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Becoming the Parent You Want To Be

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  477 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Informative, inspiring, and enlightening, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be provides parents with the building blocks they need to discover their own parenting philosophy and develop effective parenting strategies.  Through in-depth information, practical suggestions, and many lively first-person stories, the authors address the many dilemmas and joys that the parent of y ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 3rd 1997 by Harmony
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Molly Westerman
I read this book as part of my research process for a writing project, and I started out mocking it--I mean, the self-help-y title invites mocking, right?, the cover and photos feel really dated, and the introductory sections are titled "The Parenting Journey" (ralph) and "Developing a Vision for Your Family" (eyeroll). But this is actually a really good book.

The authors assume very little about the reader's family structure. Its examples do not draw solely upon straight, married parenting coupl
Sep 18, 2008 Shelley rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All parents
Shelves: parenting
This "thinking outside the box" parenting book is less about child care and basics and more about dealing with your issues that affect the way you parent.

Topics within the book include
* developing a vision for your family- what are you really teaching your children?
*the dangers of praise and labeling
*anger while parenting
*emotional development of children
*helping your child deal with fear
*healthy relationship to food
*children's sexual exploration
*social play and development
*moving beyon
Gosh, writing a review for this feels so raw and weird. I just really, really love it and I read it at a moment when I desperately needed it, and I've come back to it a dozen times for guidance and support.

I love so much of what this book chooses to be: its calm tone, its unwavering commitment to being realistic (these strategies may not work for you, your baggage is going to affect your parenting, sometimes there's no way out of a tantrum, each kid is weird and unique and no one thing works all
SueAnn Eason
Feb 17, 2008 SueAnn Eason rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who interacts with young children
Recommended to SueAnn by: Michele McMath
This is one of the most helpful parenting books I have read. The book is fairly extensive; it goes well beyond discipline, feeding adn pooping. It looks at who youar e as a parent, who the family is, feelings, dvelopment and bahavior.

I have not read it cover to cover, and definately do not agree withe very single point in the book. But instead pick it up and read the parts I need. There is a fantastic section on alternatives to yelling. It also poses the question to mom and dad, "Why are you yel
May 14, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
When Sophie turned three I smugly thought to myself, "terrible two's, what terrible two's ? That was a piece of cake!". Then the challenges REALLY began! My buttons have been pushed in ways I never imagined and I am challenged almost daily not to go to the dark side and repeat some of the mistakes my parents made. This book has been a lifeline for me. In addition to providing information about normal developmental stages and ways to cope with various challenges, it gives parents the opportunity ...more
Sep 09, 2011 Anastasia rated it it was amazing
I am an avid parenting book reader. I received this before my son was born as a gift from one of the authors daughters. I have never been SO grateful for the gift of a book. The authors are frank and honest and offer an incredible range of parenting experience "stories". Excellent advice with a multitude of different possible approaches. Like going out to a cup of coffee and coming home refreshed and ready to be the best parent you can be... Which is a good enough parent.
Dec 27, 2015 Ilya rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
A helpful, thorough and compassionate book that covers issues of the first 5 years of parenting. Loved it!
Oct 02, 2008 Shannon rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and got a lot of useful information. I appreciate that the book comes from the perspective of respect for the child as a person. It did have a couple of areas that I felt gave the child too much power in the familial relationship, but the vast majority of the book gives good alternatives to the dominating, oppresive styles of many parenting books. It is a challenge to balance freedom for children with boundaries and discipline, and this book made me wonderfully concious of ho ...more
Jun 21, 2008 Shelly rated it it was amazing
I think this may be on my "currently-reading" shelf forever... it's such a great resource book and I find myself appreciating the easy reads of well-organized topics presented in a style very similar to Ann Keppler's groups... makes it comparatively easy to think about how I want to approach a multitude of specific situations~ for example, a few different ways to talk about sharing, most of which resonate with me (& I'm grateful to have a variety of approaches that I can imagine R responding ...more
Kate Turner
Jun 16, 2009 Kate Turner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This book is more about identifying your family's values and following them than about parenting the author's way, and that's refreshing. I hate one-size-fits-all solutions to complex parenting problems. This book also contains great book recommendations for addressing all sorts of issues (siblings, potty training, diversity in families, fears) and a good section on how to make fun toys for toddlers out of stuff around the house.
Jul 02, 2008 Naomi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All parents
Recommended to Naomi by: Beth Barbeau
I'm only about 1/3 of the way through so far (don't have a lot of time to read these days), but I must say I am loving this book!! It is full of great information, and I really like that they are not saying "you have to do this and if you don't you're stupid", but are being respectful of your personal choice.

This is the kind of book I'd love to own so I can continue looking to it many times.
Jul 28, 2008 Clare rated it it was amazing
Love this book - keep referencing it over and over! I have had for 4 years...LOVE IT!
Every parent should have a copy of it to reference...

very positive parenting style

children's feeelings, dealing with difficult behaviors, social learnign and play, blah blah blah
Jun 22, 2013 Yael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is my favorite parenting book because rather than preach one style or method it outlines multiple developmentally-appropriate approaches. I read this cover-to-cover in 2004 when my oldest was born, and have revisited individual chapters as needed since then.
Dec 03, 2008 Natalie rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting
Prescriptive, with too many general 'story-scenarios' ... but the gist is in the table of contents where the main nine points are laid out.
Ellen Hartman
Apr 07, 2015 Ellen Hartman rated it it was amazing
Helped me actually "become the parent I wanted to be." I used some of the sample dialogue verbatim to practice. Really wonderful book. I always recommend this one to new parents.
Jan 22, 2012 Hannah rated it really liked it
Where to start? This is my new favorite parenting book for so many reasons.

-First, and most remarkable to me, is that this is a book not specifically targeted to queer parents that nonetheless frequently acknowledges our existence. In a world where every other parenting books assumes "Dad" will be the one to help with night weaning, it's amazing to have a book suggest that the "non-nursing parent" might be the one to comfort a child who wakes at night and wants to nurse. Queer families are incl
Apr 10, 2014 Ben rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I liked that this book outlines a more compassionate parenting approach based on listening and communication rather than discipline but am skeptical about how well it will work in practice. Many of the examples seem to illustrate child behavior that I wouldn't expect. For example, active listening "You really want that truck that I'm not letting you buy" would seem to illicit more anger from the child in many cases but perhaps children are different enough from adults that my intuition is wrong. ...more
Jan 13, 2009 D'Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It only took me five years to read this book, not that I'm trying to brag. I found the book to be really, really useful with a lot of good strategies and ideas for being a good parent. The overly-earnest tone made me cringe at times and some of the book is out of date (the book does not acknowledge the Internet, though it does mention CD ROMS, I think), but that's a small price to pay for learning how not to be an asshole to your kid.

I also really appreciate that the book is aimed at all parent
Apr 22, 2015 Becky rated it liked it
I think the title is a little deceptive in that I don't think I became quite the 'parent I want to be' by reading the book. I do think it had helpful suggestions and hopefully made me a little more compassionate and understanding towards my children. I did catch myself once or twice doing something the book advised against. The most helpful sections for me were 'Moving Beyond Punishment' and 'Children's Friendships: Cooperation and Conflict,' though that may just be applicable because of the sta ...more
Mar 17, 2008 Amanda rated it liked it
I haven't completely finished this, I think because it's not a very read-through-all-the-way type of book. It doesn't have a strong progressive structure, which means you can skip around, but the problem is that it's so unorganized that I have trouble figuring out what the point is of what I'm skimming. I realize that my difficulties with the book, then, are my own fault for lack of attention, but that's all I have time for right now. :) The positives are that it's a collection of many wise pare ...more
Nov 05, 2010 Shannon rated it really liked it
Easy read - clear, practical and thoughtful suggestions for dealing with all kinds of parenting issues, helps to clarify your own goals and values as a parent . . . can't recommend this enough! It is invaluable to have a book like this in your home because inevitably situations come up with your children that you don't have any idea how to handle and you can come back to this book if only just to get some meaningful ideas about how you want to react the next time it happens. Helps alleviate the ...more
Nov 02, 2007 Wendy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Parents of 1-10 year olds
Date would be the last date I referred to this book.

A very useful book about the soft side of parenting -- basically helps you figure out what kind of parent you are/want to be and what might be challenges and strategies to getting you there. My aunt (who lives in Santa Cruz, CA) gave it to me and I think the authors live there, so there's a bit of the hippy here, but not too much.

It's really useful as a kid is growing up and you need to discipline and help a child learn. But there's lots about
Karen Mahtin
Feb 11, 2013 Karen Mahtin rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting-kids
It took me months to read this book - it is very long and each section provides a lot of food (and even a list of questions to help the reader reach their own perspective) for thought. I should read it again, but I'm going to try to digest it while I read a book on a different topic.

I need to review the section on gender- there was something at the beginning that struck me as "wrong," (again, I need to re-read) but there were a lot of good points beyond that.

I recommend this book highly because
Mar 22, 2011 Mady rated it really liked it
Thought provoking... really framed so many of the decisions one makes as a parent in ways that made me question the choices I have been making up to this point. Poignant, compassionate, and merciful to it's readers, reading this book left me feeling hopeful about my ability to change and grow as a mother. I know that some people take issue with the approach of the book to crying in infants, but I think it is worth reading for yourself- my impression of the author's approach was very different wh ...more
Andrea Roth
Feb 17, 2008 Andrea Roth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents of babies and toddlers looking to be great.
I LOVE this book. I have only read about 40 pages and I've already started applying it. Its funny too, when I was reading, How to Be Good, I seriously started hating the main character because she was totally making mistakes they point out in this book. Mainly, shew was hating her child because her daughter was like her dad and less like her. It was totally obvious that her hatred was from short comings within herself and not because of the little girl's actions.

Mar 24, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, own
One of the more useful parenting books on my bookshelf (I have a ton of them). I definitely refer back to this one on a regular basis!

The first part of the book examines the reasons why we parent the way we do and how to decide what kind of parent we'd like to be (and how to get there). I found it very interesting. The last half of the book is dedicated to specific issues (from potty learning to biting to introducing a new sibling), and is a great reference.
Aug 26, 2011 Kristen rated it really liked it
I loved this book and referred back it to many times when my daughter was small. I found it very reassuring, like an older friend telling you, "yes, this phase of development sucks but don't worry, it will pass -- and here are a couple ideas that might help." I honestly wish there was an edition for ages beyond five.
Jul 07, 2007 Sharon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: new parents
A great book when you've outgrown Dr. Sears's The Baby Book. Takes a broad view of specific parenting dilemmas, but maybe too broad an analysis of too-specific problems? Might be useful to a parent in crisis, but not in developing an overall approach to parenting. I found Buddhism for Mothers to be more helpful.
Aug 07, 2008 K rated it really liked it
While not all of the solutions are something I would want to try, I do like how it is a gentle discipline book that discusses different behaviors that parents might observe in their children and want to change and often give a variety of different discipline approaches to try. It's much more of a practical book than most of the gentle discipline books I've read.
Rus Funk
Mar 22, 2013 Rus Funk rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I'm finished...for now. This is a great resource for parents who are striving to be better and striving to do so in the context of making the world a better place. East to read and with lots of great reflexive questions for parents to consider.
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Laura Davis is the author of seven non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again. Laura’s groundbreaking books have sold more than 1.8 million copies around the world. Laura leads weekly writing groups and memoir writing retreats in the Santa Cruz, CA region, as well as an annual summer writing retreat in Bolinas, Californ ...more
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