Partnership Parenting

partnership-parenting.jpgToday, Sarah recommends Partnership Parenting, a book written to help parents reach mature discussion and calm compromise amidst conflicting parenting styles. Read on for Sarah’s review, as well as to learn how to be one of two winners to receive a copy of Partnership Parenting (entry closes October 17):
From Sarah:

“With one more year to go until my younger son heads off to kindergarten, I’ve started to turn over a new leaf in my parenting arsenal. I devoted a massive portion of my vacation reading -- usually devoted to pulp fiction and chick lit -- to some seriously insightful advice books, in hopes that I could polish out the rough spots in my kid/parent interactions and re-write some of the less effective scripts I rely on when put on the spot. (You know, pot bubbling on the stove, dog whining to go out, phone ringing, and a temper tantrum breaks out in the living room about who touched the puzzle last and thus has to put it away.) And I think the change was worth it; I digested some amazingly helpful books this summer.

One of the top three was Partnership Parenting, by husband and wife psychologists Kyle and Marsha Kline Pruett. Conceived to fill in the gaps between parenting books directed at moms and other books directed at dads, this easy read focuses on the differences between viewpoints that often create conflict between parents when child-rearing situations get stressful. Sort of like Mars and Venus Raise A Kid. The Pruetts point out that many parents receive this advice after getting separated or divorced, when they have to juggle father-time and mother-time and the differences between the two, but this is the first program that helps parents while they’re still together.

Beginning with conversations they recommend couples undertake before the baby is born, the Pruetts guide the reader down a path to better he-said/she-said understanding of the motivations behind our parenting decisions, such as how moms are more likely to protect their children from encountering stressful and possibly disappointing situations, and how dads are more likely to let kids encounter disappointments as a learning tool for the way the world really works. Or how moms are more likely to reason with their children when disciplining or scolding misbehavior, while dads are more likely to summarily dismiss the offender to a timeout without too many words. More importantly (especially when a couple gets to bickering over whose parenting style is “right”), the book discusses the best, most effective and most emotionally healthy approaches to help diffuse the bickering before it starts. And in my household, I know it’s often easy to get to arguing over whose point is the right one and lose sight altogether of why we’re trying to find consensus in the first place.

The books also includes a parenting checklist, to compare your child-raising ideas against your spouse’s and find commonalities and differences (and subsequently to discuss in a civil manner how to reach a compromise), as well as a quiz to see how your idea of developmentally appropriate actions on the part of your child match up with experts’ opinions. It’s amazing how many disciplinary battles, especially with younger kids, simply are the result of parental misunderstanding of what the child is capable of at their age.

In my humble opinion, one of the hallmarks of a good self-help book (or maybe just of someone who’s help-able) is that the advice therein seems like very sensible stuff you would know yourself if you were thinking clearly at the time you needed it most. Partnership Parenting gives parents the tools they need to practice the mature discussion and calm compromise that is the pinnacle of two-parent decision-making, before the three-year-old paints the dog blue while the toddler takes every box of cereal out of the cupboard and crushes it into little piles on the floor. I only wish I’d had this book seven years earlier.”

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Congrats to winners Annie & Allison!
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Now, want to be one of two winners to receive a copy ofPartnership Parenting? Here’s how:

  • Visit the Da Capo Press website, then email (with ‘Partnership Parenting’ in the subject), and name another Da Capo book you’d be interested in reading (other than Partnership Parenting!).

  • One entry permitted per person; US residents welcome to enter.

  • Entry period closes at midnight EST, Saturday, October 17, 2009.