Book Review: Parenting by The Book

Being a parent is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Really, I just never thought about it before I was a parent, except when some kid was melting down in the grocery store and I would think to myself, that will never be my kid. Ha! So when Howard Books asked if I'd like to read a new parenting book that came out this fall, I was eager to see what John Rosemond had to say in Parenting by The Book.

Rosemond was a psychologist long before he became a Christian, so it was really interesting reading his critique of American postmodern parenting psychology. I have yet to read a parenting book that I 100% agree with, and this was no exception. There were portions of the book that rubbed me the wrong way, or could have been worded differently, but in-spite of that, I have already recommended this book to some of my close friends. There were some major ideas in the book that I loved and will hold on to, primarily: the difference between self-esteem and self-respect.

Rosemond talks at length about how Americans' goal for every child to have high self-esteem is one of the biggest parenting mis-steps. We are raising a generation of selfish, self-centered, and overly confident children. He talks about how the opposite of self-esteem is not depression, but humility. I liked this quote: 
"A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves." 
- Henry Ward Beecher
 He contrasts self-esteem and self-respect this way:
"...the fundamental difference between  self-respect and self-esteem is the difference between wanting to do for others (looking for opportunities to be of service), and wanting/expecting others to do for you (wanting to be served)."
This has long been a goal of ours in parenting; to teach our kids to respect others, and not to be selfish. By esteeming others above yourself, you can't help but feel self-respect.  

I was also struck by Rosemond's thoughts on raising a good follower, rather than a good leader. Parents talk about teaching their kids not to bow to negative peer pressure, but I think we could do so much better than just telling them who not to follow. The reality is that there has to be way more followers than leaders, and the likelyhood that your child will be the one leader, may be pretty slim. But every person, child or adult, will have to chose who to follow, who to align themselves with, and who to vote for over and over again in life, and we can prepare our children by teaching them how to recognize good character in others. 

There was definitely a lot of good food for thought in this book, and I love that there are discussion questions at the end of each chapter. Parenting by The Book would be a great book club or small group book to discuss. 

Thanks for reading!
- Haley 

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books for my honest review, and the opinions expressed here are my own. 


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