Book Review: Get the Behavior You Want Without Being the Parent You Hate

I knew about her before I got to know her. She was a parenting guru and she popped up all over the Internet. But what could she really offer me? I had given up all parenting books after I birthed my first born and realized that I could stress out about what the books said, or I could follow my instincts and parent my child out of love. Somehow, the second option seemed to work best for us. It made sense. Not every baby is alike. Not every pregnancy is alike. I could stress about the differences, about what milestones my kid was hitting and which ones he was behind on, or I could develop right along side of him as we both learned how to navigate our new worlds together.

But every once in a while, I’d really take in what parenting guru and family doctor Deborah Gilboa had to say. It wasn’t hard. Dr. G is great at packaging her advice in bite-sized snippets (just check out her YouTube channel). And every time I picked up one of her nuggets of advice, I would automatically share it with my husband. Because her tips were that good. They were something I wanted both of us to think about and implement. They were tips that I (usually) had never considered myself.

And then Dr. G went and wrote a book.

“Everyone struggles with parenting. Everyone.”

So how do I feel about this parenting book? Will it sit in the back of my bookshelf like my other parenting books that I once eagerly purchased, hoping to become the World’s Best Mom?

Get the Behavior You Want by Dr. G

I own Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate as an ebook. But I need to pick it up as a paperback copy, and I need to keep it in my living room on the coffee table or on in the bathroom on the back of my toilet. I once heard Dr. G refer to her book as a handbook for parents, meant to help through those tough parenting jams. The chapters are short yet they deliver so much wisdom and provide an incredible amount of empowerment. In fact, it was Dr. G who suggested keeping it on the back of your toilet so that you can escape to the bathroom when you’re just not sure what to do about a certain parenting situation (and you know we all do that anyway), flip to the relevant chapter, quickly read through it, and come out equipped with the tools needed to address the specific parenting issue.

Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate is an empowering book. Dr. G fills her book with reminders that we are uniquely qualified to best parent our children. We are the expert of our kids – not our doctor, not a parenting book, not even Amazing Parenting Expert Dr. G (my title for her). With that in mind, it is a little easier to take on each challenge with love and respect, especially if we have a few handy tips from Dr. G in our back pockets.

“I am a parenting expert on the four kids who live in my house. You? Are a parenting expert on the kids who live in your home! No one knows the kids you love better, or cares more about their welfare, than you do…. As parents, our efforts are always well-intentioned and often right on the mark. This book is to give you new ideas, and provide structure for your consistency.

I desperately want my kids to grow into the type of person that Dr. G wants my kids to grow into – kids who are respectful, who can handle responsibility, and who are resilient. When I consider all I need to do to mold them into this kind adult who I will be proud of, I grow overwhelmed, because if parenting has taught me anything, it is how imperfect I am. But as I read through each section and chapter of Dr. G’s book, I find myself wanting to implement her tips and I get excited about how they will positively impact my children.

Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate is a practical parenting handbook with chapters on mealtimes, friendships, cleanliness, fitness, homework, money, time management, and relationships. The book is applicable to parents of young children, parents of teenagers, grandparents, and caregivers. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is a book for parents who are struggling and for those who aren’t feeling the struggle just yet. It is applicable in easy times and in it is useful to pull out in parenting emergencies.

I have a very small list of parenting books that I think are gems in the genre – ones that I choose to give at baby showers to hopefully drown out all the other parenting books that are useless. These books that I love and share empower mothers. I can assure you that I am adding Dr. G’s book Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate to that bundle of must-read parenting books.

5 Star Book


I was provided with a copy of Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate for the purposes of this review, but my love for the book is entirely genuine. All links leading to Amazon are affiliate links.

 

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A Small Voice Among the Political Monotony

I sometimes feel like I’m surrounded by those who want to celebrate the status quo. It is ironic that in a society where we are constantly looking for new ways to innovate, we see so much unwillingness to embrace change. But, I suppose that is human nature.

Or perhaps “human” isn’t the right term. “Human” implies that it includes all people. I would imagine that there are distinct segments of our humanity that want change – who notice the need for change – more than others.

This past weekend I attended a local political convention. I have been finding ways to involve myself and network since Campaign School for Women and I have been enjoying the process. I got to know some candidates who were all vying to be the next nominee for Member of Parliament during our next election. I decided who I would support and joined the team. It was enlightening to be behind some of the scenes and I found myself heavily invested in the outcome.

On Saturday, my party held the vote to choose the next candidate whose name would be on the ballot during the upcoming federal election. It took place in a quintessentially Canadian location – a local hockey arena. I was fascinated to see so many people out to involve themselves in this political process. It was exhilarating.

My husband and I brought our four-year-old and our two-year-old to share the experience with us. We’ve tried to involve them in the political process before. During the last election, they noticed signs along the road and we talked about how each colour represented a different “team”. They came with us to the voting station and when we got back home to watch the results unfold on television, we set them up with their own little voting booths and ballots so they could experience voting for themselves. While Cameron didn’t quite remember this experience, he did seem to remember the language we had used during that election. He asked us which “team” we were with and which “leader” we were hoping would win.

Kids at Political Convention

I am of the opinion that children should be included in more public experiences. An adult-type event like a political convention might seem like the worst place to bring kids, but if we want to raise a generation who is engaged, it might just be the best place to bring them.

Unsurprisingly, there weren’t very many other kids there. I saw a handful of kids, many of whom would have been children of candidates. My two, and one other little boy I saw, were by far the youngest.

A few weeks back, as our campaign team was discussing how the nomination day would transpire, I asked if there would be childcare available. I received a few looks of confusion. Childcare at a political convention? Why ever for? There has never been childcare at this kind of thing (locally) before. While I recognized that the time to plan childcare may have passed, the reality is that many people would not feel like I do about bringing children to an event like this. Many people – mothers with young children in particular – would see such an event as unaccessible to them because they would have nothing to do with their children for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon.

So often we assume that how things “have always been done” means that those policies are tried and true, but in reality they are keeping certain people down and out.

For example, my husband wanted to join me at the all candidates forum that happened a month ago, leading up to Saturday’s vote. Unfortunately, all our go-to babysitters were otherwise engaged and so he had to stay home with the kids. How often are the roles reversed? It is because I had involved myself that I went, and my husband stayed home. No allowances were made at this forum to provide care for children, or stream the event online to reach those who perhaps couldn’t make it in due to children, illness, shift work, etc. Because of this, people were shut out of the process. And if you start to consider who might not be free at 7pm on a weeknight, you’ll begin to see the types of people who might be shut-out.

During her speech at Saturday’s event, one of the candidates noted that she was a stark contrast to the gentleman who will be running on the ballot for the opposing party. This really resonated with me because we need more voices in politics. We need more diverse options and representations. We can’t count people out because they are women. We can’t disregard candidates because of their occupation. We can’t push aside potential politicians because of their age. “Their time will come” isn’t relevant unless we want to silence the voice of all young people in our country.

And if we keep shutting people out by restricting access, then the political leadership voice will continue to be monotonous.

For my part, I’m going to keep bringing my kids to political events, both so that they can immerse themselves in the process, but also to make the point that young mothers can, should, and want to be engaged in the process. I’m making myself, and my demographic visible, and as my kids stand on the media platform and beat each other up with red and white balloons making a spectacle of themselves, I am making my voice heard.

A Child's Voice among the Political Monotony

I also pledge to continue to use my platform to show how the status quo is not actually all fine and well. Instead, it systematically shuts out people from the political process. How is that democratic?

And I will look for candidates who represent a different voice in our government. They exist. I might even do my best to help get some of them elected.

Edited to add: @Allisomething on Twitter enlightened me to the fact that many NDP invites she’s received in the past few years have mentioned some kind of childcare. So awesome! I can only hope this is a trend that will grow and reach through all parties.

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Share Thanksgiving

If you live anywhere in Nova Scotia (like I do) other than under a rock, you’ve probably heard about a recent report released on the state of our economy. Many have heard it called “The Ivany Report” or “The Now or Never Report”. It is a nice big document that essentially puts Nova Scotians on alert, warning that our population is ageing and diminishing and at the rate we’re going, we will not be able to sustain it.

There are a lot of really smart people trying to think about how we can change this projected future and a lot of eager Nova Scotians who want to help create a place that will thrive. It can be easy, and dangerous, to have this all fall into a pattern of dialogue and thought without the quick action that is also needed.

One of the big problems with Nova Scotia is our dwindling and ageing population. As much as I’d love to try, we can’t fix this by popping out babies alone. Nova Scotia needs to be a welcoming place for immigrants. And while we proudly boast our Pier 21 as symbol of a new life in a new place, so many immigrants land here only to move on to other immigrant communities around Canada. Nova Scotians, despite what the tourists might tell us, are just not friendly enough. We need to up our game.

There are newcomers to our province who desperately want to connect and root themselves to Nova Scotia. They need Nova Scotians, super friendly and welcoming Nova Scotians, to reach out and help.

As Nova Scotians, there is something we can do right now to help move our province forward. There is a program called Share Thanksgiving that wants to connect Nova Scotian hosts with newcomers to our province to participate in one of the most quintessentially shared meals there is: Thanksgiving. Hosts and guests will be thoughtfully paired up to try to match those who live in similar locations and those who have similar family makeups.

Share Thanksgiving Nova Scotia Flyer

What better way to really teach our children the meaning of Thanksgiving than by welcoming those who are new to our community to our table?

I want to challenge anyone reading this in Nova Scotia to participate. I want to challenge my blogger friends to sign up and participate. Then, write about it. I want to challenge you to look at this province where we have so much to be grateful for and see how we can make it better this Thanksgiving.

Signing up is easy. Just visit this link. If you’re a newcomer to our province, WELCOME! You can sign up at that very same link. If you have any questions about Share Thanksgiving, I can get you hooked up with the coordinator. Just shoot me an email or leave a comment below.

Not in Nova Scotia? That’s okay! Share Thanksgiving is happening in Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, St. Catharine’s, Swift Current, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg. Check out ShareThanksgiving.ca for more info.


This post is absolutely not sponsored, though I will accept a night off from my husband, who is the Share Thanksgiving Nova Scotia coordinator.

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