Book Review: Raising Happy Children for Dummies

You know how every parent wishes they’d been handed an instruction manual when they head home with their first child? Well, this isn’t quite that but it’s as close as you’re going to get. No matter how long you’ve been a parent you can never stop learning about how to be a better one.  Every day my children present me with new challenges and I’m always searching for the best solutions. I became a mum just under two years ago through the wonderful invention that is adoption. I immediately became a mum to a 4 year old daughter and a 2 year old son. How I wish I had had Raising Happy Children for Dummies before we brought our children home.

I love the Dummies series of books and have joked about one being for parents. I didn’t realise there was already one available! For parents of babies to teenagers, this book has a section for every eventuality and every situation such as: discipline, being different and improving your basic parenting skills. To explain how the book works I’ll focus on the section that has helped me the most: Discipline.

It is set into three chapters:

1)      Getting Down to Earth and Practical: Disciplining Your Kids

2)      Choosing Different Strategies for Different Ages

3)      When the Going Gets Tough: Handling Conflict

Each chapter is broken down even further into individual topics making it easy to turn quickly to the information you need at any moment. (This is especially useful when your toddler has just smeared your favourite lipstick all over your newly decorated wall.) There are symbols in the margins pointing you to tips, things to remember, warnings, words of wisdom and positive parenting hints.

It is important to remember that children of different ages have different behaviour traits. It says here that “one in five 2-year-olds is estimated to have a tantrum each day – but remember that means four out of five don’t”. Hmm, well my son must’ve had his share and the share of two other 2-year-olds for the first few weeks of us having him. No child fits the mould perfectly which is why this book is careful to remind us that one strategy that works with your 5-year-old first-born may not work with your 5-year-old second-born.

This is one of my favourite types of advice-giving books. It’s in plain English, no fancy, non-understandable terms used in universities. It is quick and easy to use in all situations, making this the ideal book for busy parents.  With cartoons at the front of each section to make you chuckle, this book is an ideal present for parents with children of all-ages and perhaps a most welcome gift for new parents.

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