Parenting Outside the Lines Book Summary - Parenting Outside the Lines Book explained in key points
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Parenting Outside the Lines summary

Meghan Leahy

Forget the Rules, Tap into Your Wisdom, and Connect with Your Child

4.5 (191 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

Parenting Outside the Lines by Meghan Leahy is a guide for parents striving to create a happy family life while avoiding societal pressures and expectations. It encourages a mindful, compassionate approach to parenting that empowers both parent and child.

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    Parenting Outside the Lines
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Ditch the arbitrary standards and tune in to your kids.

    The author, Meghan Leahy, realized that she’d hit a parenting low when she became so frustrated with her two-year-old daughter that she had to lock herself in the bathroom to cool down.

    The problem? Once again, her daughter was refusing to get ready for daycare. Leahy had tried all her usual tricks: bribing, cajoling, threatening, even brute force. But nothing worked. Her daughter insisted that she wanted to stay in her pajamas.

    At her wit’s end, she googled parenting support resources and came across the Parent Encouragement Program, or PEP. She called the hotline and told the kind-sounding woman her problem. But the counselor’s response surprised her. “Why shouldn’t she go in pajamas?” she asked. “Is that really so important?”

    The key message here is: Ditch the arbitrary standards and tune in to your kids.

    At, first, the question confused Leahy. But when she took a step back and examined the situation, she realized that the woman was right. The only reason she cared about what her toddler wore was her fear of other people’s judgment. But aside from keeping up appearances, there wasn’t a good reason that her daughter shouldn’t wear her soft and comfortable pajamas to school.

    That phone call was a revelation. Leahy realized that she’d been applying arbitrary rules and standards to her children. She’d internalized dogmatic ideas like “if you give a child an inch she’ll take a mile” and become convinced that she had to be in control at all times. But in the process, parenting had become a power struggle. And she had no time to connect with her children because she was so busy telling them what to do.

    In order to build a connection with her children, the author would have to unlearn all of those old ideas, and start tuning into reality as it was, instead of as she thought it should be. Rather than pushing her agenda at all costs, she’d have to learn to read her children and the situation, and stop parenting based on hypothetical fears. She’d also have to learn to pick her battles and distinguish which rules were important for her family. She started allowing her daughter to go to school in her pajamas. She was forced to swallow her pride about her daughter’s appearance, and learn to stop caring what other people thought. As a result, the mornings became free of power struggles and she actually started having fun.

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    What is Parenting Outside the Lines about?

    Parenting Outside the Lines (2020) is an essential guide to forgetting everything you’ve ever learned about parenting – and following your intuition instead. As parents, we’re insecure and desperate to get it right. So we keep searching for the perfect book or workshop that will tell us how to raise our children. But, truthfully, there is no perfect method. The only thing we can do is learn how to tune into ourselves and our children, and respond to specific situations with flexibility and grace.

    Parenting Outside the Lines Review

    Parenting Outside the Lines by Meghan Leahy (2021) is a valuable resource for all parents looking for a fresh approach to raising their children. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers practical advice that challenges conventional parenting norms, allowing parents to find their own unique approach.
    • Combines real-life stories from families with expert insights, giving readers a well-rounded and relatable perspective on parenting.
    • Emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and embracing imperfection, making the journey of parenting less stressful and more enjoyable.

    Best quote from Parenting Outside the Lines

    Our children dont owe us joy. They dont even owe us appreciation.

    —Meghan Leahy
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    Who should read Parenting Outside the Lines?

    • Perfectionist parents wanting to learn how to forgive themselves for making mistakes
    • Parents of young children who are tired of being locked in continual power struggles
    • Parents and caregivers who want to have more fun with their children

    About the Author

    Meghan Leahy is a columnist for On Parenting in the Washington Post, and a certified parenting coach. She’s appeared on NPR and ABC, and her writing has been featured in numerous publications.

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    Parenting Outside the Lines FAQs 

    What is the main message of Parenting Outside the Lines?

    The main message of Parenting Outside the Lines is to embrace and trust your instincts as a parent, even if it means going against conventional wisdom.

    How long does it take to read Parenting Outside the Lines?

    The reading time for Parenting Outside the Lines varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Parenting Outside the Lines a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Parenting Outside the Lines is a valuable read for any parent seeking to navigate the challenges of parenting. It offers practical advice and encourages individuality.

    Who is the author of Parenting Outside the Lines?

    The author of Parenting Outside the Lines is Meghan Leahy.

    What to read after Parenting Outside the Lines?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Parenting Outside the Lines, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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