Raising children is truly a joy and often the most meaningful thing people will do in their lives, but it is not without its challenges. No matter what your household situation is, there is someone else that has also been there and likely a written guide to provide counsel and strategies to be the best parent or caregiver you can be.
Parenting Books on Discipline
Discipline is the foundation of parenting, as it brings structure and stability into a child’s life and sets them up for a bright well rounded future as an adult. Utilizing the tools outlined below, you can learn to raise an emotionally healthy and self-disciplined child. They might even teach you new things about yourself!
1. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, by Dr. Laura Markham
A groundbreaking guide to raising responsible, capable, happy kids. Dr. Markham leverages the latest research on brain development to bring an effective and simple approach to disciplining your little ones, and it surprisingly starts with the parent. Understanding and checking your own emotions allows you to foster a deeper connection with your children while setting a good example.
Having that emotional connection allows you to parent from a place of healthy limits, empathy, and clear communication. Dr. Markham walks you through the best way to connect with your child so you don’t have to threaten, nag, plead, bribe, or even punish your child anymore.
2. Gentle Discipline: Using Emotional Connection—Not Punishment—to Raise Confident, Capable Kids
In Gentle Discipline, Sarah Ockwell-Smith challenges traditional methods and leverages the latest research in child development, psychology, and neuroscience to provide new, more enlightened ways of disciplining children. This guide provides disciplining alternatives that avoid the usual feelings of shame, frustration and resentment.
Utilizing these methods allows parents to foster a deeper, more meaningful connection with their children, while setting and maintaining healthy boundaries.
3. Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
Above all else, children need to know that they are loved unconditionally, no matter whether they fail or succeed. Certain forms of discipline, however, create in children the need to seek their parent’s approval over discerning their choices on their own. Kohn dives deeper into how this affects children later in life, as well as what it takes to change these patterns as parents.
4. The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed
Unsurprisingly, teachers spend a lot of time with children, and while they are not the parents of their students, teachers can still provide valuable insight about learning how to navigate life’s challenges.
Teacher and author Jessica Lahey is one of those teachers. In her book, she outlines how protective over-parenting is causing more harm than good. A parent’s well-meaning attempts to shield their child from failure of any kind prevents them from learning how to navigate those difficult circumstances and emotions later in life. Lahey provides the framework for parents to help their children grow into stable adults.
5. All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting
Journalist Jennifer Senior takes a thorough look at modern parenting through the lens of psychology, anthropology, history, sociology, and more in this extensive look at just how fundamentally different parenting is today than it has been in previous generations.
In a series of family portraits, ranging from moments stolen during nap times to smack in the middle of tantrums, this book illustrates some of the most challenging elements of parenthood while recognizing its immense capacity for joy in people’s lives.
6. Your Two-Year-Old: Terrible or Tender
This classic book is perfect for those struggling with a toddler and all the trials that come with it. Though it was written in the ’70s, the advice is still sound and offers parents insight into their toddler’s mind. Learn how they think, how they see others around them and help them on their journey of self-discovery with this book.
Parenting Books on Talking to Your Children
The way you talk to your children will affect their relationship with you, themselves, and others. It will also largely affect how well they will listen to you when you speak to them. These books will guide you through the most effective way to speak to and connect with children.
7. What Not to Say: Tools for Talking With Young Children
When a child says something out of line, it can be triggering and often cause a knee jerk reaction to say something out of irritation or ramped up authority. These phrases and emotions just aren’t effective when disciplining a child. The words that are said to children hold great weight, therefore the root of how to properly work with a child during a confrontation or misunderstanding is by changing the words and ways that they are said.
In What Not To Say, Sarah MacLaughlin explains how these frustrating situations can be turned around with clarity, consistency, and even humor to create more positive and meaningful experiences with children. Ultimately, the way children are spoken to creates the foundation of how they interact with others for the rest of their lives. Utilizing these strategies will lead to better behaved and happier children.
8. If I Have to Tell You One More Time…: The Revolutionary Program that Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling
If I Have to Tell You One More Time by Amy McCready leans on Adlerian psychology and Positive Discipline, stating that feelings of connection and empowerment are basic needs of every human. McCready discusses how lack of fulfillment in these areas can lead to negative tendencies and provides tools to effectively and compassionately correct this behavior. Utilizing McCready’s program will help you provide the attention and power children crave so they will listen and behave without the nagging, reminding, or yelling.
9. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
Dubbed as the “parenting bible” by the Boston Globe, this legendary book by Adele Farber and Elaine Mazlish teaches parents the most effective ways to communicate and ultimately connect with their children. These insightful authors offer new and creative ways to solve the most common problems of parenting including coping with a child’s anger or frustration, engaging your child’s willing cooperation, and setting firm limits.
Additionally, Farber and Mazlish provide strategies to:
- Express your strong feelings without being hurtful
- Use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline
- Understand the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise
- Resolve family conflicts peacefully
This must read provides advice for children of all changes and will help your family come together to form lasting, strong relationships.
Best Books on Mindful Parenting
Raising children has never been easy, but today’s fast paced world of social media and a self centered culture presents new obstacles. These experts provide guidance for parents to raise well-adjusted, confident, and empowered leaders.
10. UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World
A study shows that teenagers of today are 40% less empathetic than they were 30 years ago. In a world driven by self absorption, how do you combat the ‘Selfie Syndrome’ and raise moral, empathetic, and resilient children? In UnSelfie, Michele Borba provides a 9 step program to reverse the empathy crisis.
Why is it important to raise an empathetic child? A lack of empathy hurts children’s academic performance, leads to bullying behavior, and is detrimental to them later in life. Empathy correlates with the ability to collaborate, innovate, and problem-solve, which are all critical to performing well in adulthood. Borba guides parents through the process of teaching and nurturing empathy in children.
11. Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
Kids have so much to contend with today: Constant media streams, an overwhelming amount of choices, and increasingly overprotective helicopter parents. It can leave kids anxious and overwhelmed quickly. Here, family consultant Kim John Payne argues that one solution is a less-is-more approach; children need time and space to find themselves and explore the world on their own.
Decluttering the house, limiting screen time, and allowing children room to feel their emotions are just a few of the tips he outlines in this book.
12. Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids
Everyone has difficult days, parents included. It’s understandable to lose your temper or want to yell at your child during a tantrum or difficult moment, but learning how to mindfully use compassion with your children can in turn help raise kinder, more compassionate kids.
This book outlines mindfulness skills to use when things get hairy, strategies for communication, and conflict resolution for parents of all ages.
13. The Emotionally Healthy Child: Helping Children Calm, Center, and Make Smarter Choices
Navigating today’s world as an emotionally intelligent and healthy person is challenging enough, so instilling this in a child might sound daunting. In The Emotionally Health Child, award winning author Maureen Healy provides guidance for parents in raising calm children that can make smarter choices.
As the Winner of Nautilus Book Award in Parenting & Family, the steps outlined by Healy are incredibly effective and powerful, yet simple: Stop, Calm, and Make Smarter Choices. The guidance provided will explain exactly how to implement them and see your child grow from acting out to being able to recognize their triggers, feel their emotions, and use mindful strategies to make smarter choices.
14. No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls
In today’s world, raising a girl presents its own unique challenges. Social media, reality TV, and the constant desire to be “liked” has caused a trend usually seen in high schoolers to occur among elementary school girls. Katie Hurley’s No More Mean Girls walks parents through the tricky adolescent territories of developing friendships, creating an authentic self, standing up for themselves and others, and expressing themselves in a healthy way.
Building confidence within and empowering young girls makes it easier to shift the focus away from social media and superficial “likes.” Hurley provides actionable tips to guide you through the process of raising confident young girls that help empower and build up others.
Best Books for Parents of Siblings
Raising multiple children in your household with birth order stereotypes and constructs, blended family situations, sibling rivalries, and different personalities can be a lot to juggle. Creating cohesion and reducing hostilities within your home can seem like a challenge. Leverage the expertise from these notable authors to help your children get along and form lasting relationships.
15. Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
From the best selling authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk comes a book filled with strategies on how to bring your children together. Siblings Without Rivalry provides tips on how to intervene in fights, increase cooperation, and reduce feelings of competition between your children.
Faber and Mazlish walk through different ideas on how to encourage your children to channel their anger and hostility into creative outlets rather than each other, as well as how to treat children unequally while remaining fair. The New York Times named this book the #1 best-selling guide to reducing hostility and generating goodwill between siblings.
16. Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life
In Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings, Dr. Laura Markham provides a thorough guide to many of the challenges raising siblings presents. When raising multiple children, tempers and competitive behavior may run high, making it difficult to maintain meaningful connections amongst family members. Dr. Markham presents simple yet powerful ways to foster a bond between siblings and strengthen the connection between parents and children.
This guide includes hands-on, research-based advice on:
- Creating deep connections with each one of your children, so that each truly believes that you couldn’t possibly love anyone else more.
- Fostering a loving family culture that encourages laughter and minimizes fighting
- Teaching your children healthy emotional self-management and conflict resolution skills so that they can work things out with each other, get their own needs met, and respect the needs of others
- Helping your kids forge a close lifelong sibling bond—as well as the relationship skills they will need for a life of healthy friendships, work relationships, and eventually their own family bonds.
Best Books for Separated Parents
Co Parenting with an ex partner can be difficult and at times feel impossible to manage. It is incredibly important for children and the parents going through a separation to navigate these difficult waters together. The following books outline effective strategies for making it through a separation as a strong, united family.
17. Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorced Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids
This book from Christina McGhee, an internationally acclaimed expert on divorce and its impact on children, is a comprehensive guide to parenting before, during, and after a divorce. McGhee offers solutions and advice to the most pressing problems that divorce brings for children of all age groups from toddlers to teenagers. Additionally, she provides practical suggestions that may help parents navigate the divorce while maintaining their own personal well being and simultaneously caring for their children.
McGhee covers some of the most important aspects of parenting through a divorce:
- How and when to tell the children about the divorce
- Guiding children through transition
- Helping children cope with having two homes
- Dealing with finances
- Managing a difficult relationship with an ex
18. Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You, by Dr. Amy J. L. Baker and Paul R. Fine
While parents typically want the best for the children and will put their wellbeing and happiness above their own, divorces are not always amicable and children can get thrown into the middle of messy separations. The relationship that parents have with their children during and after a divorce are fragile, and this may be compounded by slanderous statements from an ex-partner.
Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex provides guidance to those who are dealing with a toxic ex-partner that will try to turn the children against them. Author Amy Baker outlines positive approaches to protecting your children from painful situations like loyalty conflicts and parent alienation syndrome. Co-parenting can be difficult, but Baker’s tools and strategies will provide guidance to make it through the separation and strengthen parent-child relationships.
Best Parenting Books from Other Cultures
There is no single ‘right’ way to raise your children, and these parenting books from around the world will show you just that. Geographical location, cultural constructs and societal norms all play a large role in how we think we should parent our children. Exploring the child rearing techniques of other cultures can broaden your perspective on parenting and provide new interesting practices to implement in your home.
19. Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us
Studies show that American children lag in several key categories like academic achievements, wellness, and happiness when compared to other countries. In this book, Christine Gross-Loh explores how culture shapes the parenting strategies of countries around the world.
Gross-Loh offers research based insights into how:
- Co-sleeping may promote independence in kids
- “Hoverparenting” can damage a child’s resilience
- Finnish children, who rank among the highest academic achievers, enjoy multiple recesses a day
- Our obsession with self-esteem may limit a child’s potential
20. The Happiest Kids in the World: How Dutch Parents Help Their Kids (and Themselves) by Doing Less
Parents from the Netherlands have a strategy that landed their children the #1 spot worldwide in happiness and education, and it’s all centered around doing less. Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison, an American and British women both married to Dutchmen and raising their kids in the Netherlands, report back on what makes Dutch kids so happy and well adjusted. This book explores the wonders of Dutch lifestyle that benefit the entire family.
21. Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
When American journalist Pamela Druckerman had a baby in France, she noticed that the French children she knew slept through the night at two or three months old, while those of her American friends took a year or more. This, among other notable good behaviors, sparked her interest to investigate just how the French parents were raising well-mannered, creative, and curious children.
Duckerman’s research explores the child rearing strategies of the French, and she comes to understand that to be a different kind of parent, you don’t just need a different parenting philosophy, you need a very different view of what a child actually is.
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