Good Inside {A Book a Day 26}

Technically, this is a parenting book. Dr. Becky Kennedy gives advice on handling separation anxiety, temper tantrums, sibling rivalry, perfectionism, etc, in her book, Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be.

But this book is not only for parents. It’s a book for navigating relationships of any age, whether with a child, an adult, or reparenting ourselves. It’s for anybody who is human.

Good Inside

Dr. Becky’s advice is to prioritize connecting more than correcting. And to intervene by looking for the good inside each person instead of reacting from frustration and anger.

“Underneath ‘bad behavior’ is always a good child.”

To find the good inside, Dr. Becky says to ask ourselves this question before we respond to a situation:

“What is my most generous interpretation of what just happened?”

This works not only for parenting decisions, but for marriage decisions, friendship decisions, etc.

It correlates with one of the top pieces of marital advice I give (when asked): Give each other the benefit of the doubt as much as possible.

Do I always do it? No. But is it a worthy goal? Yes. For any kind of relationship.

This approach still requires parents to embody their authority with children (we are still the adults in the room, after all), but in a way that opens up space for seeing the whole person in front of us instead of just a misbehavior.

“Our kids should not dictate our boundaries and we should not dictate their feelings.”

Validation, empathy, boundary – that’s Dr. Becky’s formula to build resilience in kids, not just happiness.

“Resilience helps us bounce back from the stress, failure, mistakes, and adversity in our lives. Resilience allows for the emergence of happiness.”

At every age we will have problems in our lives, but if we can build resilience for working through our distress, we eliminate some of the extra struggling.

Knowing how to better support our kids (and ourselves) in the current moment makes for a healthier future for all.

Quotes from Good Inside

“Remember: it’s not our feelings that are the problem, it’s the regulation of the feelings.”

~ * ~

“The larger lesson to teach our kids is that distress is a part of life and when upsetting things happen, we can talk about them and get through them with the people we love.”

~ * ~

“At our core, we all want someone else to acknowledge our experience, our feelings, and our truths. When we feel seen by others, we can manage our disappointment, and we feel safe and good enough inside to consider someone else’s perspective.”

~ * ~

“Confidence is our ability to feel at home with ourselves in the widest range of feelings possible. It’s okay to be who you are no matter what you’re feeling.”

~ * ~

“Say this to yourself and then to your child: Here’s something I’ve noticed about you. You’re a person who can do hard things. We will keep getting through this. I love you.”

Do you have a favorite parenting book? Share your thoughts in the comments.

You are on Day #26 of the series, A Book a Day {Nonfiction Favorites}.

Table of Contents A Book a Day - Nonfiction Favorites

Cultish” {Book 25}

The Office BFFs” {Book 27}

7 thoughts on “Good Inside {A Book a Day 26}

  1. Jerralea

    Something I’ve always told my girls about relationships, will this matter in five years? If not, let it go.

    Of course, when you’re training children about respecting others, it may also require some discipline.

  2. Donna Reidland

    Lisa, I’m not sure that I agree with what appears to be the basic premise that we are all good inside. The Bible says that apart from Christ, we are not. But I do agree that we should give others the benefit of the doubt. It’s one of the things listed in 1 Corinthians 13 about the characteristics of love. It says, “love believes all things.” I don’t think that means we ignore the facts. Rather that we should believe the best until facts prove otherwise. And even then we can be gracious and forgiving even when there must be consequences. Sadly, it is our sin nature that causes us to be critical, jump to conclusions, and tend to believe the worst of others. May God help us to love with His love.

  3. Donna

    Love the thoughts in this book, Lisa, and you are right, the advice given can be used in nurturing any relationship.
    I was just talking to someone the other day about the idea of living out Philippians 4:8, what a difference it would make in our relationships if we first assumed the best about the other person.

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