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New Series: Parenting Diaries

Lately I’ve been wanting to write about parenting. I really like the Positive Discipline approach, which pretty much saved me about a decade ago when I was moving to France to be a nanny with no prior childcare experience.

Three months ago, I had a new baby and realized my four-year-old son is now the same age as the French boy that I took care of way back when. Preschooler years are rife with peace and discord, and the age my kid is now – especially now that there’s a newborn around to exacerbate things – reminds me of those first lessons in childcare that I learned on foreign ground. It’s time to break out some of the old tools.

So it’s been on my mind. At the same time, the Positive Discipline books really annoy me, the way they tend to talk around the issues in circles, and with so much gushing to boot. Maybe that’s helpful when you’re trying to internalize the principles, to revisit the same idea again and again in different contexts. Still there’s a part of me that just wants to lay out all the driving ideas in one go, simply and clearly.

Positive Discipline isn’t the only source of the childcare wisdom that speaks to me. I’ve read a bit of Parenting with Love and Logic and How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk. Bringing up Bébé was another read I’ve been thinking about, and then there are my own thoughts on the subject. There’s a lot of good stuff in different places, and I’m feeling an urge to synthesize.

I want to start with a few basic assumptions — the guiding lights that orient everything else I do (or try to do) as a parent. From there, if I’m lucky, I’ll branch out into other things — techniques, for instance, that I’ve found to work well in this situation or that.

Let me add, I hope these ruminations are useful to you, but if they’re not, feel free to leave them by the wayside. I mainly want to see if I can get it all out in one coherent line of thought, what I believe to be good and effective and wholesome as a framework for parenting.

I’ll post these once a week for the next eight weeks. Then I’ll probably take a break. And then, if I ever get around to it, I’ll post some more again later. See you next week, then.