Book Review: 12 Simple Secrets…

Many moms today have found themselves caught in an overwhelming amount of "do’s and don’ts” when it comes to parenting. Throw in the stress for the need to be the "perfect mom”, along with the effort to do and be everything for their kids, and the result is a harmful trend that Dr. Michele Borba, educator and motivational speaker, calls the syndrome of over parenting.

Of course, all parents love their children and want them to succeed, but all the over protecting, over rescuing, over scheduling and over rewarding all go hand in hand with this syndrome.

Borba says, "Our kids have never been smarter, but they are not necessarily fairing well emotionally.”

This prompted Borba to write the book, 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know: Getting Back to Basics and Raising Happy Kids. A few statistics that she offers to make her point are: two-thirds of parents say their own kids are spoiled and that they are to blame; half of adolescents surveyed say they have trouble sleeping due to anxiety; and one in two college kids reports feeling so overwhelmed that it is difficult to function. It is not only the kids who are suffering, but a recent survey of moms found that 70% admitted that mothering was "incredibly stressful” and one-third said that if they could do it again they would choose not to start a family.

The author has put forth the premise that parents are surrendering to a culture in which kids are overscheduled to the point where the parent (especially the mother) is too stressed to remember what really matters in raising emotionally healthy children. Many mothers unintentionally fall into the "over parenting” trap, speeding through the day in an exhausted and frenzied effort to "do it all” for their kids. The impact on kids is that they are overwhelmed and the affect is toxic, often resulting in children who are stressed out, bullies or bullied, rebellious, ruthless, depressed, anxious, overweight or anorexic.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Borba asks parents to ask themselves if their expectations are really in their child’s best interests. She gives parents warning signs when they are pushing too hard and shares ways they can assess if they are over-involved in their child’s lives.

She recommends slowing down and throwing out all the unnecessary stress and pressure and returning to a more natural, authentic kind of mothering resulting in having happier, more confident kids with good character. She has discovered and formulated 12 simple secrets of successful moms, showing us how a mother who laughs teaches joy, a mother who loves teaches worth, a mother who takes care of herself holds together her happy family, a mother who supports her children’s strengths builds their confidence, a mother who encourages independence cultivates self-reliance, a mother who just listens shows her children they really matter, and a mother who accepts her children’s shortcomings nurtures resilience.

Each chapter includes a powerful and inspiring story of how these secrets play out in real life, as well as Borba’s practical strategies, step-by-step guidelines, activities and advice so moms can actually apply the lessons of the stories to their own family lives. Reading the stories and learning the lessons will hopefully help mothers calm down, be happier, return to their natural intuition, and create more joy, balance, and love in their families.