The Pain and Bliss of Parenthood

Although today may seem like a selfish “Elisa Day” because of what might appear to be the shameless plugging of my own books, I do want people to know more about my journey. Raising five children is no walk in the park, especially a rambunctious set like mine. I had to do my best in spite of the fact that many struggled with ADHD, learning disabilities, mental illness, among other things. I’ve been told that my children chose my husband and I because they needed to grapple with an immense amount of pain related to their past lives and other parents might not have the same capacity for patience, love and encouragement.

I believe I was supposed to go through this for many reasons. First, it’s made me more humble and compassionate. There were many points in my motherhood that I felt close to being broken. That infused me with a sense of humility. There are things much more important in the world than me and my little ego. Second, I learned to embrace my mistakes and flaws (and there were plenty) and see them as gifts. Third, I learned that the actions of others are never really meant to be personal vendettas designed to bring me down. Fourth, it taught me how important it is to let go. Because of my upbringing, I expected to give my children a fairytale childhood. It didn’t work out that way. We have had our trouble, our drama, our disappointments and our pain. But, love helped us survive.

That said, I learned that love is the secret to letting go of pain, and, according to Erik, that is what I’m here to teach. When I say “letting go of pain,” I don’t want you to envision the hero in a movie with white knuckled fingers gripping frantically to the frame of a  broken window of a skyscraper while the villain repeatedly stomps on his hand, ripping his palm against the broken glass. I’m talking about giving that pain a long and loving hug, thanking it for the lessons it provided, and sending it on it’s way. I’m still working on this and have a long way to go, but the disappointment that comes from dashed expectations has lost its sting.

Here are my three first books. They are all award-winning and translated into multiple languages. Each one comes in all possible book formats.


“Raising Children Who Think for Themselves, by Elisa Medhus, M.D., is the proud recipient of three highly prestigious awards: The 2002 Parent’s Choice Award, The NAPPA Gold Award (National Parenting Publications Association,) and the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval.”

NAPRA Book Review:

The problems that seem pervasive among youth today, from mindless consumerism and premature sex to school shootings and drug abuse, have raised an uproar on all sides, and the blame for these ills gets bounced around like a ping-pong ball!–TV, video games, lack of religion, rap music, and on and on. But Dr. Medhus, after hundreds of interviews with children from all kids of backgrounds, reaches the conclusion that the problems really all spring from a common source: personalities that react to outside forces rather than their own beliefs and morals. Laying out the difference between “externally directed” people who act according to impulses, peer pressure, and the fear of punishment, and “self-directed” people, who have been taught to think for themselves and follow their own consciences, she goes on to share parenting methods intended to encourage the introspection, empathy, and high self-esteem that gives self-directed children their ability to resist negative influences. The author discusses specific techniques for handling many kinds of situations, with rules and disciplinary measures that help kids understand why bad behavior is wrong, instead of shaming or scaring them into blind submission. Indispensible advice for parents seeking to inspire their kids to self-confidence, adventurousness, independence, competence, and the ability to make positive contributions to the world.–MZ


(This one is pretty funny. Erik stories abound!)

HEARING IS BELIEVING demonstrates that the words we say to children can have a profound positive – or negative – effect and it goes on to show readers how a few simple changes in parenting language can reward them with family harmony, turn parenting into a joy rather than a burden, and help them rear children with healthy self-esteem. This book suggests we can teach children how to think for themselves and learn to be rewarded with acceptance as a consequence of their contribution rather than needing acceptance and conforming. Dr. Medhus offers changes in language and parent/child communication that are simple to implement and continue to use. The results are immediately gratifying—many who have made these changes say they see profound effects in their children and their families within two weeks.
Once these harmful phrases and their effects are exposed for what they really are, they’re easy to eliminate from our daily dialogue. HEARING IS BELIEVING offers better and more empowering alternatives for each phrase, as well as stories that illustrate the results. Parents will be rewarded with a fulfilling and harmonious relationship with all children.


Written for parents, teachers, counselors, and everyone else involved with raising children, this book emphasizes the need for kids to learn how to make smart decisions in the face of today’s permissive culture and strong peer pressure. Many parents go to great lengths to protect their children from dangerous influences, boredom, want, and even the consequences of the kids’ own choices, but Elisa Medhus, winning author of the 2002 Parent’s Choice Award and National Parenting Publication Award believes this doesn’t allow kids to develop the skills they need to be successful adults. She tells readers how to give their children opportunities to overcome adversity while still in a loving family environment, so they can develop internal wisdom, creative problem-solving skills, and basic common sense. Raising Everyday Heroes offers easy-to-implement techniques for raising responsible, self-reliant children.

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Elisa Medhus

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