Under the best circumstances, this really could be enough. But for most people, myself included, when parenting starts to get a little harder we either fall back on how our parents parented (which sometimes left something to be desired) or fumble our way through trying various inconsistent methods in the futile hope that one of them will be a magic bullet and suddenly being a mom will be what we thought it was going to be like!
I do wish that in the early days I had some sort of guide book that focused on what I now have come to call connected parenting. It would have given me comfort to know that certain things I did, instinctively, were creating a better relationship with my kids. And it would have provided suggestions which resonated with me when I had difficulties.
L.R. Knost of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources has written such a guide. Her new book Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages (A Little Hearts Handbook) reads like gentle suggestions from a good friend. The author is an independent child development researcher and mom of six (6!) children ranging in age from toddlerhood to young adult. Because of this, Two Thousand Kisses a Day doesn't just stop after the first 5 years, as so many other parenting books do, but continues on to give advice for raising great kids all the way middle school, teen years and adulthood.
In the introduction, the author makes the point that connecting with our children is "...about maintaining and enriching a strong parent/child relationship through all of the ages and stages of childhood so that, through a foundation of trust and mutual respect, parenting takes the form of guiding instead of punishing, encouraging natural growth instead of forcing premature independence, and creating a strong, intimate, interwoven family fabric that will stand the test of time."
Although Two Thousand Kisses a Day covers a broad ranges of ages and stages, the chapters are short and easy to read. The author provides understandable scenarios to illustrate her points and often gives easy to follow suggestions for every-day difficulties, such as doing chores in the house or feeding a picky eater, from a gentle parenting point of view.
For those of us who give a lot of thought to how we are parenting, it is very easy to blame ourselves every time our children have difficulties. I love that the author devotes a chapter to parenting guilt and reminds her readers that "...when our efforts don't produce an endlessly-happy, always-confident, perfectly-reasonable child, we can make the mistake of feeling like a failure as a parent instead of simply acknowledging that we are the parent of a human being with all of the normal quirks and foibles inherent in human nature."
What L. R. Knost leaves us with in Two Thousand Kisses a Day is encouragement and simple ways to make an enormous difference in our children's lives. She reminds us that it is never too late to start having a connected relationship with our children and, from my favorite chapter in the book, that "it's important to be in our children's lives but also to be intentional about making our time together count in the small ways that really matter to children."
Ultimately, that's what Two Thousand Kisses a Day is really about: finding as many ways to continue to be as connected to our growing children, as you did when they were infants and you kissed, cuddled and told them you loved them every chance you got.
This post is part of the Virtual Book Tour for the launch of L.R.Knost’s Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages. Click here if you’d like to check out all of the other stops on the tour!
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