Weird Parenting Wins Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Weird Parenting Wins will make you better at raising your kids by sharing some strange ways that fathers and mothers have had success with their children, helping you see that your intuition might just be the greatest tool you have at your disposal.

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Anyone who has kids can tell you raising them isn’t easy. Sure, most will agree it’s worth it, but between times of incomparable laughter and joy, there are times of sleep deprivation, tears, tantrums, and drama. And if you look after kids that aren’t your own, things can be even more difficult. 

Being tasked with taking care of small humans can be daunting. But there are ways to make things easier for both you and the child. I know what you’re thinking, there are a lot of complicated parenting books out there claiming to have the secret to well-behaved kids.

But author Hillary Frank brings you something more simple in her book Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches. In it, Frank offers practical, creative tips for anyone. 

So quit stressing over confusing and strict parenting methods and take some simple, unexpected hacks from seasoned parents that will make life easier for both you and your youngster.

Here are 3 of the craziest lessons I’ve learned from this book:

  1. Calming a child who whines will require you to put in some effort and creativity.
  2. Parenting can help your child feel brave and calm their overactive imagination.
  3. Help young kids open up about their emotions through role-play, and help teenagers by just listening.

Grab a notepad and get ready to take down all those weird ideas you have about parenting because you’re about to see how they just might work!

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Lesson 1: Whining kids respond best when you use your imagination and put in effort.

One of the most common parenting questions for people with young kids is, “how can I get my kid to stop whining?” Listening to a child whine can be exhausting and frustrating. And most parents will agree asking them to “just stop whining” only makes things worse.

The author explains in order to stop whining, you’re going to need to get creative. She tells the story of her young daughter Sasha who she was stuck with in the ski rental line at a resort. They had to wait, but Sasha was cold, bored, and done with waiting. 

The author used her imagination to come up with a distraction to help Sasha. She told her if she was going to whine, she would have to sing the blues. She began to sing silly songs about being cold and tired of the line, and before long, Sasha was giggling and forgot about the line.

With babies, you also need to put in creative effort. The author tells the story of a young couple who was exhausted with a newborn that just didn’t seem to want to sleep. After trying many things, the desperate couple finally noticed that the sound of an electric toothbrush seemed to soothe their baby. From that night on, they set that electric toothbrush near the crib as their newborn lulled off to sleep.

When it comes to parenting, sometimes you just need to think outside the box to find what works specifically for your child.

Lesson 2: You can help your child feel brave and calm their wild imagination through parenting.

If you’ve ever spent time around young children, you know they can have very vibrant imaginations. But this sometimes fun attribute can cause problems when it comes to things they find frightening. Most people can probably relate to the irrational childhood fear that there is a monster waiting under your bed or in your closet. 

As a parent, it can be hard to hush this overactive imagination and help them calm down. This is another area of parenting where you can use creativity.

When the author was younger, she was frightened of wild animals. Her mother helped her by making a sign that barred lions, tigers, and bears from entering her room. This simple idea was incredibly effective.

Another way to help a fearful child is by helping them discover a sense of bravery. Frank suggests playing bravery games.

It can go something like this: ask your child to enter a dark bedroom and stay in until they count to ten. If they do well, they can count even higher. Finding ways to help foster a sense of individual courage through games can work wonders when it comes to childhood fears.

Lesson 3: You can help little kids express themselves through role-play and teens by showing you want to listen rather than judge.

Sure your young child can talk for ten minutes straight about a cool rock he found on the playground, but when it comes to talking about how he feels, he’s not so great. To help a child learn to open up about how they feel, the author says role-playing can help.

Frank shares an example of her daughter in preschool. Sasha would come home aggressive and upset. In an inspired moment, the author encouraged her daughter to share what was wrong through role play.

The author was Sasha, and Sasha played Lily, her preschool friend. Through the role-playing, it became clear Lily was terrorizing Sasha at preschool and not allowing her to play with anyone else. This helped the author understand the complex drama that was going on and she was able to help her daughter. 

When it comes to teenagers and emotions, you will need a very different approach. They respond best to silent listening. The author tells the story of her friend and her son Jack. Jack would often become grumpy. When his mother tried to give input he would withdraw. 

So she tried a different approach. Every night they would go on a walk and she had Jack walk a bit ahead to rant about his frustrations. Instead of adding any thoughts, she would silently listen. This worked wonders for him. Most of the time, teens just want to vent and be heard, rather than be told what to do.

Weird Parenting Wins Review

What an interesting book! I could definitely relate to Weird Parenting Wins as I’ve seen a few strange things work with my kids too. What I liked best was how this book was so much more practical than many other books out there and touches on an important parenting tool that many often overlook.

Who would I recommend the Weird Parenting Wins summary to?

The 27-year-old couple that wants to start having kids but is scared they won’t know what to do, the 45-year-old couple who have some unique parenting problems, and everyone who works with children or has their own.

Last Updated on September 21, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.