The book “The Parenting Map” offers several solutions to “consciously create the ultimate parent-child relationship.” At first glance this seems like a tall order and, as a reader, you might wonder whether the pages of the book (more than 300) can deliver on such a premise.
But it does. The way the guiding map is presented is clear-cut and concise. Dr. Shefali delineates three stages in the journey — stage one progresses “from frustration to clarity,” stage to from “dysfunctional patterns to conscious choice,” and stage three moves from conflict to connection.
Each of these three stages comprises several steps, totaling 20. Even as every step is detailed, the author explains how to put the suggestions into practice.
These sections offer real-world, very doable items that will strike close to the heart of every parent and caregiver. The tone is direct and active, calling to action.
For example, writing about step four — “end the chase for happiness and success” — Dr. Shefali suggests removing the two terms and focusing on “presence” and “experience” instead. She goes to add, “In this way, our children can let their lives unfold as they are meant to without any judgment for them to be anything other than they are.”
Each of the chapters begins with a sketch that is relatable and a beautifully written poem. Another step that would resonate with many parents and caregivers is number 11, where the author recommends activating “your third I” — defined as “the self that you should have internalized from your parents in childhood.” She goes on to outline measures that can be adopted to “re-parent yourself — it just takes time and a renewed consciousness.”
Dr. Shefali’s two decades-long experience working directly with parents as a clinical psychologist is evident in the simple yet effective suggestions peppering the pages of the book. It is described as an “evidence-based manual;” its inclusion of client stories and anecdotes make it relatable.
The practice-based approach is encouraging and offers hope for those parents and caregivers struggling in their parenting journey or seeking to do things in a different way. The author signs off thus: “It is time to embody your new self. You are more ready than ever to begin. The moment is now.”
“The Parenting Map”; ISBN: 978-0-06-326795-4;
www.amazon.com, $14.99 (Kindle); $24.39 (hardcover)
— Book review by Sriya Chattopadhyay
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