President James E. Faust once said in General Conference, "Child rearing is so individualistic. Every child is different and unique. What works with one may not work with another" (1990, November, "The greatest challenge in the world—Good parenting," Ensign, 20(11), 34).
We agree. There is no single perfect parenting approach, no one perfect parenting manual. There is no mortal guide who could lead us perfectly along the path that is parenthood.
We wholeheartedly endorse studying parenting, but do not endorse everything included in these reviewed guides. There is no one-size-fits all; what we offer are new ideas from good authors and researchers that you can investigate, consider, and possibly implement.
Parenting With Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility
Parenting With Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility has been a favorite guide for parents since its first publication in 1990. Authors Foster Cline, M.D., and Jim Fay have since expanded their work to include other titles: Parenting Teens With Love and Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood, and Grandparenting With Love & Logic: Practical Solutions to Today's Grandparenting Challenges.
Cline and Fay have certainly found a niche and a following, in large part due to the balance they strike between theory and action. Part One of Parenting With Love and Logic details the foundational ideas, which include offering children "opportunities to be responsible" (32). They theorize that by offering children choices when they're younger, parents allow their children to become the kind of responsible people who will not need to be "controlled" when the children get older.
Part Two of Love and Logic contains forty-one practical "Parenting Pearls" that cover approaches to issues ranging from bossiness, friends, and getting ready for school, to stealing and pet care. This book offers a very clear and hands-on approach to parenting children of all ages, applauds creating choices and limits, and encourages parents to follow through on consequences.
Christlike Parenting: Taking the Pain out of Parenting
The introduction of Christlike Parenting: Taking the Pain out of Parenting, includes this statement: "A vision of Christlike parenting helps us see beyond the moment; it helps us put the highs and lows of parenting into their proper perspective. It reminds us that today is not forever" (vii).
Christlike Parenting, above all, puts parenting into an eternal context. Dr. Glenn I. Latham (also author of The Power of Positive Parenting, and Parenting With Love), combines a Christian perspective with behavioral parenting principles to help parents figure out how to raise children without falling back on coercion and force. Dr. Latham states, "We must literally be as Christ. When we teach that way, we are safe to be with. We are attractive to our children, and we attract them to us. Our words are believed, our actions are emulated, and our values tend to become their values" (51).
There are several "real life" examples given throughout the book, annotated for better understanding. This is an uplifting read, and following Dr. Latham's Christ-centered advice to "pray in your families always" and "be ye doers and not hearers only" can change negative parenting cycles into positive ones.
Latham, Glenn I. Christlike Parenting: Taking the pain out of parenting. Washington: Gold Leaf Press, 1999. 211 pages.
The Five Love Languages of Children
Gary Chapman, Ph.D. and Ross Campbell, M.D., are both best-selling authors several times over on the topics of parenting and relationships. They team up in The Five Love Languages of Children and create a thought-provoking book for parents.
There are five "love languages" that children (and all of us) "speak," which are: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. The authors assert that typically one of these languages resonates more with us than the others. Generally we try to give love in the way we want to be shown love, which can create a feeling of disconnectedness with our children. But this book can help us understand what it is each of our children really need and want from us.
As we learn to "speak our child's language," we'll be better able to connect with our children, and when the time comes to discipline, we'll have a better foundation to work from. This is an eye-opening book for all parents, and proposes simple, thoughtful ways to create better, stronger relationships.
Chapman, Gary, and Ross Campbell. The Five Love Languages of Children. USA: Northfield Publishing, 1997. 224 pages.
The Power of Positive Parenting
The Power of Positive Parenting by Dr. Glenn I. Latham is a principle-driven parenting manual rounded out with hands-on examples. Dr. Latham believes that rewarding the positive will go further than punishing the negative ever will. The forward of this practical and positive guide encourages parents to read and re-read the book, and once you find what Dr. Latham has to offer, you will want to do so.
The very first chapter contains down-to-earth gems such as, "Unless what you are about to say or do has a high probability for making things better, don't say or do it" (7), and "Even slight modifications in parent-child relations can produce remarkable changes in the home"(8). Dr. Latham provides a guide for parents—and it is useful immediately in almost any situation.
It's no wonder this is a favorite of so many: there are chapters on what to do about toilet training, how to eliminate lying and stealing, how you can create parent-friendly consequences, and how to handle sibling rivalry. Dr. Latham helps us know how to be positive parents, and while the modifications he suggests are "slight," they have the potential to produce "remarkable changes" in our homes.
Latham, Glenn I. The Power of Positive Parenting: A Wonderful Way to Raise Children. Logan, UT: P&T ink, 1994. 393 pages.