Part I of the workbook gets you to focus on aspects of yourself you probably haven't thought about in a conscious and systematic way. For example, you get the opportunity to map your nine temperament traits and see how aspects of yourself, such as your adaptability or sensitivity, have played a role in how you behave as a person and a parent. I also liked the chapter on values — identifying what's important to you and why. The idea is that becoming self-aware makes you a much better parent.
In Part II, the focus turns to your child. Without being too academic or heavy-handed, the authors present a handful of perspectives from which you get to know your child in new and interesting ways. Here you map his nature along those same nine temperament traits, which is eye-opening. You think about the child in the context of her development — and how that plays a role in her behavior. You also identify her preferred learning style, how she expresses her creativity, and where she falls along the eight intelligences, among other qualities. I guarantee you'll acquire a view of your child that's surprisingly complex, colorful, and multifaceted.
Armed with all this information about you and your child, in Part III the authors help you integrate everything you've learned. After naming your parenting priorities — what you most want for your child now and in the future — you then assemble a parenting plan tailored to your individual child that will help you achieve these.
The authors wrote Parenting in Your Own Voice with parenting groups in mind, so that parents could meet together weekly or monthly and work through the 12 chapters. Its website includes free downloadable templates of key assessments and exercises that can be printed out for those who don't like to write in books, have more than one child, or for coparents who are doing the workbook together.
Both of these women share a deep conviction that parents who become conscious of what they want and need, and really take the time to understand who their children are as unique individuals, will be able to bring out the best in their child and provide them a promising future. This book offers a new kind of support for parents. It empowers them, hones their parenting skills, and provides them with resources and tools that make them self-aware, thoughtful parents. This is a wonderful book I wish I had read when I was a young, inexperienced mom.