CTFD and Other Parenting Advice


Is it possible to suffer from parenting guidebook reading fatigue? If so, I think I’ve hit the mark. The other day, just out of curiosity, I typed “parenting” at Amazon, and my search returned 193,691 books. It’s no wonder why I’m feeling fatigued and rightfully anxious about what I should be reading. It seems like everyone has authored a parenting book from doctors to teachers to celebrities. Even tough love, moral authority ‘Papa Bear’ Bill O’Reilly has written a parenting book, The O’Reilly Factor for Kids: A Survival Guide for America’s Families. But what does one author say about parenting that is any different from the other thousands of parenting book authors? This is perplexing.

To understand this better, I spent some time perusing the titles of some of Amazon’s parenting best sellers. Here are just a few: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Scream Free Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool, and my personal favorite, David Vienna’s 2013 international bestseller, Calm the F**ck Down. The Only Parenting Technique You’ll Ever Need. Based on these titles alone, as an outsider, it seems to be that parenting involves a considerable amount of talking and screaming. Is parenting a continuum of emergency crises where everyone is barely maintaining survival?

Lately, I’ve been collecting anecdotal parenting research from my friends and family. And just like the enormous swath of parenting guidebooks, there’s also a diverse range of advice about how to parent. Some suggest the more ambiguous like: “You’ll figure it out as you go.” “There’s really no right or wrong way to do it” (I guess it’s not like learning how to tie your shoes). “What works for me, may not work for you.” To the more definitive advice like: “You definitely need baby wipes in the car 24/7.” “Don’t get into a snacking war with a toddler in public because it will be complete hell.”  “A car seat? We don’t really use one now that he’s a toddler.” Wait. What?!

Moments later, after becoming completely unhinged and remembering to calm myself down by doing yoga breathing, I started to wonder if parenting isn’t really any different from any other relationship. Is it as simple as children want to feel loved, respected, and supported? At the end of the day maybe all parents have the similar desire which is to raise happy, healthy autonomous children and according to one friend who confidently said, “But what’s singularly different is how you get there.”

In the meantime, I’m quietly continuing to read in order to prepare myself for parenting. And on those especially challenging days; maybe the only parenting advice I need is from David Vienna who simply says, “You need to CTFD (calm the f**ck down).”

Here are a few seminal parenting/adoption books that have resonated with me:

  1. The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis & David Cross
  2. The Whole- Brain Child by Daniel Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson
  3. Adopting After Infertility by Patricia Irwin Johnston

What are your book recommendations?  Please share.