Author: Dr. Ben Bernstein
This book focuses on stress in parenting. It gives practical step-by-step tools to combat stressful situations, while also helping to identify what causes stress in parenting and how to decrease that stress. The book goes on to assist you in setting goals to become the parent you want to become. It helps you identify what may be standing in the way of achieving your goals and how to combat those things.
Parts I Liked Best:
Dr. Ben Bernstein uses a three-legged stool to introduce the idea that when we are stressed as parents we are disconnecting in at least one of three areas: the body, the mind, or the spirit. It is important that the spirit is focused, the mind is confident, and the body is calm.
If one of the legs of the stool is not strong, it causes stress. He then expands on these ideas and offers practical step-by-step tools to strengthen these areas. For example, one of the legs of the stool is the mind. As stress mounts, we can begin to lose self confidence. Our minds begin to tell us all the ways we fall short. The first step to increasing self confidence and therefore strengthening the mind is to become aware of any negativity your mind is expressing. Once you become aware of the negativity, you can proceed to use three tools the author gives for building self confidence:
- Confide. Dr. Bernstein leads you through a practice where you mentally picture someone with whom you can confide, and then you tell them about negativity going on in your mind. By doing this you are relieving the figurative weight negativity can have on your mind.
- Reflect. You then picture your confidant reflecting back to you something that is accurate and positive about yourself. This helps to bring out the positive things you believe about yourself, which tend to be buried under negative thoughts.
- Envision the steps to confidence. The next step is to envision yourself taking a series of small, manageable steps to combat the original negativity. For example, if you are upset at yourself for being indecisive with your children because they ask an overwhelming number of questions, you can picture what you will do when your children ask you these questions. You can picture yourself stopping what you are doing so you can focus on him/her, taking a deep breath, telling yourself that you can make a good choice, and making a decision immediately. Or, you can imagine telling your child to come back in five minutes if you need to think about it. Taking these steps can build your confidence. As Dr. Bernstein says, “Confidence in parenting is the faith or trust in yourself that is built on what you do—on actions, not just on what you say” (110).
How This Book Affected My Mothering:
When many things demand my time and energy, I can easily become stressed. This book helped me not only understand stress and why it occurs, but also helped me to find constructive and healthy things to do right in that moment so I can keep my cool and calm down.
I have used the tools that Dr. Bernstein recommended with great success. The methods he uses are so simple that I’ve also been able to teach them to one of my children who tends to stress out more easily than the others. I am hoping that, by teaching her these tools now, she will be able to use them when she faces stressful situations later in life and when she parents her own children.
Furthermore, I’ve been able to identify my goals as a parent better and identify what has been distracting me from better achieving those goals. This has helped my relationship with my children to become stronger.
I really appreciated that Michelle Packard joined Dr. Bernstein in this book. She is a mother and provided her thoughts on the information Dr. Bernstein gave. As I read her experiences I felt connected to her as a mother, and the information I was reading really came to life. I felt like I was listening to a friend discussing her experience with Dr. Bernstein’s ideas. This is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it.
QUESTION: When feeling stressed, try identifying the source of your disconnect. Is it stemming from your spirit, your mind, or your body?
CHALLENGE: When facing negative thoughts about who you are as a parent, try using the guided imagery exercise to increase your self confidence, strengthen your mind, and improve your parenting.
Power of Moms is an Amazon Affiliate. We only promote books we love, and any purchases through our link will help support Power of Moms. Thanks!
Edited by Aubrey Degn and Sarah Monson