Parenting books. People either love them or hate them.
For me, I’m a lover. That’s probably because I love child development and parenthood…always have.
Now, does that mean that I love every parenting book that I read? No. But I usually do find some tidbits of information in every book that is helpful or thought provoking.
I approach parenting books with this philosophy
Swallow the meat and spit out the bones
I know it sounds weird, but think about it. We need to ingest and really take in the good info that matches with our philosophies and values. We need to savor those pieces and possibly find ways to make them work in our lives. That’s how we improve our parenting.
The rest of the stuff that doesn’t settle well with us? Well, we spit that stuff out.
This philosophy works not only for parenting books, but also blog posts and advice from friends, family, and “ahem” well-meaning strangers.
Recently, I read a parenting book that I loved. I ingested a lot of it. There were parts that didn’t resonate with me, but I have yet to find a book that I agree with wholly. This book was pretty close though.
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Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
This book is written by Dr. Laura Markham who writes the blog Aha! Parenting.
Unbeknownst to me, I was trained to be a positive parent while in graduate school, learning to be a play therapist.
I was taught how to speak so that children would listen. I was taught how to listen to children so that they could trust us and heal. I was taught how to help children feel and deal with big feelings. I as taught how to discipline without punishment, using connection instead.
As a parent, I took those stills and applied them to raising my kids.
So, when I picked up Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids, I was surprised and amazed that it covered so much about what I learned in school about how to communicate and build relationships with children.
There are three main parts to the book
Part One: Regulating Yourself
Part Two: Fostering Connection
Part Three: Coaching Not Controlling
From a therapeutic view…this is exactly the step-by-step process that needs to take place in order to raise happy, confident children.
Take care of the parent first
We can not give what we don’t already have. If we are not healthy emotionally, it is difficult to raise emotionally healthy children. This book covers that concept. I wish it covered more, but realistically, it’s a parenting book, not a self-help book. But, I like that it talks about how important self-care is and the concept that parents need to be taken care of.
We can not expect anyone to listen to us and follow us if we don’t have a good relationship with them…especially children. This part is great in the book. It goes deep into why we need to build good relationships with kids, and then gives some great examples of how to do it.
For me, connection is the most important part of parenting. I know when my children start acting out, that I need to work on connecting more. And the majority of the time, that’s all it takes to get them back on track.
Coaching Not Controlling
My philosophy is that parenting is not about controlling children’s behaviors, but about guidance and teaching. Children do not come into this world knowing how to behave appropriately and they need to be shown how to do it. They need to be guided and taught. This part of the book is all about how to teach and work with children to change their behavior through guidance, not punishment.
Who Is This Book For?
This book is wonderful if you are looking for a more peaceful way of raising children. If you are tired of yelling, screaming, punishing, and disciplining, than this book will help you see your children in a different light and give you the tools you need so that you don’t have to punish anymore.
This book does not advocate permissive parenting at all, but shows you how you can work WITH your children so that they will want to comply.
Ok, so this wouldn’t be a helpful review if I didn’t include a few complaints that I had with it. (oh, I hope Dr. Markam never reads this, because I do love her content)
Overall, it was great. But there were some pieces, like most parenting books, that were very black and white. She makes strong cases against spanking and yelling as detrimental towards children. She also makes it very clear that she is not a big fan of daycare and that parents need to be practicing attachment parenting.
Basically, I don’t believe in the idea that there is only one right way to do things, and I feel deeply that parenting is very grey and that there are many, many ways of being a good parent, even if you have to send your child to daycare or if you’re a yeller like me.
A lot of times parenting books can make me feel guilty for my parenting choices. I don’t much like reading about how it’s a bad idea to have my child is his own crib (like I chose) instead of close to me as he sleeps. I know that many parents yell (even me, who does use peaceful parenting techniques), and it’s difficult to read from an expert that we can be harming our children.
Those are the pieces that I have to spit out. But, I’ve found that almost every parenting book I’ve read does this to some extent or another.
Other Awesome Parenting Books
If you’re looking for some more great parenting books, but don’t know which ones are good, I have a solution. Below are a list of other bloggers who are reviewing parenting books on their blogs today. So, if there’s a book that sounds great to you, head on over to the blog and read a bit about it. I hope that this can be a great resource for you!
- The Explosive Child (B-Inspired Mama)
- Wiring Kids for Success in Life (Trilingual Mama)
- The Contented Toddler Years + Routines: The Contented Little Me Says ‘Why’ (Words n Needles)
- Discipline Without Distress (One Time Through)
- Mom’s House, Dad’s House + Parenting Through Divorce (Lemon Lime Adventures)
- Positive Discipline A-Z + 5 Tips for Positive Discipline Parenting (Look! We’re Learning!)
- Real Boys (The Jenny Evolution)
- Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids (Dirt & Boogers)
- Smart Parenting for Smart Kids (Planet Smarty Pants)
- Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World – A Parenting Book About Teaching Kids to Serve (This Reading Mama)
- Bilingual is Better + Foreign Language for Preschoolers (Camilla and Roman)
- Awakening Children’s Minds and Raising the Emotionally Intelligent Child – Emotionally Intelligent Parenting (Line Upon Line Learning)
- Potty Train in a Weekend (Words n Needles)
- The Out-of-Sync Child – The Ultimate Sensory Processing Disorder Resource (Sensory Activities for Kids)
- 12 MORE Books for Moms (Teach Beside Me)
I love this Amanda! “Swallow the meat, spit out the bones”. I need to remember that. I had to stop reading parenting books because of the terrible guilt and flaws in much in their reasoning. I also hate trying to wade through all the scientific or anecdotal evidences to support their theories. I believe 90% of parenting books could be pamphlets. JUST GIVE ME THE MEAT!!! I’m so glad you offered some “cons” to this book as well. I am still slowly working my way through “Peaceful Parents…” And I have loved much of it. But at one point I started to feel terribly guilty and had to stop and put it down for a few weeks. (i.e. Is it possible to still raise a emotionally competent child if you are just learning these tactics once she’s 7? Or are we now doomed?! I haven’t found the answers in her book.) I’ve been reading again along with Dr. Markham’s blog and it’s been helpful again. It has been emotionally exhausting to let my kids just open up and cry and release all that they’ve been holding in. But there has been progress and that is what is most important!
Do you take suggestions? I have a bunch of books id love you to review. Would be interesting to hear your take on them.
Sure! I’d love suggestions. I can’t promise I can read them all, but I’ll see what I can do.