★ Fat Talk
With the rise of the body positivity movement, many parents have asked, “How do I raise my child to love their body, eat healthy foods without demonizing sweets and navigate all of the negative talk about the sizes of bodies?” Most parents don’t know, because they’ve also grown up in a fatphobic society swarming with confusing advice and thin privilege. That’s where journalist Virginia Sole-Smith’s new book, Fat Talk comes in.
‘Fat Talk’ gives tons of helpful advice for navigating food and provides conversation starters to help unpack fatphobia with your child, no matter their size.
Sole-Smith presents research about how diet culture is promoted by Instagram influencers, doctors and pharmaceutical companies, all seeking to make a dollar. She also uncovers ample evidence that proves dieting doesn’t work, except as a strategy to blame the individual instead of society’s marginalization of larger, fat bodies. Rebalancing the narrative, she argues, will target the real problems, instead of shaming and harming children. It even helps the parent resolve complications they have with their own bodies.
In addition to its science-based debunking of diet culture, Fat Talk gives tons of helpful advice for navigating food and provides conversation starters to help unpack fatphobia with your child, no matter their size. It also includes a list of resources for parents including picture and middle-grade books, memoirs, podcasts, newsletters, movies and television shows and other resources.
Calm the Chaos
Pulling from her own experiences as both a mother of a child who doesn’t quite fit the mold and a teacher, Dayna Abraham’s book, Calm the Chaos is about empowering parents of children who need extra emotional, physical and developmental support. Abraham presents a five-stage framework that helps parents navigate and quell the storm. Each stage has been broken down into manageable chunks, often with illustrations; Abraham knows the parents who need her help do not have a lot of free time.
In a conversational and relatable way, Abraham helps families create safety through love for their high-needs child so each member can move from surviving to thriving. Every chapter includes lists of questions that help assess your current needs, actionable steps to put into practice based on where you are with your child and notes that relieve any shame that may come up as you assess your family’s needs.
Abraham knows the parents who need her help do not have a lot of free time.
Abraham provides real stories about real children who have benefited from her approach, giving the reader examples to draw from as they begin implementing the strategies in the book. Calm the Chaos will be a fabulous tool for anyone seeking to give their child the power to be who they were born to be.
Erasing the Finish Line
Most parents have worried about how to prepare their children for leaving the nest and finding a successful life of their own. In Erasing the Finish Line by early career development expert Ana Homayoun, parents are encouraged to let go of the made-up finish line at high school graduation and college admissions. As an academic advisor, Homayoun has helped countless young people figure out a new blueprint for success by building core competencies that will benefit them throughout their lives. Though they may lead to academic success, these core competencies aren’t structured around test scores and GPAs. Instead, Homayoun’s method crafts a blueprint based on the individual child’s goals. She encourages parents to instead teach their children how to organize, plan, prioritize, adapt, start and complete tasks. These skills will get older children through young adulthood and are important for long term success in any job or role.
Young people in their teens and early twenties are experiencing anxiety, depression and adjustment disorders at alarming rates, a fact that Homayoun says is contributed to by the intense focus on admissions to the “right” school. Erasing the Finish Line is a delightful read that functions as a handbook for loving and accepting your child just as they are. Only when our children feel an unconditional sense of acceptance can they find real success.
Growing Up in Public
Many parents struggle to have healthy boundaries around technology, let alone help their children navigate the complex landscape of social media, texting and access to potentially harmful content. Growing Up in Public by Devorah Heitner, Ph.D. offers a wealth of relatable information, and will steer parents away from simply monitoring the ways children use technology, arguing instead for a mentorship approach that will guide children through the many landmines it can create for us.
Readers will walk away with a wealth of proactive strategies to prevent potential harm for their children who are engaging in the digital world.
From strategies rooted in trust versus surveillance, character building versus shaming and consent versus boundary crossing, Growing Up in Public gives parents a gentle guide on how to keep lines of communication open between them and their child.
Heitner’s gentleness shines in her writing. Her style puts the reader at ease, while also giving them permission to support tweens and teens through compassionate care. Readers will walk away with a wealth of proactive strategies to prevent potential harm for their children who are engaging in the digital world, as well as gentle guidance on what to do when the worst happens. This is an important guidebook for all parents as they seek to give their children the skills they need to navigate our brave new world.