Midwife Monday: A Book Recommendation – Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Try Something New.

Hello all! I hope your weekend was fabulous. I had high hopes we would see some more snow melt but alas, the temperatures remained below freezing and it even snowed. Come on Alaska! What’s even funnier is I can see the tulips budding out of the ground through the snow. I guess they don’t mind the cold or care when the snow melts. I can’t wait to see them bloom this year!

If you are looking for an easy way to brighten your garden look into planting some bulbs in the fall. My favorites are tulips, gladiolas, and daffodils. They are easy to plant and their beautiful blooms year after year are simply breathtaking.

Onto the post!

Today I have a book recommendation for parents and for midwives. For parents, the title says it all. How often do you find yourself saying the same things over and over to your kids and nothing changes? And for midwives, how often do you have a seasoned mama come in for a visit and she has a bunch of littles and is looking to you for a little hope and help? Enter Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Try Something New by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake. The book was originally published in 2017 and came on my radar via my sister. We both have three little kids and tend to look to the other for parenting tips and tricks as we navigate the world with our littles. Since we’re sisters, we also find that we do a lot of reflecting on our own childhood – something I continue to find fascinating from the perspective of a mama.

In short, I recommend this book to every single parent. I think midwives are perfectly posed to offer this recommendation to families they care for as well – or, they might even find the use of “scripts” applicable to their own lives.

Lets’ dive in.

The book is divided into 31 chapters and they are aimed at specific behaviors of your child. For example: “When Your Child Disobeys” or “When Siblings Fight.”

I found that some chapters weren’t pertinent to my own kid’s phases or ages, but it is easy to see that those chapters will be pertinent at some point in the future.

Scripture and prayer are also sewn throughout the book to support each script the authors propose. The scripture offers a platform to teach your kids about their actions or the actions they should have while providing an opportunity for the kids to associate scripture and behavior at a really young age.

I dog-eared multiple pages in the book and wrote all over the margins. About 2 chapters in, I just started writing things on a sticky note.

Here are the notes I took…

  • Use car prayers to pray about behaviors and traits.
    • For example, if you know listening at school pick up or drop off is the problem, you can pray for aloud for ears that are eager to listen and follow instruction! The idea isn’t that a simple prayer resolves poor listening from a three year old (I WISH!). It’s that you are demonstrating what prayer looks like to God and how to ask for help for a specific behavior or trait. More is caught than taught right?
  • Build each other up – don’t give orders! Your goals in parenting should be three-fold:
    • Show that God loves us
    • Obey His Word
    • Be a light to others by honoring God
  • Consistency is a habit.
    • Yes it is! I like to think this is true for parents and for children. But oh my goodness, consistency is hard. Remember that God is consistent and consistency encourages trustworthiness. We’re currently working on this concept with my 4 year old.
  • Let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No.”
    • My spouse actually caught onto my parenting behaviors with this one far sooner than I did. I was wondering why my daughter asks me the same questions over and over. He said “You say ‘I don’t know’ and ‘Maybe’ a lot.” I sure did! After reading this, I was called to hold to my Yes or my No. And now my kids know, no means no. It’s been an amazing change of heart for the whole family to come to a consensus.
  • Pray for your family’s habits.
  • There are reasons we don’t let our kids fail: love, embarrassment, fear or habit.
    • This was such an eye opener. I was easily able to see why I don’t let my kids fail (habit). Fear and embarrassment are almost never my reasons but I see that in a lot parenting today! Just understanding the reasons behind not letting kids fail was powerful for my own mama assessment.
  • Talk about the heart, not the action.
    • Again, wow. The authors talk about this tip quite a bit. I particularly like this quote on page 50: “Mother the moment, parent the problem.” Yep. Your two old just bit your four year old. Again. Mothering is the separation of the two littles. Parenting is talking about the heart of why there was biting in the first place and why siblings don’t do that to one another (or anybody for that matter).
  • Imagine a mirror with your face on it when you are talking to your kids.
    • Did you feel that sense of self-awareness surge when you read that? I did too. And I’ve read that and tried to practice it for the past 2 months. It’s a quick way to assess how you are parenting.
  • Fight for your kids, but not with them.
    • I told ya! Gold nugget after gold nugget. This is one of the best scripts in the book. And it’s one of the scripts I think kids need to hear these days: “I’ll fight for you, but not with you.”
  • Offer an option for a “right to appeal.”
    • This is a great script for older kids. In the event there is a discipline or action a child disagrees with, they have the “right to appeal” the decision. I think it’s a really healthy option for the family. The child gets an opportunity to voice their question or alternate option to the decision and the parent gets an opportunity to explain why the decision or action was made. (Enter more opportunities to point to scripture). We won’t use this for a few years, but it’s in the docket come age 7-8ish.
  • Ask “What happens when you disobey?”
    • The script says it all. It’s a simple question with a powerful punch.
  • Ask “What can you do to outdo?”
    • This is another one for older kids. But the idea is simple. How can you help your siblings and family the most? Who can outdo the other? It’s supporting the idea of selflessness and mastering the act of selflessness is a big step in maturity for any child.
  • The idea of tug-o-war and letting go.
    • The end of the book offers some general ideas for parents and marriages. One of the ideas is tug-o-war. Essentially, what are you fighting about that you can just drop your argument on the ground and walk away from it. Example, your spouse does something one way with the kids and you do it another way. Is the outcome the same? Are the extra words and tugging really worth it? Probably not. I think about this suggestion a lot in day to day parenting and discussions with the hubs.
  • You must work at sisterhood and brotherhood. You are born into siblinghood.
    • Heavy, but self explanatory.
  • Say “I don’t need one more thing.”
    • This script is for all the parents who have the marathon long bedtime routine. Practice the script with their child when they ask for another book, another glass of water, another toy – they don’t need one more thing. Then you and the babe are on the same page and we can all go to bed. Finally.
  • Pray about opportunities to correct your child lovingly. Create your own scripts as needed. Be an encouragement in the struggle.
  • Remember that if you explode, it only causes more harm to those around you.
  • Ask “How can you say that differently?”
    • Another goodie. We use this a lot for the “I want” and “I can’t” phrases. It’s amazing how fast kiddos catch on!

These are just a sliver of the tips offered in the book. If you’re looking to polish your parenting or offer a mama in need of some hope some tools to use in the trenches – this is the book!

The book is available on Amazon or at local bookstores. You can find a link to the book on the BOOKS & MORE page. Purchase through the BOOKS & MORE page link and help support A Midwife Nation!

Want another book recommendation? Check out my recommendation for The Fourth Trimester.

I also think either of these books would be a great addition to a postpartum basket (see the story on instagram!).

Happy Monday! Do something great for you today.

Hugs,

Jamie


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