Let me begin by stating the obvious: I have no patience. And when I don’t get enough sleep, I snap and my temper flares. I resort to yelling and not listening to the kids. Does it suck, yes. Do I live with amazingly intense guilt after I lose my temper and yell at my poor 4 and 2 year olds? HELL to the YES. Right at the point where I was crying, sobbing and hating myself for being a horrible mother – my wonderful friend Abbey at Living My MoMent offered up her first review program. What was the review? The most amazing book that could have entered my life at the exact right time. I was open to it, embraced it and wanted to sleep with it under my pillow. BUT I COULDN’T, since it’s an eBook. UGH.
The book? Sharon Silver’s Stop Reacting and Start Responding(TM). I’ll be honest, if I had gotten this a couple of months ago, I’d have passed on it. But after the few months of hating myself for being a horrible, yells all the time, at the end of my rope Mommy – I signed up to participate in reading and reviewing the eBook. Mainly, I HATE eBooks. HATE, HATE, HATE them. There’s nothing I find more annoying than reading a book on the computer. I like actual books, in my hands, pages to turn and cracking of the spine when I first open one up. I know people believe having eBooks helps the environment, saves trees and paper, etc. But I hate them. And I’m going to end up printing the book on paper anyway….so what’s the point? Well, it saved her a ton on publishing it – but nonetheless, I sucked it up because I truly needed someone to help me get out of this vicious cycle that was damaging both me, my husband and our kids.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a very fast read. It’s broken into small entries, easy to read and super direct and cuts right to the point. Many examples are given to carry out the suggestions to help parents stop yelling and start to really correct your child’s behavior. I love all the quick little notes at the end of each entry. It makes it easier to refer back to. Now, I got through the book quickly, but being the person that I am, I need it printed out so I can refer back to it. Some of the suggestions are not a good fit for us right now, as my kids are a little young to be dealing with some of the issues. HOWEVER, I’ve got the book now and I’ll have it to reference later on as they get older.
Since I’m a slow learner. Actually, I’m not slow at learning, but after doing all the wrong things for about 4 years now, it’s going to take a lot to re-train myself and be the mother I truly wish to be. Basically I’ve got to re-wire the “hardwire” in my brain and become the Mommy that can be level headed, not lose her temper, have a truly loving relationship with my kids. A relationship based on understanding, mutual respect and a HEALTHY DOSE OF FEAR. Listen, I want my kids to live in a little bit of fear of what Mommy will do if they’re caught drinking and driving. You know what I mean? But I don’t want them to be afraid to come to me with everything, or my husband, or even an aunt or a family friend. I want them to know Mommy won’t lose her temper and will respect them, their feelings, their thoughts and their choices (as long as they don’t get into a car after they’ve been drinking-or other crazy things that might harm not only themselves, but someone else).
The book is going to be my guide. I will master each “lesson”, get it to the point where it’s just my regular way of handling DISCIPLINING my kids, not PUNISHING my kids (that’s the BIGGEST lesson from this book-learning the difference between discipline and punishment). I couldn’t be happier to have had the opportunity to review Stop Reacting and Start Responding(TM). Truly a fantastic handbook for Moms like me, who have been doing the yelling thing without ever really feeling like the kids are truly learning how to be “people”. I want to raise good people, send them into the world with all the tools to make a change for GOOD. They won’t learn anything like that if I’m always yelling and losing my temper! Or not treating them with respect. How will they ever know that if someone loves you, they respect you. Which translates to loving themselves, means respecting themselves. (The book sparked a huge shift in my way of parenting. Which probably happens in different ways for different parents-you may have different sparks of your own.)
My favorite lesson is about lying. My daughter has been telling “tall tales” for a few weeks now. I’ve been handling it all wrong….big surprise there. However, I think we’re not too far into it that I can’t correct all of it without causing too many issues for her. I was basically “accusing” her of lying. What I should have been doing, according to this book, is call it “tall tale” or “story” and then give her a 10 minute consequence free zone to tell me what actually happened, as opposed to her “tall tale”. We’re going to try it the next time she does the whole lying thing.
What I have changed so far is offering choices instead of using that “tone” I get sometimes. When my son and I drop off my daughter at school each day, it’s very hard to get my son to leave. He loves it there. Instead of just using the “come with me or else” tone, I’ve been giving him a choice. I tell him gently he has to “listen to Mommy now” then I let him know it’s time to go home, does he want to carry his puppy or does he want me to carry his puppy to the car. It has been working to get his attention on me, gets him focused on what we have to do and that Mommy means business without causing a scene. He walks out proudly holding his puppy as we walk out to the car. BIG DIFFERENCE. Changing just one thing is already making it easier to handle the whole drop off and pick up the last couple of days.
Last night I got to take part in a special LIVE MomTV broadcast with Sharon, the author and Abbey from Living My MoMent. I learned a few things, but what I loved was after the show Sharon took the time to answer something very important to me on her Facebook page. It meant a lot to me, because she totally didn’t have to take the time to do that. Trust me, I will be a huge visitor to the page, along with watching her show on MomTV regularly! If you want to check out Sharon’s Facebook page, click here –> ProActive Parenting.
If you haven’t already come to this conclusion, I’ll state it bluntly: I recommend this book! Even if you aren’t a screamer like me! It’s got great techniques for parenting and discipline, giving your child the tools to make good choices and truly develop the self esteem, self respect and self confidence they’ll need to enter the world and be “good, quality citizens of the world.” Sharon Silver knows what she’s talking about. Being a New Yorker, I was skeptical at first. It will take me some work, but I believe the changes I’m making are worthwhile and in the end, benefiting not just my kids and I, but our mark on the world. Good parenting helps develop good kids. Good kids become good adults. Good adults make a better world to live in.
Once my kids are ready to have kids, they’ll have a great “handbook” to refer to from their own childhood! Memories of how Mommy did everything and of course, the printed out copy of the book!
If you want to buy the book, click here –> Stop Reacting and Start Responding(TM)
You can also find Sharon Silver on Twitter right here –> Sharon Silver