As the father of five kids, I take parenting very seriously. I used to read a lot of parenting books when my children were young, but I haven’t read any in recent years until stumbling upon Raising Good Humans by Hunter Clarke-Fields and Carla Naumburg
I didn’t like the workbook-like format and belabored thoughts on mindfulness, but I did enjoy several of the insights, especially as I’m increasingly raising teenagers over toddlers these days.
These are some of the lessons that stood out:
- You literally cannot access the rational part of your brain when your stress response is triggered.
- If you make your body seem less threatening, and speak in a calmer voice instead of yelling, you’ll have a less-stressed child—and you’ll get more cooperation.
- If we’re not fully present with our kids, we miss the chance to attune with their cues about what is happening for them under the surface. We might miss the signal that our children need a hug or help instead of more direction in this moment.
- Parental presence is key to optimizing the chance of your child having a life of well-being and resilience. “When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?”
- Instead of learning from the moment, their stress response bypasses the upper parts of the brain and causes children to fight back, talk back, withdraw, or run away. They are not “misbehaving” in these moments, they are experiencing a stress response.
- Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.
- “Instead of teaching children how to consider their own needs in relation to the needs of those around them… we force children to do what we want because it seems more efficient, or because we lack the energy or skill to do it differently.”—Oren Jay Sofer
- “The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”—Denis Waitley
- Simplify Schedules: Children (heck, all of us) need free time to balance out their activities, get to know themselves, and feel peaceful.