Saturday, April 24, 2010

Barbara Coloroso knows "Kids Are Worth It!"

When my husband and I became parents my mom offered advice only when asked. She knew it is often intimidating and stressful to be fed unsolicited advice which can sometimes seem like criticism. As new parents you can feel green, and knowing what decisions to make can be daunting. Parenting is not an easy path to navigate and there is no map but there are tools to help you orient yourself. My mom--who I am sure often bit her tongue knowing sometimes I needed to find my own compass--did offer us a useful tool. One day my husband and I received a parcel. Enclosed, Barbara Coloroso’s book “Kids are worth it!” with the inscription “Dear Angela and Tom, I hope this book will be a practical and useful guide as you begin the challenging task of raising children. Love Mom”

I suspect I am not the only one who has been graciously offered a copy of this #1 Bestseller over the last decade as Barbara Coloroso says:

"My parenting has come full circle. My children are raising their own children. Regularly I meet or hear from parents who received a well-worn copy of the first edition of "kids are worth it!" from their parents, sunts, uncles, friends or in some cases grandparents. These young parents' concerns were our concerns a generation ago--slightly different wrapping but the same substance."

Thanks to my sister and myself, my mom knows as well as any parent how challenging raising children can be and though my mom would never say she was a good parent I strongly believe she was and is. As a teacher her theory was the same as Barbara Coloroso’s, Kids are worth it, worth the challenge and the headaches! April 1st, 2010 this international bestseller is being released with a new introduction, updated copy, and a new vibrant cover for a new generation of parents!

In her book Coloroso describes three family philosophies: the rigid entirely parent controlled Brick-Wall family, the weak, unstructured jellyfish family, and the firm and structured yet flexible and functional backbone family. My parents were for the most part examples of those with Barbara Coloroso’s backbone parenting philosophy {although they occassionally reverted to the brick-wall philosophy in my younger years}. Especially in later years my parents learned that structure also requires flexibility, negotiation, and a sharing of control through mutual respect.

I am not a self-help book fan. I don’t tend to look to books as solutions for my own personal everyday situations and experiences, but practical guides offering solid advice and the wisdom-- only extensive experience can nurture--are a godsend when struggling with parenting issues. Over the years Barbara has been there for me as I surveyed “Kids are Worth It!” not for answers so much as guidelines, rules of thumb to help me govern my own parenting path, and for examples and anecdotes from a woman with a wealth of experience and knowledge.

From toilet training and bedtime, chores and sibling rivalry, to drug abuse issues and suicide Barbara Coloroso has shared her philosophies for well over thirty years. Demonstrating how to raise self-assured, responsible, and loving children by allowing children to make their own decisions whenever possible, by teaching them to take ownership of their feelings, problems, and natural consequences to progress toward self-discipline. Coloroso has a background in sociology, special education, philosophy and theology but most importantly she is also a teacher and a mother of three grown children herself. She has been there herself and then revisited there thousands of times over as she counseled others through their parenting nightmares and dilemmas.

Admittedly, as time has passed our copy of "Kids are worth it!" was relegated to a dusty bookcase and as I revisit it now I am again stashing it in my bedside table for reference! I now find myself flipping around the book nodding my head at familiar anecdotes and filing away tips and snippets I will be retrieving daily as new parenting experiences abound. First published in 1994 and republished by Penguin in 1999, Penguin is now republishing this enduring book again in 2010 proving Coloroso's strategies and philosophies timeless! I do not recommend parenting books lightly. I do recommend stashing this one in your bedside table for quick reference!

Barbara Coloroso does not believe there are parenting experts, she knows how individual an experience it can be but if anyone comes even close to being an expert she does! Kids are worth it! Promotes a parenting style, a style which acts proactively to prevent problems and provides parents with the tools to develop a backbone--a living, supportive yet flexible structure which holds a family together!

“The backbone family provides the consistency, firmness, and fairness as well as the calm and peaceful structure needed for children to flesh out their own sense of true self. Rather than being subjected to power expressed as control and growing up to control others, children are empowered and grow up to pass what they have learned of the potential of the human spirit on to others.” (Coloroso 1999: 51)

Northern Mama readers will have the opportunity to experience the parenting wisdom and advice of Barbara Coloroso ! Penguin Canada is giving away three copies here at Northern Mama!

To Enter:
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Open to Canadian residents. Giveaway closes May 8th, 2010 midnight EST. Read giveaway rules for details.


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