Monday, January 12, 2015

Audiobook Review - Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham

I have two kids - a 6-year old boy and an almost 4-year old girl. My son has always been the more challenging child to parent, and reflecting on my relationship with him led me to listen to this audiobook.

I have read a lot of parenting books, as well as a fair number of books about mental and emotional health. This book resonated with me on several levels:

  1. "Peaceful Parent" is not how I would describe myself. When my daughter was an infant, I was diagnosed with Post-partum Depression, and since then, I feel that I have been more reactionary than I used to be.
  2. "Happy Kid" is not necessarily how I would describe my son. It's not that he's unhappy, it is more that "happiness" is not one of his predominant traits. He is emotional and keenly aware of perceived injustice. He is easily upset and not easily cheered up.
  3. I have been thinking for some time that some of the interactions between me and my son while I was struggling with PPD have shaped his emotional landscape -- and not in a positive way. So I am looking for ways to improve our relationship and his resilience.
This book was interesting and inspirational. At times, this book made me feel supremely guilty because I have done many of the things that Dr. Markham explicitly says not to do. But the overall message is to love and respect your kids. I can't really argue with that.

I feel that this book would be better suited to reading than listening. The audiobook was well done, but some portions felt disjointed. At times I found it difficult to understand that a portion was an anecdote from a parent rather than a portion of the narrative.

That said, I felt that this book contains some great advice on how to stop yelling at your kids, how to show your kids greater respect, and how to help your children learn to process their emotions. I felt that it was insightful and plan to get a paper copy so that I can re-read it more closely. I highly recommend it for all parents.

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