The Parenting Map Book Summary - The Parenting Map Book explained in key points
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The Parenting Map summary

Dr. Shefali

Step-By-Step Solutions to Consciously Create the Ultimate Parent-Child Relationship

4.8 (30 ratings)
18 mins

What is The Parenting Map about?

The Parenting Map (2023) by Dr. Shefali Tsabary offers a step-by-step guide to parenting healthy, happy, resilient, and grounded children by adopting a mindful parenting approach. In it, parents are encouraged to unlearn toxic parenting habits and replace them with moments of meaningful connection.

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    The Parenting Map
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    Key idea 1 of 4

    Step One: Release yourself from unproductive parenting patterns

    Begin your journey toward conscious parenting by understanding the unique parenting problems that you’re facing. Remember, parenting is all about you. If it were all about your child, it would be called “childing.” And this is a good thing. It frees you from the impossible task of raising the “perfect” kid – one who is sporty, imaginative, intellectual, sociable – all while simultaneously giving them an ideal childhood in which they’re always happy and never angry or frustrated. This child-centered approach can lead to micromanaging and controlling our kids rather than connecting with them.

    This might be tough to admit to yourself, but you do not love your child unconditionally. Immeasurably, yes – but the love we have for our children is predicated on control. When their actions don’t align with our agendas – when they don’t score A’s at school or they struggle to make friends – we go into control-freak mode: we punish, or withdraw, or micromanage. Acknowledging the ways in which you need to control your child can release you from this need, as you consciously work on meeting your child where they are and addressing their needs instead of your own. Replace control with compassion and inquiry. Next time your child fails to meet your expectations and you’re tempted to switch into control mode, ask yourself, Why do I feel the need to be right here? Why am I threatened if my child doesn’t follow my agenda?

    Let them be sad when they’re sad and angry when they’re angry – don’t try to place a positive spin on tough situations in an effort to protect your child from any emotion other than happiness. A conscious parent also accepts their child’s failures when they inevitably occur – they don’t try to problem-solve them into successes. Let go of outcome-oriented goals like having a happy or successful child. Instead, work toward enhancing the process-oriented practices of presence and experience while you’re with your child. Embrace the present moment, and the experiences you and your child are undergoing within it – whether those experiences are good or bad. 

    The final thing conscious parents need to let go of? Labels. Have you ever heard a group of parents comparing notes on their children? You might have heard adjectives like “good” or “bad,” “easy” or “challenging,” “lazy” or “driven” being thrown around. You might have used words like this to describe your own child. But let’s probe a little more. Often, the qualities we use to determine a “good” kid – qualities like calmness, obedience, compliance – are simply qualities that make us feel like “good” parents. Equally, the qualities we use to determine a “bad” kid – rebelliousness, adventurousness, defiance – aren’t inherently bad, but make us feel like “bad” parents. Encouraging our children to conform to our idea of “good” in reality means policing our children’s choices and behaviors based on the needs of our own egos. Try supporting your child in actions and behaviors that feel good to them. 

    Here’s an example. Let’s say your nine-year-old is a talented pianist. Lately, they’ve admitted they’re not enjoying piano lessons and would like to quit. Instead of appealing to them to show discipline, to stick with lessons, to keep improving – in other words to be good – show your child you’ll support them in listening to their inner voice, and making a decision that feels good. Try something along these lines: “I can see you don’t like piano at the moment. I’ll come with you to your next few lessons and we can check in about how you feel each time. If you still don’t like it, I’ll help you decide on a next step that does feel good to you.” You’re not encouraging your child to adhere to a label, like “good” or “hardworking,” that ultimately serves your ego more than them. You’re empowering them to listen to their own intuition and emotions in order to make the choices that feel right for them.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Shefali Tsabary holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University, and her research and practice synthesize Eastern philosophy and Western psychology. She is the author of four books on family dynamics and parenting, three of which are New York Times best sellers.

    Who should read The Parenting Map?

    • Expectant families looking for clear, compassionate parenting advice
    • Seasoned parents who’d like to feel more present for their children
    • Grandparents, caregivers, guardians, and anyone with special young people in their lives

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