Trophy Child: Savings Parents from Performance… Preparing Children for Something Greater than Themselves by Ted Cunningham has truly changed the way that I view parenting.
Anyone who has known me for very long knows that I struggle with perfectionism and doing many things out of guilt. It has ruled my life for some time now; therefore, it is something that I have struggled with as a parent. I’ve been known to lose sleep because my daughter has struggled with reading (and I’m a teacher!), gotten angry because my kids embarrassed me in public (by being… kids), and been frustrated when I found it very difficult to manage my home and my children. Honestly, I live in constant guilt over everything when it doesn’t run perfectly.
One of the things that this book did for me is to help me take a step back, breathe, and realize that the demands and expectations that I have for myself as a parent aren’t from God. They are man-made (Courtney-made). It was humbling, though, to have the same realization of my expectations for my children.
Through this book, I have realized:
- That my motive for parenting is often very “off” (self-focused, perfectionist)
- I fall under the “perfection and competitive parent” types
- I need to focus on getting to know each of my children individually (instead of trying to shove them into the same “box”)
- I need to love them right where they are
- I need to disciple them by using teachable moments, having dinner together, and daily devotions
- Remember that God wants us to take care of their physical and spiritual needs, and everything else is just “extra” (which will help me to stop parenting out of guilt)
- That children these days live feeling entitled, and how to overcome that
- To not get embarrassed by them being children (it’s not about me)
- To teach them more independence and scaffold this by allowing them to feel confident in one thing before adding another
- Most importantly, put my marriage first (last chapter is titled “Great Parents, Lousy Lovers”)
One of my favorite things about having this book around is that it contains a children’s devotional, written by Ted and his wife! We started using it at the dinner table, and it has made a huge difference. They are short, applicable devotions, written using the 26 letters of the alphabet. I cannot wait to see how God uses these in the hearts of my children.
A few quotes from the book that stand out to me are:
“I am 100 percent responsible for what I think and feel, and my child is 0 percent responsible for what I think and feel.” (page 116)
“There is something very simple you can do to plant seeds of faith in your child. The answer is family dinner at home and regular family devotions.” (page 120)
“Creating opportunities to connect as a family drives your child’s spiritual journey.” (page 121)
“Growing up, my dad’s favorite line was, ‘Welcome to the real world!’” (page 160)
“My dad’s second favorite line was, ‘The world doesn’t revolve around you, Teddy.’” (page 160)
“Trophy parenting is overprotective. The overprotective parent lives under several lies and false presumptions about the way the world works. But we want our children to grow up learning the truth, not our false reality, about the way the word works.” (page 160)
Now that you’ve read my review, are you interested in receiving a (free) copy for yourself? It has changed my view of parenting completely; I promise you will want to read it!
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