This fantastic book covers 8 things you need to quit to be healthy, and I don’t mean donuts or Diet Coke! The things you need to quit include being afraid of what others think of you [raises hand], overfunctioning, and faulty thinking. This book is great for any woman who is like a duck: floating placidly on the water, but paddling like mad under the surface. You don’t have to live like that, friends!
This book was life-changing! I had often heard the adage that you can’t change others, you can only change yourself. I comprehended the words, but I found it difficult to apply in my life in any meaningful way. Lerner illustrated this same concept using the metaphor of a dance: every relationship is like a partner dance – we each have our own steps. While we can’t force our partner [parent, friend, sibling, spouse…] to change their steps, we can always changes ours. By changing our steps, we will not guarantee what our partner will do, but they can’t continue doing their steps the same way they have.
The main “dance pattern” that Lerner addresses is the pattern of one person overfunctioning and the other person underfunctioning. The overfunctioner can often feel resentful: “Why do I have to do everything?” The underfunctioner can also feel resentful: “Why are they treating me like a child?” She covers concrete steps for both, and I still use these concepts, many years after reading it.
I love how these two moms focus on our responses to our kids, rather than how to change their behavior. Why? Because we can’t control someone else’s behavior, not even our children! We can train, and give consequences, and troubleshoot situations… but ultimately, our kids are young human beings, and they are going to make their own choices.
This book puts power back in the hands of moms by giving suggestions for what we can do in many common parenting scenarios to change how we react, such as backtalk, strong-willed kids, sibling rivalry, and ADHD. Because the chapters are organized by behaviors, you can easily skip to the section that is a trigger for you, and also flip back to the book for a refresher as needed. In fact, just reviewing the table of contents makes me want to read it again!
When you need a break from self-improving, you can pop over to my book, Daze of Isolation, for some entertaining stories about how I’m putting all this into practice.