The Don't Sweat Guide for Parents: Reduce Stress and Enjoy Your Kids More


In this incredibly stressful world in which we live, parents seem to be the people who come under fire most. Hectic work schedules combined with chauffeuring children to extracurricular activities make us crave more quiet time with our children. The Don't Sweat Guide for Parents provides suggestions for enjoying your children more while ...

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In this incredibly stressful world in which we live, parents seem to be the people who come under fire most. Hectic work schedules combined with chauffeuring children to extracurricular activities make us crave more quiet time with our children. The Don't Sweat Guide for Parents provides suggestions for enjoying your children more while being less stressed and more present with them in every moment of their lives.

Including such strategies as:

  • Admit That You Could Use Some Help
  • The Hardest Job in the World
  • Learn to Take a Breather
  • Because I Said So
  • Keep the Job at the Office
  • Enjoy Your Kids Every Day
This book will help you to be a better, calmer, happier mom or dad.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786887187
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 10/17/2001
  • Series: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff Series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 815,036
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 6.62 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

Richard Carlson, Ph.D., was the author of the bestselling Don't Sweat the Small Stuff series. He passed away in 2006.


Richard Carlson, whose Ph.D. is in psychology, is considered one of the foremost experts in happiness and stress-reduction around the world. He is the author of fifteen popular books including the runaway bestseller, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and It's All Small Stuff, which was named the No. 1 bestselling book in America for two consecutive years, a feat never before achieved in publishing.

Dr. Carlson has become a worldwide phenomenon as well. His books appear in over 100 countries, resulting in over 40 million people worldwide reading one of the books in the Don't Sweat series. In 1997, he was chosen by People magazine as one of the most intriguing people to watch in the world and has been a popular guest on shows such as The View, Oprah, Today, and CNN.

Author biography courtesy of Hyperion Books.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northern California
    1. Education:
      San Jose State University, Pepperdine University; Ph.D., Sierra University

Read an Excerpt


Parenting is, perhaps, the most rewarding and joyful job a person can have during his or her lifetime. Unfortunately, it's also one of, if not the most difficult and potentially stressful jobs you will ever have.

But not to worry! The editors of Don't Sweat Press have done a beautiful job in providing simple, practical and wise strategies that can take some of the pressure off of us parents. Whether you are just starting your journey — you're expecting, or have little ones — you have a house full of teens, or even if your kids are out of the house, The Don't Sweat Guide for Parents will be of tremendous service to you.

The strategies were written to empower you and to give you more options and solutions. They remind you that there are things you can do to take some of the stress out of parenting. The strategies point to the fact that, while some stress is inevitable in parenting, The rest of it (or at least some of it) is often self-created. In other words, we use our thinking in ways that take us away from where we want to be. As we become aware of the fact that we are doing so, we open the door to a world of options. Peace of mind becomes possible and, from that more peaceful place, parenting becomes more manageable.

For me personally, being a parent is the most important part of my life. Even though it can be difficult, Kris and I try to make decisions and create an atmosphere that enables our family to enjoy each other and to enjoy life. As I read the strategies in this book, they reinforced to me those ideals. I found myself saying, If I would do that . . . my life as a parent would be easier. I intend to re-read this book several times and do my best to put the suggestions into practice. I encourage you to do the same. I think if we do, well all he better — and much happier — parents.

Thank you for the job you are doing as a parent and for your commitment to your children. I hope this book is of tremendous service to you.

Treasure the Gift of Parenting,

Richard Carlson

Pleasant Hill, CA, June 2001

The Hardest Job in the World

There's a new person living in your house — a demanding new person who, though pretty small, seems to take up the whole house. And in between doing the new baby's laundry, feeding him, and keeping him clean, you suddenly realize that you haven't made dinner, showered, returned any phone calls, or even visited the bathroom — sometimes for an entire day — but it can all wait. You are compelled to attend to your new baby's every need.

Welcome to the hardest job in the world: parenting. True, there's no paycheck at the end of the work week, and for the first couple of years, there's no real vacation time. But thankfully, the rewards of parenting are huge.

So how do you succeed in your new job as a parent? For some, parenting is an additional career, not a new one. How do you fit into your daily life all the things that need to get done when you have a new baby and, perhaps, a nine-to-five job? What do you do about the dishes piling up or the laundry overflowing? What, in short, is the secret to getting it all done?

The key is time management! Your new baby sets a difficult course of challenges and obstacles for you every day. Your job is to successfully overcome each and every one. Learning to manage your time "the baby way" will take time. But once it clicks and you team to prioritize your responsibilities, like any job, you'll find it gets a lot easier.

As for the dishes? Let 'em sit. The laundry? Try sitting your new baby on top of a running dryer while you fold clothes.

Just remember the big benefit that goes with your new full-time position: the endless, unconditional love you'll get from your children. What could be better?

The New Parent Shuffle

The New Parent Shuffle isn't difficult to team, and the steps can be a useful resource for delegating important parenting responsibilities. When new parents feel the effects of sleep deprivation, feeding, changing, getting up for the baby at night, or even playing with the baby can be deemed a "responsibility." It's a given that both you and your spouse adore your child and would love to spend as much time with her as possible. But add in outside factors such as work, sleep or lack thereof, and having to cook, clean, and shop, and even the most attentive parent might want to stare at the television rather than playing peek-a-boo after a long day. A little delegating can change all that and tighten the load for the stressed-out new mom or dad.

After the first few weeks with a newborn have passed, chances are that you and your spouse know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to taking care of the little one. But don't let each other's expertise in these skills delegate who is going to do them each time. It's important to shake it up a little. If you've sung "Hush Little Baby" night after night for weeks, you're probably aching to stop. A good idea would be to let your spouse step in and take over — the last thing you want is to think of singing to the baby as a chore. Both of you should have the chance to learn how your baby likes to hear you sing, and to increase your ability to comfort your child this way.

It is also important to create some rules. For example, whoever must leave the house for the office in the morning does the last night feeding before going to bed, then sleeps through until morning and promises to "take over" once home from the office.

Say you're a stay-at-home parent who spends all day taking care of your baby's needs. When your spouse comes home from work and offers to take your child for a stroll through the neighborhood, don't object just because it's bath time and you want to stick to a schedule. You've been the caregiver all day. Now it's your spouse's turn to spend time with the child. Let them go on their outing — or if the bath just has to get done, let your spouse bathe the child, and then they can go for their walk. Enjoy your quiet time alone, and use the opportunity to "refuel."

It's usually difficult for the primary caregiver to give up some responsibility-whoever changes diapers all day long knows it can be done better or faster. But the ability to relinquish responsibility is one of the most important factors in a successful partnership. Letting your spouse tend to the baby, even though you know you could do it better or faster or quieter, gives your spouse the practice needed to succeed, and builds confidence while doing so.

No Such Thing as Bad Kids

Do you have a "difficult" child? Does your daughter throw tantrums for no particular reason? Does your son refuse to eat? About 20 percent of children make their parents nuts with exasperating behavior. Having such a child can leave you feeling exhausted, depressed, unsure about your skills as a parent, angry at your kids, and embarrassed by their behavior in front of others.

A study that was conducted years ago, rather than blaming parents for less-than-perfect kids, concluded that children are actually born with a set of "temperamental qualities." These can be found as early as a few months! They determine, to an extent, whether your baby will be "easy" or "difficult." Though your child's temperament is influenced by other factors, for the most part, it remains fairly consistent for life. Perhaps your child's refusal to eat is in part due to stubbornness — a trait that he will most likely carry throughout life.

No matter what your baby's temperament may be, stay away from labeling it "good" or "bad." It's not your baby's fault, nor is it yours or your spouse's. It's just the way things are! You yourself were born with a certain temperament — perhaps you get anxious in some situations. Chances are that you were anxious as a baby, too. The way you expressed that anxiety as a toddler might have been an inability to sleep without a light on.

Become sensitive to your baby's temperament early on. You can then modify your approach to your child's behavior to anticipate and avoid conflicts before they occur. You'll be a lot more confident, a lot less frustrated, and you'll have a happier, more loving, and more satisfying relationship with your child!

Copyright © 2001 Carlson, LLC.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 11
1. The Hardest Job in the World 15
2. The New Parent Shuffle 17
3. No Such Thing as Bad Kids 19
4. Mommy Knows Best...or Does She? 21
5. You've Changed (and Not Just Diapers) 23
6. Power Struggles 25
7. Your Frustrated Preschooler 27
8. Because I Said So 29
9. Please, Thank You, and Go Away! 31
10. Sophisticated Baby Talk 33
11. Traditional Role Reversal 35
12. Taking Your Children in Public 37
13. "I Love You!" 39
14. When Your Children Are Less Than Loving 41
15. Let 'Em Win...Sometimes 43
16. A Recipe for Peace 45
17. Catch the Exercise Bug 47
18. Raising Kids Who Care 49
19. Bedtime--or More Simply Put, Armageddon 52
20. Turning Sibling Rivalry into Sibling Chivalry 55
21. Pencil In Your Kids for a Family Meeting 57
22. Empowering Your Kids 59
23. Keeping Expectations to a Minimum 61
24. Raising Children with Morals 63
25. Cheat Sheet for Happiness 65
26. It's the Little Things That Count 68
27. Stress Busters 70
28. Listen to the Experts 73
29. Organize Your Life 75
30. Don't Baby Bottle Your Feelings 77
31. Surviving Separation Anxiety 79
32. Raising Unspoiled Kids 81
33. Just Who Do Our Kids Look Up To? 83
34. Teach Right from Wrong 85
35. Give Her a Boost 87
36. The Importance of Baby-Sitters 89
37. Cut Your Teenager Some Slack 92
38. Enjoy Your Kids Every Single Day 94
39. Words Not to Live By! 96
40. "Who Do You Love More?" 99
41. Choose Your Words Wisely 101
42. Family Game Night 104
43. Surviving the Family Vacation 106
44. Always Be Polite! 109
45. "I Didn't Do It" 111
46. It's All in a Day's Work 114
47. Act, Don't React, to Your Child's Misbehavior 116
48. Baby Bootie Camp 118
49. Raising Smart Kids 120
50. When Super-Mom Feels Less Than Super 122
51. Raising Friendly Kids 124
52. Controlling Tempers...Yours! 126
53. Teaching Your Children Responsibility 128
54. Kindergarten and First-Day Jitters 130
55. Is There a Tattletale in Your Midst? 132
56. Keeping Your Kids Safe 134
57. Time with Grandparents 136
58. Praise Versus Encouragement 138
59. The Working Mother Versus the Stay-at-Home Mom 140
60. When Dad Feels Undermined 142
61. "I'm Sorry" 144
62. A Single Parent Is Double the Parent 146
63. Grateful Children 148
64. Dear Time: Drop Everything And Read! 150
65. You Are Getting Sleepy... 152
66. The Perfect Play Date Myth 154
67. Find the Humor 156
68. Getting Out of the House 158
69. Alone Time 159
70. Have Your Baby Call My Baby! 161
71. Teach Good Judgment 163
72. Getting Your Toddler to Listen 165
73. Tall Tales from Short People 168
74. Having "The Talk" with Your Kids 170
75. One-on-One Spouse Time 172
76. Cherish Your One and Only 174
77. Double Your Fun! 176
78. Time for Homework 178
79. Remember the Moment 180
80. Parenting Rule #1: Parents Don't Get Sick! 182
81. You Are Not Super-Parents! 184
82. Become an Expert in Parenting 186
83. Take Your Children Out for Dinner 188
84. Talk to Your Teenage Son 190
85. Talk to Your Teenage Daughter 192
86. A Place of Their Own 194
87. Give Your Kids Healthy Food 196
88. Take Care of Your Sick Child 198
89. Discipline the Positive Way 200
90. Finishing a Sentence 202
91. Get Your Kids to Cooperate 204
92. Monitor "the Box" 206
93. Oh, Fiddlesticks! 208
94. Home Alone 210
95. What Are We Training For? 212
96. Reconnect with Your Former Non-Parent Self 214
97. There Goes the Neighborhood 216
98. Kick the Whine Habit 218
99. Don't Bribe Them--Reward Them 220
100. Focus on the Future 222
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