Raising Happy Children is a wide ranging book covering all the important parenting topics from birth to 11 years old. It begins when you give birth and covers issues from breastfeeding to siblings, education and behaviour to divorce and stepfamilies.
Whilst it contains a complete text by the authors, the book's strength is that it has a large number of contributions from other childcare experts as well as quotes from parents to illustrate and enhance their advice. This means that the book does not offer just one person's dogma, but offers a range of views, each one coming from an expert in their field. So post natal advice comes from midwives and breastfeeding counsellors, behavioural issues are covered by child psychologists and other subjects are covered by representatives of appropriate UK organisations and charities.
The quotes from parents are particularly illuminating. They anonymously say the things which many of us do not dare say out loud to our friends and family. This is very comforting, as it is nice to know that you are normal and a relief to know that you are not the only one to have the occasional dark thoughts.
It is not just a book of problem solving however. Many of the chapters cover subjects on better parenting, such as how to talk effectively to your children, how to deal with emotions and importantly, how to make sure that your own needs are addressed. It is very tempting (especially when you've been reading too many parenting books) to forget to think about what you want and need. This book reminds you at regular intervals that you matter too, and this is one reason that I like it so much!
Although it is a book that you can sit down and read for interest, it is also a lovely book to dip into. It works best, I feel, if you read it once then keep it on hand as a reference book, for when a particular situation arises.
This is an excellent book for 'beginner parents' and would make a great gift to a new mum or dad, as well as being an interesting book for all parents of young children.