Parenting Books I Love

April 4, 2011 at 7:48 pm (Attachment Parenting, Positive Discipline)

I am always recommending parenting books that I love.  I often joke about how I have read them ALL, and though it does feel like that sometimes, I am quite certain I have not yet made it through all 20,000 titles in Amazon’s “parenting” inventory.

Like Apple’s iPhone tagline “There’s an app for that,” it seems that for every type of parenting dilemma, there’s a book for that.  If someone wanted to raise their kids “by the book,”  they could.  Literally.  Now, while I love parenting books just as much as anyone (OK, maybe a little more), I do think there’s something to be said for intuition.  Regardless of what Mr. Parenting Expert writes in his latest book, moms and dads should realize that they’re truly the experts on their families.

That said, there are some really great parenting books out there.  Some are unconventional and thought-provoking, while others are very inspiring, and some are even quite helpful.  Here are two of my favorites:

Connection Parenting, by Pam Leo

The subtitle of this book is “Parenting through Connection instead of Coercion, Through Love instead of Fear.”  Brilliant.  It addresses the most important aspect of effective parenting; the relationship.  What makes positive parenting positive is not what you do, but how you relate.  It’s how you communicate everything from basic needs to expectations and responsibilities to love.  A strong connection between parent and child is the foundation for overcoming any parenting challenge that may arise.

Every time I turn a page in this book, I come across highlight-worthy passages.  Like these…

“The level of cooperation parents get from their chilren is usually equal to the level of connection childen feel with their parents.”

“It takes the same amount of time and attention to meet children’s emotional needs as it does to deal with behaviors caused by their unmet emotional needs.”  Either we spend time meeting children’s emotional needs…or we will spend time dealing with behaviors caused by their unmet needs.  Either way, we spend the time.”

“Children need love most when they appear to deserve it the least.”

This book is excellent motivation for positive parenting.  It is very clearly written, well-organized, and concise.  It is not wordy or highly theoretical, as the writing style of some parenting experts tends to be.  Most importantly, it is an inspiring read; it got me thinking differently about the relationship I want to have with my children, and about what kind of parent I want to be.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

This book takes the central, vital, concept of connection and applies it to the practical aspect of communication.  After reading a broad-concept book like Connection Parenting, many readers are left thinking, “That sounds great…but how?”  How do we establish that connection we seek with our kids?  How can we communicate with each other in ways that bring us closer together instead of ways that might distance us?   I love that this book addresses the “how” of connected parent-child communication.  It is filled with practical examples of common mistakes children make and common ways parents respond, as well as alternative responses that are effective in helping us reach our long-term parenting goals; connected kids, a strong relationship.  We want our kids to trust us, to listen to us, to communicate honestly and openly.  That journey starts now, and this is a great book to have along the way.

2 Comments

  1. Leigh Ann said,

    I, too, love to read parenting books. I’m going to see if either of these books are at my local library. I was wondering, however, if you had any recommendations for books regarding beginning positive discipline? I have a soon to be one year old and he is a strong willed little guy! I find his little temper tantrums (such as when I take something away from him that isn’t safe to be playing with/chewing on) quite cute, to be honest. However, I don’t want to be overly permissive and, to the same degree, I don’t want to be telling him ‘no’ all the time (he is extremely curious, moreso than other babies his age). He has even started grinding his teeth if you do not do what he wants quickly
    enough–like get him out of his highchair. I love that he knows what he wants, that he is confident, and inquisitive. I just need some strategies for dealing with the challenges that his little personality sometimes poses.

    • Kelly said,

      Hi Leigh Ann! That’s so funny that you mention you find tantrums cute…I did too! Now that my kids are a little older (4 1/2 and 6) and out of what I consider to be tantrum age, I guess I find them slightly less cute, but they still make me smile sometimes. It’s like…seriously? This is how you’re going to act right now? But it reminds me of how immature their brains really are; that the only way they have to effectively express strong emotions is to scream and cry about it.

      One year old is so young, he definitely doesn’t have the brain development to be able to control himself regarding a “no.” At this age, the best positive discipline tools are prevention distraction, redirection…and prevention. Also prevention. 🙂 Setting him up for success by creating a yes environment (where there are no obstacles; no “no”s) is a wonderful thing for both parent & child. He gets freedom to explore and develop his autonomy, and you don’t constantly have to say “no.” This discussion thread from the API forum is similar:

      http://www.attachmentparenting.org/forums/showthread.php?t=5289

      For books, “Positive Discipline: The First Three Years,” by Jane Nelsen is a good one to start with. She includes a lot of good information on child development and how we can set the stage for positive discipline as children grow. The other one that is a great foundational book is “Unconditional Parenting,” by Alfie Kohn Oh, “Kids Are Worth It,” by Barbara Coloroso is another good one! Hopefully that will give you some reading for a while…I have others if you’re interested in more! 🙂

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