ParentWise: The Emotional Challenges of Family Life and How To Deal With Them
Loren Buckner, LCSW
Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views (8/11)
Loren Buckner’s professional career is rich in moving and motivational stories of couples and families she has helped deal with the emotional challenges of family life. But what made her book, “ParentWise,” most impactful for me is that the family I got to know most intimately, and as a result, share more connections with, was her own. In her introduction she wrote, “Parenthood really taught me a lot about myself. As you read about my experiences and about the journey of other mothers and fathers, I hope you will be inspired to deepen your understanding of yourself.”
It is important to note that the feeling of connectedness which I ultimately felt to Buckner, her family and the book, did not come easily. As the back cover notes proclaim, reading “ParentWise” is like having professional counseling in the privacy of your own home. And therapists do not all take the same path. A cornerstone of Buckner’s approach is a focus on the unconscious, the hidden awareness of the mind. Initially, I was just like many of the clients the author writes about; I was reluctant to go to that place. I also struggle with the concept of unconditional love, another of the author’s core tenants. But it is Buckner’s belief that “Curiosity about who you are and how you got to be that way (especially as this relates to our childhood) really can lead to a happy and healthier family life.” While the author nurtured my own self-realization of this belief, I “fought” with Buckner throughout the first couple of chapters/sessions before embracing the book fully and eventually reaching the point at which I was eager to share and offer high praise for “ParentWise.”
Buckner keenly understands the pressures her audience faces, from womb to tomb. At the outset she states, “Remember, I’m not offering you rules or deadlines. Wise parenting takes dedication, commitment and love. And even if you haven’t been dedicated to these qualities, you can certainly develop them now.” Throughout the book, the author spreads 20 “intentions” that the reader can focus on as the years of parenthood go by. At the end of each chapter she offers “food for thought” which can help the reader focus on their private, inner thoughts and feelings.
This book is not so much about the rewards of parenthood, as it is about how to be totally honest with yourself with regard to what you can do differently that will make parenting less stressful for you and more joyous for your children. I maintain a short list of books that I recommend for family home libraries. Among their shared attributes, my selections include those books that I believe will benefit the whole family, will be a valuable resource to revisit over time, and which are just nice to have at hand whenever you need them. Loren Buckner’s “ParentWise” is on my list.