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Parenting book review — 2 gems, one older, one new

If you need some help with parenting, it’s always great to read a good book. There’s one that I’ve recommended for years, called “1-2-3 Magic” by Thomas Phelan. It basically teaches parents how to apply natural and logical consequences in a consistent, effective manner. Many times, we parents repeat ourselves and then yell, basically teaching our children that they don’t need to listen until repetition #10. 1-2-3 Magic helps parents learn a simple model for teaching kids that consequences, like time-out, come reasonably quickly.

There’s also a great new book out by Daniel Siegel, who is the master of attachment theory applied to parenting. This is the idea that what matters most is the connection, and that taking the time to connect with your child, ask yourself why they are acting out, and helping them learn to communicate their feelings is going to ultimately make the most difference.

To be honest, the two books may seem contradictory at times. Siegel’s book gives a great overview of how our brains work, how attachment influences behavior, and how important empathetically understanding our children is to ultimately improving our parenting style. Phelan’s book is a more “in the trenches” approach, and in my experience goes a long way towards helping parents “stop the drama / yelling” by giving a simple set of tools that begin to work right away.

What’s the take-away? Read them both. If your child is a bit older, running you through your paces, or if you just feel stuck in repeat / repeat /yell mode, you may want to try the 1-2-3 method first. To deeply understand how we function, learn and connect, Siegel’s books (he has several) are very informative.

You can find links to both of the books on our Parenting Books page.

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