Many people spend their whole lives yearning for the loving, nurturing parent that they never had. As a psychiatrist, I’ve often felt sad when patients tearfully retold stories of what went wrong in their childhoods and how deeply those moments still impact their lives. So many times I’ve wished I could wave a magic wand, go back in time, and change those moments – before they become incorporated into who people are, how they see themselves, and how they relate to the world.
I would love this book to be your magic wand – a tool you can use to become the mother or father your children yearn for.
Many parents, still feeling the emotional bruises of their own childhoods, rejected their parents’ old-school style of discipline. But rather than injecting more love into their leadership, they ceded too much of their parental power. The whole family hierarchy has collapsed, leaving children in charge, bossing their parents around. Somehow giving children self-esteem has been construed to mean giving kids a trophy for showing up, hovering over their every move, pouring on excessive praise and never saying “no” for fear of hurting their feelings.
Isn’t there a graceful place in the middle of these parenting extremes? A hybrid approach in which we thoughtfully reflect upon what we should keep from our parents’ methods, what we can learn from recent parenting trends, and what no longer serves us?
To craft that new middle, I picked the brains of great parents, teachers, doctors and coaches for their guidance on parenting at its best. If we listen to their wisdom and pay more attention to the way we parent, we can save our children so much future pain. We can honor our children’s feelings and still captain our family ships. My sole intention for writing this book is to inspire parents to be their best selves, so they can be the best parents possible.