is hard. However, I am so glad that I didn’t stop there. This has been one of the best parenting books I have read. It challenged me to think about how I was raised and the kind of parent I want to be. I picked 7 highlights, but there is really so much more to this book. I highly recommend it and only wish I would have read it sooner.
- You can’t control your child.
This was kind of shocking for me to realize, but I think Danny Silk is on to something. Bottom line, you can’t actually control anyone except yourself. You may try to control your child, but ultimately it is up to him or her on whether or not to listen to you. For example, if you ask your child to please eat his carrots, it is up to the child to determine how fast or slow, and if he will actually obey. This is especially evident as the child grows older.
- Nurture a loving relationship between you and your child.
Silk believes that establishing a loving relationship in which both the parent and child love and trust one another is the key to good parenting. This is the ultimate goal for the parent.
- Empower your child by providing choices.
Everyone wants to feel that they are in control of their lives and that they have the power to make decisions. Silk believes children are no different. One way we, as parents, can work with and not against this is to provide choices. For example, even a toddler can have choices. Let’s say you want the child to go upstairs to get dressed. You could offer the choice of walking or being carried upstairs. This is simple, but it can be applied to the most complex situations. As the parent, it is up to you to provide the child with two choices that you can be content with.
- De-escalate arguments with simple responses.
Using phrases such as “I know,” “Probably so,” “That could be,” “I don’t know, and “Nice try” can help to deescalate arguments with your child. These are phrases Silk references as his favorite from the Love and Logic book. This strategy can enable your child to start thinking about how he or she can solve the problem at hand. Parents should maintain a genuinely loving demeanor toward the child to encourage him or her to solve the problem.
- Allow your child to experience the consequences of their choices.
As tempting as it may be to rescue your child from the pain or difficulty of consequences, resist. (Note, this is not talking about neglecting a child’s safety.) Parents can create a safe environment for children to make mistakes and learn from them. As parents, we can’t be afraid to let our children mess up. We can build trust with them by letting them know we are there for them in all situations and allowing them to grow from these difficult times.
- Choose discipline over punishment.
Discipline allows a child the power to decide how to fix or solve a problem. Punishment is decided solely by the parent.
- Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Many times parents want to believe that they have the power in the relationship. However, Silk believes that is simply not true. In fact, he believes that parents should communicate to their children in a way that shows that they too can be vulnerable. This is why having a loving relationship is so imperative.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post, you may also like “Are they listening? 5 Tips for Parents of Young Children.”