Lets face it. There is a lot of crap out there. Not just in social media, the internet and the news but in our most time honored and treasured bearers of knowledge… books. I’ve been reading since I can remember, all manner of things both fiction and non-fiction, theoretical and factual in nature and chances are that if you’re reading this, you are of like mind. We cannot grow and evolve to champion our own lives without learning from the experiences and mistakes, the trials and successes of others.
But which books do we read? How do we know if something is worthwhile, or worthless? That last one, only you can answer. But the first one I might be able to help with. Recommended by myself and guests on the show, as well as other prominent and successful individuals who have used the lessons in the books provided, these tomes of wisdom must meet a certain criteria to be presented here. That’s not to say you’ll enjoy or get something out of all of them, but that they simply worked for others and bear notice.
It is my intention that this page serves as a filter of sorts, so you know exactly from whom and where these books are being promoted. And you can choose to consider them or not as to whether you might find them useful. Only works pertaining to Family Life, Parenting, Child-Rearing, Childhood, Relationships and other related subjects will be offered here.
Embracing the Darkness: Understanding Dark Subcultures by Corvis Nocturum – This book was one of my first eye-openers to the alternative lifestyles which people have lived and partake in, from Vampires to Dark Pagans, modern primitives and Satanists alike. One very important facet of this book is its excellent portrayal of a dominant/submissive based relationship between a man and a woman who have children. Understanding social roles and relationships between individuals in environments of their choosing, but not of our own is an important perspective to have as we present the world to our children.
Mastering Respectful Confrontation: A Guide to Personal Freedom and Empowered, Collaborative Engagement by Joe Weston – “At the heart of MASTERING RESPECTFUL CONFRONTATION is the belief that it is possible to stand in your power, speak your truth, hear the truth of others, and get your needs met in a way that will harm neither you nor others.” This book, more than others proposes a much more, leave the lawn and grass to grow vs. burning it and starting anew in regards to relationships and your power structure. I rarely condone assholery (new word, just made it up) and having tools in your toolbox to use that can make you come out on top in not only the mind of your adversary but those around you is vital to success. This plays out doubly true in family life and child rearing where, in all honesty you should have that desire to be assertive, but also ensure that everyone’s needs are met.
Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children by Dr. Thomas Gordon – “P.E.T., or Parent Effectiveness Training, began almost forty years ago as the first national parent-training program to teach parents how to communicate more effectively with kids and offer step-by-step advice to resolving family conflicts so everybody wins. This beloved classic is the most studied, highly praised, and proven parenting program in the world — and it will work for you. Now revised for the first time since its initial publication, this groundbreaking guide will show you: How to avoid being a permissive parent, How to listen so kids will talk to you and talk so kids will listen to you, How to teach your children to “own” their problems and to solve them and How to use the “No-Lose” method to resolve conflicts.”
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle – The Facts of life without any nonsense and with illustrations. by Peter Mayle – For those old enough to remember who Dr. Spock was (not the one from Star Trek) he gave the following review for this book: “I give this book top grades for humanness and honesty. Some parents will find that its humorousness helps then over the embarrassment. Others may be offended.” This is the book that was given to me in the third grade and how I learned all about sex. The pictures are geared towards younger children. Topics from the human body and intercourse as well as “what it feels like” and ejaculation are handled with accurate details and humor in a way that is factual yet “gentle” for kids. It also goes over conception and how the baby grows as well as the actual birth. This would probably be too “cute” or limited for older tweens but for younger ones, it is just perfect.
What’s Happening to Me? by Peter Mayle – Another by the author of Where Did I Come From? This book covers additional topics around puberty such as why your body changes, hormones, breasts, erections, periods, voice changes, pimples, masturbation, body hair, and wet dreams. It also has a page each for boys and girls that show the changes in the body as it ages from 8 to 18 in accurate but not too graphic realistic pencil sketches. The rest of the drawings are similar to the Where Did I Come From? cartoon style. It is a good basic introduction at a higher level that can be supplemented with additional materials that address specifics.
Body Drama by Dr. Angela Diaz – This has to be, hands down, one of the best books I have seen for young girls about their bodies and all the changes that happen to it. I like that this is more modern and contemporary in that it goes over things such as piercings in “delicate” areas and tattoos. I also liked that this book is full of photography, much of it is VERY explicit, however such as the page of vulvas that contains 24 up close and personal photos of different vulvas from different races. I mention this page as my daughter was reading it in front of a born again Xian family member and they about fainted when they glanced over and saw it. This book is broken out by body area and goes over a huge variety of topics organized by typical questions girls have, I even learned a few new things myself when I read it.
Period. by JoAnn Loulan – This is the book I was given prior to my first period and it did a great job of explaining more of the specifics around your period such as sanitary items (it is a little old in that it actually refers to a sanitary napkin belt which I think were on the way out back when I started), how to insert a tampon, emotional feelings (PMS), cramps, and pelvic exams. The drawings are black and white, simple line cartoons. A good supplement to What’s Happening to Me for an audience that might not yet be ready, in their parent’s opinion, for the more explicit Body Drama book by Diaz. Also, while Diaz’s book does cover some topics around periods but this book does a much better job of going into more depth.
The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox – The finer print below the title kind of says it all, “How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day”. This book, while rather basic in premise is both a wonderful primer, as well as thought provoking tool and catalyst for you to create your own rituals and traditions within your familial unit. From the commonly observed holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas to special ideas for the more personal and eclectically minded you can be sure to find some wonderful ideas to make any holiday (or make up any holiday) all your own.
Teaching Children Self-Discipline at Home and at School – This is not your typical tell you how to because some dude says so book. The entire first half of the book is an expansive exploration of the research and reasons behind the methods being proposed.With historical examples, research done and analytics comprising decades of studies in group sessions and coaching, Dr. Gordon provides ways new ways parents and teachers can build self-control, self-esteem, and self-reliance in their children by teaching the skills required to govern more democratically, less autocratically. The second half of the book, after he has presented his case explains very plainly and with examples when, why and how to influence your children to grow in ways which will benefit them most. A must for every parent.
Toddlers Are A**holes: It’s Not Your Fault by Bunmi Laditan – Toddlers suck. They just suck. There’s no way around the wholly selfish, pouty face, uncompromising agenda of the years known affectionately as Toddler Tyranny Time. Some adults might indeed have some naturally well behaved and remarkably laid back children. But I think those people bought an alien baby on eBay. The biggest take away from this book is the acceptance of the human condition that is our little devils and that while you can and should influence their actions in the appropriate direction, it’s not really their fault they suck. And honestly, its probably not yours either.
Shitty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us by alf satire, half serious and all honesty, Shitty Mom is one of those moments of clarity that many people seem to need. We get so caught up in being perfect, amazing… or trying to be that we forget to be humans, to be parents. This is a sanity check to see if you have the humor that it takes to survive parenting because as every true parent knows, if you can’t laugh about something.. you’re probably going to cry. The worst parents we see around us, those who cannot interact with children even of their own loins has to be the sad and sodded individuals who just go through the moments. When you take everything seriously, life starts to become this serious affair. But whats the point of people too serious in a life where, lets be honest, you’re not going to get out of alive.
How Not to Be a Dick; An Everyday Etiquette Guide by Meghan Doherty – The title says it all. And while I believe it is intended for younger audiences, preteens and older adolescence, this is really an adult that parents should read with their children. The many “common sense” things which are primarily are overlooked because of bad habits are called to task in this book. With short and concise entries pertaining to every scenario of our societal existence, it gives a great platform to further explain the nuances of interactions and everyday living to our children. For those of us well versed in influencing others and environmental conditions, this serves to reinforce the demands of public perception upon our image.