Weird Parenting Wins | Hillary Frank

Summary of: Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches
By: Hillary Frank


Embark on an enlightening journey through the uncharted territory of parenting with the book summary of ‘Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches’ by Hillary Frank. Discover unconventional but practical solutions to common parenting challenges, from dealing with whining children to fostering creativity, and learn to embrace your inner weirdness as a parent. The book provides heartwarming anecdotes and real-life experiences that showcase the power of adaptability, resourcefulness, and love in overcoming obstacles and helping children grow.

Parenting Hacks

As a parent, dealing with whining children can be frustrating, but using a creative approach can lead to a solution. The author shared an experience of how she turned her daughter’s whines into a funny song while waiting in a long queue. Similarly, a couple shared how they used an electric toothbrush to lull their fussy baby to sleep. The lesson is to keep trying new things until something works, and never give up. Parenthood doesn’t come with a handbook, but creativity can solve many issues.

Creative Parenting Hacks

Mealtimes and breastfeeding can be a nightmare for parents and caregivers. The author presents two examples of creative parenting hacks that work. The “snack meal” strategy lets kids enjoy the same meal in snack form, freeing them to play when finished and allowing parents to enjoy dinner in peace. The classic cradle hold may not always work for breastfeeding, but by propping the baby upright with a pillow support, success can be achieved. Creativity and adaptability are key in caring for children.

Soothing and Empowering Techniques for Children

The author recalls her childhood fear of a lion hiding beneath her bed and how her mother created a sign that banned scary animals from entering her room. This strategy proved effective, and the lettering became tiny as more creatures were added. The author’s mother extended this protection to the guestroom at her grandmother’s home. While such strategies are useful in calming fears, it is also important to develop a child’s sense of bravery. Parents can play bravery games with their children, such as counting to ten in a dark room, starting with hand-holding and gradually increasing the counting time. This approach has been proven effective by many parents.

Sibling Rivalry: A Quest for Love

The author recounts childhood memories of sibling rivalry with her brother Josh and reflects on whether such tricks are indicative of something else. Through a story from a mother in Washington, she emphasizes that sibling rivalry often stems from a need to feel loved. Parents should acknowledge these character traits and address them rather than dismissing them as just pranks.

The author shares a personal experience of sibling rivalry with her younger brother Josh, revealing how she played cruel tricks on him during their childhood, starting with pulling open his eyelids as he slept. As they grew up, her schemes became even more devious, for instance, stealing his Tooth Fairy gift and leaving a note claiming that children who bled when losing teeth didn’t receive any gifts. The author highlights that such rivalries are common among siblings, but they may signify more profound issues like a need for love and attention.

To illustrate this point, the author cites a story from a mother in Washington whose elder son started bothering his newborn brother and calling himself stupid and not liked by anyone. The mother realized that her son wanted to feel loved and valued, so she told him that he was her favorite child, even though she didn’t have one, and his behavior changed for the better.

In essence, sibling rivalry is not just a matter of playful pranks but could be an expression of a need for parental attention and affection. Rather than dismissing such behavior as normal sibling competition, parents should recognize them as deeper character traits that require attention and address them accordingly.

Coping Strategies for Parents

Being a parent can be overwhelming and stressful, leading to outbursts. However, there are effective ways to manage these emotions. Crying can be a release, and shifting children’s attention to something delightful can diffuse tantrums. For instance, Kristina’s turtle imitation helped her divert an autistic child’s attention from the pool, calming him down. This lesson applies to both parents and children – redirecting the mind to something joyful is an excellent coping strategy.

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