Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the moment you became a parent you also developed amazing parenting skills? Instead, we’re left to figure the whole parenting thing out as we go along, often through trial and error.
I know I want to raise my kids to be happy, resilient and confident. And I know that the right parenting style for me is as an authoritative parent. So my preference is for what is known as positive parenting books which focus on nurturing the connection you have with your child. By nature, I’m a researcher, and I have a small stack of positive parenting books which I reach for when I feel my parenting skills need brushing up.
These books are a mixture; some are more about understanding your child and their developments while others are designed more to offer practical advice for implementing a positive parenting approach.
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Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting (The Peaceful Parent Series) by Dr. Laura Markham
This book always seems to be the one I reach for when I’m having a particularly rough day with my daughter. Dr. Laura Markhman is a Clinical Psychologist and mother who also runs the website Ahaparenting.com. Both her book and her website are full of practical advice, and if you’re not already on her newsletter list, I highly recommend signing up for it.
Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One) by Deborah MacNamara
I’ve been privileged to hear Dr. Deborah MacNamara speak several times and I love her direct approach to raising a preschooler. She has trained at the Neufeld Institute, and much of Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s research features in this book. Deborah explores two main themes; the importance of the right relationship for your child and the immaturity of your child. She does a great job of explaining your preschooler through the developmental approach to raising children.
Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate
Even if your kids are still young, like mine, run out and get this book. Hold On to Your Kids is the one parenting book every parent should read. It’s a roadmap for lifelong authentic relationships with your children, backed by research.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
An oldie but a goodie. My parents used this book to raise myself and my siblings, and now it’s made its way onto my bookcase. A practical hands-on guide for communicating with your kids. The only thing I would note is that it’s aimed at slightly older children and many of the scripts/concepts are too advanced from your toddler or preschooler.
Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne
In a world where everything seems to be moving faster and faster, this book is an excellent reminder about how slowing down can help our kids thrive. I found the section on rhythms and rituals readily applicable to my own life and very helpful.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
This book goes into the WHY of your child’s developing brain rather than the practical aspects of HOW to cope with them. That being said it’s a fascinating read and a great reminder that our children’s brains are just developing and there’s only so much we can expect from them at any specific age.
No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Building on the Whole-Brain Child Daniel Segal and Tina Payne Bryson actually go into greater detail on how to put into practice the ideas they outlined in their previous book. Filled with practical advice on how to deal with melt-downs and more.
Do you feel like you could use some parenting tips but don’t have the time to read a book? Check out my post on the Best Parenting Podcasts for Moms