Welcome to Picture Book Parenting!

Recently I had a revelation that inspired me to create this blog. Children’s picture books are more than just something good for children. They can also make us think about the parent, grandparent, teacher or child caregiver we want to be. They can help us grow into and shape ourselves into being who we want to be.

After forty years of experience working with children and parents, I began working on writing children’s picture books myself and that is how I discovered that picture books are also about parenting, not just about entertaining or teaching children. So, I am launching this website that will use featured, personally selected children’s picture books to help us think about how we want to act as parents and learn to be the parent we each want to be.

It’s January 1, 2013 as I am posting this introduction. Some of you may have hit our site in November or December. If so, I am sorry we were not home. The site has been “under construction” until now. If this is the first time you are joining our site, you may be our very first reader after our official launch. WELCOME.  As you visit our site for the first time, I am expecting you will have a couple of important questions on your mind. I want to answer some of your questions right up front before we get started talking about our main topic — kids and parenting.

Can this site be helpful to me?

This is a question I am glad you are asking. Parenting is one of the most important jobs you will ever have, and I believe it is your responsibility to seek all the help you need. But, in the end, I also believe you are the best person to make decisions about what makes sense for your child and your family. You know your child and your family best; you know what your values are; you know your particular circumstances. In my mind, this makes you an expert. Yes, I said, “expert.” I hope you can get used to that idea because I will be talking that way a lot and I hope you will want to share what you know and think right along with my team and me.

We can’t wait for you to read this blog, make comments and have a conversation with us. I know what I know about parents and children from listening to parents, grandparents, teachers and child caregivers like you for over 40 years. I know what you have to say is important. In fact, I plan to use your comments for future postings as we move forward – with your permission, of course.

Who’s on “Dr. Mom’s Team”?

If you are going to look for helpful ideas from other experts like my team and me, you deserve to know about us. So, here it goes – a short description of who is on the other end of this blog.

Dr. Mom: Parent educator for 40 years; protégé of renowned parent educator and author Jean Illsley Clarke; Bachelor’s degree in Social Work; Ph.D. in human development; state level public school administrator; grandmom x 3, ages 5-9.

Dr. Ralph: Teacher of students kindergarten thru college age; education professor specializing in autism and special education; granddad x 3, ages 5-9.

Christine: Middle school science teacher; mother of 9-year-old.

Margot: Admissions officer of a boarding high school; head of dorm house for 26 teenage girls; mother x 2, ages 5 and 8.

Why is the blog called “picture book” parenting?

What’s reading got to do with it? (Sounds like a song.)  There are several answers to this question. First, we are aspiring children’s picture book writers ourselves. In working on our first book we have been amazed at how much good parenting information is in children’s picture books – books that we hope you are reading everyday to the children in your lives – your own, your class, those you take care of.  We will be pointing these parenting gems out to you so that every time you read one of our featured books to a child you Sidebar Entry#1will be reminded of the parent you want to be. And, in the spirit of full disclosure, we plan to feature our own book as soon as it is ready. 🙂

If you go into any bookstore or public library and look for something to read about parenting, you will find shelves and shelves of choices. It is hard to know where to start. I suggest that the first and most important thing is to “read” your own child. You know your child best. Your own child can give you very important information that you can use to help you be a good parent, grandparent,teacher or child caregiver. What you learn from carefully tuning into and listening to what your child tells you and shows you is as useful as those parenting books on the shelves. This blog encourages you to read your own child and to use our featured books as parenting reminders.

When interviewed by media folks over the years, I was almost always asked. “If there was only one thing you could tell parents, what would it be?” My answer was, “Be intentional.” I am sure by now you know that children don’t come with instruction books. We naturally parent the way we were parented or the way we have seen parenting done. Even though we may not like what we have experienced or seen, if we don’t think about it and make new decisions about the type of parent we want to be, we will likely slip into those other ways – especially when we are under stress. We need to create our own idea about how we want to parent and work at intentionally doing parenting that way. In other words, parent on purpose. Do not let yourself be controlled totally by the roller coaster of emotions that happens when living and working with children.

Well, I think we are off and running – no, off and reading – together. This blog is officially launched. I am excited to think about what you will have to say. Look for our next posting. We will post something new on the 1st and 15th of each month.  Here’s a preview for January 15th. We are going to feature A DUCK SO SMALL (A.H. Benjamin) and talk about your child’s self-esteem. It’s OK to read ahead. The book can be found at your local public library or bookstores, including online stores.

If you have come to our site, you are on a road to good parenting. I can’t wait to hear about the parent you are and will become.

Take care everyone,

Dr. Mom

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