Book Review

The Journey of the Heroic Parent by Dr Brad Reedy An empowering and refreshing look at the incredibly difficult task of raising challenging children. I must admit, I did not want to read this book. I have spent 9 years reading books on parenting with “proven results”, as well as books pertaining to all kinds of disorders, trauma & attachment, wilderness/residential treatment, learning disabilities, and therapeutic parenting. Over the years while my friends were talking about Twilight, The Fault in Our Stars or some other best-selling novel, I was ready to discuss the difference between a sensory meltdown and a tantrum or what I don’t agree with in the new DSM-V. I can’t believe I still have friends! Recently I had just sworn off ever reading another parenting book, especially those that guarantee extraordinary results if we consistently do X,Y, & Z. I do not have a neuro-typical child and X, Y & Z do not work. However, when The Journey of the Heroic Parent was given to me by the author, I decided I would give it a chance. By the way, I did feel compelled to let him know I never wanted to read another parenting book. His response “You won’t have to after this one!” Oh boy. To my surprise, I enjoyed The Journey of the Heroic Parent. Overall, I found it to be an empowering and refreshing look at the incredibly difficult task of raising challenging children. The book challenges us how to think about parenting and does not solely focus on the specific skills required to parent. Dr. Reedy encourages parents to become their own expert, not relying so heavily on the advice of professionals. He suggests to parents a way to think about the questions we have regarding our child so that we might discover the answers for ourselves. Luckily, my son’s therapist has the same view and the many times we sought his council, he gently encouraged us to figure out the answer. At one point, I was even asking him to decide for us if we should move to another state! As parents, we need to be confident in ourselves. And to have confidence we need to be able to know ourselves and find the truth within. “Therapists are not the experts on your life. Rather, their expertise is in creating the ‘container’ or experience in which you can discover your truth.” This book is empowering in the sense it reminds us we cannot control others and to let go of striving to be a perfect parent getting everything right. We can only change ourselves and our reactions. It gives us permission to let go of the outcome. We can let go of the power struggle. We can give ourselves a break from trying to manage or fix our child’s feelings. We want to be effective and influential parents, not perfect parents. And, it’s okay to have limitations. “A truly secure parent does not need to know that she is perfect, but rather can be comfortable with her limitations”. The Journey of the Heroic Parent is refreshing as Dr. Reedy does not promise any results but challenges parents to dig deep within ourselves and parent from a place of love and faith; not fear. “We get to participate in this thing called parenting and our difficult children are the gift that teaches us and invites us to find our best selves.” In conclusion, The Journey of the Heroic Parent offers principles to apply to any relationship, not just parenting. Principles that help deepen connection, encourage boundaries, free ourselves from the need to be in control and right, and learn how to let go of the outcome. It is about finding our story in the midst of struggle and courageously embracing the road we’re on. (All quotes are from Dr. Brad Reedy, The Journey of the Heroic Parent)