Why I didn’t Read Parenting Books (and what happened when I did).

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I am a Mom of three and I can honestly say I haven’t read any parenting books. I’m six years deep and I’ve survived so far without a single case of spontaneous human combustion, despite the lack of parenting books.

parenting books

Reasons I don’t do parenting books:

  • Who has time to read when TV offers shows like The Walking Dead?
  • I don’t like being told what to do.
  • I get enough unwanted advice from strangers and family, why would I want more?
  • If I don’t make plans, I can’t gauge failure.
  • Google and I are friends.

Having lived by this mantra for over six years, I have this month finally cheated on Google, sorry buddy. I was offered the opportunity to review a new parenting book and I figured hey, how bad can it be? Think how awesome it will be to be able to binge The Walking Dead on catch up… yes. Hand it over, pour the tea and let’s get started.

The book that took my parenting book virginity:

Tears Heal: How to Listen to Our Children by Kate Orson

Why I’m ready to pop my parenting book cherry:

A little background here… there was a genuine reason I thought this book may float my parenting boat. If you’ve read previous posts such as ‘Poopcrastination‘ and ‘Whiplash‘ you may have gathered that not only is my six-year-old daughter a bit of a drama queen, she can at times lack self-confidence be very emotional. The trouble is that I am none of the above. I am more of the Robot Mom, full of love but in an awkward non-hugging kind of a way. So there’s a clash of personalities… and I’m just about ready to put my hands up and saying “help!”.

What happened when I did the deed:

I’m all ready to skip to Chapter 1 but I figure I should probably do this properly and start with the introduction. I draw the line at the acknowledgments though… not happening. Does anyone read those?

I settle into the introduction feeling all ready to get fixing up my parenting…

‘We tend to judge the success of our parenting by how much our children cry.’ (Kate Orson)

Err… my kid cries all the time, total parenting fail. But as the title suggests, Kate’s all up for crying and being all emotional, so surely that means I’m totally bossing it? I figure I had better read further than the introduction to find out whether I’m actually failing or bossing it.

In the chapters that follow, Kate talks a lot about understanding our own childhood and putting together a ‘coherent story’. She suggests setting up a ‘listening partnership’ with a friend you can talk to in confidence. The Book then guides you through a number of exercises to bring you in better touch with your emotions (and therefore your child’s):

‘When listening, try not to interrupt, give advice or tell your own stories while the other person is talking.’ (Kate Orson)

Well my listening partnership is stuffed right there. I am one of those awful people that interrupts and talks about themselves when someone’s mid-story (sorry friends). I continue…

‘Scientific research has shown that the brain is not really a solitary organ, but works in a system with the brains of other people around us, sending out and picking up subtle, non verbal cues.’ (Kate Orson)

Yes… now we’re talking. I love a good telepathic mind control sci-fi movie. The freaky subliminal stuff is right up my alley. What Kate goes on to say is that just being present and having kind, supportive thoughts while your child goes into melt-down is more productive than intervening. Let them melt down, just be present.

‘It’s a powerful boost to our child’s self-esteem to sense that we still think they are a good person, even when they’re having an emotional upset.’ (Kate Orson).

So there it was. I had learned something useful, something I can actually use, from a parenting book. It made total sense. How many times had I shouted over my daughter’s hysteria to try and calm her down, only to find it made things worse? How many times had I walked away from a tantrum because it was just too overwhelming for both of us? I realized in reading Tears Heal that just my presence and mind vibes could make my daughter feel more secure, loved and supported than any interventions. Thanks Kate, your book help is much appreciated.

six year old laughing

Kate comes up with lots of other useful nuggets such as why using food to distract from an emotional situation is not wise…whoops. There’s even strategies to help to get your kids to sleep that don’t involve the age-old tradition of dunking the pacifier in Granny’s sherry.

So if you’re into parenting books (or not), and want to improve a case of the Robot Mom, get yourself a copy of Tears Heal, even if it’s just for the reflection exercises such as:

‘Rent a few tearjerkers, and put on some sad music. Let the tears flow without holding back.’ (Kate Orson)

Oh Gawd… I’m really no good at all this emotional stuff. Does it count if I’m watching The Walking Dead?


You can get Kate Orson’s book here on Amazon.co.uk… Tears Heal: How to Listen to Our Children

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About the author

Katherine is an electrochemist, hiking enthusiast, and family lifestyle blogger. As a mom of three, including twins, she enjoys DIY, travel, and eating good food. British born, Katherine moved to the US in 2014, and now called Las Vegas home.

32 thoughts on “Why I didn’t Read Parenting Books (and what happened when I did).”

  1. Hahaha… I had to read your comment twice, because the first time I read ‘misbehaviour in the cat’. I was thinking you might have to wait for the sequel for pets ?? Can’t help you on the car front (or cat front for that matter), that sounds tough! Thanks for reading ?

  2. I’ve just recently come across this hand in hand parenting malarkey and I’ve got to be honest I’m sold on it too. The more I read about it (usually via google) the more it makes sense. And it actually works. I’ve tried it. It harder to do when you’re tired and lacking patience but it really does work. I hope the technique works for you.

  3. Sounds like an interesting read. I loved your rationale for not reading parenting books. I feel the same about any self-help book but have to admit, the cherry on these was popped a while back for me. Ha Ha…
    I am reading/reviewing one right now from an entirely different perspective. #familyfun

    • My husband found it hilarious I was reading it as I have always teased him about his self help and cheesy business books. What can I say… I’m a changed woman! Haha

  4. I was a big reader of parenting books in the early days but I turned my back on them a while back and have been so much happier for it. That said, I am definitely guilty of leaving the room when my son is having a tantrum, so perhaps I should try some of these ideas and see if they make a difference. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Tantrums can be so frustrating!! I don’t think we can’t stop them happening though, so not get stressed about it seems a sensible suggestion! Big love to #SharingtheBlogLove

  5. I always love Kate’s posts so must actually read this book. Thank you for linking your review up with us at #ablogginggoodtime it was really entertaining to read too.

  6. I did honestly try reading parenting books in the early days, but found the advice so robotic and vague. I think some of the books are great and others not so much ,simply because every parent and every child are different! xx #sharingthebloglove

    • Every kid is indeed different, that’s why it’s important to find an approach that suits your little (and you), whether from a book or just trying things out 🙂

  7. Oh I have heard lots of good things about Kate Orson and this has really intrigued me. I have a very similar approach to you with parenting books and have never read one. I do wonder if I had perhaps I would have been a little less clueless as a first time mum…but we sussed. That being said I am all up for helping the little ones deal with emotions and stresses and life in a way that is not secretly harmful – Obvs. I think I will have to check this out. Thank you for sharing at #familyfun x

  8. My mummy has never read a parenting book but enjoys reading parenting blogs about other people’s experiences. Dr Google and her are best mates! 😉 Think she would go mad is someone was to issue her advice. Parenting is different for everyone x #SharingTheBlogLove

  9. I read a few books when I was pregnant, but when Alice arrived I quickly learnt that actually no baby is textbook and ditched them. I preferred to read books from actual parenting experiences and blogs. I often leave the room when my daughter has a tantrum, as I think that is better than my reaction. But maybe not! Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlgoLove x


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