Thoughts on The Danish Way of Parent: Happy Kids and Antedotes (Book Review)


If you want an alternate opinion on raising kid, this is the book for you.

This book is an easy easy read with interesting personal approach.

I noticed lots of “this is a point, and here’s is how I applied it”.

And, that brings it’s own issues of, “yea, it worked for them”, but but not me”.

Well, don’t be so quick to judge [yet].

The writers, Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Sandahl want you to remember to be a P.A.R.E.N.T (more on this below) and this book walks through what each of those acronym means, I won’t spend too much time on each of those, you can get a quick read of that in the first few pages or the introduction. What I will instead do is walk through some of the moments that sucked me into the world of this writers. And, I should add, changed some of my perceptions when I become a parent in the future.

My Moments (emphasis mine)

Parenting with authenticity is the first step to guiding children to be courageously true to themselves and others.

– pg. 36, loc. 503-505

When going through a difficult time, for example, smiling and saying everything is OK is not always the best course of action. Self-deception is the worst kind of deception and is a dangerous message to send to our kids.

– pg. 37, loc. 510-512

Thus, having the bigger house or more stuff or enrolling your kids in all the right activities can be a self-deceptive pitfall.

– pg. 38, loc. 519-520

… For example, if a Danish child scribbles a drawing very quickly and gives it to her parent, the parent probably wouldn’t say, “Wow! Great job! You are such a good artist!” She is more likely to ask about the drawing itself. “What is it?” “What were you thinking about when you drew this?” “Why did you use those colors?” Or perhaps she would just say thank you if it was a gift.

  • pg. 38, loc. 530-533

Focusing on the task, rather than over complimenting the child, is a much more Danish approach.

  • pg. 38, loc. 533-534

Praise is closely connected to how kids view their intelligence. If they are constantly praised for being naturally smart, talented, or gifted (sound familiar?), they develop what is called a “fixed” mind-set (their intelligence is fixed and they have it).

  • pg. 39, loc. 541-542

Answer with honesty If your kids ask a question, give them an honest answer

  • pg. 43, loc. 598-599

Use examples from your own childhood Whether it’s the doctor’s office or a difficult situation or just a fun time, kids like to hear about your experiences and how you felt when you were little,

  • pg. 43, loc. 602-603

Teach honesty Talk with your children about how important honesty is in your family.

  • pg. 43, loc. 605-606

Read stories that encompass all emotions. Read all kinds of stories to your child. Don’t be afraid if they don’t all have happy endings. Actively choose stories that have difficult topics too, and stories that don’t conclude in a “storybook” way. Children learn a lot from sadness and tragedy (being age appropriate, of course)…

This is one that I can’t think about enough, as we have a society that continues to assume the “rosiness” of everything

  • pg. 44, loc. 611-614

Use process praise Remember that the most meaningful and useful praise is based on quality, not quantity. Keep the praise focused on the process or effort children put in rather than on innate abilities: “You studied hard for your test, and your improvement shows it. You went over the material many times, made cue cards, and quizzed yourself. That really worked!”

  • pg. 44, loc. 616-619

Don’t use praise as a default response Don’t overuse praise for things that are too easy. This can teach your child that he is only praiseworthy

  • pg. 44, loc. 623-624

Focus on effort—and keep it genuine Be careful praising for failures or mistakes. Saying things like “Well done!” “You did your best!” “Better luck next time!” can be heard as pity. Focus on what they did accomplish and how it can be worked on—“I know you missed the goal, but it was very close! Let’s get out and practice next week

  • pg. 45, loc. 628-631

Teach children not to compare themselves with others They need to realize themselves

  • pg. 45, loc. 632-633

Highlight your unique and authentic perspective, and your child’s, by saying “for me” Try adding “for me” after a sentence to emphasize your understanding that your experience of a given situation isn’t necessarily the same as your child’s.

  • pg. 45, loc. 635-637

Tips for Empathy

1. Understand your own empathic style (pg. 78, loc. 1118-1119)

2. Understand others (pg. 79, loc. 1127-1128)

3. Notice and attempt to identify emotions (pg. 79, loc. 1130-1130)

4. Read, read, read (pg. 79, loc. 1133-1133)

5. Improve meaningful relationships( pg. 79, loc. 1136-1137)

6. Be vulnerable (pg. 80, loc. 1141-1141)

7. Seek out empathy in others (pg. 80, loc. 1143-1143)

T Is for Togetherness and Hygge

As parents, it’s important that we first examine our default settings, our natural inclinations as parents, so that we are better able to see where change is needed. Taking the time to see ourselves in the mirror, and see what we are repeating from our own family cycles, is the first step toward powerful change and powerful parenting.

pg. 112, loc. 1610-1613

Those are my key take-aways, what are your thoughts?

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By Dele

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