Reviewed by Nandita Keshavan for Readers' Favorite
A Simple Guide to Socratic Parenting by Laurie Gray is an excellent overview of a Socrates-inspired approach to parenting. For readers who are worried that this book will be complicated due to the philosophical title, there is no need to worry, since Laurie writes in a very down to earth, easy to understand manner. Her messages are based on a personal understanding of parenting, and the concepts are intuitive and develop naturally as the book progresses. The Socratic approach is about engaging in active dialogue, learning to trust your inner intuition, and developing a unique understanding of yourself and your child.
Laurie herself questioned if there were not a simpler way of grasping the essence of parenting than being wholly dependent on external sources such as books and guides. This guide is about asking better questions and developing better awareness of one's parenting style and the effect of this on children. Early on in the book, Laurie encourages people to reflect on their own upbringing and the type of environment that they grew up in. She also explains that a lot can be achieved by being open to introspection, and she further discusses common problems in parenting, such as power-driven control, bullying, bribery, and strict parenting with the sole view of bringing up achievers rather than happy, well-rounded children.
Many core values are explained simply and beautifully, such as leading with respect, love and fun, parenting by example, and supporting your children's interests. Laurie explains very effectively the harm in using negative practices in parenting under the guise of discipline. How to build a healthy approach to authority and how to develop an attitude of family cooperation are key concepts which are discussed very well. I truly appreciated her discussion on discipline, which she presents very effectively with the motto “discipline yourself, discipline your child.” The book gives practical tips for using affirmations and discussing important things with children in an age appropriate way. It ends with an autobiographical style account on Socrates' life, which gives a sense of the background and inspiration for this book. The reading list is also very useful for getting a better understanding of specific areas in books which the author found to be well written.
I wholeheartedly agree with the concepts in A Simple Guide to Socratic Parenting by Laurie Gray and I'm extremely pleased to recommend it to people at all levels of interest in parenting; experienced parents, those new to parenting, and those interested in understanding the importance of family in shaping the characters of children. Those who already consider themselves to be good parents, but are interested in a social and philosophical context to parenting, will also find this book interesting. Laurie's approach is one of honesty, accountability and transparency, and these are key to understanding the process of parenting, and becoming a good parent. Also, it is exemplary in describing an approach to parenting based on parenting with love, strength and wisdom.