I don’t think it will surprise anyone that I am a big reader of parenting books. During my pregnancy, I read a ton of different books to try to prepare myself for motherhood (you can read about that here). While I don’t follow every step-by-step guideline from every book, I have found that I can take a little something from every book and apply it to my situation and my parenting style. When Dr. Stephanie O’Leary offered to send me her book Parenting in the Real World for me to read and review I happily agreed. Although the book is targeted to a parent with a slightly older child, I found that it was helpful to read now while Aiden is so young so that I can see what is ahead and hopefully implement some of the strategies she laid out early on.
Disclosure: I received Parenting in the Real World at no cost in exchange for my honest review of the book. This post contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase I may make a small commission at no cost to you. However, I only write about brands/products I love and actually use.
Parenting in the Real World provides parents seven tools to help move away from conflict and frustration and create a more joyful and respectful home. Initially, I wouldn’t say that I was super excited to read the book. I knew that Dr. O’Leary was a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in Neuropsychology so I knew there would be great information, but it might be a bit dry like many of the other parenting books I have read. I was happily surprised to find that the book is interactive, conversational in tone, and even funny at times. Dr. O’Leary provides lots of examples from real situations she has encountered and her advice seems easy enough to implement.
The book is split into chapters where each chapter is a different tool. You do not have to read them in order — you can skip around as you wish, or come back if you find yourself in a particular situation where one of the tools could be helpful. Each chapter starts with a QR code where you can watch a short video introduction to the chapter. I find that these videos help Dr. O’Leary seem more relatable and approachable. Next, there is more information about the tool and why you would use it. After that comes example situations, different perspectives (what you say vs. what you child hears), and sample things to say to your child with the given situation. Finally, she ends the chapter with some final thoughts.
While I feel that all the chapters are helpful, I was happy to find that the last chapter is all about self-care for parents. I find that this is often not considered when it comes to parenting strategies. A big part of Parenting in the Real World is about dropping guilt so it makes a lot of sense that self-care is a part of that and I am glad she took the time to dedicate a chapter to that as a tool.
One thing that stuck out to me, was a story that Dr. O’Leary tells in the introduction. She talked about how she opened her practice and her schedule filled up quickly to the point that she couldn’t accommodate new patients, and when she referred patients to others they only wanted her. It turns out her belief and approach are much different than others in her profession. When I first read this I admit that I rolled my eyes a little. However, after reading the book, I get it. Dr. O’Leary seems very approachable and helpful — not judgemental. I think she is original and the book is original and that is refreshing. Overall, I think Parenting in the Real World is a beneficial read for any parent. I am really glad that I read it now so that I can incorporate some of the strategies as Aiden grows up.
Parenting in the Real World is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. You can also find Dr. O’Leary online. She has a blog and Facebook page where she has weekly posts answering real world questions.
What are your favorite parenting books?
If you liked this post check out How to Get a Newborn to Calm Down and Sleep and Stress Free Holidays: Interview with Rebecca Cofino