Have you have just come from refereeing one more fight between the children? Are you lying down on your bed from exhaustion after dashing from school, to the shops, to the laundry, to the gym, and picked up the dry-cleaning on the way back? Oh, and did you pick up the wet towels in the bathroom on the way back? What about the gym shoes left on the stairs? If this is what your routine is like, then Elizabeth Pantley has written Hidden Messages just for you. She divides the book into different topics, or 'flash points', those factors which arise in many households such as The New Baby, Superwoman, Manners, and more. How do we pass on messages about responsibility, independence, thoughtfulness and kindness without nagging? She describes scenes which may be horribly familiar to you, then decodes the hidden message we have given our children, and suggests alternatives. In this way she explains what our words and actions are really telling our children. Some of these examples may make you blush, and others make you gasp in horror as you recall using those very words this morning! Once you see what she is saying, the rest falls into place. She doesn't preach, but she gently explains how we hand over the wrong messages to the kids when we say certain things, and how much easier it is for the children, and the parents, if we can truly say what we mean. This book will make you stop and reconsider the effect your words have on your children. Buy it, you won't regret it. And, in the long term, neither will your children!
This might be the hundredth book on parenting I have read, and I was not disappointed.
The book is very concise, which is great because if like me you are working as well as being a parent...
Each story covers a theme such as battling siblings, dealing appropriately with neighbours who have different ways of raising their children, developing independence and life-skills in your children. It is easy to follow because the stories which are oh so familiar are very concise, without taking away anything from the quality of the lesson being passed on. Each story is followed by a paragraph stating the subtle message being given and then the reader is advised what to do about it. The stories cover all ages, from babies to teenagers. As well as everything else, I was impressed by the sheer range of issues and age groups covered.
As it does not take weeks to read (like some parenting books I have come across) you actually remember the lessons taught while you read the book and for some time after finishing it.
My child is too young and so far an only child, so many of the stories don't apply. But that may be an advantage-I get time to re-read it and make sure our family doesn't become one of those featured in the book!
While the book is indeed promoting loving and unconditional parenting, and must be a great inspiration and eye opener for a lot of parents, I personally found the "hidden messages" to be quite obvious. Yet again, I've read lots and know children developmental psycology quite well, so it didn't impressed me, but I do recommend it, especially if you haven't had tons of parenting books read.