Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Maven and Gman Say: A Good Read on Parenting

As part of Parent Bloggers Network I read Fathering Your School Age Child: A Dad's Guide to the Wonder Years 3 to 9 by Armin Brott because I was curious about what they tell dads that they don't tell moms. I also asked Gman to take a read--he doesn't read much of anything but he is the parent of 4, boys 18 & 13 and our girls 6 & 4.

Here are Gman's thoughts:
Not having read any kind of parenting book before I really have nothing to base it against, but I found "Fathering Your School-Age Child ... A Dad's Guide to the Wonder Years: 3 to 9" interesting. Having 4 kids boys and girls I felt like I should be able to speak with some authority on the subject. Overall I liked and agreed with what he had to say. He uses modern and personal stories to illustrate points, and gives out specific details, from which toys meet his criteria, to website links that have more or supporting information. The overall theme of the book is for each age there are physical and developmental things going on with your child, what to expect and suggestions on how to deal with them, and promotes the notion of being an involved father by citing examples of how to, or general behaviors that will lead to more involvement. One thing that I took exception to was it seemed that he would throw in random scenarios, like talking about step parenting during age 6 but not age 4.

Another thing I found interesting was the sociological point of view he takes throughout, citing how sometimes being an involved father is an uphill battle against the forces of society. I would certainly recommend this book to new fathers and existing fathers alike. Even after 4 kids I read a couple of things that were enlightening.

I'll post more on my thoughts later...being overtaken by life!

Okay, sorry for the interruption, now back to my previous topic...

I enjoyed the whole tone of the book which didn't, like many Mommy-focused books, use fear or guilt. In fact, in the chapter on 9 year olds he provides an e-mail about how we were raised (with lead paint and no car seats) and the fact we are still here. It echoes the message in Anne Dunnwold's Even June Cleaver would Forget the Juice Box--you don't have to be perfect, just good enough. The book and the information on what children are going through at an age and how to father them through it was fact based and relied on research--which appeals to my process oriented, project manager side. I particularly enjoyed the wit of Brott's writing style. An example is (are?) his chapter titles that do a great job of summing up what that year is about like 4-Let's Talk about Meee! and 9-Just Like a Real Person, Only Shorter.

Each chapter starts out with a description of what your child is experiencing physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. That is followed up by what is going on with you. Then it goes on to talk about the relationship between you and your child adding in topical information for that age. Of particular interest to me was the chart on page 175 that listed common texting abbreviations--here I thought I was so up-to-date on the technical, I guess not really so much. Who knew, IPN--I'm posting naked? Gee, I'll have to keep Gman from using that one, talk about TMI!

Overall I enjoyed the book and looking at parenting from a different angle. I think that it will be a good catalyst for discussion between Gman and I as we continue through our parenting journey.

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