I love reading parenting books. They give me ideas and inspiration to help me be a better mother and raise my kiddos well. Each parenting book I read gives me more tools in my parenting toolbelt. I just listened to probably my favorite parenting audiobook ever. Brene Brown’s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is a true gem. In this post, you’ll see four parenting tips from Brene Brown that will challenge and encourage you to level-up in your own parenting.
This audiobook doesn’t give you phrases to say to your kids or a step-by-step program. This book is different. There isn’t extra fluff added here and there. Every word is noteworthy. “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” challenged me to become a better example for my kids and equipped me with new parenting tool for my toolbelt.
4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown’s Book:
Most of us know what shame and guilt are, yet I didn’t fully understand the difference when it comes to parenting. And I sure didn’t realize the different outcomes of shame versus guilt on children as they grow up.
Brene is a shame researcher. She distinguishes shame versus guilt in this way. Shame says I am bad and guilt says I made a bad choice. Do you see the difference? Shame-based parenting puts the negative behavior as who they are, while guilt-based parenting focuses on the behavior.
Shame-based parenting is what was the norm in past generations. It’s slowly becoming less popular as new parenting methods are becoming more prevalent.
What blew me away was the long-term effects of shame-based parenting. Those children who are raised with shame are more likely to be depressed, drop out of school, be involved in risky sexual behaviors, drugs, and alcohol. While children who were parented using guilt are more likely to graduate and be involved in less risky behaviors. This is a big deal and the biggest factor between the shame-driven versus guilt-driven kids is the way they are parented.
Obviously, Brene Brown recommends that we should parent using guilt, not shame. She states, “I’m just going to say it: I’m pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it’s about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done – or failed to do – with our personal values.” This is what we want our children to experience- guilt, not shame.
Developmental Milestones to Look for:
Brene Brown talked about a study that was done in the 1960’s where they put 12-18 month children with their mothers in front of a mirror. They put rouge on the mother’s nose and watched what the children did. The children would look in the mirror and try to wipe off the rouge off of their own nose, not their mothers.
From this study, they determined that young children cannot distinguish themselves from their caregivers (attachment theory). But when children hit around the age of two, they are able to see themselves as separate from their parents. That’s why when you ask your two year old to come they run the other way.
Brene’s husband is a pediatrician and he wants to hear that the two year old is being a challenge. If a two year old isn’t being defiant and doing the opposite of what you ask them to do, he’d be concerned about their developmental stage. What we see as frustrating behaviors are often times developmental milestones that should be celebrated.
Since I have a two year old, this really resonated with me. It changed my perspective and gave me a better understanding about his behavior. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give our children limits. Brene says our job as parents are creating limits and boundaries and sticking to them. My big takeaway was understanding why my child’s behavior is really a developmental milestone.
The Power of Play
Obviously playing together as a family is important, but I’ve never heard research that backed this up. A violence researcher studied case after case of people who are incarcerated because of violent behavior. He was trying to find a common factor from their childhood, and his conclusion was that there was a lack of play as children.
This research was really interesting to me and encouraged me to play more with my kids. Brene Brown wanted to put this into action in her own family, so she had a family meeting where each person talked about what activities they enjoy so much that they lose track of time and laugh to the point of tears. They were able to determine what they love as a family and they plan activities and vacations around those activities. I love this idea.
Practicing Gratitude as a Family Tradition:
We live in an age where entitlement is a huge concern for our children. Brene says the cure for entitlement is practicing gratitude. Her family makes this a practice when they eat dinner. They say a prayer before the meal and then each family member says something they are grateful for that day.
She says that they have had deeper dinner conversations because of this technique. Sometimes her kids reveal something that they are dealing with like ‘I’m thankful for my grandparents.’ Her child who said this had a friend who was dealing with a grandparent that just passed. I’ve loved this idea and have started incorporating this gratitude practice into our dinner routine.
Brene Brown‘s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is full of so many wonderful parenting ideas. This isn’t a book you’ll just want to skim- every word is powerful! I listened to this audiobook three times, it’s that good! Plus, it’s only two hours long.
I recommend listening to this audiobook with your spouse. It will give you valuable information and great talking points to help you both approach your parenting together. So if you’re looking for a refresher in your parenting or a good dose of encouragement, I’d highly recommend Brene’s book.