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Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids

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Our children can be our greatest teachers. Parenting expert Susan Stiffelman writes that the very behaviors that push our buttons — refusing to cooperate or ignoring our requests — can help us build awareness and shed old patterns, allowing us to raise our children with greater ease and enjoyment. Filled with practical advice, powerful exercises, and fascinating stories fr Our children can be our greatest teachers. Parenting expert Susan Stiffelman writes that the very behaviors that push our buttons — refusing to cooperate or ignoring our requests — can help us build awareness and shed old patterns, allowing us to raise our children with greater ease and enjoyment. Filled with practical advice, powerful exercises, and fascinating stories from her clinical work, Parenting with Presence teaches us how to become the parents we most want to be while raising confident, caring children.


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Our children can be our greatest teachers. Parenting expert Susan Stiffelman writes that the very behaviors that push our buttons — refusing to cooperate or ignoring our requests — can help us build awareness and shed old patterns, allowing us to raise our children with greater ease and enjoyment. Filled with practical advice, powerful exercises, and fascinating stories fr Our children can be our greatest teachers. Parenting expert Susan Stiffelman writes that the very behaviors that push our buttons — refusing to cooperate or ignoring our requests — can help us build awareness and shed old patterns, allowing us to raise our children with greater ease and enjoyment. Filled with practical advice, powerful exercises, and fascinating stories from her clinical work, Parenting with Presence teaches us how to become the parents we most want to be while raising confident, caring children.

30 review for Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids

  1. 4 out of 5

    mairead

    So enjoyed this. Felt like a meditative, recentering, calming, yet also energizing process just reading it. Organized well with practical examples, great connections and references to other texts, and calls to reflection and journaling. Read this in an actual physical book, highlighting and starring throughout. So glad Sham gave me it for my birthday so will have it as a reference. Highlights from my first read: * how you speak to your children -> their inner voice * good manners help your child bec So enjoyed this. Felt like a meditative, recentering, calming, yet also energizing process just reading it. Organized well with practical examples, great connections and references to other texts, and calls to reflection and journaling. Read this in an actual physical book, highlighting and starring throughout. So glad Sham gave me it for my birthday so will have it as a reference. Highlights from my first read: * how you speak to your children -> their inner voice * good manners help your child become person who makes others feel comfortable * they need to know they are not their behavior * good enough mother * wonder without googling * reminder of: is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? * only apologize after experienced genuine remorse (four steps to an apology) * practice being brave and kind * make friends with the worst case scenario * five appreciations to one negative comment (Gottman) * Special Someday Wishlist * activities: rub hands together, uncurl ears, peace corner, hug policy, stand on one leg, signals, calming bracelet, child's pose * "relax and enjoy the peace and stillness of just being the sky" * Velcro the good * cancel, cancel * do nothing * there, there * Personal Weather Report * blame jar

  2. 4 out of 5

    Timothee

    This book was not for me. I thought the title was misguiding. The book is more about how to be a yogi and use awareness and presence in the spiritual sense to learn how to be with your kids. Most cases are going like this: your kids does something that upsets you? Misbehaving? What is it that upset you and what do you have to deal with yourself to solve it. Your kid is a teacher on your path to peaceful redemption. And then it gives some good advice that you can find on another good parenting book This book was not for me. I thought the title was misguiding. The book is more about how to be a yogi and use awareness and presence in the spiritual sense to learn how to be with your kids. Most cases are going like this: your kids does something that upsets you? Misbehaving? What is it that upset you and what do you have to deal with yourself to solve it. Your kid is a teacher on your path to peaceful redemption. And then it gives some good advice that you can find on another good parenting book by itself. Anyway, I feel that this is a good parenting book hidden inside a consciousnesses blob.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sahar Pirmoradian

    Do not start reading the book to fix your child behavior, instead it is a book on how to fix yourself, then, everything else gets fixed! The author is an experienced therapist who tells stories of her parent-child clients and how she helped them to find resolutions. When a mom complains about a particular child behavior, the therapist acts as being the therapist of the mom, not the child. She asks the mom to look deep into her own behavior and thoughts when a struggle happens at home. For exampl Do not start reading the book to fix your child behavior, instead it is a book on how to fix yourself, then, everything else gets fixed! The author is an experienced therapist who tells stories of her parent-child clients and how she helped them to find resolutions. When a mom complains about a particular child behavior, the therapist acts as being the therapist of the mom, not the child. She asks the mom to look deep into her own behavior and thoughts when a struggle happens at home. For example, she asks, why do you get so mad when your child disobeys you? When the mom may respond, it's because I was an obedient child and always acted like a good girl so I cannot tolerate my child's disobedience, the mom already got some answers to her problem. She gets so mad because of her expectations, her own experiences, or not having the chance to have such privilege of being disobedient. The author suggests if you look closely to your own behavior and thoughts, you will be in more control when a struggle happens and you are not caught in distress or turmoil about not only why the child behaves like so, but also why you lost your control as a parent. The last chapter offers several and good practices to be more mindful, from rubbing your hands when you get trapped in your thoughts to making a thankfulness list of why you like about your child. My only complain is that I believe the book is long and verbose, and some revision would have increased the quality of the text. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading it very much.

  4. 5 out of 5

    MizzSandie

    Thank you Susan for this handy parenting tool with all its practical 'to-try's and all it's little exercise on reflections and love. For its understanding but encouraging voice to grow and love more. This book was what I needed and I'm grateful to have it to lean on for inspiration as well as a tender reminder that it's all okay and there is nothing that is not an opportunity for growth and strength. Ps. I LOVE the cover and all the tenderness it exudes !! It is such a vivid reminder that childre Thank you Susan for this handy parenting tool with all its practical 'to-try's and all it's little exercise on reflections and love. For its understanding but encouraging voice to grow and love more. This book was what I needed and I'm grateful to have it to lean on for inspiration as well as a tender reminder that it's all okay and there is nothing that is not an opportunity for growth and strength. Ps. I LOVE the cover and all the tenderness it exudes !! It is such a vivid reminder that children are just innocent souls and that loving them as we live and learn with them is the key factor.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maria (Ri)

    Mindfulness and tuning into my connected self always yields more connected and effective parenting to my kids. This excellent book supports the whole family to gain presence with each other and parent from a place of guidance, respect, and love. I appreciate the practical information as well as the more big picture view this book provides. I will be revisiting this one as my grade schoolers approach high school, I'm sure! Mindfulness and tuning into my connected self always yields more connected and effective parenting to my kids. This excellent book supports the whole family to gain presence with each other and parent from a place of guidance, respect, and love. I appreciate the practical information as well as the more big picture view this book provides. I will be revisiting this one as my grade schoolers approach high school, I'm sure!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    I am always looking for the perfect trick to make my life with three small kids easier. This book didn’t have that trick. But it did make me stop and assess my relationship with my children. It reminded me that good enough parenting builds resilience. It reminded me that it’s not personal. My children are not deliberately trying to ruin all my carefully crafted plans. They just can’t control themselves. They want to feel loved, accepted, and important. They don’t want to be compared, shamed, iso I am always looking for the perfect trick to make my life with three small kids easier. This book didn’t have that trick. But it did make me stop and assess my relationship with my children. It reminded me that good enough parenting builds resilience. It reminded me that it’s not personal. My children are not deliberately trying to ruin all my carefully crafted plans. They just can’t control themselves. They want to feel loved, accepted, and important. They don’t want to be compared, shamed, isolated, or scared. This book gave me permission to grieve my lost ideas and life. It encouraged mindfulness. Living in the moment in all its craziness instead of regretting the past or fearing the future. It taught me to think of the the things that I love to see, feel, taste, smell, and hear and build them into my daily life. It taught me better steps to an apology. 1. Specifically I am sorry for___. 2. I imagine you felt ___. 3. In the future___. 4. Is there anything you need from me? It encouraged thinking of qualities I would like in my child: Apologizing Accepting accountability Being happy and content Honesty Vulnerability Communication Connecting Coping with stress Compassion Dealing with Anger Good Manners Empathy Enjoy life Feel worthy of love Service Honor Elders Honor spirituality Keep promise Listen Listen to intuition Grateful Self care and kindness Be mindful Respect Reset happiness point Live with purpose and passion Boundaries

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anton Suslik

    Im a fresh parent of a young baby girl. This book, given to my wife and me by my parents, has been something of a bible to me. There is a ton of useful advice, thoughts an thought exercises to draw from. I think it's worth a reread each year. Thank you mom and dad for this 'gift'. Im a fresh parent of a young baby girl. This book, given to my wife and me by my parents, has been something of a bible to me. There is a ton of useful advice, thoughts an thought exercises to draw from. I think it's worth a reread each year. Thank you mom and dad for this 'gift'.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Not that I've read tons of parenting books, but this was practical and straight forward. Each chapter has exercises to complete to solidify the learning and a list of questions other parents have asked the author. The end of the book includes a chapter on tips/ideas/activities to become a more mindful parent. Parenting isn't just about your child, but what she can teach you and what you can learn about yourself along the way. We're not raising children, we're raising adults and hopefully confide Not that I've read tons of parenting books, but this was practical and straight forward. Each chapter has exercises to complete to solidify the learning and a list of questions other parents have asked the author. The end of the book includes a chapter on tips/ideas/activities to become a more mindful parent. Parenting isn't just about your child, but what she can teach you and what you can learn about yourself along the way. We're not raising children, we're raising adults and hopefully confident, caring adults. "Parents who are calmly and confidently in charge, being Captain of the ship, come across as clear, loving, and capable of making good decisions on behalf of their children, even if those decisions upset their kids because they can't do or have what they want." "Helping our children become accustomed to being loved and enjoying the sweetness of life is the greatest contribution we can make to their future happiness." "Our attitudes about life can make or break our children's stress levels." "...kids learn far more from what they see than from what we say."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I made quite a few notes as I listened to this (found myself wishing I was sitting down with a hard copy instead of trying to remember bits I wanted to note). A big theme is figuring out how you can grow from the challenges your child poses, & learn the lessons they're trying to teach you. I liked the idea of the reincarnation example she gives at the beginning. There's a lot of spiritual stuff in here (i.e., meditation, mindfulness, etc.) There's also a fair bit on figuring out how your adultho I made quite a few notes as I listened to this (found myself wishing I was sitting down with a hard copy instead of trying to remember bits I wanted to note). A big theme is figuring out how you can grow from the challenges your child poses, & learn the lessons they're trying to teach you. I liked the idea of the reincarnation example she gives at the beginning. There's a lot of spiritual stuff in here (i.e., meditation, mindfulness, etc.) There's also a fair bit on figuring out how your adulthood triggers come from childhood hurts (I didn't care for those parts as much). I especially liked the practical exercises for connection & mindfulness in the last chapter. I also liked the additional resources she references throughout. Bought a copy so I could look back on some of the ideas.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jana M

    Excellent book with very practical suggestions and real-life question/answers at the end of each chapter to illustrate each point. Quite heavily spiritually based, so maybe not as "accessible" to someone completely foreign to those concepts and that language. If you are already have a meditation practice or have read Eckhart Tolle and think, "yeah, that all sounds great, but what about my REAL life with kids?" this is the book for you! She knows what she's talking about and explains how to make Excellent book with very practical suggestions and real-life question/answers at the end of each chapter to illustrate each point. Quite heavily spiritually based, so maybe not as "accessible" to someone completely foreign to those concepts and that language. If you are already have a meditation practice or have read Eckhart Tolle and think, "yeah, that all sounds great, but what about my REAL life with kids?" this is the book for you! She knows what she's talking about and explains how to make shifts in thinking/behaving so that everyone feels respected, loved and worthy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alisa

    We complicate things too much. We look for 10 steps to making kids mind and 5 methods for making them sleep and essentially, a manual for how to program our mini robots. This book offers none of those things. It, instead, goes to the root of most problems: lack of presence and lack of connection. And it gives real life applications for working on both things. This book is more for parents of older children, but the concepts and philosophy is valid for parents of kids any age.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This is one of the most truly helpful parenting books I've ever read in my many years of reading parenting books! There's really good self-help information in this as well. I like her approach to raising well-adjusted children and to becoming a more well-adjusted person in the process. This is one of the most truly helpful parenting books I've ever read in my many years of reading parenting books! There's really good self-help information in this as well. I like her approach to raising well-adjusted children and to becoming a more well-adjusted person in the process.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stasi

    An excellent book for those brave souls willing to connect with themselves as the key to connecting with their kids. I especially appreciated the MANY practical examples and tips. I think I will refer to this one often.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Great read for anyone interacting with children, but also useful in our everyday lives with the people we love. I really enjoyed the personal lessons, Buddhist teachings and the personable way it is written. I highly recommend this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    Full of great tips and ways to think about and approach things. Many of these things I've known but am not good at practicing. An easy read and I'll be flipping through it and making some notes tonight. Full of great tips and ways to think about and approach things. Many of these things I've known but am not good at practicing. An easy read and I'll be flipping through it and making some notes tonight.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Fatima

    One of the best book in parenting , it teach you how you direct and guid yiur kidzs without exceeding your limits. From my personal experience it gave me sigh of relife and i am sure my kidz felt it ! Highly recommended for parents

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Great read. Helpful strategies. Lovely outside-the-box perspective.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This was such a wonderful book on being more present in your parenting so that you children can grow up vibrant, confident, and alive! I loved the tips and tools it provides to you.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Chavira

    A really good book on practicing presence with our children. The author offers many examples, tips, and ends each chapter with exercises. Every parent should consider reading this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Sure, I guess so. Some good ideas here, but since I am not a practitioner of the mindfulness discipline, I was somewhat lost.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Corder

    Amazing book. I would even recommend it to someone who didn't have kids for self development. Amazing book. I would even recommend it to someone who didn't have kids for self development.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Any Length

    Everyone needs to read this book. Even if you don't have kids and are 50+ years old. It will make sense of your life and change the way you interact with others, not just kids. Everyone needs to read this book. Even if you don't have kids and are 50+ years old. It will make sense of your life and change the way you interact with others, not just kids.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Turner

    This book is filled with genuine warmth and countless possible strategies for more enlightened parenting.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erica Wagner

    I really loved this book. It aligns with my spiritual principles and gave me practical ideas for parenting the way I aim to do.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Paterson

    For some reason a lot of sections of this book didn't speak to me. I constantly got the feeling that Stiffelman thought my own parents had severely damaged me. The feeling that she was judging my parents for screwing me up made me feel like she was judging me too. It kept making me feel angry and hopeless about my ability to parent. That being said there's good stuff in here too. And if you feel like you have a lot of baggage handed down to you from your own parents you might like this more than For some reason a lot of sections of this book didn't speak to me. I constantly got the feeling that Stiffelman thought my own parents had severely damaged me. The feeling that she was judging my parents for screwing me up made me feel like she was judging me too. It kept making me feel angry and hopeless about my ability to parent. That being said there's good stuff in here too. And if you feel like you have a lot of baggage handed down to you from your own parents you might like this more than I did.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ahdom

    This was a perfect follow up book to Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected. I had actually read Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion and Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book after I finished her first book and this one seemed to bring me full circle. This combination of books have really helped me to turn around how I approach parenting and more broadly, helped me be more present in my life. S This was a perfect follow up book to Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected. I had actually read Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion and Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book after I finished her first book and this one seemed to bring me full circle. This combination of books have really helped me to turn around how I approach parenting and more broadly, helped me be more present in my life. Susan's two books I recommend to parents and I would follow them up with Dan Harris' book and then Sam Harris' book. I think reading all these will help you to practice a more aware way to live your life and conduct your parenting. Mindfulness I believe is the key to living a more fulfilled life and introducing it to your family is the best thing you can do.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kian.ting

    The best take home advise I have got from the book is to be assertive and say no, and be prepared for the child to throw a storm of tantrum and instead of trying to be in the storm with them I just sit down on the floor and tell them I am here and I am with them and assure them that I know it feels bad and sad and I am always here when the need a hug. I did this and it took 10 minutes for my 3 year old to stop the storm versus him taking 1 and a half hour when previously I was getting him to cal The best take home advise I have got from the book is to be assertive and say no, and be prepared for the child to throw a storm of tantrum and instead of trying to be in the storm with them I just sit down on the floor and tell them I am here and I am with them and assure them that I know it feels bad and sad and I am always here when the need a hug. I did this and it took 10 minutes for my 3 year old to stop the storm versus him taking 1 and a half hour when previously I was getting him to calm down by justifying the reason no and trying to make future promises of other things we could do. I prefer the way the author have mentioned as it helps them build acceptance of boundaries and also help them navigate the feeling of discontent when things don’t go their way. It takes a lot of patients and courage to do it and the mentioned breathing technique helped. I find the suggestion to create small talk with the child helps too, I didn’t know it is a good skill to build in them cause I was raised in a very strict environment I remember falling asleep during family dinners, there is no small talks encouraged at all, I guess that contributes to my awkwardness and my introverted tendencies when I am surrounded with strangers in a party or business function. I have started to create more small talks with my children it not only builds up their social skills but mine too at the same time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    One of the best parenting/self-help books I've read. I picked it up seeing that it was flagged as an "Eckhart Tolle" edition, and I was not disappointed. It was packed with so many practical and inspiring ideas on how to be a better parent. I love the ideas of - throwing away the snapshot, I often hold my children up to unrealistic versions of themselves and that false identity is what triggers frustration - we aren't raising children, we're raising adults - the importance of modeling self-love and One of the best parenting/self-help books I've read. I picked it up seeing that it was flagged as an "Eckhart Tolle" edition, and I was not disappointed. It was packed with so many practical and inspiring ideas on how to be a better parent. I love the ideas of - throwing away the snapshot, I often hold my children up to unrealistic versions of themselves and that false identity is what triggers frustration - we aren't raising children, we're raising adults - the importance of modeling self-love and awareness - how far compassion and empathy can go in strengthening an unruly/wayward person - when a child misbehaves ask one of these questions: why does this behavior make sense? what would have to be true for him to decide to lie? what pleasure is the child looking for, or what pain is he trying to avoid? What is the payoff for lying? ... - expose your children to the things that nourish your spirit, but let them come to those practices on their own by watching how you are made calmer or more loving and generous because of them Ch. 11 is jam-packed full of practical ideas for better parenting. Maybe you've read a bunch of parenting books (I have), but I have never come across one that ties parenting to spirituality to all other relationships combined. Maybe it's helped having been exposed to Tolle's books to be in the right frame of mind, but I really enjoyed this.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Essential book to have on your parenting book shelf - - Something to keep at arms reach to resource again and again. I resonated so much with Stiffelman’s words. Most parenting books talk about what the child needs from you, but fail to touch on what a parent needs to parent. As I go through this parenting journey I’m finding that pre existing expectations have limited my ability to parent as I am in real time / the kids I have vs. the experience / children / parent I imagined I could have / be. Essential book to have on your parenting book shelf - - Something to keep at arms reach to resource again and again. I resonated so much with Stiffelman’s words. Most parenting books talk about what the child needs from you, but fail to touch on what a parent needs to parent. As I go through this parenting journey I’m finding that pre existing expectations have limited my ability to parent as I am in real time / the kids I have vs. the experience / children / parent I imagined I could have / be. It’s difficult coming to terms with so many things when you expected something else, but when we accept ourselves as not perfect, see our kids for the little souls they are and have space for self compassion you might find peace. Stiffelman doesn’t bombard us with a laundry list of reasons you’re parenting isn’t working leaving you feeling blame and shame. Instead, she gives you practical actions and reflections you can factor into your day to unlock what is clouding the opportunity to parent for the person you are and kids you have. I appreciate that she leaves this work up to us, recognizing that we are all very different with very different upbringings, goals, passions and approaches. What works for me, might not work for other parents.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Teodora Angelova

    The book is as much about parenting as also about living quality live yourself as a parent and human. Loved most of the advice in it, but still remain sceptical about daily meditation practices and rituals that the author describes and recommends. Especially loved the ideas about being capable to break the vicious cycle of bad parenting some of us already have had, about our right to grief what we are missing while raising children and the quote that how we talk to our children will one day be t The book is as much about parenting as also about living quality live yourself as a parent and human. Loved most of the advice in it, but still remain sceptical about daily meditation practices and rituals that the author describes and recommends. Especially loved the ideas about being capable to break the vicious cycle of bad parenting some of us already have had, about our right to grief what we are missing while raising children and the quote that how we talk to our children will one day be their inner voice.

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