Book Review | Safe House

Safe House
by Joshua Straub, Ph.D.

In his new parenting book, Safe House, Joshua Straub shares less about specific parenting techniques and more about how to set a tone in your home of emotional safety.  He starts with the parent, encouraging you to examine your story, the people and events that influence your parenting and where you might already be on the spectrum of grace and truth/exploring and protecting.

The whole book is written from the perspective of a parent in the trenches himself, struggling with some of the very issues he’s writing about.  His goal, he says, is not to make you feel judged as a parent, but to encourage you as you try to build a beautiful story for your kids.

Straub covers some specific parenting topics such as how to keep communication open with your kids even while disciplining them, how to nurture your child’s brain, how to build a support community so you aren’t going it alone, and how to tend to your marriage and work together as a team.   He spent a large part of the book working through what he calls the ‘four walls of a safe house’—grace, truth, explore, protect—with charts and graphs and psychological analysis to determine why you are the way you are and whether you’re out of balance.

There’s information in here for parents with children at any age.  However, I must admit as a parent of four kids from toddler to tween, some of this book felt difficult to relate to.  Even though Straub doesn’t mean to confine its reach to newer parents (and I can tell he really tries to address older parents), it felt like new parents would benefit from the book the most.  (Or, perhaps, it would work well for parents of older kids whose relationship is really struggling.)   I think that simply the nature of the book—the fact that the author only has two kids, a toddler and a newborn—meant that most of his stories, personal experience and advice seemed to fit parents of infants and toddlers.  There were times the advice felt overly simplistic for a mom with a kid older than three.  Also, when I read his parenting horror stories of sleepless nights and toddler tantrums, which is the season of parenting he’s in, I just wanted to encourage him and offer some of my own parenting expertise (instead of the other way around!).

With that said, this book could be great for parents starting out and wanting to make choices now that set a tone of safety and strong relationships in your family.  It could also work well with parents who know their past experiences make it difficult for them to respond with grace and love to their kids.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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