I love how God works! I had already chosen my October book recommendation and was looking forward to sharing it with all of you and then I got an email that my favorite women’s author wrote another children’s book. I ordered it and it arrived in the mail yesterday. I read it to my youngest child last night and just loved it; some of our discussions from it reminded me of one of my all time favorite parenting books. So, my October book recommendation has been changed to 1 children’s book and 1 book on parenting.
Let’s start with the children’s book by Lysa Terkeurst called “Win or Lose I Love You!” It is an adorable story about these animals that compete in these forest games and it shows some of the many attitudes and reactions from kids when they either win or lose. One character whined, one complained, one got angry, one acted with grace and encouraged… It was fun for my son and me to identify which animal we thought we were most like in how we react and then to talk in more details about it. We had a great discussion!
This discussion continued as we talked more about coyote who gets extremely angry when he lost. After coyote gets so angry, he then says something very interesting to me. He says, “I ruined Field day. I‘m the worst animal in the forest.” This is what I found so interesting about his comment- coyote goes “all bad”. I don’t know if you are familiar with this phrase but I know you have seen it in your kids; it is when they start to see themselves as being bad instead of seeing that they made a bad choice. I think many kids go “all bad” when they don’t get their way, make mistakes, or struggle with their negative emotions. I don’t know if you or your child can relate to this but both my son and I could. There are times when I have made a mistake as a mom and my mind goes “all bad” and I think negative thoughts like I am a horrible mother, I will never be patient with my kids… this negative thinking can go into a downward spiral very fast. My son has done this and he starts saying things like “I am dumb or no one loves me”…. at these times, I encourage both my son or myself to stop and feed some truth into our minds before we get too deep into a negative spiral. Some truth statements we say are, “I am special, my family loves me, God loves me.“ It was so cool that this book opened up so many great discussions; I highly recommend it and hope that you have some great discussions with your kids too!
As I was reading this book, I realized that both kids and adults struggle with dealing with our negative emotions. Emotional awareness is super important; identifying what I am feeling and then learning how to deal with these emotions. Well, this brings me to my second book recommendation; my favorite parenting book called “How We Love our Kids” by Milan and Kay Yerkovich. This book has been life changing to me and I hope it is life changing to you too! Honestly, I can spend hours talking to you about the truths in this book but let me focus on just one thing that I learned from this book: God designed and wired us for connection. How do we feel this deep connection? When we truly listen, understand, empathize and offer comfort to someone. In this book, they talk about offering comfort to our kids in just 4 steps (MATS):
Mention what emotion you see.
Ask more about how they feel and validate it.
Touch- off your lap, share a hug, cover a hand.
Stay until the emotional need changes or is filled.
This will create a bonding moment! When you read the book, there is a parent toolbox in the back of the book where they talk more about the comfort cycle and how to really implement it! I am hear to tell you that it is truly amazing to be able to have these connecting conversations with your kids. We want our kids to know that their main source of help and relief comes from people. We need to teach them the importance of receiving comfort relationally when they feel negative emotions like disappointment, anger, sadness, hurt, jealousy… This process does take time but is well worth it!! I will leave you with two final quotes from the book:
1) Self- awareness and the ability to self-reflect are essential to successful adult relationships. We have a simple important saying, “If you don’t know what you feel, you won’t know what you need.”
2) “Our ability to create strong relationships depends on whether we can regulate our emotions. Many experiences of comfort teach us to do just that.”
This book is truly life changing and I HIGHLY recommend it! Please let me know if you decide to get either book; I am always up to talking with you about them!