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The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)

Sound parenting advice based on psychology

By Philippa Perry
12-minute read
Audio available
The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) by Philippa Perry

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) (2019) is exactly what it sounds like: a book on raising children and a trove of practical knowledge that you can’t help thinking your childhood would have benefited from. Spotlighting mental health and emotional development, this book takes an alternative approach to parenting that’s apt for our modern world.

  • Parents who want to improve their kid’s childhood
  • Parents-to-be wishing to reduce the learning curve
  • Your inner child

Philippa Perry is a British psychotherapist and author. Her previous books include Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (2010) and How to Stay Sane (2012).

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The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)

By Philippa Perry
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) by Philippa Perry
Synopsis

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) (2019) is exactly what it sounds like: a book on raising children and a trove of practical knowledge that you can’t help thinking your childhood would have benefited from. Spotlighting mental health and emotional development, this book takes an alternative approach to parenting that’s apt for our modern world.

Key idea 1 of 7

Our reactions as parents are closely tied to our childhood.

Becoming a parent is overwhelming, and it can make us feel completely inadequate and inexperienced – a bit like we’ve undertaken a high-flying job for which we’re not fully qualified. But that’s not the case. All new parents possess a wealth of personal experience with parenting – not from a mom or dad’s point of view, but from a child’s. We were all children once, and to understand the present we must understand the past.

In other words, in order to comprehend our child’s behavioral patterns, we need to take a closer look at the biggest influence in their life – ourselves. We are their first and most influential role model, so we have to understand ourselves before we can understand our children.

And if there’s one thing that negatively affects our parent-child relationships more than any other, it’s our own experiences as children. The associations we formed in this period have a huge impact on our emotional reactions and parenting style.

A great example of this comes from Oskar, one of the author’s clients. He found that, whenever his 18-month-old son left his food uneaten or dropped it on the floor, he felt anger bubble up inside of him. After doing some probing into his own childhood with the help of the author, Oskar discovered the reason – the same behavior would have earned him a sharp rap on the knuckles and being dismissed from the room by his own parents. Oskar was letting his childhood experiences cloud his parenting.

Thankfully, there’s a way to deprogram these patterns of negative reaction in ourselves.

To get there, though, you’ll need to unpack your own childhood and examine the positive and negative events that stick out in your memory. Think about your emotional reactions – how did you feel about the way you were treated then, and how do you feel about it now? Having a deep understanding of these childhood experiences and their emotional consequences is one of the most effective tools for compassionate parenting.

When raising children, you should also use the appearance of negatively charged emotions in yourself as a warning signal. Parents often react with anger or frustration at specific incidents because the brain is subconsciously protecting us from the feelings of longing, jealousy or humiliation we felt as children.

By using anger or frustration as signals that we need to investigate our childhood, we can start working toward ditching those negative overreactions and instead empathizing with our child. Ultimately, we can grow into the considerate parents that we want to be.

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