Kiss Me! How to Raise Your Children with Love is a refreshing parenting book that speaks for babies and children and all that is normal. Carlos González takes a firm stand against all the current parenting books around today that tie parents in knots as they try to conform to the routines and demands within their pages.
Our society, which is very tolerant in some respects, is less so towards children and mothers. These modern taboos may be classified into three broad groups:
- With regard to crying: it is forbidden to pay attention to children, pick them up, or give them what they want when they cry.
- With regard to sleeping it is forbidden to let children fall asleep while holding them or breastfeeding them, to sing to them or rock them in order to send them to sleep, to co-sleep with them.
- With regard to breastfeeding: it is forbidden to breastfeed them at any time or in any place, or to breastfeed a child when he is too “old”.
Almost all these taboos have one thing in common: they prohibit physical contact between mother and child. On the other hand, all activities that tend to reduce physical contact and increase distance between mother and child are widely recommended:
- Leave the child alone in his room.
- Push him around in a buggy or in one of those unwieldy plastic carrycots.
- Take him to the nursery school as soon as possible, or leave him with the grandparents or better still with a childminder (grandmothers “spoil” children!).
- Send him off to summer camp as soon as possible and for as long as possible.
- Have “private time” as parents, go out without the children, enjoy life “as a couple”.
The author goes on to explain that these societal “rules” prevent us from instinctive mothering and enjoying our children.
In a normal situation where a mother is at liberty to look after her child as she sees fit, the baby cries very little and when he does it pains her and she feels compassion (“Poor little thing, what’s the matter?”). However, when they prohibit you from picking him up, sleeping with him, breastfeeding him, or comforting him, the child cries even more, and the mother is helpless in the face of his crying, and her response becomes angry and aggressive (“What’s the matter with him now!”).
And so with his usual humorous and sarcastic style Carlos puts the microscope on some of the silly rules and expectations and pulls them apart. Kiss Me! How to raise your children with love is the only parenting book I have found to mention breastfeeding. I loved it!