Resist the Latest Parenting Fads, Says New Book

When it comes to parenting, figure out what your child's core personality is, then parent accordingly. That is the philosophy laid out in a new book called "Nurture the Nature," which urges parents to resist the latest parenting fads.

Instead, author Michael Gurian says parents should take the time to determine their child's strengths, vulnerabilities and passions, and then use them as guides for parenting.

You can read an excerpt from the book below.

Chapter One: Escaping the Social Trends Parenting System

My stress level and that of my husband is so high, and it's the same for our kids. What we really want is to find the love and healthy direction a family is supposed to be. -- Carla James, Mother of Three Children

Carla came to see me with tears in her eyes. Her fifteen-year-old daughter, Katie, would not speak to her, she said, and her twelve-year-old son, Andy, was obsessed with video games. Carla felt overwhelmed, unsure of how to be a parent, and unable to get the help from family, school, and friends that she needed. She worried that Katie would become promiscuous.

"The way she dresses, the way she acts, it's becoming out of control," Carla said. "And no matter what my husband or I do, our son Andy just lives in his own world, his own little box. And I know it's not just me and my kids. It seems like a lot of my kids' friends are having the same kind of problems. They're good kids--deep down these are all good kids--and we're a good family, but there's something wrong. We're just too stressed out!"

Another couple, Angie and Bert Stohl, brought their daughter, Susan, to see me. When I met this young woman of sixteen, I saw dark circles under her eyes. Susan was so busy she only got five hours of sleep per night (she needed nine), and some of that was fitful. She was losing herself to the stress of everyday life, compounded by lack of sleep. For Susan it was like a badge of honor that she could survive with so little sleep. At the same time, she was acting in ways that did not fit her natural needs as a teenager: she was not healthy.

In another case, the Royce family came to me with their son, Devin, who was failing first grade. Well liked by other kids, he did not perform in the way either his parents or school wanted him to. His parents had done all the right things for producing a high-performing son: reading to him early, playing Baby Einstein tapes, putting him in the best school. They had even started him on the computer at three years old. But his teacher said, "Devin simply refuses to concentrate and learn." At the age of six, Devin was wetting the bed again and beginning to withdraw from school.

These are all good families, good people, trying their best. But they are struggling, and they are not alone. I constantly receive e-mails and letters from parents and other caregivers who notice significant stress and anxiety in their families and the families around them. Some of the stress they notice shows up as disorders in the young children, some as listlessness in the young adults, who just aren't finding success or a place in the world. Everywhere I travel in my community work, I'm seeing families struggling with stressed-out children. These parents love their kids, and these kids want to grow and develop successfully. But something is wrong.

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