Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Book Review: Being the Grownup

I saw this book come up as an option to review and I literally JUMPED on it because parenting is really hard and it actually sucks a lot of the time and something my friends all say is that those What to Expect books are garbage because pregnancy is nothing. You see a doctor regularly and they help you. Nobody, and I mean nobody, helps you as a parent. You're expected to know how to raise a human and it's really freaking hard. Especially when you get a kid like my Penelope who brings you to the brink. Daily.

Being the Grownup - Adelia Moore

Children need adults to survive. This, despite the profound change our digital era has wrought on family life, remains the essence of parenthood. Being the GrownupThe Natural Authority of Parenthood begins not with what should be, but with what is: If you are a parent, it is your job to provide shelter and safety, to make decisions about education, childcare, health and nourishment, to create the habitat that is the context and crucible of family life. Being the Grownup helps parents translatetheir determination to care for and protect their children into the clarity they need to communicate authority with a firm confidence, whether for bedtime, screen-time or mealtime. Just as she would in a clinical conversation, the author shifts the focus away from disciplinary strategies and back to the core of parenthood, the relationship between parents and children as it evolves, moment-to-moment, from the dependence of infancy to the autonomy of young adulthood.

Being the Grownup zeroes in on the core challenge for every parent, the hard work of building a relationship that combines trust and connection with confident authority children can feel and rely on. Relationships take time, and so does learning about relationships. Readers will not find bullet points or formulas. Instead, to more fully understand what happens moment to moment between parents and children, and what patterns between them may strengthen or undermine parents' authority, my readers will find moments in the parent-child relationship examined from a variety of angles. Each chapter delves deep into a topic, including attachment, temperament, family systems theory and body language, making connections from theory and research to everyday family life.

No one book can tell you what to do in every situation with every child. There are simply too many variables. That's why it's important to know more about what to think about parenthood and the relationship you have with each of your children: Being the Grownup helps you do that.

Let me start by saying I have four kids ranging from almost 3 to 13 years old. I have been doing this mom gig for awhile and I know enough now to know that every stage is great and awful at the same time. I also can tell you that you will forget a lot of the awful and a lot of the great. You have a general idea of how you child was but the every day stuff you forget. I know this because I have Facebook and every day I look at the Memories area and I see how awful my older two were that I completely forgot about. Apparently seven years ago they flooded the basement and carved into the new drywall in the dining room.

And here I've been telling people they were so good, never any problems. Ha!

So I'm not a spring chicken and I have children so I go into this book with a different perspective than maybe a new parent or even a non-parent. Because we are at our parenting best when we have no children.

I will tell you this book is FULL of information and perspectives but I will also tell you this is not a book you sit and read cover to cover to relax before bed. It just isn't. I have read it in chunks because I kind of thought about what I read after each and in some, tried to use some of the information she gives us to see how it applies when you're really on the battlefield.

Though it's not a relaxation read, it's a great one. The author reflects on her time parenting young children and presents scenarios we are all familiar with and have experienced, and you immediately trust this person because they get it, they know what you're dealing with. She reflects on her options on how to handle situations but also recognizes that parenting back then is vastly different than parenting in 2019, that we have completely different challenges added in.

Something that jumped out at me, that I've thought about a lot is found on page 78 in the "What Matters?" section:
"...your kids also learn your values through the organization of your household, the expectations, curfews, chores, rules about calling home, and so on."
It kind of goes with the concept that we're all on a cycle, and what we do as parents is modeled after what our parents did, etc. So if we think a tidy home with rules and chores for everyone is important, that is behavior our children will later model as adults. If our children live in chaotic environments, parents are late making them late for school, nobody cleans up after themselves, etc- that's often how they end up as adults and I can recognize that in many people I know.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. If I had to nit pick I would say having the sections labeled differently would have been helpful. There are chapters more focused on babies and small children development but the section wouldn't necessarily make you think that way. Also, there are sections that touch on teenagers and even talk about technology, but I didn't know that by looking at the chapter names. Really a silly thing to point out, but in the spirit of we can always improve, that would be my only thought. Oh! I want to also mention this book is extremely well researched and put together. In the back is an extensive reference section so if you wanted more information about literally anything in this book, the information is there and that's really amazing.

Overall? I'm actually giving this a 5 because I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading areas and seeing how it applied to how I've parented so far but also how I think I might as we reach milestones down the road. I love the idea of natural authority and how that doesn't mean dictatorship. I highly suggest this for any parent out there wondering if you're doing it right or having no idea what to do at all, and even the people who know they are messing up but want to get better- you can definitely turn the boat around with this book.

Thank you to Hollow Hill Books and author Adelia Moore for my ARC of Being the Grownup in exchange for review! Affiliate links are used within this post which help keep this little ol' blog going. 

Have you read any great parenting books lately? I'd be interested in which ones! 


Deanna Reads Books said...

Parenting seems tough, definitely not a job I am ever going to consider.

Lauren said...

I'm not a parent yet, but I do find parenting books fascinating. I think this one sounds really well done and I like that it focuses on different ages/stages and comes from someone who really GETS IT.


mypixieblog said...

I love books that I can read and digest in stages and it sounds as though this would fall under that category. While not necessarily designed for me and where I am in life (yet!), I hope to one day leaf through and imagine there are a lot of lessons that can be applied to all stages of parenthood. Thanks for sharing, Sara! Xo

Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

Definitely adding this one to my list. Some days I think I've got this parenting thing, other days, definitely not.