Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents  |  Gary Chapman & Shannon Warden   | Nonfiction, Parenting  |  2016

Why did I read this book?  I’ll tell you the truth.  I was in dire need of something to read and this was available at the right place at the right time (side note, aren’t Toronto public libraries great?).  I should also mention that despite the obvious nature of the book, I don’t have children nor do I plan to any time soon.  However, it’s never too early to prepare right?  Just kidding, I was simply bored and curious.

The fun surprise, however, was that Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents was actually written by the same guy that came up with the ‘five love languages’!  Years ago I was obsessed with learning about the different love languages and made all my friends and family take the online quiz so that I could improve my personal relationships with them. There’s an actual book you can read, but a lot of the information is available on the website.

Anyway, back to Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents.  I think that, as with all books on parenting, any advice given should be taken with a grain of salt.  Each kid is different and there’s probably not a “one size fits all” method for rearing children.  But I bet it’s good to be aware of what’s out there so you can make an informed decision about what you want to do.

Summary

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents is a basic book on parenting.  Dr Chapman, a seasoned father, reflects on his time raising his children long ago, whilst his colleague, Dr Warden, offers a more recent view as she rears her children in the book’s present time.

Each chapter is a different lesson and is filled with questions like, “how does your childhood compare?” and “have you thought about how you will approach this?”  There are also discussion points at the end of each chapter for the parent(s) to go over.

Thoughts

I didn’t think too much about this book after finishing, but it’s probably because it just isn’t relevant to me at the moment.  However, everyone has their own idea about how to rear children, and it was interesting to hear from someone who went through the experience and was open to talking about what they would have done differently.  There is a bit of a religious spin to the book, if you’re averse to that, but it’s not too over the top if you’re not Christian.

Given my interest in psychology, I actually thought this book would be good at helping me better understand human behaviour and which behaviours could be traced back to parenting choices.  From that point of view, I definitely got something out of it.  It’s said that most children turn out similar to their parents, but I suppose if you don’t really like something about yourself, you have some power to shape your child so they don’t have that attribute.

Is it for you?

This book is geared towards first time parents.  It’s quick and interesting without being too preachy, which is always nice.  I can’t say I got much out of it as a childless individual, but I’m sure those who are about to have children or have just birthed one may find it useful.

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