Hit Me With Your Best…Parenting Book

Today I’m stuck home with a busted car and a baby trying to bust some new teeth through her poor swollen gums and I feel like busting out the vodka to go in my third cup of coffee.

(The car people just called. They think the huge electrical freakout happening to my minivan has been caused by…coins. In my radio. One guess who’s responsible. I…have no words.)

The upside to being home is I don’t have to fight with the toddler. Because the fighting? Is driving me insane. And the not listening. And the running away. And the tantrums. I spend too many hours a day with all my muscles tensed in anticipation of the fight I know is coming any second. I am exhausted before he even DOES anything wrong. My current methods of dealing with the poor behavior are time outs he doesn’t care about, making idle threats, hissing through my teeth, counting to three and then counting to three again and then counting to three again, picking him up and dragging him out of Target, ignoring while I die of shame and bribery.

I’m not even going to pretend I know what I’m doing anymore.

Since I seem to have lost my copy of How Exactly To Parent Your Child So They Always Act Perfectly But Don’t End Up Needing Therapy (I’ve heard people from certain internet message boards get a copy right after they give birth)(Or maybe the childless people are hoarding all the copies – based on their internet comments they certainly THINK they know everything), I think it’s time to put my Amazon Prime membership to use and order up a big stack of parenting books. I am open to suggestions. All suggestions. YOUR suggestions.

So far I’ve got “Unconditional Parenting” – recommended by my friend Robyn – on the crunchy, hippie, new-agey end. And I don’t plan to send Evan out back to cut his own switch, so I won’t need Grandpa’s imaginary book “This Is Going To Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You”. But I figure the more books I read the more likely I am to find something that sounds like a) I (we) can do it and b) might work on MY kid. Or maybe my brain will explode. But at this point that feeling inevitable.

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21 Responses to “Hit Me With Your Best…Parenting Book”

  1. merin says:

    I’m kind of glad to know that it’s not just my toddler. Not that that makes you feel any better. On our end though, she saves the general uncooperativeness and hysterics for home. Which I actually find to be more annoying because trying to leave the house/take a bath/pick up toys/flush the toilet yourself (I don’t know how I keep making this mistake) is a huge pain in the ass. It is so tiresome.

    • Amy says:

      You are not alone. But, unfortunately I do not have any suggestions. I am in the same boat. I find it comforting that she only acts this way with me; she is a little angel with her grandparents. Though, right now she is fighting naps with them and not with me. Go figure.
      I have found nothing that works besides gritting my teeth and waiting for the stage to pass. But then it comes back for ANOTHER ROUND. :( It’s a good thing they are cute.

  2. TMae says:

    I just checked STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) parenting out of the library for THIS EXACT REASON. HOLY SHITBALLS with the…totally age appropriate behavior. UGH.

    I think your friend Robyn commented on my post last week begging for help. I’ve been meaning to email her with some questions. :-)And check out Unconditional Parenting, too.

    • Robyn says:

      yup, that was me :). My kid certainly isn’t perfect, and i’m sure we will have way more issues when the new baby comes, but i really can’t recommend the book enough, or the online support group that goes with it. it really helps me keep things in perspective…they are so little, and have such big emotions, and they just need to be taught how to make sense of the world…and really, scolding and punishing just makes me feel worse. so this works for us, at least for now.

  3. Ginny Lynn says:

    I really like this Montessori book. It helped me understand a lot about the learning process which all relates to their behavior.

    http://www.amazon.com/Montessori-Approach-Paula-Polk-Lillard/dp/0805209204/ref=sr_1_34?ie=UTF8&qid=1328205078&sr=8-34

  4. TMae says:

    Also, what’s with this phenomenon right now? In January? Just about everyone I know is talking about it. And the kids aren’t all the same cohort. Is this part of the post-holiday crash? If so NO MOAR HOLIDAYS.

  5. I have nothing helpful to suggest, but when you find that toddler behavior book unicorn, don’t keep it to yourself.

  6. Laura says:

    I’m laughing because I’m in a similar boat. I have NO IDEA where my “Raise the Perfect Child While Being an Ideal Parent” manual went. And I’ve realized I’m clueless about the discipline part of things. So I’m eagerly going to troll the comments and hope someone has a magic bullet. (Hahahahah!) The one book that was recommended to me by our pediatrician and Shelby’s daycare is called “1-2-3- Magic” or something like that. I got it and read most of it, but at the time Shelby was too young for most of it. Maybe I should revisit it.

  7. molly says:

    Oh, man. Yes! This post is timely. I need to understand Landon’s behavior a little bit more. I just do not understand what happened. When Landon turned three it is like someone flipped a switch and this kid who is unable to control his emotions came out. The tantrums are EPIC.

    I will definitely be back to see what people suggest. Time-outs don’t really work for us either.

  8. Amanda says:

    Time-In Parenting by Otto Weininger. I actually came across it because it was used as a reading in an education course I was TA for. I’ve tested out some of the strategies with my daughter (who is only 14 months) and damn if they don’t work. I don’t expect that any book will make parenting a 3-year-old easy 100% of the time, but I really found that this book had some great strategies, and made me think very differently about time outs.

  9. Robyn says:

    I would also suggest the Happiest Toddler on the Block. If any of you have read The Happiest Baby on the Block, you know that the author repeats himself a lot, so this is one you can totally get from the library and scan pretty quick to get the point.

    Basically it teaches you how to talk your toddler down when they are being irrational and tantrumy. we use these tactics a lot. you just keep repeating what they are saying to let them know they are being heard. you don’t reason with them until they have calmed down and are ready to listen. works wonders, at least for my highly sensitive kid.

  10. Happiest Baby on the Block was awesome for us, so I second the Happiest Toddler on the Block recommendation. I’ve also heard good things about the Montessori method, but I’ve also heard it’s really not for everybody (I mean, what is, right?).

    Another book some friends of mine who have a toddler really liked was Shepherding A Child’s Heart.

    I have no experience with a toddler yet, so I’m just passing along things I’ve heard.

  11. Brigid Keely says:

    I really like “nurture shock” and “the magic years.” “Nurture Shock” explores the things we all “know” are good and how they actually aren’t, and this is why, and here’s what you can try instead. “The Magic Years” is about child development and why kids do the jackass difficult stuff they do. Personally, I find that if I know WHY my child is being a giant butt, I can more effectively manipulate him into NOT being a giant butt.

  12. raincheckmom says:

    Terrible two’s were not terrible in our family. It was the three’s that knocked our socks off…

  13. Kimberly says:

    I can’t find time to read books- besides the trashy novel I’m reading right now, of course- but I did rent a Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD from the library a few months ago. His stuff makes sense to me, but sometimes it’s hard to remember in the heat of the moment. There is a book I read when I was studying to be a teacher- Choice Theory by Glasser- that really stuck with me. It’s about making them feel like they have some control by giving them choices, but you control the choices. It works on just about everyone.

  14. Emily says:

    We’re not there yet, but I’m so not looking forward to the terrible twos! But I have taught a classroom full of two year-olds, and can say that the best system is 1-2-3 Magic. The elementary school I worked at used it religiously for preschool-6th grade! We regularly did parent workshops, and I can say that the parents who used it were unanimously in love with it. It worked for the toughest of kids… but you really have to be consistent with it, that’s the trick. Here’s the website: http://www.parentmagic.com/. I would suggest ordering the DVD for parents… much easier to see it in action than try to decipher a book. Good luck!

  15. alana says:

    I have Happiest Toddler on the Block. I bought it to prep myself for the terrible 2’s. I cracked it open a few months ago and had to skip the first few chapters. It was too cheesy for me. I don’t see myself doing a lot of this stuff. I went straight to the good stuff and am in the middle of reading it now. I also agree on the Montessori advice given above. They have some good fundamental values.
    I fear the 3’s more than the 2’s. Actually I fear the 4’s the most because those were a b when I was a nanny. That kid was awful!
    Hope you find something that helps. Nothing worse than feeling helpless when it comes to your kid.

    • Robyn says:

      I agree, the Happiest Toddler is pretty cheesy, but i just took the main point and used it how i felt comfortable. i generally just keep repeating what she says and saying that i understand she’s mad because (insert whatever she’s upset about). it works amazingly well most of the time. once she calms down and realizes that i get what she’s saying, she either moves on to something else and it totally happy again, or is ready to listen to my reasons why she can’t do whatever, and will compromise with me. i equate toddler tantrums with my need to have a good cry every once in a while…sometimes you just need to get it out and then you feel so much better afterwards.

  16. Motherscratcher. I had heard it gets worse but really? COME ON UNIVERSE! WTF?!?
    And here I thought my “terror of the 2’s” was bad.
    I guess the only thing I’ve tried is the 1-2-3 Magic book. But at this point, he actually has started counting ME and giving ME timeouts. I repeat. Motherscratcher.
    I hiss under my teeth as well, and have run from Target on multiple occasions… but I do find that taking away toys has helped. As barbaric and un-EarthMotherHippie as it sounds? He has a million and one cars, and taking one of them because he was a butthead does not phase me in.the.least. For him though? Handwringing and WOE.
    It’s kind of awesome.
    I’m sure this will all change tomorrow however so disregard as soon as you finish reading.

  17. Krista says:

    I’m in that spot where Cole has his witching hour and Chessa has her witching days. So every day from 5-7 is horrendous in my house, but SOME days are horrendous all day and then from 5-7 I consider packing it in and running to some place tropical with umbrellas in my drinks. Shall I pick you up on my way?

  18. Annie says:

    I absolutely loved Buddhism for Mothers–I wrote about it on my blog some time ago at tunheimfamily.blogspot.com/2010/03/laxative-guilt.html. Definitely worth a read, regardless of what religion you do or do not practice.

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