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- Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
To be fair, I have read “The Conscious Parent” twice. Perhaps the best thing going for it is the title. The material is superficial and disjointed. It’s like a series of Facebook posts.
When I told a friend I was reading it, their immediate comment was, "Good book!" So I asked, "Have you read it?" "No," she replied, "It just sounds like a book every parent should have." Hmmm. In other conversations, the title seems to resonate with many people because heaven-forbid, one should be classified an unconscious parent. Many unconsciously echo the meme of “conscious parent” but you know what happens in an echo chamber, right? This book is written for people who are too busy to do the work of being conscious.
Among books on parenting, Tsabary's is uniquely bad; but I don't want to belabor the point. And, I say this from the perspective of having read her other book, "Out of Control."
1) In a fast-paced writing style, she manages to mention many issues that resonate with parents. But she remains superficial. This is the great deception of the book. She writes in the style that is very common in the age of Social Media; a style that confuses sound bites for knowledge.
2) She piles on one-liners and zingers as matters of fact, but none of her advice is corroborated. There is no bibliography or reference to the work of others. That's really bad because it implies that all the other scholarship and alternative parenting wisdom are somewhat weaker than her simplistic views. From her perspective, it seems that raising children is settled science; fix the lack of consciousness in the parent and awesome children spring forth.
3) She glosses over examples from her private practice; the circumstances of the examples she uses are poorly developed. Each case is offered in validation of her thesis that the parents need to sort out their inner control monsters from their childhoods as predicates for relating consciously to their children.
I bought Tsabary’s book because we have a 5-yo boy who is, to use another tired meme, spirited. Consciously, or not, I find myself pondering deeply the lessons learned from different aspects of minding his behaviors; neutral, positive and negative. So I genuinely wanted to see whether this book had any insights that could be useful in relating to our son who is developing executive function and other cognitive/emotional capacities. Our son is an only-child so we have an experiment of one. Our parenting reality is not dissimilar from Tsabary’s; she mentions one daughter (she mentions her daughter many times in the book). The general fault is that Tsabary does not seem to recognize that parenting experiences with her one child offer little room for generalization.
One thing that makes Tsabary's book painful is a type of tonal shift. These tonal shifts pop up with regularity in the second half of the book. Lest the reader conclude that the theme of the book is all "lovey-dovey and touchy-feely" (these are her words), Tsabary changes tone by referencing the language of so-called “traditional” parenting. In one frame, she writes: "We cannot be a ‘pleaser’ and ‘pleader,’ then expect to have any power with our children." But earlier in the book, she all but says power is bad. It’s ego! It’s control! In another breath she writes: “To foster the ability to surrender to one’s own will and to that of another when appropriate is a key element of discipline. This is very different from just getting children to ‘behave.’” She all but slams so-called parental guidance and boundaries in the first half of the book and then attempts to play both sides of the parenting argument; the result is a feeling that the reader should be getting something profound but not really getting anything. So as not to belabor the point, she offers mountains of advice, but her treatment is superficial.
Tsabary thinks children are our little “spiritual gurus;” she leads the reader to believe that children are emotionally fully-formed; that they are little adults. “Our children,” she writes, “can lead us into authenticity because they instinctively know how to be. They intuitively know how to live within their body and respond to their spirit.” One is unsure whether references to guru are part of her supposed blending of Eastern philosophy with general psychoanalysis. As a student of Zen, I don’t see a connection. And in this regard, I see only a vague connection between His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s forward and the actual content of the book. Yes, as an example, Buddhism does celebrate the free will and self-determination of each individual, but the point that Tsabary seems to miss is that Buddhism says that repetition of good choices creates good character. Of course, one does not know which Eastern philosophy she is referencing.
When your child receives a C grade or isn’t potty-trained by age two, Tsabary writes: “The conscious parent sees the divine in all of these things.” If you want to encourage your child to do better, don’t read this book because she finds every way to encourage parents to accept the children’s states of being as they are.
Maybe we need a conscious therapist.