Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wishing I were British

Lately, I've been convinced that there is no good advice in books or articles for dealing with toddlers of the 2-year-old variety. Most of the advice is unrealistic and clearly meant for older toddlers. It seems almost that no one has really cracked the code to the 18 month to 3 year old set. I've gotten the impression that we're just under siege for 18 months. My favorite nugget: Give your toddler some scissors and glue and magazines to create a collage. Clearly this was written by someone with no toddler or a 2-year-old under heavy sedation and/or taped to a chair. (That said, I just gave my little guy some Motrin for nap assistance and teething.) I like James Dobson's Dare to Discipline, but some of it is heavy handed for my taste and, again, for older toddlers.

I get most of my books from thrift shops. The most frequently discarded, I mean, donated book that I see is Ferber's "Solve You Child's Sleep Problems." Sleep training apparently has not solved many a parent's problem with their children's sleep. And therein lies the crux of a book I found recently. The "problem" is usually the parents and their expectations.

The book is "Toddler Taming" and it was written by British pediatrician Dr. Christopher Green. The book doesn't tell me anything new. It's just a reminder of the those things that are so easy to forget in the thick of toddlerhood: toddler proofing, sensible expectations, consistency, avoiding no-win situations and aiming for calm and peace, to name a few. What's nice about the book is that the author is honest about parent-child relations. There's no sugar coating; he states that he's spent a lot of his professional life pulling parents and children away from each other's throats. Sounds like what my husband does around here. Considering the hyper-serious state of parenting in this country, it's pretty obvious why I haven't come across a book so helpful until now. The British seem to take themselves so much less serious than we do. (Monty Python ... need I say more?) It seems that I don't need loads of new-fangled advice; I just need to be reminded of what I already know. Of course, it helps, too, that this book was first written in 1985.

The Daily Groove

Another good resource, when I choose to use it, is The Daily Groove. The author is an unschooling father whose daily emails really make you rethink conventional parenting wisdom. Some days, however, I stubbornly cling to whatever battle I've picked with Danny and close the door on any advice from anywhere. Usually a very bad move, but sometimes it's the only way I learn. This one was particularly helpful this week.

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