• June 27, 2022

New Parenting Book Offers International Tips for Raising Happy Families

It’s time for parents to think outside the box, and Joanne Holbrook’s Your Passport to Parenting is just the ticket to a whole new world of advice and wisdom on raising children to be safe, happy, and confident adults.
Joanne has lived all over the world, in South Africa, Australia, the United States and Germany, as well as numerous countries, and had friends of many ethnicities. More importantly, she is a mother of two. She combined those experiences to create this book, one of the most original, practical, and useful parenting books in years.

Joanne’s mission as a mother was determined when one of her best friends who had no children told her, “Why would anyone want children? All parents do is complain about having them.” Joanne was stunned, but she soon realized that it was common for parents to say things like “I need a bottle of wine tonight” or “I just want to hide from them for a few hours.” She knew that these comments were made when parents felt overwhelmed, but still loved their children immensely. Still, she decided something wasn’t right if a parent wasn’t having as much fun as her children as children. So she started looking for better ways to be a parent by collecting tips on parenting.

On her mission, Joanne also delved into her own past as a white girl growing up in South Africa during apartheid. She shares the lessons she learned about how to treat people as a result of experiences ranging from not being able to play with a native girl to her mother having to hide her African housekeeper from the police.
Joanne has collected stories of parents she came in contact with from Denmark to the Dominican Republic and everywhere in between. She learned the wisdom of a Scottish mother who tells her children her birth stories as bedtime stories to build her concept of identity and strengthen the mother/child bond. An English mother who was a magistrate taught Joanne not to lecture her children. Instead, this mother would come home and share her work day with her children, such as telling them about the teenager in her court that day who was in trouble for drug use, which served as a moral lesson for her children.

One of my favorite concepts in the book is a question Joanne taught her children to ask when making decisions: “How will this help my future self?” She has taught her children to think about their future and what they want, and that has helped them make decisions that will help them get there or at least not lead them down another path.

But what I applaud Joanne the most is that she has not forgotten what it is to be a child. She remembers that children live in a magical world, that their reality is not ours. She understands that a child will have a relationship with a teddy bear as if she were a real person, so when she helps her child clean her room, she should not throw the teddy in the toy chest. . Instead, we must respect our children’s relationships with their stuffed animals. Joanne says that if we want to communicate and relate to our children on her level, it’s important that we remember what it was like to live in and be involved in that imaginative world. She advocates playing with our kids, but cautions: “If parents end up playing games we don’t enjoy, we won’t have fun and kids won’t benefit at all. So don’t do what you don’t enjoy. Kids will soon learn what to get involved in and why leave you out?

Her passport to parenting is packed with so many other tools, including how to use Dora the Explorer to help kids understand and accept the errands you have to do that will involve them, how to teach gratitude the of Fiji and the advantage of swap days where they pretend to be the parents and you the child so you can see how they would raise you, an eye-opening experience that really reveals what they think of your upbringing.

Most importantly, Joanne reveals that parenting isn’t always easy and all parents are doing the best job they can. Consequently, unless a parent is putting his child in danger, we should never criticize the parenting of others. This is where thinking outside the box comes in, as well as understanding that just because we do things a certain way in the United States doesn’t mean that’s the best way. For example, Joanne explains how in Denmark parents let their children nap in prams while they go to a cafe: the mother can still see her child through the window and Danish mothers believe that fresh air is good for your children. However, a Danish mother in New York was arrested for child neglect for leaving her child in a stroller – she was not mistaken – simply the victim of a cultural difference.

Other examples of judging parents come from Joanne’s personal experiences, as well as from parents of children with special needs, especially those whose needs may not be visibly obvious. For example, when an autistic child collapsed in the ice cream line, another mom’s comment that she didn’t deserve ice cream didn’t help the situation, especially since she couldn’t understand the child’s reaction or that it was normal for him.

Joanne reminds us, “We can never judge a mom or dad on a moment. You don’t know where they are in their day, week, or year. You have no idea what happened before or after, and one look at their lives doesn’t tell you.” the whole story. Your perspective may not be entirely accurate.”

I hope you take this armchair trip around the world with Joanne to discover how other parents are parents. I think you’ll end up feeling wiser about being a parent, as well as having more tools for parenting. Most of all, he may be relieved to find out how well he’s doing as a parent.

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