Admitting It’s Time to Hit the (Parenting) Books

Ben in the WoodsEven the best parents know the value of waving the white flag.

That doesn’t mean calling the local adoption agency or asking your brother how he feels about a few more mouths to feed. It’s about realizing your parenting skills need a tune up.

Yes, the Terrible Twos have given me the willies.

Today was hardly a banner day in the Toto household. Before 9 a.m. we dealt with a spilled bowl of cereal and an inappropriate release in the bathtub that brought to mind memories of “Caddyshack.” A noon trip to the annual Arvada Kite Festival went off without a hitch until Elijah let go of his brand new kite and a nasty wind made sure we’d never see it again.

We then Groupon’d our way through dinner at a mediocre restaurant, during which Benjamin behaved so badly we wondered why we would ever dine out as a family again. Our server was probably thinking the same thing.

Good thing “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids” arrived at our door yesterday. A close friend highly recommended it to me, saying its advice helped transform her parenting skills for the better. My friend inadvertently forced me to buy the book when she told me its author, Dr. Laura Markham, frowns upon using bribes with your kids.

What, no bribes? Might as well take Batman’s utility belt away and tell him to go tackle The Joker.

Meanwhile, my wife has been going to bed with a maniacally bookmarked tome called, “The Discipline Book.”

Can these books help us survive a few more years parenting toddlers? Who knows? It feels proactive to have them at our bedside all the same, as if there’s a blueprint in place the next time one of our boys tap dances over our last nerve.

I’m still skeptical about books like these on principle. It seems like every author has a new, sure-fire way of parenting. Are there really new solutions to age-old parenting problems?

Daddylibrium will share any potent bits of wisdom in the coming days from my new reading list. If you’ve found any self-help books which truly make parenting easier please let me know in the comments section below.

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