good read: “the compleat parent” by nancy van pelt

Not an exciting cover, but it's a good book.

Not an exciting cover, but it’s a good book.

I ran across this book at the book exchange shelf at my work. I just happened to glance down and see it when I was walking out the door and I remembered reading bits and pieces of it before. You’d think since it was written in 1976 that it wouldn’t apply to us today, but I’m finding lots of useful information about child rearing. Here are a few excerpts…

  • There’s a part about DOING instead of SAYING when it comes to your kids. For example, you take your 10 month old out to play in the sandbox and you want to read a book while he plays. He keeps putting sand in his mouth, so you have to stop reading and dig the sand out. He realizes he’s getting attention from you, so he keeps repeating this behavior. After 30 minutes, he’s eaten a lot of sand, and you’ve read hardly any book. Another mother would handle it correctly by putting little Johnny in his stroller when he puts sand in his mouth and let him sit there and fuss. When he calms down, she puts him back in the sand box to play. If he puts  sand back in his mouth, he goes back into the stroller until he calms down, and he starts to see that sand in the mouth equals sitting in the stroller.
    • I can say this actually works. I have been the victim of a sand eating child, but I didn’t think to apply this knowledge she points out. However, my son thinks it’s funny to put rocks in his mouth. I used to fuss over him and tell him to spit them out, but now I just ignore it. I’ve found that if I ignore him when he does it, he finds something else to do.
  • The book also talks about letting your kids help with chores and such. It points out that if your child acts like he wants to feed himself with a spoon, let him, even if it’s messy. It’s how he learns. Also, if he acts like he wants to help sweep, let him try. If you discourage him, years down the road you’ll be scratching your head wondering why he doesn’t want to help you.

I’m reading the part about the teenage years now, which are still a ways off. But, I’m going to put the book up for when they get here!


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