Tackling the Challenges of Raising Children

By Ameilia B. Steward

Why does my son refuse to put on his shoes today? How can I talk to my daughter about putting the phone down without starting World War III? These are the parenting conundrums that get answered in a newly published common-sense book on creatively outsmarting and innovatively communicating with your child.

Lynn Sanchez, of Easton, draws on her 50-year career in early childhood education and from her own experience raising three boys to author Behind the Brussels Sprouts. This charming laugh-out-loud book based on her own parenting experiences gives you chapter-by-chapter insight on how to handle the messy day-to-day challenges of parenting.

“I kept looking at parents working so hard and enjoying it so little,” she shares when talking about her motivation for writing the book. “My first goal for writing the book was for parents to read it and celebrate what they are doing well and relax. The second goal was for me to realize in my 70s that it’s not too late to realize the dream I had to write a book.”

Lynn presents a digestible guide for child-rearing to which young parents can relate. Marrying the academic world of childhood education with real-life parenting hurdles comes together in her 13 chapters that you can easily flip through in between packing lunches and waiting for soccer practice to end. Knowing the ins and outs of parenting and talking to children from both her time as a teacher and as a mother, she takes a unique approach to fuse the two together, but when combined with this refreshing perspective equips parents with the know-how to invent new ways to work with their kids.

Behind the Brussels Sprouts is a chapter-by-chapter insight on how to handle the messy day-to-day challenges of parenting.

“I was not brilliant as a mother. I was a survivor. I learned to rely on my gut while raising my three boys, who I had over four and a half years while my husband was in medical school. Funny things happened in our family along the way,” she quips.

Lynn earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in childhood development from Florida State University. Her professional career has been multifaceted with experience in the Montessori school system, educational therapy in a children’s psychiatric institute and positions of assistant professor of early childhood at Chesapeake College. She also worked with the T. Berry Brazelton Touchpoints program as a site coordinator.

When reflecting on Dr. Brazelton’s approach to childrearing, she adds, “He didn’t tell you how to parent, he gave you some information to understand what was happening to set the stage for what you were seeing in your child. It is about being on the journey with your child and not doing it to them or for them.  He asked parents the question, ‘How will it be for you when your child does ______?’”

Another tip she gives is about discerning what is behind the behavior in your child in what she calls “looking for the why.” She encourages parents not to stop at the first why when trying to solve a problem with their child’s behavior.

Another aspect she explores is how each child is born with his or her temperament and why a one size fits all approach doesn’t work when parenting different children. For families with multiple children, she says that the second and third children in the birth order often occupy the unoccupied positions in the family. The book has blank pages at the end of each chapter where the author invites parents to write their own stories and reflections as they process some of her tips.

“I invite parents who decide to have children to ask of themselves, ‘What does this baby mean to me?’ We all bring our ghosts from the nursery to our parenting – you need to understand them before parenting your children,” she explains.

“Every woman is pregnant with three babies – the envisioned baby, the unexpected baby, and the real baby. Having frank conversations about each of these three babies when you are pregnant can prepare you and your spouse/partner for what may come and open discussions about how you will deal with the child that you give birth to,” she adds.

One reviewer wrote, “Behind the Brussels Sprouts is a highly entertaining and original “What If” book full of useful advice on how to avoid the anxiety and pitfalls of parenting served up in a hilarious telling of the author’s own journey through parenthood. From her chaotic and frenzied first experience of having a baby to her innovative way to get children to be ready on time to her suggestions on how to teach children to rely less on electronics, the author offers workable, common-sense solutions to the many problems each parent faces.”

The book has appeal for all ages as it awakens reflections in older adults about how they were parented and how that impacted their parenting.

The author explains that the book is named after brussels sprouts because her boys didn’t like them. So, every time the family moved, she hid her favorite foods in the freezer behind the brussels sprouts – a place the boys would never look.

For information about Behind the Brussels Sprouts, contact Lynn Sanchez at bsprouts72@gmail.com. The book is also available on Amazon.com for $15 for paperback and $8.95 for the e-book.

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