Parenting children is about as easy as catching a gazelle running in the forest, and sometimes I even think catching that gazelle would be easier.
Everybody wants answers, a “magic solution” to why their son or daughter behaves badly, or strangely. But of course there’s no magic solution, only common-sense, proven methods that experts in the field offer. There are hundreds of books that tell you how to parent your child, and I haven’t read any of them.
What I have done is read “Ignore It!” a wonderful new book by Dr. Catherine Pearlman that’ll be published in a few days.
Let me get this out of the way straight out: Catherine and her husband Jeff are very good friends of mine; they are a wonderful couple and truly have the strongest marriage of anyone I know. I’ve known Catherine for 17 years, ever since Jeff introduced me to his new girlfriend at dinner one night and I slightly impressed Catherine by telling her that “Measure of a Man” is my favorite Elton John song (she’s an Elton John fanatic).
Catherine is one of the most unselfish, giving and kind-hearted people I’ve ever met, and the fact that she has stayed married to Jeff all these years means she certainly qualifies for sainthood (Trust me, he would agree.)
Also in the spirit of full disclosure, I had a small part in helping shape this book, reading early drafts of chapters and offering suggestions.
But mostly, I offered praise and huzzahs, because this is a terrific, easy-to-read guide.
“Ignore It!” is not just the title, it’s Catherine’s strategy for confronting so many problems. Of course she’s not advocating that you disregard your children; she’s raising two beautiful kids herself and they’re turning out great.
Catherine has developed tried and true methods in dealing with children in her career, as a social worker, an advocate for kids, a teacher, and as the brains behind “The Family Coach,” a private business she started to help families in need of some assistance with discipline. (She also writes the “Dear Family Coach” nationally syndicated column.)
What she’s advocating, using proven strategies and helpful hints, is that so much of getting your kids to behave better is ignoring bad behavior that they’re just doing to get attention.
The book teaches parents when to “Ignore It!” and when you really shouldn’t, uses real-life examples of reward systems that work (and of course different systems work for different kids), and is so encouraging and optimistic that even people who think they’re the worst parents since Joan Crawford or Alec Baldwin will believe they can be great.
Catherine’s writing is funny, realistic and sharp, and she acknowledges that of course this advice doesn’t apply to everyone (my kid is not even 3 yet, she’s told me I’m not allow to ignore him. Dammit.)
The parts of the book I enjoyed most deal with consequences of your child’s behavior, and how sometimes you really truly have to let them fail, and not be a “helicopter dad” and swoop in and save the day.
This is a funny, easy-to-read guide that I really think parents at any stage of child-rearing can use and refer back to. I know I certainly will.
I don’t like telling people how to spend their money, but “Ignore It!” will absolutely be a good investment for you. It’s sharp, good-natured and written by a woman who knows what she’s talking about.
At least when it comes to parenting. When it comes to picking husbands… oy.
**Next up today, children in war is always a painful subject to talk about, and right now, with millions of refugees fleeing Syria and other war zones, it is extremely difficult to fathom just how awful the circumstances are for kids often too young to understand what’s going on.
But out of that darkness, there can be a little light. Check out this powerful PSA from a group called WarChildHolland.org. It stars Batman, and a little boy, and it moved me very powerfully.
**And finally, more proof that men are getting stupider (because I was afraid we were running out of proof.)
Getting a vasectomy is no fun, but it’s not exactly the end of the world. Still, apparently the snip-snip procedure no longer needs to be done alone, nope, it doesn’t have to just be you and your urologist anymore.
Apparently there’s now a growing trend in vascular surgery called “bro-sectomies.”
From this Toronto Sun story: “According to the Wall Street Journal, some men are making a day out of the birth control procedure – complete with dinner, drinks, and plenty of recovery time in a lounge-like setting.
Dubbed “brosectomies,” men are paying an upward of a few thousand dollars in an effort to make the procedure more comfortable.
Some urologists offer group vasectomies as a way to ease men into getting snipped while also promoting quick recovery time.
“We thought it was going to be painful,” Jeb Lopez told the Wall Street Journal. “After that, we were just laughing, I guess it’s from the alcohol, but we had such a great time.”
Good Lord. Really guys, this is something you want a make a group experience? They’re not snipping each other, right? And for goodness sakes, are they going to the bar afterwards and comparing scars in the men’s room? Because that’s not something anyone should be walking in on.
Bro-sectomies. Give me a break. Well, hey, maybe it’s a new kind of male bonding experience. A cut above other kinds, perhaps (thank you, I’m here all week.)