Saturday, January 7, 2017

Book Review: Raising an Original

I’ve gotten a whole lot of parenting advice over the past four years. Most of it has been terrible for my own family. All of it has contradicted the advice of someone else.

Spank! Don’t ever spank! Day care is really important for social development. Try not to put them in day care if you can help it. Breastfeeding is so much better for their bond with Mom! Formula feeding is so much better for their bond with Dad! Don’t let them leave the table without eating their vegetables! What’s a few cookies with breakfast—let ‘em live a little!  

The one piece of advice I can honestly say I’ve taken to heart is the idea of raising your children individually instead of creating a one-size-fits-all system since each child is so different.

I think about this all the time since all three of my children are so incredibly different.
My son is so preciously precocious. I am constantly having to leave the room to laugh because he will say things with complete seriousness that are just hilarious coming out of such a young little voice. A recent favorite: “We was lookin’ ev’rywhere for a parkin’ spot, Daddy. EV’RYWHERE! Then we finally found one and we was sittin’ there waitin’ for it but A LADY TOOK IT! She took our spot! Then it taked us forever to find a new one! It was just so HATEFUL!” (I guess it’s not THAT funny all typed out, but gosh, if you could just have seen his face and heard his voice when he said hateful!!) He is a born leader and I frequently have to say, “I know you are a leader and I am so proud of that! But right now I need you to stop interrupting me and let Mom be the leader, okay?” He loves building LEGOs, memorizing Awana verses, and practicing letters even when it’s not homeschool time.
My middle-born is sooooo sensitive. She does this thing that is so heartbreaking and almost-funny at the same time… when we say no to something not-so-serious, like maybe no coloring right now, that happens to hit her just the wrong way, she’ll crouch down in a funny kind of squat, cradle her head in her hands, and shout “NOOOOOO!” before starting to cry. She is always quick to tell me, “Mama MEAN” if I’m too grouchy handling a Big Brother offense, always rushes over to give hugs and cuddles to anyone with an owie, and frequently pretends to have hurt herself when she’s in need of some love and attention. (We’re working on that). She loves to shout “BEAR!” and then jump onto all fours and crawl around growling at us, sings the Bob the Builder theme song all the time, and is almost always playing with a baby doll in some way or another.
Then there’s the baby. I know I’m not the first mom to think this but sheesh, my baby is a genius baby! She is seven months old and she has been crawling and sitting up for a while, but she also pulls herself up into a standing position and shuffles 1-3 steps sideways, puts herself to sleep (though not happily), and shouts what I swear sounds exactly like “HIIIIIIIIII!” while waving. She is ever-determined to keep up with her big siblings, hates every single solid food she has ever tried, and has two modes: Fiercely Independent and MOMMMMM! I NEED YOU!!!!

My first-born is an Alpha Male, I think. I like that! I married that! I think it’s a great quality. Except when I am trying to be the boss. This is an issue that frequently needs to be addressed, but in a way that still encourages that great quality.
My middle-born is so sensitive that she frequently, this sounds mean, throws fits. I need to address this without trying to stifle her compassion and empathy traits.
Obviously those are two very different issues that require two very different lessons and, when discord arises as a result, two different discipline approaches.

I’ve always wondered about this so I was very excited to check Raising an Original. It SO did not disappoint. I cannot rave enough about Julie Lyles Carr’s awesome prose style. So many alliterations, my favorite! She took a textbooky psychology subject and turned it into a truly fascinating read, complete with awesome Bible stories described in the kind of exciting, descriptive language I always so wish the Bible was written in.

Once I got to the personality profile section at the end, gosh. I was filling it out for all of us, but then my whole family and Ryan’s whole family. It was so fun to start seeing the ways different strengths and weaknesses can shine more in our kids, ourselves, and in other people we love.

If you’re at all interested in understanding and working with your child’s unique, God-given personality traits, this is possibly the very best book on the subject. I LOVED it!

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