I’m not going to lie, of all the parenting books I’ve read (or skimmed!) only one, “Bringing Up Bebe” has ever impacted me to the point of parental obsessive thankfulness. That was the one book I devoured, bored all my friends into a catatonic state waxing on about and listed as the one book responsible for making me believe this whole parenting thing was actually possible without losing one’s identity, sanity and marital connection. Many years (and books) later, that number remained at a very dismal one until “Win + Win Parenting” by Seth and Lauren Dahl came along. In the newly released “Win + Win Parenting” book, the Dahls have intentionally gone out of their way to educate the full 360 of what it means to be a parent.
Where most books focus on the how-to’s, 1-2-3’s and frankly, just the children, “Win + Win Parenting” strives, and succeeds, in bringing together the pivotal foundations and steps required for a thriving family unit as a whole.
The Dahls poignantly and powerfully instruct that in order for a home to thrive, the children must thrive. And in order for the children to thrive, the parents must be thriving. And in order for the parents to be thriving, the parents must be intentional, teachable, fitted with boundries and anchored.
Sounds dreamy, right? Yes! With each page, I kept saying, “I want that for my family.” It was the one book that took the hope I had gained from “Bringing Up Bebe,” and turned it into excitable determination to act upon the lessons I was learning.
In his foreword to the book, Danny Silk—author and President of Loving on Purpose Life Academy—said it best: “It’s a book about impartation, character development, responsibility and love. It’s a leadership book written to parents.”
The Dahls poignantly and powerfully instruct that in order for a home to thrive, the children must thrive. And in order for the children to thrive, the parents must be thriving.
And impart, “Win + Win Parenting” does, with each new chapter offering keen insight into an intentional way of parenting rarely seen within our immediate society. Here are just a few of my favorite takeaways to whet your appetite:
“We like to say we have a low ‘parenting pain tolerance.’ If something is off or someone is hurting, we immediately see what needs to be changed.”
“Then we tried having him sit in what we call the ‘no fun’ chair until he was ready to help…a ‘no fun’ chair is a place a child sits when they are not choosing to be fun for others to be around.”
“It is well known that the way children experience their parents directly influences how they experience God.”
“We’ve established daily ‘quiet times’ with our children, when they are required to play in their rooms by themselves for an hour.”
“When children tell us what they want to do when they get older, they are telling us who they already are.”
“One simple way an atmosphere is automatically set in your home is by your relationship with your spouse…A healthy marriage and a healthy you are key to creating the atmosphere in your home you want, but the children contribute as well.”
“[W]e both have a very high value for our home being a place of rest and peace. Another practical way we’ve done this is by keeping out the clutter and by not allowing toys with batteries in our home…We decided…we would not be able to keep the level of peace we wanted if we allowed all sorts of loud, flashing, battery-operated toys in our home.”
“When we mess up, we own it and do what we like to call, ‘cleaning up our mess.’”
“We also talk through what they are feeling, so our children can learn to communicate these emotions with words instead of reactions.”
“As a married couple, we work hard to get on, and stay on, the same page. We want our children to know and feel the power of having parents who are connected and loving despite being very different people with different opinions.”
“Children are arrows we are privileged to shape…The person shaping an arrow must be present as things are taking shape…When we are present with our children, we can trim off things which could cause them to fly off course while adding substance to keep them stable.”
“We want children who are dangerous to the enemy, so our presence is required to help them learn along the way.”
Too often, as parents, we strive for perfection or the path of least resistance instead of pressing into what parenting was intended to be: a path of learning, growth and fulfillment anchored in the fruits of the spirit for all members of a family, not just the children.
To that end, the Dahls set a new standard of what it means to parent in the ways of the Kingdom, and they do it in a way of peaceful edification versus a list of impossible-to-master to-dos.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t have much time to spare weeding through the plethora of parenting books out there, looking for the proverbial diamond in the rough. So, I’m going to save you a little leg-work and offer this book as a transformative tool for your marriage, your children and for you, individually. Let it encourage you, as it has me, into a path of parenting seldom painted, for every earnest, perhaps a little weary, yet hopeful parent (and parents-to-be!).
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