Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, recently released a new parenting book called Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents. He co-authored it with Shannon Warden, a counselor and mom with three little ones. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The authors use their parenting experiences as well as their counseling expertise to share the lessons they’ve learned as parents; and that they wish they had known earlier. This book is written with new parents or parents-to-be in mind, but I’m almost four years into my parenting journey, and I learned so much from this book!
What It’s About
Each chapter is devoted to a topic that new parents might not know about. There are chapters about potty training, the surprising costs of raising children, and boundaries. These are things that most new parents don’t often think about because “you don’t know what you don’t know.” The authors also discussed how two children are never alike, but parents tend to compare their children to others- starting with comparing weight at birth. Each chapter has thoughtful discussion questions at the end that would be really helpful to talk about with a spouse.
After the general information in the first few chapters, the topics become more in depth and would benefit more seasoned parents. One chapter is devoted to explaining how important social skills are for children- maybe even more important than knowledge! When adults are fired from the jobs, it is rarely because they aren’t intelligent enough. Other helpful chapters discuss making education decisions for children, and the pure joy that raising children brings.
Some of the early chapters did contain information that I’ve experienced at this point in parenting. These chapters were still enjoyable to read, and I found myself thinking, “That’s so true!” often. Overall, I learned so much from this book. My favorite chapter was the one I mentioned about social skills. Social skills are something that people assume come from being around other kids, but Dr. Chapman and Dr. Warden explained that they are taught by families. They described how to help develop these important skills. I especially loved that the authors listed specific social skills to work on. Society tends to lump all social skills into the category of playing nicely with other children, but that’s only one necessary skill.
Another chapter I enjoyed was about tending to children’s emotional needs. This is something that I think about, but am not always sure how to do. The authors recapped the five love languages for children. I had never thought of paying attention to a child’s complaints to learn what love language they use. Miss H sometimes says things like, “You never play with me!” (Not true!) This tells me that her love language is quality time. The authors explained that this is important to know for a child’s emotional well-being.
Would I Recommend This Book?
Absolutely! It would make a great gift for parents to be or new parents, but it isn’t limited to only that group. It introduces ideas that are helpful and inspiring. There are some topics in the book that I’ll come back to in the future.