It is summer. I am finally on vacation. This means I do not have to teach my hardworking graduate students one night a week for 8 weeks, battle over my sons’ homework, attend numerous PTO or IEP meetings. However, I will still be in contact with my students as they continue their action research literature review. In the meantime, I will continue my perpetual ongoing literature review… the one that began about eight years ago.
Back then, when my boys were two and three years old, I hired a very competent babysitter to watch my two young boys while I went to the library to figure out why my eldest son acted the way he did. I would sit in between the stacks and pore over parenting and childcare texts. I had already breezed way past the rudimentary ones for the usual parenting of average kids. Let’s just say there was no instant discipline magic. I wanted to know more about my particular child — the child who could not go anywhere and tantrumed daily.
The first book I found that helped asked you to label your child’s personality as an animal and go from there. I determined my wildest child was a tiger and as such, according to this book, I was supposed to live as if there was a tiger in your home. Well, it really wasn’t news to me; we were already living this way. We were careful not to make sudden movements and we spoke in soft voices around him. Above all else, we tried not to upset him. However, in figuring out his personality, I felt a profound sense of hope. I thought that maybe someone else out there was living with a tiger and maybe, just maybe, managing their own three-ring circus.
It was a little bit of hope. It was also the beginning of an endless booklist of parenting help and child understanding. I am never done with my research; my child grows and changes and new behaviors occur. I need the support to keep myself going. This summer I am rereading and highlighting important tips from Transform Your Child by James Lehman. I also had the opportunity to read two of my favorite best-selling authors tackling subjects near and dear to my heart. Jodie Piccult offers this amazing wisdom in her book, House Rules, “If you are worried about being good mom, you already are one.” Just the salve I needed after a not so good day with my son. Emily Giffen espouses eliminating the truly unnecessary practice of moms comparing themselves to other moms, in her book The Heart of the Matter. Really, what good does that do? It is hard enough comparing yourself to the standards you have set for you.