These are my absolute favorite books on parenting of all time. Each one is well worth the read (and the first one doesn’t even require reading because it’s an audiobook!).
1. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. (Audiobook) by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
2. Between Parent & Child. by Haim G. Ginott
3. Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too. by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
4. The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents. by Deepak Chopra
5. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail. by John Gottman.
6. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. by John Gottman
7. Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive. by Daniel J. Siegel & Mary Hartzell.
8. The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children. by Ross Greene
9. The Golfer’s Mind: Play to Play Great. by Bob Rotella
10. Sacred Yoga Practice with Rainbeau Mars – Vinyasa Flow: Beginners (DVD) by Rainbeau Mars
I have written a blurb about each book so you can have a feel for it. Happy reading!
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. (Audiobook) by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
My number one, must own, parenting book of all time is an audiobook. Parents of one or more elementary aged kids frequently are simply too busy or too flat exhausted to read anything. With the How to Talk audiobook you can listen to it in the car on the way to work or running errands and get a lot of very helpful information and useful suggestions without further stretching an already over stretched life.
Inside the front cover of the print version of How to Talk is a list of what this book will teach you to do.
- To cope with your child’s negative feelings – frustration, disappointment, anger, etc…,
- To express your anger without being hurtful.
- To set firm limits and still maintain good will.
- To use alternatives to punishment.
- Resolve family conflicts easily.
This isn’t hype. The book really accomplishes these objectives. How to Talk really is a “how to” book. It is full of helpful strategies and techniques. It contains many familiar examples of the kinds of unhelpful conversations we have with out kids side by side with helpful alternative dialogue. The basic premise of the book is that listening to children’s feelings and accepting them non-judgmentally sets the stage for increased cooperation.
Between Parent & Child. by Haim G. Ginott
Haim Ginott was the teacher of Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish and it is his concepts about understanding and communicating with children that form the basis of their books How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Sibling Without Rivalry. At the heart Dr. Ginott’s approach to communication with children is the recognition that denying children’s feelings makes the feelings more intense and confused and makes the feelings more likely to lead to misbehavior. In contrast, accepting a child’s negative feelings reduces their intensity, helps the child understand and accept him or herself, and helps the child to be more cooperative and a better problems solver.
Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too. by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
One of the most universal problems in all of parenting is sibling rivalry. It can be the cause of much fighting between siblings, the source of much distress in parents, and can lie at the root of many behavioral and emotional problems that eventually lead parents to seek psychological treatment for their kids. Like How to Talk to Kids, Siblings Without Rivalry is full of strategies and helpful examples that make it easy for readers to grasp and apply the books principles with great results.
The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents. by Deepak Chopra
Most parenting books concern themselves with managing the many problems that come up in the course of child rearing. In The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents, Chopra focuses our attention on our children’s spiritual development. He presents principles (‘laws’) and exercises designed to help parents raise children who have “the ability to love and have compassion, the capacity to feel joy and spread it to others, the security of knowing that one’s life serves a purpose, and finally, a sense of connection to the creative power of the universe.”
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail. by John Gottman.
In many families, the single most important thing that parents can do to help their children is to work on making their marriages happy and satisfying. This is especially true for parents of challenging boys. Having a challenging boy places a strain on the parents’ relationship. Strain in your relationship can lead a challenging boy to act badly to draw your attention away from you conflicts and onto his bad behavior. As you can see a vicious cycle can quickly develop with challenging boys and their parents’ marriages. Gottman’s marital advice is based on solid psychological research. In Gottman’s view, marriages grow and deepen through reconciling differences between the spouses. Gottman’s research suggests that couples who have 5 positive interactions to every negative one have the happiest and most stable marriages. He also identifies, what he calls, the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” for every marriage: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling.
This book will not only help your marriage, it will help all of your intimate relationships, including your relationship with your challenging son. Applying Gottman’s principles – 5 to 1 positive ratio, and avoiding criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling – will improve any relationship.
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. by John Gottman
Dr. Gottman also applied his research skills to studying what types of parenting practices promote the development of emotional intelligence and resilience in children. From his research, Gottman concluded that parents who are “Emotion Coaches” have the best results. Emotion coaching parents tune into and empathize with their child’s feelings, help the child “find the words to label the emotion he is having” and finally these parents “set limits while exploring strategies to solve the problem at hand.” Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child helps parents learn how to be Emotion Coaches.
Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive. by Daniel J. Siegel & Mary Hartzell.
In Parenting from the Inside Out, Siegel and Hartzell argue that our ability to understand ourselves and our own experiences as children has a powerful impact on our ability to develop a loving and secure attachment with our children. In their words, “this book is designed to help you makes sense of your own life, both past and present, by enhancing your understanding of how your childhood influenced your life and affects your parenting.” According to Seigel and Hartzell, we are not prisoners of our past if we understand it. However, if we fail to achieve this self-understanding we are destined to repeat in our parenting many of the difficulties of our own past.
In the Explosive Child, Ross Greene explains how delays in a child’s development of flexibility and frustration tolerance makes them prone to power struggles and explosions. Greene points out that “children do well if they can,” but often kids with these developmental delays cannot cooperate even though they wish to. Greene spells out an approach to working with an explosive child that first involves learning to identify what triggers the outburst for the child so that those triggers can be eliminated or managed by the parents. Second, he describes a strategy for dealing with conflicts that he calls “Collaborate Problem Solving” (CPS). CPS is a simple and effective technique to help reduce power struggles.
The Golfer’s Mind: Play to Play Great. by Bob Rotella
This little book about golf is full of wisdom that can be applied beyond the golf course to any challenging endeavor of life. In The Golfer’s Mind Rotella shows how bringing the best possible attitude to every golf shot increases ones success and satisfaction as a golfer. Similarly, applying his insights to parenting, can help golfer and non-golfer alike bring their best attitude to every moment of parenting, to rise above set backs and frustrations and to maintain a focus on our goals for a healthy and happy home.
Sacred Yoga Practice with Rainbeau Mars – Vinyasa Flow: Beginners (DVD) by Rainbeau Mars
Parenting young children is physically demanding and emotionally stressful. If we do not take care of our bodies and our stress we can’t be at our best with our children and we will burn out. I find that yoga’s combination of physical exercise with emotional calm to be an excellent source of restoration from the demands of parenting and life. There are many great yoga DVDs and many great yoga classes, I happen to like this one for beginners. Yoga isn’t the answer for everyone, but getting some kind of exercise is incredibly helpful to any parent.