Author – Spencer Johnson
Category – Self Help
- My rating – 3 on 5
For me, parenting is a mixture of science and art – and you never end being a parent irrespective of whatever age your kids are!! This short book from Spencer Johnson (author of many “one minute” series) reinforces that there are still few facts out there about parenting which can be put to use effectively in day-to-day parenting.
The book is designed to be a short story where an young mother-to-be goes in search of the secrets about good parenting. She meets with an elderly woman who is the “one minute mother” and her daughters to collect the wisdom of being an effective mother. The basics of human psychology are established when the author says “Children who like themselves like to behave themselves”. This is followed by the sharing of the three communication secrets which helps to be a “one-minute-mother”.
- One minute goals (Goal is a dream with deadline)
- One minute praising (Catch them doing something right)
- One minute reprimand (Feedback is the breakfast of champions)
As a parent, it makes lot of sense to develop the sense of responsibility in our children and help them reach their full potential. It takes lot of effort and will to persevere through the challenging situations in parenting and keep our sanity. Johnson highlights the importance of being in balance when he writes “The best way for a mother to keep her sanity is to keep her sense of humor”. Can’t agree more here
While the following tips hold good for any interpersonal relationships and mentoring, Johnson highlights and fits them rightfully into the parenting tips
Teach children to like themselves and to like to behave themselves. Enjoy yourselves in that process
Set goals and praise and reprimand bad behavior ( tell them they are good, their behaviour was bad)
Speak simple truth and express feelings clearly
Hug your children and laugh often and show them you love them
Encourage children to do as you do (be a living example)
Pay attention to many little things that make life more enjoyable
It is more important to start right away the right things than is to wait until we think we can do it right
We become what we think about
All things are ready if our minds be so
Anxiety is fear of unknown and fear immobilizes people
The crux of the book remains in the fact that good parenting is ensuring that your children become independent and do right things by themselves. “When the children are caught doing something right, they want to do something right again (one minute praising). It makes them feel good about themselves. And children who like themselves like to behave themselves. So, instead of behaving for their parents, they do it for themselves”
Given it is a short book (100 pages +) and written like a story, it is worth spending some time to read through it – helps young parents and also the veteran parents (to revise the facts!!).
Everyone was in a hurry! The birthday party is at 7 pm and when it was decided to attend the birthday party, it was already 6.30 pm. The elder kids (7&8) were all ready…….The little three-year old nephew was so excited that he was running around the house with his toy car and driving it all over!!.
Sister-in-law was busy….- she was getting things ready for dinner for the elderly folks staying back at home, getting herself ready, packing small things (when you go with three kids on a road for half hour, you will be surprised to know what all they demand – especially when we are stuck in the traffic inside a car!) Suddenly she realized that little one is not interested in finishing his milk. Being as patient as any mom can get (I admire her for her patience when it comes to little kids!), she was cajoling the little one to finish his milk. But the time was ticking…………after five minutes of unsuccessful cajoling, she moved to the next mode – little threatening………”See, if you do not finish your milk now,you have to stay back at home with aunty” .
The little one continued to drive his little car on the dining table and with no wink of an eye he answered ” Why? Aunty also did not finish her milk?”
Ofcourse, sister-in-law was stunned !!!
When the fourteen year old talked about anthropology and the connection of races – the six year old has to add on to it….” i know, i know….i am connected to you, you are connected to grandpa and so i am connected to grandpa!” – the pride of discovering the concepts and the pride of discussing a topic with the elders make the little one so enthusiastic!!……….so, he adds on……….
“mom, what happens to grandmom?………..is she still connected to you…….you said she is dead? how do we connect to her?”…..
As though it was a dream, the answer came “our souls are always connected – what went missing was the physical presence!”……
Not sure how much the six year old would have understood, but this was indeed a very satisfying answer which made him feel that grandmom is around still!!