Online Book Discussion Group, Giveaways, and Special Appearances, Oh My!
I am so excited to announce the debut of the Code Name: Mama Online Book Discussion Group. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate, all you need is a copy of the book we are discussing (borrowed1 or bought), an hour or so each week to read, and about 20-30 minutes to join in the discussion here on Code Name: Mama.
Please read to the end, because you will find questions to consider for our first discussion on September 20, plus I have a super special announcement/giveaway for participants!
For our first book, we are going to read Playful Parenting, by Lawrence Cohen, PhD.
Playful Parenting is my personal favorite parenting book. Dr. Cohen focuses on establishing trusting connections between parents and children, rethinking the way we discipline, and empowering and believing in our children. But even better than the lessons in a positive parenting philosophy, he offers concrete examples of how to implement play in your every day parenting.
“Playful Parenting means joining children in their world of play, focusing on connection and confidence, giggling and roughhousing, and following your child’s lead.”2 “Playful Parenting helps with the toughest aspects of parenting: tantruming toddlers, biting preschoolers, anxious third-graders, out-of-control preteens. Playfulness resolves our battles over getting dressed and ready in the morning, soothes our frazzled nerves at the end of a long day, and restores family harmony. . . . When we are exhausted or when we are at the end of our rope, we tend to think that play will be just more of an energy drain. But when we engage playfully with our children, we find that suddenly we do have energy, both for fun and for finding creative solutions to thorny problems.”3
You can purchase Playful Parenting on Amazon4 ($10.17 new plus free shipping for Prime customers!), Barnes & Noble ($10.76 new and free shipping if you spend $25), or check into one of your locally owned/independent book sellers.
I am also looking for readers/participants who have a few dollars to spare to contribute to a fund to buy books for parents who want to participate, but for financial reasons cannot buy their own copies of the book. (And isn’t it nice to have your own copy to highlight/underline for a discussion group?!) If you have the ability to contribute, please email me: CodeNameMama (at) gmail (dot) com. I will order the book from Amazon.com for the reader in need, and because I’m a prime member, we’ll get free shipping. You can send $10.17 – or any amount! – via Paypal (please mark it personal so I don’t incur fees).
How Our Book Discussion Will Work
1) Scheduled reading/discussions: We’ll read the book in very manageable chunks – I know how precious your spare time is as busy parents! I think for our first book, we’ll do about 50 pages at a time. We may adjust that in the future – please give us feedback during and at the end of this first book. Here is our schedule for Playful Parenting:
- Monday, September 20: Our first post/online discussion will start. Before September 20, please read at least the first 3 chapters of Playful Parenting (hereafter PP). In my copy, that’s 58 pages. You will see a few questions at the end of this post – please keep those in mind as you read, and jot down some thoughts/reactions for each question to share with the group.
- Monday, September 27: We will discuss Chapters 4 – 6 (in my copy, that’s pages 59 – 111). Questions for Sept. 27 will be posted on Sept. 20.
- Monday, October 4: We will discuss Chapters 7 – 9 (in my copy, that’s pages 112 – 169). Questions for Oct. 4 will be posted on Sept. 27.
- Monday, October 11: We will discuss Chapters 10 – 12 (in my copy, that’s pages 170 – 231). Questions for Oct. 11 will be posted on Oct. 4.
- Monday, October 18: We will discuss Chapters 13 – the end (in my copy, that’s pages 232 – 295). Questions for Oct. 18 will be posted on Oct. 11.
2) Your Co-Facilitators: Each post will be co-written and discussion co-facilitated by myself and Kelly. Kelly, a regular Code Name: Mama reader, has graciously offered to help me, since I have never facilitated a book group before. It’s true!
3) How to Participate in Discussions: Discussions will take place here on Code Name: Mama each Monday. I will post a short piece on our reading, ask for your thoughts/feedback/questions on the reading, and present the questions for the next week. There are two main ways to participate:
- Contribute your feedback and questions on each post: When you are ready to join in the discussion, just click on “comments” from the post. Start your own comment or reply to someone who has already posted by clicking “reply” or using @Name to identify who you are replying to. I doubt it will be a problem, but please keep my “Comment Policy” in mind – let’s all try to be respectful, even when we disagree.
- Email a challenging situation for inclusion in the questions/group discussion for the following week: Each week we will feature the challenges that you have been having with your little ones. Participants can offer suggestions and ideas based on the concepts presented in PP.
(Potential) Special Appearance & Giveaways
Now for the really exciting parts.
1) I contacted Dr. Cohen to make sure we were legally allowed to have an online discussion group of PP (since we’d be quoting/citing portions of it, etc.). He responded and not only gave us his blessings, but Dr. Cohen will also try to stop by and join in the discussions as his schedule allows!!5
So that means it’s even MORE important for you to leave your thoughtful feedback and questions on each post. You might just get an answer or advice from Dr. Cohen himself!
2) We’re going to have a giveaway! Dr. Cohen has graciously donated a copy of the new audio edition of PP – it is a 6 CD set and is narrated by Cohen himself. Instead of giving the set away at the beginning, I thought it might be nice to give it to a participant at the conclusion of our discussion of PP – you can feel free to keep it for yourself or gift it to a parent in need.
Also, I’m going to personally buy and give away a copy of our NEXT book – Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort.
But you’re going to have to work for these giveaways. To enter, you will need to write a guest post for Code Name: Mama. Your post must present a recent challenge you have had with your child and how you addressed it gently – preferably using one of the methods you learned about in Playful Parenting (or S.A.L.V.E., if you’ve read ROCRO before). Posts must adhere to my contributor guidelines, and by submitting a post for consideration, you acknowledge that it may be posted on my site. 6
Posts are due no later than 9:00pm CST on Saturday, October 23. I will announce the two winners before our next discussion group starts (probably on November 8.)7
Questions? Contact me!
Discussion Questions for Monday, September 20
Please think about these questions as you read through the first 3 chapters of PP. Write down some answers/responses and stop by Code Name: Mama on September 20 to share them with the group.
If you have been facing a specific challenging situation with your child and would like some PP input from the group, please contact me. Read the “gentle parenting suggestions” guidelines for ideas on what details to include.
1) On average, what reactions and emotions do you have when your child asks you to play? When you think about playing with your child? How do you and your child normally play?
2) Fill in the blank: Playing with my child _____________. (And how do you want your statement to change as we read through this book?)
3) On page 2, Dr. Cohen gives an example of a little boy and his mother at a dance, where “a little playfulness turned the tide.” As you read and prepare for our first discussion, be mindful of situations with your child this week. If you see something headed in a negative direction, try to shift it toward playfulness. Did it work? Tell us about it!
4) Dr. Cohen describes behavior that can be “annoying, obnoxious, or downright infuriating” (page 8 ) – not as something that needs to be punished, but that calls for more playtime. What feelings does that statement engender in you? Do you have a problem with “misbehavior” being “rewarded” by play?
5) Cohen gives an example of a situation with his daughter where “playfulness turned a time that used to be full of frustration for both of us into something fun, enjoyable, and confidence-building.” (page 11) Think about a recurring situation with your child that is consistently “full of frustration.” What could you do to turn it into a moment of play?
6) When discussing closeness and seating arrangements during therapy, Cohen says that it is “important to find the approach your child will most respond to – and you can find this only if you’re trying to interact with your child on their level.” While we read through PP, think about how your child responds best to you – what games consistently bring you closer? What playtime activities make your child feel connected?
- Most public libraries should have a copy of Playful Parenting. ↩
- From Dr. Cohen’s web site, Playful Parenting ↩
- Cohen, Playful Parenting, at 16 ↩
- As always, Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I get a few cents if you click and buy from this link. I appreciate your support! ↩
- I admit, I was a little starstruck. ↩
- You may change names to protect your privacy, but please leave ages/behavior intact. ↩
- I haven’t decided how I’m going to choose winners, but I will likely choose one winner randomly, and the other winner will be based on the post submitted. ↩
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"Online Book Discussion Group, Giveaways, and Special Appearances, Oh My!"
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