About This Book


Parenting is the hardest and most rewarding job in the world. This upbeat and compelling new book includes the best selections on parenting from Chicken Soup's rich history, with 101 stories carefully selected to appeal to both mothers and fathers. This is a great book for couples to share, whether they are embarking on a new adventure as parents or reflecting on their lifetime experience, with stories written by parents about children and by children about their parents.

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Five tips for navigating parenthood with enjoyment
Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: On Being a Parent By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark.

Raising children is hard, but most people think it is the most rewarding job they will ever have. The parents in Chicken Soup for the Soul: On Being a Parent share their parenting struggles and successes, and they pass the lessons they have learned. Here are five pieces of advice, inspiration and reassurance, shared by parents who have already "been there, done that."

1. Be thankful. It's not just another day for Charlotte Volnek. She wakes up joyful, appreciating the little blessings around her — the sunshine, the singing birds. Her young daughter bursts into the room, giggling and eager to show her the card she made, her son shares his dreams and hopes with her, and her husband is always there for her. She takes a moment to celebrate the wellbeing of her family and to say thank you to God. She recalls the scripture: "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24). Charlotte realizes how important it is to stop and enjoy parenthood, knowing her kids won't be young forever.

2. Remember, mom always knows best. It wasn't by accident that Donna Gundle-Krieg, her sisters and the neighborhood kids played softball right next to her neighbors' rosebushes. They knew how much it bothered "Crazy Jack" and "Ruby Rednose." When a stumbling outfielder fell headlong into the bushes, the kids knew the damage was significant. Just then, the neighbors arrived home with their son Jack Junior, who had just been discharged from the army. Jack Junior's over-the-top reaction to the scene wasn't Ruby's only reason for tears. "Mom died while Jack Junior was in Vietnam. He just found out about her death today. When he saw her rosebushes damaged, it was the last straw." The roses had been her mother's last physical tie to her homeland, England, and Ruby's last physical tie to her mother. With understanding and compassion, Donna's mother extended a caring hand, which helped build a bridge of friendship that would last a lifetime.

3. Trust dad's wisdom. Olga Valle-Herr was no stranger to difficulties. As a Mexican-American girl growing up in Texas during the 1950s, she struggled with the differences between her home and school life. Her father encouraged her to speak Spanish and embrace her culture, but at school her native language was banned and Olga was punished for speaking it. Olga was confused, and the worst came when she and her friends were denied service at a restaurant because of their ethnicity. She went home crying to her father. He asked her, "Are you ashamed of your race?" She wasn't sure. Her father decided to take the family to Mexico City to "learn more about the beauty, history, art, culture and people of our ancestral country," Olga writes. She now has pride in her Mexican heritage, and it is all thanks to her father's persistence.

4. Appreciate the chaos. Being a single parent wasn't easy. Barbara Schiller thought things would never slow down, but now she sits in her quiet home remembering the chaotic days when her kids were little. Her children yearned for her attention and wanted her to come to all their events. Barbara always felt like she was pulled in three different directions and was never able to relax. Now she misses those days. As she watched her daughter Serena walk across the stage to receive her college diploma, she had a rush of memories. "Yes, life with children can be difficult, especially when you're on your own." Barbara says. "Yet very soon, sooner than you think, you'll be asking, 'Where has the time gone?' And the house will be quiet. Too quiet."

5. Take time to play. As a stay-at-home mom, DeAnna Sanders's chores never ended at five like her husband's. Her daughter Rachel watched her one evening as she helped with homework, cooked dinner and folded laundry. Rachel also watched her father come home and relax. According to Rachel, '"mommies get all the hard work and daddies get all the fun.'" DeAnna realized that wasn't the picture of motherhood she wanted her daughter to have. They both deserved better than that. "She needed not a picture of perfection, but one of joy and contentment in a mother doing the same old household chores again, and again and again," DeAnna writes. She decided that the laundry could wait and she went outside to play with her husband and kids. "My relaxed, new and improved outlook on life paid immediate results," she says. "My family watched in amazement as my home-run baseball cleared the backyard fence."

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