Book Review: Becoming the Parent You Want To Be


[amazon_link id=”0553067508″ target=”_blank” ]Becoming the Parent You Want To Be: A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years[/amazon_link] is a terrific book for parents of all ages parenting children of any age.  The book is broad enough to cover many different situations and stages and would be a great gift for an expectant mother and father.

Laura Davis is author of two other books: [amazon_link id=”0061284335″ target=”_blank” ]The Courage to Heal 4e: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse 20th Anniversary Edition[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”0060968834″ target=”_blank” ]Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child[/amazon_link].  Janis Keyeser teaches in the Early Childhood Education program at Cabrillo College in California.

The book is divided into 6 parts.  The first part focuses on Nine Principles for the Parenting Journey.  This excellent introductory material helps readers look at their own assumptions about parenthood, children, and values shaped by our own upbringing.  These assumptions can be either good or bad but the authors want us to be aware of them and how they might effect our parenting.  The Nine Principles are:

  1. As parents, it’s important that we hold a vision of the kind of parent that we want to be and that we strive to achieve that vision in our daily lives.
  2. Through learning about our children, and about children in general, we develop a perspective which leads us to be more responsive, effective parents.
  3. Believing in our children and enabling them to find their own answers are two of the greatest gifts we can give them.
  4. We learn how to be parents as we go along.
  5. Periods of disequilibrium — times we feel confused and off-balance — can be essential to our growth as parents.
  6. A family rhythm that balances each person’s unique needs with the needs of the family as a whole creates mutual respect and harmony.
  7. One of the most powerful things parents can give children is an open, optimistic and safe connection to the world.
  8. All parents get angry and all of us make mistakes. Acknowledging and learning from our mistakes teaches our children invaluable lessons about being human.
  9. All families need and deserve a community to support them in the critical work of nurturing and teaching the next generation.

The next section of the book deals with Children’s Feelings followed by a section on Children’s Bodies.  In dealing with feelings and bodies the authors deftly cover topics from tantrums to sleep and toilet learning.  They also deal with the topics of children’s sexual exploration, a topic many parenting books shy away from.

Part four is all about Dealing with Difficult Behavior.  The authors talk about the ineffectiveness and negative consequences of short-term discipline methods such as spanking, yelling, and time-outs and instead focus on 12 Strategies for Cooperative Limit Setting.  For example, strategy one is Respect the Impulse.  This strategy asks parents to think about the natural impluse behind a child’s difficult behavior such as a toddler throwing food on the floor exploring gravity of even the social aspect of “what will mommy do if I drop this.”

The importance of play and social skill development is explored in part five.  Topics like gender identity, sharing, prejudice, and conflict resolution are discussed in depth along with a section on Children’s Books that accurately reflect the World.

The last section of the book covers Family Relationships including parenting with a partner and sibling relationships.

The overall philosphy of the authors is of positive and compassionate cooperation with children.  The authors state in their introduction that,

“children are not blank slates but, instead, actively participate in the construction of their own knowledge…everything children do is an attempt to learn and that there is always a healthy impulse behind a child’s behavior.”

At the same time, the authors show a sensitivity to cultural differences and a wide variance of individuality in families.

Baby Dusts’ take:

I loved this book and recommend it highly.  If you can only read one parenting book this might be the one.  This book focuses solely on developing a parenting philosophy and applying it through different developmental stages.  This book does not have baby-care how to’s which take up much of other parenting books.  It covers nearly every topic a parent might encounter from hair pulling in a toddler to sexual exploration in pre-schoolers.  The book is liberally splattered with side-bars with stories from real parents with real situations.  My favorite thing about the book is it covers common parenting dilemmas with a spirit that says kids are an equal part of the family deserving of collaboration rather than control.

[amazon_image id=”0553067508″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Becoming the Parent You Want To Be: A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years[/amazon_image]Just the facts:
448 pages
Published by Broadway
Publication Date: 1997
Audience: Parents of Infants, Parents of Toddlers, Parents of Pre-schoolers, Parents-to-be
Baby Dust rating:  5 duckies



If you would like to purchase this book and use one of my links to do so I will get a small referral fee which helps me offset the costs of running Baby Dust Diaries. I have not been paid by the author or Amazon to write this review. As always, I encourage patronizing your local library as well!


One thought on “Book Review: Becoming the Parent You Want To Be

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