on 11 September 2012
I recently bought this book following the birth of my second son as I was finding myself worrying about my toddler's jealous behaviour. Having seen relative struggle with the same issues, I wanted to think practically about how to resolve these issues without losing my cool and inadvertently making things worse!
I used to work as a behavioural therapist for children with autism many moons ago, and so many of the behavioural strategies in the book were very familiar to me. For me, this book enabled me to recognise I was doing a very good job with misbehaviour and that my approach to dealing with my son's aggression was good and more importantly, was working (e.g. it was reducing his aggression) even though I felt bad about it (time out etc). It also helped me tune in to the fact that I was overinterpreting tears at bedtime because of my own worry that my son would feel left out now that I had to attend to his baby brother, and that I had inadvertently fallen into a pattern of letting him get away with blue murder at bedtime because of my own feelings! Within weeks, I could see clearly that my son had worked this out and was deliberately pulling on my heartstrings e.g. "I lost you mummy, my brother has you now, please stay with me, I am scared, I LOVE YOU MUMMY, DON'T GO!". Fine for one more story. Not so fine when this was going on for two hours every night time and my baby needed me in the other room! Also not so fine that we were teaching him that he couldn't manage to go to sleep without us at nearly three years of age! We refocused to praising our son for being brave enough to go to sleep on his own after night time stories, kisses and cuddles, set the limits and stuck to them. It was amazing to watch how proud he was of himself for achieving this! Every morning we would ask him if he had been able to fall asleep without help and he would say "I did it, Mummy! I is very brave and a big boy!" while beaming. We also stopped him seeking attention by asking for help with every little thing in a baby voice by breaking things down, supporting him to do each step independently and praising him for his efforts. Basically, we stopped pathologising his behaviour and imagining that every little developmentally normal act of jealousy was one step towards him climbing a bell tower and shooting up his school!
The most important and interesting aspect of this book is that it encourages you to consider your values and realise that the only thing that is important in life is ACTING on them. You will feel uncomfortable, you will feel scared, you will screw up and do things you wish you hadn't as a parent. You will think you are useless, a failure, not getting things right. These things are inevitable.. The fact you feel bad or think uncomfortable thoughts about doing "the hard stuff" of parenting does not mean you are getting it wrong, it often means you are getting it right. When you stumble and do things that you wish you hadn't (e.g. lose your temper, shout, deal with things in ways that you really don't approve of), you just need to check in with your values, dust yourself off and get back up on that horse as soon as you find yourself falling off, committing to taking action that takes you towards the future you want, one step at a time.
Easy really! Highly recommended! My husband and I both did the exercises in the book and it really helped us work together as a team on all this behaviour.
on 24 June 2010
In a society where parent-blaming by professionals is rife, it may be a step too far for parents to consider their parenting compassionately. Many child behaviour problems are considered to be the result of faulty parenting, and the explosive rise in parenting programmes being offered throughout the UK confirms that this is so. However, as parents we do the best we can, and if our parenting approach creates difficulties for our children and difficulties for ourselves we can internalise the parent-blame culture as guilt. This guilt can freeze our approach and can prevent any possibility of change.
Based on a development of the NHS commended cognitive-behaviour therapy approach, this book helps parents of younger children to reclaim their parenting from the experts. This is achieved by inviting parents to focus upon their own needs, to clarify their values and goals in parenting, by appreciating and rebuilding parent-child relating, and to use effective cognitive-behavioural techniques carefully.
This acceptance and commitment approach may seem counter-intuitive to our Western minds, but the book draws upon ancient wisdom from the East to underpin a scientific approach to parenting. Here are some startling examples drawn from the text: "Most approaches to child behavior have little appreciation for what's going on in your head as you raise your young child", "You may not realize it, but you're always evaluating yourself, your parenting and your child", "Your mind is the critic you hear every day, sometimes every moment."
This USA-based book offers hope for ourselves as well as for our children: "One of the first and most important things that ACT-based parenting will teach you is how to accept your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with compassion."
on 3 November 2011
This book is useful to get into the ACT therapist's perspective . It allows therapists that want to use ACT in their clinical practice to cope with potential troubles they might get into when dealing with their patients. Somehow you get into patients' shoes and ACT's principles are, this time, applied to you as being part of a couple relationship. I particularly recommend this book to those clinicians who already have theoretical knowledge and practical experience with ACT model.