When my oldest children were very young I remember moving to a new country, leaving behind everyone who was helping me with my kids and then learning that I was expecting the third. My husband was working a lot and I felt lost and helpless trying to deal with pregnancy and two boys under five. My kids were fighting, I was shouting, and energy was wasted on both sides. This is when I started searching for solutions and I discovered the fantastic resource of parenting books. It was a huge relief to me to realise that lots of other parents had experienced similar difficulties and that there were tried and tested methods I could use to become a better parent. I'd like to share some of my favourite 'positive parenting' books with you, many are also available on audiobook if it's difficult to find the time to read at the moment.
Positive Discipline Books by Jane Nelsen and Co-Authors
Positive Discipline is a program and book series developed by Dr. Jane Nelsen. The series encourages young people to be responsible, respectful and resourceful members of their communities. The parenting techniques are non-punitive, focusing rather on valuable social and life skills that are respectful for both the children and adults involved. The book Positive Discipline was the first in the series, but it’s followed by specialized approaches for everything from parents of preschoolers and infants to teachers and parents of teens and those with special needs.
The Books of A. Faber and E. Mazlish
Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish came on the scene with their bestselling book How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk which has led to a whole series of books and workshop programs that provide adults with practical, down-to-earth methods to create calm and rewarding relationships with children of all ages. Siblings Without Rivalry helps parents guide their children in sibling relationships. How to Talk so Kids Can Learn guides parents and teachers as they navigate everyday problems that interfere with learning. And, How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk applies their time-tested relationship techniques to the often tumultuous teenage years.
When Kids Push Your Buttons by Bonnie Harris
As parents, we’ve all reached those moments where we feel like our kids are doing everything they can to drive us crazy. This revolutionary book offers parenting tools and techniques that will help you, the parent, gain control of your own emotions. Through this process, you’ll begin to see your children differently so you can respond to their behaviour calmly and effectively - defusing those ‘buttons’ and provide your kids with the help they are asking for.
Unconditional Parenting and Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn
In a world where many approach parenting by just trying to get children to ‘behave,’ Alfie Kohn offers a refreshing approach that starts by looking at what children need and how parents can meet those needs. This results in parenting methods that involve working with children rather than trying to control them. The first book, Unconditional Parenting looks at the most basic need children have - to be loved unconditionally. The second book, Punished by Rewards argues against the use of rewards to incentivize behaviour.
‘Me, Me, Me’ Epidemic by Amy McCready
Amy McCready defines something she calls the ‘entitlement epidemic’ in this book focused on training up responsible children. You’ll learn proven strategies to move past entitled attitudes and raise capable, grateful kids regardless of whether you are starting off with a young toddler or trying to navigate the teen years.
The Whole Brain Child and No Drama Discipline by Daniel Siegal, Tina Payne Bryson
The landmark Whole Brain Child and it’s follow-up volume No Drama Discipline by the same authors look at parenting from a scientific approach that starts with examining the way a child’s brain develops. The Whole Brain Child provides parents with twelve strategies to foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children while No Drama Discipline tackles the ultimate parenting challenge - discipline.
The Seven Day Parent Coach by Lorraine Thomas
With a subtitle like “Halve the stress, double your energy and become a great parent.” it’s no wonder this parenting book has been gaining a lot of attention. Written by the UK’s leading parenting coach, this practical framework will give you solutions to common family problems, and help you develop your own tailor-made strategies to help achieve them. You’ll come away feeling as if you’ve had a few sessions with your very own professional parenting coach.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey
You likely know author Stephen R. Covey from his hugely popular book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This time around he’s honed in on family life, offering a practical and philosophical guide on solving all the problems, both mundane and extraordinary, that confront families and strong communities. This parenting guide builds on Covey’s original book, so the principles will be familiar to many.
Children are from Heaven - John Gray
Author of international bestseller Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, relationship expert John Gray tackles parenting in this positive and practical parenting book. Focused on children ages 1-9, the book offers a system that concentrates on rewarding, not punishing children and fostering their innate desire to please their parents.
Between Parent and Child by Haim G. Ginnot
Between Parent and Child has impacted the lives of millions of parents over a 35 year time period since it was first published. This book offers a straightforward approach to empathetic yet disciplined child rearing that has stood the test of time. This valuable handbook has been updated in recent years to bring it into a new century while retaining the book's original positive message and warm, accessible voice.
Calm Parents, Happy Siblings by Laura Markham
This insightful guide for parents of more than one child provides hands-on, researched based advice for cutting through the quarreling and fostering a loving, supportive bond between siblings as well as giving each child the vital connection that he or she needs. Dr. Laura Markham’s approach values the emotional bond between parent and each child, while navigating the world of competition, tempers and irritation that can come along with sibling relationships.
Thanks so much for reading. What's your favourite book about parenting?