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On Becoming Childwise is part of Gary Ezzo’s parenting series. This is the first book in the series that moves beyond the topics of basic needs and daily rhythms discussed in Babywise. Instead, Childwise focuses on developing moral kids who are a joy to be around.
Childwise advises parents in three main areas: creating the right environment, character development, and discipline.
When it comes to creating the right environment for kids, Ezzo stresses the importance of a solid marriage. He suggests setting some time aside daily to connect with your spouse while your kids play quietly. Kids also need parental leadership early on–the strength of your relationship will be the basis on which you parent older children, and that strength rests on strong leadership in the early years. The concept is parent now, be friends later.
Character is my favorite topic in this book. Ezzo says that if we instill morality into a child, the rest will fall into place. Moral development is the number one priority, and your own example is the most valuable teaching tool. As parents, we need to demonstrate how we expect our kids to act. This means acting with respect to other people and their property.
Gary Ezzo describes discipline as heart food for your child. He asserts that discipline must first and foremost address the child’s heart. The discipline actually means “to teach,” so he bases its effectiveness on whether the child learned from the process. He believes that we should begin with preventative measures such as ensuring healthy sleep and healthy eating, and he gently points out that constantly reminding a child to do what is expected only means you have no expectation. He encourages parents to use his techniques rather than trying to parent through our will, which will only teach our children that the strongest person gets his way.
My Favorite Childwise Tips and Tricks
Interrupting: If you are speaking with another adult, teach your child to place a hand on you and wait. Place your hand on his and gently squeeze to acknowledge him. Find a good time to say excuse me to the person you are speaking with and turn your attention towards your child
Require a “Yes Mommy,” for directions. Hearing themselves agree makes compliance automatic for kids.
Give your kid something concrete to do while waiting. For example, while loading baby into the car seat, tell toddler and preschooler, “Hands on the car.”
Similarly, when you want your child to sit still, teach them to fold their hands. It has a calming effect and allows them to focus.
Teach apologies for offenses against people or property. “I’m sorry” is for an accident or unintentional childishness. Asking for forgiveness is for when we willfully commit a hurtful act.
I personally use many of the philosophies and practical advice found in Childwise. However, it does not stand alone. I find it lacking in responsive parenting techniques and it offers less choice and freedom for children that I personally believe appropriate. That said, Childwise is an excellent book to help you formulate how you want to morally raise your children and helps you achieve such a daunting task.
Join us for next month’s book club selection, The Explosive Child that we’ll review on August 27.
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