Becoming a parent is a seismic shift. For most, that sparkling newborn rocks your world with their smooth skin and fuzzy head you just can’t stop sniffing. But as soon as you get the hang of caring for them, they change! Soon enough they are three-years-old and screaming in what seems like ACTUAL pain that they have to wear clothing (the nerve!). Then comes the hard eye rolls and sarcasm in 4th grade. And eventually a teenager who can outright refuse to do something. What then?
Alternating yelling and ignoring gets you nowhere and the authoritarian approach isn’t working. You know what NOT to do, but what TO do?
This book brings what’s important into focus: who you are as a person and parent, and how that affects your relationships with children. What if self-awareness and personal development were the ways to improve your family life? It is possible that building emotional intelligence and self-regulation skills will create a more peaceful home. Maybe we need to move beyond self-care into self-advocacy! And sometimes a reminder about child development or a tip about communication will shift the dynamic and help you get out of your own way. When we get out of our heads and into OUR hearts, it becomes clear how to best interact with children: with love and compassion. Our intentions and behavior towards our children can help them grow up with heart; the big hearts that the world needs right now.
This little book is a gem. A valuable, honest guide to the emotional intelligence required for conscious parenting. You’ll love it.
-Raffi Cavoukian, singer, author, Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring
Raising Humans With Heart is a quick read that will inspire parents and caregivers to find their own way, and to guide their children with effective and respectful boundaries. Sarah’s stories of her parenting successes and failures are relatable, as all parents can struggle to stay emotionally grounded and calm in the face of big feelings and challenging behavior. Her advice is rooted in the science of connection and will help you see the good in your child, yourself, and the world.
-Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., LCSW, New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline and author of The Bottom Line for Baby
In her frank and wise book, Raising Humans With Heart, Sarah MacLaughlin demonstrates that while children go about the hard work of learning to regulate their emotions, they deserve parents who are regulating their own emotions, too. Written in a voice that is deeply inclusive of all types of humans and families, and chock full of vignettes and resources, this is probably the most relatable and enjoyable parenting book I’ve ever read. It leaves you wanting more!
-Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult
In Raising Humans With Heart, Sarah MacLaughlin gifts us with an invaluable resource: stories about actual interactions with her son when he was being especially challenging, and her own words and actions in response. These vignettes demonstrate how any parent, even when angry, can almost magically transform a tough situation with their child—IF they can resist coercion.
-Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids and founder of Aha! Parenting
While there is no such thing as a parenting manual that fits every child, there is much wisdom we can glean from educators and moms who have gone before us. This book is filled with that wisdom. Sarah makes it digestible in this must-have addition to your parenting repertoire.
-Rebecca Eanes, author of Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide and The Gift of a Happy Mother
About the Author
Sarah MacLaughlin is a social worker, parent educator, and author of the award-winning, bestselling book, What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children. She is a writer, trainer, and content expert for ZERO TO THREE, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. Sarah writes the Parenting Toolbox column for Portland, Maine’s Parent & Family and her writing has been featured online at The Huffington Post and The Good Men Project, and in print with Pathways to Family Wellness magazine. She is a human development nerd dedicated to the well-being of children and their families. Sarah is a San Francisco Bay Area native who now lives in the woods of Maine with her family, including a tweenaged son who gives her plenty of opportunities to take her own advice. Visit her website: www.sarahmaclaughlin.com
SandyAMcPherson on Library Thing wrote:
I received this book as an early reviewer's edition. I was looking forward to its insights in anticipation of the arrival of our first grandchild. MacLaughlin is certainly an authority on the subject of childrearing. She touches on a number of parenting issues with examples on positive modeling. She maintains that we teach more by what we do than by what we say. She promotes patience, compassion, and understanding, while acknowledging that being a parent can bring us to the brink of our limits as a person. I found her techniques to be practical and felt that they would be easy to implement. My favorite part of the book is at the very end. She shares the Cherokee legend of the two wolves in which a grandfather teaches his grandson about the difference between good and bad. "There is a good wolf and bad wolf living inside each of us. The good wolf is love, compassion, courage, generosity, and every virtue of a human. The bad wolf is anger, hatred, laziness, greed, and other human vices. In each one of us, these two wolves are engaged in a fierce battle." The one who ultimately wins is the one you feed.
linda.a on Library Thing wrote:
Sarah MacLaughlin has written a self-nurturing, readable narrative about parenting with authority, not punitively, but with love. Her perspective is valid: one must have self-care so that as a parent, you are well and thus, can effectively care for your children. Although the author claims this is not a how-to manual, there are anecdotes throughout to show what does/doesn't work in raising self-confident, contented children. These are useful insights, drawn largely from her years of being a nanny and training as a family psychologist.
Amongst the information presented in this small book is an informative scientific background on how kids' brains are wired and how that changes as they approach adulthood. Brains are still developing rational thinking (pre-frontal cortex explained) when the young adult is in their early 20's! Who knew?? MacLaughlin also has a very readable section on adult nervous systems and how we, as parents, fall back on the limbic (or 'reptile' as she calls it) responses and why that is not a useful position for parenting effectively.
There is one large omission which needs calling out. In Chapter 6, watching for emotions is a key insight into behavioural competence. What MacLaughlin does not even hint at is managing the Highly Sensitive Person temperament that is innate in about 30% of the American population (read The Secret Lives of Introverts, Jenn Granneman to find out how important it is to recognize and nurture this characteristic in children).
Overall, there is much wisdom and positivity to be gained from following the suggestions in this book. It is an excellent companion to Susan Cain's Quiet and Elaine Aron's The Highly Sensitive Person. MacLaughlin's book has the advantage of being a quick read (91 pages) with subheadings to easily find some relevant ideas in the moment. (This was an Early-Reviewer's book award; my thoughts are candid and entirely my own opinion).
Sarah MacLaughlin has managed to combine theory and practice in ways which feel immediately accessible yet without being in any way patronising. I can imagine that would-be, new and not so new parents alike will find much to appreciate in her calm, reflective and compassionate approach to parenting. However, this wise and informative guide has much to offer anyone who cares for, or works with, children and I cannot imagine that anyone who reads it is won’t have gained insights into the reasons for their own reactions and behaviour by the time they reach the end of it!
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