We have been doing a parenting small-group at church on Friday nights and I have really been enjoying it. I like the chance to get out to a child-friendly venue and the content of our study has been really good so far. We are studying "Have a New Kid by Friday" by Dr. Kevin Leman, a speaker who both dh and I really, really, really like.
His methods are straightforward, humane but also firm, establishing parental authority in a way that recognizes the needs of kids and also of their parents. I had read this book before and found it very helpful, especially the concept that you say it once and walk away, and that consequences don't always have to be immediate (which connects to his idea that you need to "let reality be the teacher"). We had really gotten into a situation in which we found ourselves arguing with Pk which was unhelpful to any of us - you can't reason with someone who is deliberately misunderstanding and, as Dr. Leman says, "the only person who has anything to lose in an argument with a child is the parent." Things have really calmed down around here with his reminders of how to handle things without losing our cool and I don't go to bed feeling guilty because I have lost my temper and yelled or said things that I didn't mean. (If you read this book, you must read Dr. Leman's section on how to deal with it if you find pornography in a child's room - I almost died laughing).
Another book that I have been reading and ADORING is "Grace-Based Parenting" by Dr. Tim Kimmel. I can't tell you how much this book has meant to me. Two weeks ago, we had really gotten into a situation with Pk when I was just feeling generally very hopeless about how we were doing in our relationship and this book has really, really gotten me back on track in terms of what I want to accomplish as a parent. Dr. Kimmel's thesis is that there are three things that any child needs - security (a secure love), purpose and strength. I will be honest, I have only read the introduction and the chapter on security but it made such an impact on me that I wanted to really let it sink in before I moved on. He outlines the ways that parents create a love that is secure in their children and when I read the section entitled "Children feel secure when they know that they are accepted as they are" I did a little squirming. I would say that I try to do that but reading this, I had to accept that Pk may not always be getting that message. I plan to take a long time with this book and probably go back to it again in a few years - the message resonated so clearly with me. I can't suggest this book highly enough!
It's so nice to find Christian parenting books that fit with what I believe. Sadly, too many fit in the "spare the rod and spoil the child" mold (for an approach to this text that fits so well with my beliefs, see Dr. William Sears' "Christian Parenting and Childcare"). There are other books I am hoping to read soon - the top on my parenting list is "Sacred Parenting" by Gary Thomas.
What's on your parenting bookshelf these days?