I'm starting a new series in honor of my all-time favorite assignment as a student: book reports. Check out my first write-up, on Carla Naumberg's Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters.
Parenting in the Present Moment is a wonderful read for parents struggling to stay calm with their children or maintain their own identities. It’s full of practical strategies to engage with and appreciate your children more fully. (As a bonus, these tips also apply to interpersonal relationships more broadly.)
This book is about how to practice “mindful parenting” (more) effectively; at its most basic level, this quest boils down to being non-reactive as a parent. Naumberg’s introduction is a bit repetitive, but the remainder of the book is quite succinct, besides being well-organized. (I might recommend parents skim the introduction and just jump into chapter 2.) The writing is approachable and each section contains anecdotal examples, literature-based evidence, and practical everyday strategies for implementing various components of mindfulness... Highly recommended.
Naumberg divides mindful parenting into three arenas: staying connected, staying grounded, and staying present. Although these constitute three separate chapters, in reality they are all interconnected, and presence is definitely, fittingly, the mainstay for Naumberg’s approach.
There are a few noteworthy refrains in Parenting in the Present Moment. Naumberg sings the praises of meditation throughout the book, and even skeptics might be willing to give it a go after reading it. Naumberg suggests, in accordance with a growing body of scholarship, that meditation – concerted focus on the breath, over and over again – is both extremely beneficial and universally accessible. Another thread is that parents striving to be mindful need to take care of themselves – Naumberg consistently encourages parents to do so, both in the long-term through things like therapy, as well as the day-to-day, through things like getting enough sleep and finding time to exercise or meditate. Lastly, Naumberg describes her strategies as examples of “North Star parenting” – methods to help parents get back on track and redirect themselves in the face of any kind of parenting “setback.” Moreover, she really advocates that parents not dwell on “mistakes” or fault themselves, but, accordingly stay present.
Have you read the book, or others like it? What did you think?