Everyone’s “Baby Self”

Some of the most entertaining parenting books I’ve read are those written by Anthony Wolf. Like his other books, The Secret of Parenting: How to Be in Charge of Today's Kids--from Toddlers to Preteens--Without Threats or Punishment is filled practical advice using plenty of humor.

In this book he defines two different sides to everyone’s personality: the baby self and the mature self; “… the baby self must be fed and fed now, and it has zero tolerance for any form of stress. The baby self feeds itself by indulging, collapsing, relaxing, unwinding – soaking up all the good stuff.” He contrasts that with “the mature self is willing to work, will tolerate stress, has patience, has self-control, and can and is willing to delay gratification.”

Parents often see more of the baby self while children save their mature self for situations outside the home. He gives many examples of how to deal with familiar baby self favorites like “You can’t make me!”, “I hate you!”, “It’s not fair!” and “I’m bored.” Wolf presents his parenting wisdom in an amusing way making his books a pleasure to read.

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