Mind Matters — Parenting, Caregiving, and Creativity: Beach Reading Anyone?

Okay, there are a pile of books stacked at my desk that are begging to be reviewed so here goes: some summaries of hefty reality beach reading to sneak in between the light escape mystery and romance novels.

Let’s start with parenting, with a new book, Brain-Based Parenting by Daniel A. Hughes and Jonathan Baylin. This is not a parenting text in the “traditional sense,” but one in which the authors want parents to deepen their connections with their children by understanding how parental neurobiology (brain!) affects the child’s neurobiology and behaviors. We are shown here how loving care and responsiveness to our children is dependent on ongoing processes in our brains which we can learn to regulate. From this brain-based perspective, we discover why and how to be emotionally responsive to our children’s needs.

We can learn to comfort children when they are stressed, rather than escalating their stress with our own. And we can learn, say the authors, when to allow children to be challenged and face struggles so that they develop their own resilience. Most importantly, we learn how important is the regulation of our own emotions, so that we manage our stress to remain “the adult in the room.”

Leaning Into Sharp Points: practical guidance and nurturing support for caregivers by Stan Goldberg is also, in a way, about being “the adult in the room.” Often, after our parents have raised us, we become the caretakers of our parents: the ultimate role reversal. Of course, our caregiving may be also for another family member or spouse or friend. This book can help caregivers lean into the “sharp points” of life. That is, rather than avoiding what we most fear—aging, illness, dying—we need to move closer to them. This book gives both practical information (about paratransit services, meals, etc.) as well as emotional guidance.

So, from parenting and caregiving, to creativity with Creating Time by Marney K. Makridakis. Now this book might actually replace an “escape” beach read because it is a fun and interactive exploration of time management. Makridakis invites us to use “creativity to re-invent the clock and reclaim your life.” She combines science with art assignments that can break old patterns of negative relationship with time—or lack thereof. This book is an invitation to the reader to take on adventure—a mystery tour of time.

Maybe with this book, time at the beach will seem less fleeting.