Today we are delighted to welcome Dr. Ilene Val-Essen to our Virtual Book Tour. She is a parent educator and the author of Bring Out the Best in Your Child and Your Self. In three easy steps, Ilene teaches parents how to prevent and solve problems with mutual respect. Why don’t you read on and see for yourself?
Nourishing Relationships: What is the purpose of the book?
Ilene Val-Essen: Bring Out the Best in Your Child and Yourself helps parents create a family environment based on mutual respect. As we bring out the best in each child, we inevitably discover the best within ourselves.
N R: Why did you write the book?
Ilene: As a parenting instructor I discovered that attitudes are even more important than the effective communication skills that most parenting books focus on. I wanted to help parents recognize those attitudes that bring out the best in their children and those that invite resistance and rebellion. Most importantly, I knew that family life could be so much easier and I wanted to help parents shift their attitudes so that they could enjoy a family based on mutual respect.
N R: What makes the book unique?
Ilene: One aspect of the book’s uniqueness is the deep respect it models for our children’s yearning to be their best. The book accepts that this drive for growth is a core part of our children’s very being, a part of their nature. While the book acknowledges this spiritual component, it offers practical, proven techniques to encourage cooperation, independent and responsible behavior.
Another aspect is how the book views difficult behavior—our children’s and our own. This challenging behavior is viewed as a cry for help: an ineffective attempt to meet a legitimate need. As parents learn to meet their needs, they’re better prepared to help their children meet theirs.
N R: The book is organized around a 3-Step Process. What is it?
Ilene: The Three-Step Process offers parents a system they can rely on to solve and prevent problems with mutual respect. The first step helps us recognize when we’re “off center”—stressed, upset, overwhelmed or angry. When we’re not at our best, it’s tough on our kids. We can’t help a child, teen or grandchild become calm and centered until we’re there ourselves. Step two helps us let go of stress, to step back and become calm. The final step helps us to become centered: to adopt the attitudes and model the effective skills of mutual respect.
N R: What do you mean when you tell parents to “water the flowers, not the weeds”?
Ilene: It sounds quite silly to imagine watering the weeds in our gardens, when it’s the flowers that we want to grow. Too often, we give our children attention for behavior we want to discourage, rather than acknowledging the behaviors that we want to encourage. What we feed naturally grows!
N R: For what age child would this book be most helpful and what will women gain by reading it?
Ilene: Whether parenting toddlers, children or teens, the book promises that family life can be so much easier.
Imagine spending less time:
• Feeling overwhelmed or exhausted
• Repeating yourself or nagging
• Yelling or screaming
• Playing referee
• Imagine spending more time:
• Feeling calm and centered—even at difficult times
• Enjoying children and teens who are more cooperative and reasonable
• Preventing problems instead of rushing to solve them
• Living with mutual respect
Thanks so much, Ilene, for introducing us to your unique approach. Readers, whether you’re concerned your kids or helping out with your grandkids, click here for more information about Bring Out the Best in Your Child and Your Self, Ilene and the work she does.
We’re also grateful to all who have dropped by – and now it’s your turn. If you have questions for Ilene or want to share your ideas, please click on “Comments” at the bottom right-hand corner of this post. Just follow the prompts – we want to hear from you!