Clarke-Fields, Hunter. Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids. New Harbinger, 2019.
Parenting presents a plethora of problems, stressors, and family of origin reminders that pop up without warning and have unknown duration. Parenting isn’t an endeavor for the faint of heart or for those who struggle when they may not have control over their own time or tasks. It is tough for any parent, but Clarke-Fields highlights information for parents grappling with all of this who would like to raise children who are confident and mindful with skills to handle frustrating situations and their own emotions. Clarke-Fields became interested in this topic while navigating parenthood and struggling with her own emotions while raising her children. Her daughter crying, messes, time sucked away – all drove her to her emotional knees. She practiced yelling way more than she would like to admit. The first part of the book is based on what’s inside of parents dealing with their own reactivity and stress. Mindfulness is a cornerstone of the book with Tara Brach’s R.A.I.N. mindfulness technique featured. Tuning into emotions, deep breaths, admitting where you are in any given moment emotionally. Mindfulness feeds into parent-readers becoming aware of triggers, being self-compassionate through the research of Kristin Neff and meditation from John Kabat-Zinn, and learning how to dampen internal reactivity by accepting it but not being overtaken by it. The second part of the book focuses on taking newfound inoculation against reactivity and turning outward to model healthy emotional skills to children. Parents are guided in reflexive listening, using I-statements and connecting in ways that get through to children like doses of silly humor advised by child psychologist Lawrence Cohen, solving problems mindfully through discipline and influence with creating win-win situations and helping siblings learn to effectively navigate conflict. This title is highly recommended for couples who are parents wrestling with their own emotional reactivity in raising their children and want to have more control as well as model and pass on healthy relationship skills to their children.
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