To my great surprise I met my goal and finished "The New Strong-Willed Child". I've been working on it for months and hadn't gotten past the first 3 chapters until this month.
This was a great book. I am by no means an expert now at raising children but I feel much more prepared for the season we are moving into with Isaac. He is somewhat "strong-willed" but I haven't met many toddlers that were not. I think that's just human nature playing itself out.
So what did I learn from this book? Well, I'm glad you asked :)
One of the biggest things was what Dr. Dobson said about the balance between love and control. When the scale tips in either direction is when things get out of whack. He also said in this balance we need to recognize "that implementing a reasonable and consistent action line does not assault self-worth; instead, it represents a source of security for an immature child". The 'action line' was a big thing for me too. That's when you give your child clear boundaries or instructions and they disobey there is a consequence. Your child knows if they do this action, this consequence will happen. But they will push until they know you will react.
This really helped me with a situation we are having with Isaac. For some reason Isaac has a thing for throwing his food and utensils off of his tray when he's eating. He's been doing it for months and we had started doing a slap on the hand when he threw food off. Now, let me say I understand the whole "exploratory" phase but we are way past that. He looks at us sometimes and holds his cup hostage over the side challenging us to see what will happen. We used to give a lot of warnings but this week we started implementing some of the methods Dr. Dobson talks about in his book. We have had a lot less incidents because Isaac now know the first time is it. Mom and Dad mean business. Let me also say we don't scream, yell, or get mad at Isaac. I really appreciated that about this book as well. Dr. Dobson does a good job of describing the difference between controlled discipline and child abuse. We in no way would ever want to belittle or hurt Isaac. But we do have to navigate between shaping the will and preserving his spirit.
Overall, I felt like there was some great straight forward advice and some great insight. Now onto "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollen.