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Getting out of Your Kids Faces and into Their Hearts PB: A Simple Way to Stop Nagging and Start Nurturing Paperback – 21 Feb 1995


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (21 Feb. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310484510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310484516
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,936,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

"You can enjoy your kids more, relax around them, and love them better" is the fresh message Valerie Bell has for parents feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of raising children. Finally, here is a book that is not about how to manage, train, and discipline your children, but about how to have a relationship with them. Getting Out of Your Kids’ Faces and into Their Hearts will guide you toward becoming a warm, nurturing parent.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Well-loved children are much rarer than one would guess. Most people in our society unfortunately do not really know how to love other people well. Children who are well-loved will mostly grow up to be loving adults.
GILBERT W. KLIMAN AND ALBERT ROSENFELD
RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD
CHAPTER ONE
When Something Is Missing:
A Crisis In Parental Confidence

I didn’t notice her at first. It was that delightful, animated after-class time when people hang around to talk. Asking questions, sharing illustrations, and sometimes challenging what they’ve heard, eager seminar attendees grab the last few moments to relate to me what’s on their minds about the things they’ve been hearing.

But, for some reason, this young mother hadn’t made herself a part of the after-class crowd. During the laughing and storytelling, she had stayed quietly alone in the back of the meeting room. Then as the group dispersed, she walked to the front. I was struck with her apparent sadness. Reaching for my hand and averting her eyes, she sighed, "Mrs. Bell." When did I become Mrs. Bell? I wondered. (Weren’t we nearly the same age, this young mom and I? I mean, I am only two teenage sons away from sandboxes and big wheels and matchbox cars. That’s not enough time to become distanced by formality!)

"Oh, please," I smiled and pleaded, "just call me Valerie!"

She didn’t laugh or even smile. Instead, she pressed a folded note into my palm, curled my fingers over the top, and pressed them down.

"Please read this ... but not until the conference is over."

With that she turned and left the room.

I looked down at the creased paper in my hand. It was moist from sweat. O God, I wondered, what horror story am I going to find at the end of the day when I read this letter? Is she abusing her children? Is her marriage falling apart? What terrible thing has she confided in me?

I tucked her crumpled page into a safe place in my briefcase, and later that night I retrieved it and read what was breaking her heart.
Dear Mrs. Bell,

I just had to write you this note. I am the mother of four children, all under eight years old. My husband is the leader of the weekly children’s program at our church. We work with the youth group. I even home-school our children. Everyone thinks we are such good parents. But I know we’re not. I’ve read everything I can find about raising children, but still—something is missing. I’ve never been able to put it into words before today, but what’s missing in our home is relationship. We function, but it breaks my heart to realize how much my children have missed because I don’t know how to be the warm, loving mother I know they need. Can you please help me?

And she signed her name.

Something’s missing ... because I don’t know how to be the warm, loving mother I know my children need.

So that was it! Why had I submitted to her "read it later, please" agenda? Why hadn’t I opened the conversational door just a crack? Now, how was I going to help her?

I thought of all the parents I’d met since I first started speaking up about children’s problems. In the past few years I have been crisscrossing the country, challenging people to be surrogate parents for the hurting children in their lives, neighborhoods, and church programs—and people are so responsive! Yet, very often, too often, there have been other responses, curious echoes of the sad note that was pressed into my palm that day. These are not admissions of gross abuse but of a struggle within that is serious and fundamental.
• "I can see the importance of Christian adults being committed to ‘be there’ for children who don’t have anyone, but, to tell you the truth, I’m not even sure that I’m a good parent to my own kids!"
• "I’m never sure if I’m doing things right. There are times when I feel so defeated. Is parenting supposed to be this hard?"
• "My kids drive me crazy. What started as a love relationship has turned into mutual resentment. At night I know they sometimes lie in bed angry at me, and I guess, although I’m ashamed to admit it, I feel the same about them."
The comments above remind me of one writer’s description of the relationship between a mother and her demanding offspring.
• "The baby is an interference with her private life. ... He is ruthless, treats her as scum, an unpaid servant, a slave.

His excited love is cupboard love, so that having got what he wants he throws her away like an orange peel.

He is suspicious, refuses her good food, and makes her doubt herself, but he eats well with his aunt.

After an awful morning with him, she goes out, and he smiles at a stranger, who says: ‘Isn’t he sweet?’
If she fails him at the start, she knows he will pay her out forever."
Or this mother’s honest admission:
• "I am angry at my baby," she says, describing the end of a long, hard mothering day. "I yell into his little face for his endless crying and throw him roughly into his crib. Then I quickly sweep him into my arms, protecting him from his insane mother, fearing that I will ... drive my child crazy. For if I interpret the experts correctly, this is not a hard thing to do."
I’ve also heard the following comments, which reflect the self-image problem parents experience after dealing nose to nose with a child day after day.
• "I used to be a nice person. Now A.K. (after kids) I’ve turned into a raving, screaming, out-of-control witch. I don’t even like myself anymore ... no wonder my kids keep their distance."
• "I’m the strong-willed parent of a strong-willed child. Relationally we are at a stand-off, and worst of all, I suspect I’m the one who taught him everything he knows."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
I loved how Valerie so clearly identified the common (and serious) mistakes that many parents make, and then wonder what went wrong in their relationship with their children. If the parent will take the responsibility of resolving their own behavior problems, then child-management often takes care of itself. I especially appreciated the chapter entitled "The Adult Parent" because so many parents are "big bad baby bosses"-- totally self-focused and dominance oriented. What a dangerous thing! I also loved Valerie's sprinkling of Christian values and scriptural references. As a MOPS coordinator, I look forward to using this information to help other moms.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The focus is on healthy parenting, not child-management! 20 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I loved how Valerie so clearly identified the common (and serious) mistakes that many parents make, and then wonder what went wrong in their relationship with their children. If the parent will take the responsibility of resolving their own behavior problems, then child-management often takes care of itself. I especially appreciated the chapter entitled "The Adult Parent" because so many parents are "big bad baby bosses"-- totally self-focused and dominance oriented. What a dangerous thing! I also loved Valerie's sprinkling of Christian values and scriptural references. As a MOPS coordinator, I look forward to using this information to help other moms.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Being a parent is about children not you. 20 July 2000
By David - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. Valerie Bell is right on target when she says that as a parent it is time for you to focus on your child and not your own childhood. So many thirty & forty year olds get caught up in their own issues that they do the same thing to their children, as they are complaining their parents did to them. Bell instructs the reader to move beyond themselves and focus on their children. AMEN! I got this book cause I have been fighting with my adolescent daughter and I realize some of that has been because of my life circumstances. I think that Bell gives practical, EASY tips for changing our parenting approach to build a healthy and loving relationship with our children. It gave me some new ideas for reconnecting with all my children.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
excellent parenting resource 8 April 2002
By Sara L. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I greatly appreciated Terry Bell's clear-cut, organized approach to offering common-sense guidelines for parents. Her practical advice to responsibly develop your own (the parent's) emotional and spiritual maturity as a means of providing what your child "needs" is sound, simple, and authoritative. I particularly enjoyed her honest examples of parental "short-comings" and her encouragement that it is never too late to pursue the kinds of changes that will improve your parent-child relationships. What a great resource for parents!
6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Pass This Up - Read The Bible and Jim Fay's ...Love & Logic 8 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ms. Bell's main thrust is that parents are the "need-meeters" of their children. As such, it is our responsibility as parents to make ourselves emotionally healthy so that we can provide a stable and nurturing environment for our kids. Great idea, but for me, the weakness of the book is a failure to provide practical ideas for how best to execute. I think this attachment-style of parenting too often results in selfish and self-centered children who have little respect for adults or others. On the other hand, Jim Fay's "Parenting With Love and Logic : Teaching Children Responsibility" is easy to read and provides instruction on meaningful ways to interact with children so that they grow up feeling loved and being responsible for their own behavior.
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