Real Parenting for Real Kids by Melissa Hood

We’ve been sent a copy of Real Parenting for Real Kids by Melissa Hood to review – and it’s a really interesting book.

Real Parenting for Real Kids by Melissa Hood

Real Parenting for Real Kids is the kind of book you dip in and out of. Feel like you know your child, but their behaviour can be odd from time to time? This book has lots of sections which make you feel like you’re less alone. It gives suggestions on how to deal with situations and things to look out for with your child.

Let’s face it, we’re all different. There isn’t one type of parenting which suits every child – and Real Parenting for Real Kids recognises this.

The author Melissa Hood is one of the creators of the Parent Practice – a website which enables parents to bring the best out of their children. They also run parenting classes – and don’t feel that things stop when your child reaches five. Melissa’s story is very interesting, and how she ended up creating the Parent Practice; she took parenting classes herself when she was having difficulty coping with one of her sons who was diagnosed with dyslexia and was in trouble at school with impulsive, aggressive and disruptive behaviour. The advice that she received worked so well that it transformed her family life and drove her to train as a family therapist so that she could help others.

And here’s the book – Real Parenting for Real Kids. I’ve found some useful hints and tips inside. Melissa’s approach is a positive and practical one, and allows you to work out what kind of solutions could work for you – it isn’t just about the child, it’s also about what works for you. There are several different strategies and ways of looking at things.

An example which we’ve already come across goes back to the phase when H refused to do anything we asked. So we’d ask her to do the opposite – and funnily enough she’d do exactly what we wanted. This is summing it up in a very shortened way, but does give you an idea of how the book works.

Other sections get you to identify things your child may have copied from you – identifying behaviour of your own that may contribute to your child’s poor behaviour. H is at the stage where she’s copying me a LOT. I hear a lot of what I say when she talks, and I know I’m terrible at discipline (because more often than not she’ll do just that and make me laugh), so I’m looking for techniques to be a firmer parent, but keep the fun.

Real Parenting for Real Kids is the kind of book you would dip in and out of – it isn’t a read cover to cover kind of thing. There are seven essential skills that every parent needs to understand their children and bring out the best in them, and this book covers them.

Knowing your child.

Encouraging cooperation and confidence with Descriptive Praise. 

Listening and Connecting.

Setting up for success.

Family values.

Positive discipline.

Keeping calm – the holy grail of parenting.

Once you’ve read these chapters, Real Parenting for Real Kids breaks down into other sections – all of which are relevant. As the book says, even if your child is 44 it isn’t too late! There is even a chapter on being safe and kind online – given my job deals with a lot of people online, I’m going to be getting into that chapter soon enough!! (some people can be so nasty and mean.. good job I don’t take it to heart)

Real Parenting for Real Kids is a wonderfully positive book, and one which I feel a lot of people will get a lot from. It covers so many angles it seems kind of crazy a book this big could cover everything – but I feel like it’s a really good starting place.

Real Parenting for Real Kids is published by Practical Inspiration publishing and has a RRP of £14.99.  It is available from Amazon here.

We were sent this book for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own!

We Love Books – How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm

‘How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm’ by Mei-Ling Hopgood is a really interesting book. It reads a bit like a textbook, almost – and is quite the eye opener.

In essence, the book covers various cultures and countries and what is perceived as ‘normal’ when bringing up their children. I’m guilty as charged of judging other mums decisions as they’re different to mine and something I wouldn’t necessarily agree with – and this book has made me think a bit. Well, more than a bit.

Actually, there are some really good bits in there which I’m already implementing – trying not to tell H she’s a ‘clever girl’ too often and more a ‘well done’ type of praise, and if she gets frustrated trying to work something out and asks for her, getting her to try one more time and then I’ll help, and already I’m finding she does more for herself. I know I like to think of H as quite an independent child but actually I do help her out with things when I should take a step back.

The great thing about this book is how non-judgemental it is – the author has the way she’s brought up her children – they seem very well-travelled too! There’s also a section on academia and how some countries put education over having fun – as in, find a balance – do fun things with your child to spend time with them rather than more education related activities. I’ve probably put it badly, but I get what she’s saying.

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood

The book starts with them in Buenos Aires where nobody bats an eyelid to see a child out until the early hours, and how accommodating the country is towards babies – and towards the end brings up the case of the Danish actress who left her child outside a restaurant while she dined (which is usual there, I remember vaguely a news article about it) and how people watching were disgusted – this book just brings up many examples of bringing your child up, but from the perspective of someone saying “this is how it’s done here” or “this is what they do” – it’s quite refreshing to read.

I’ve always been a stickler for routine and maybe I need to be a little bit more relaxed about it, and let it sort itself out – especially with a holiday on the horizon too. If H falls asleep at the early evening entertainment, it doesn’t matter (whereas before it might have, and I’d panic).

There are sections on how the French deal with eating, how Kenyans live without pushchairs, how the Chinese potty train early, how Tibetans cherish pregnancy and so much more. I really enjoyed the book, and am glad I had the opportunity to read it – I’d recommend it if you’re interested in seeing how others bring up their children and quite fancy trying out some of the ideas.

I received the book free of charge from PanMacmillan who were offering free copies with Mum Panel. All opinions are my own.

We Love Books – The Ultimate Baby and Toddler Q&A Book – Netmums

The Ultimate Baby & Toddler Q&A I remember back when we were preparing for H to come into this world, and one of the first things we did was nipped to Mothercare and checked all the baby books. I had no idea what to buy, and opted for a hardback book which I thought would be useful. I guess it probably was, but it was pictures and words and actually, once H was born it was never opened.

A more useful book was the ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’ book and the follow-up ‘What To Expect – The First Year’ – but there was a lot in there, and it covered everything – to the point it was overwhelming.

Add to that a Miriam Stoppard book my sister gave me which had me in tears when I’d read a page as everything felt so terrifying, and really it was the internet which gave me the support I needed and information I wanted.

Which is where this book comes in. This is exactly the sort of book a new mum should have – it doesn’t go into a lot of detail, but you don’t need that – there’s plenty of places that cater for that. I found that other people’s experiences and advice (even if I pretended I didn’t need to hear it, I just needed to be ready on MY terms) were what helped me the most when I was trying to ‘get it right’. So you have fifty questions with answers from the experts, and additional comments from Netmums contributors – or should I say, parents who know, and have been through it.

The Ultimate Baby & Toddler Q&A - taking notes

“ah, so that’s what mummy’s trying to do when I have a bit of a screaming tantrum. Bwahahaha”

It’s again very much the kind of book you can dip in and out of like ‘Toddlers – An Instruction Manual‘ by Joanne Mallon – and there’s different perspectives on each question – there’s never a 100% correct way to do something, and it’s reassuring to know others understand or have done things in a way you wouldn’t have thought about – which to me is what communities like Netmums are about.

The book is put together by Hollie Smith a freelance journalist who has already written six books for Netmums.

As for us, I wish we’d had it sooner! The toddler section is a lot smaller than the baby one – so I’m going to be doing the neighbourly thing and passing the book onto my next door neighbour who will definitely get a lot out of it with her seven month old. I’d highly recommend the book, regardless!

I was provided with a copy of the book for review. (which has since been passed on to next door!)

We Love Books at Mum Friendly