Blog: 10 Favorite Parenting Books (so far)

I have been doing a lot of reading about how to be a better parent for a while. Something to keep in mind is this quote:

“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one” (Jill Churchill).

Each of these books have taught me something new about how I parent, and some way to consider how I am behaving toward my kids that will help them become their best selves, too. These are in no particular order.

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Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

This book has completely changed my outlook on attachment, and peer-driven behaviors. When kids are little, they love to please their parents because they have a secure attachment. But then, somehow, these kids only want to be with their friends, and it’s so uncool to be around their parents. That’s when the problems begin. This book helped me understand how kids who are peer-oriented fall into behavior traps, like substance abuse, bullying, addictive behaviors, etc. I also learned that things as simple as “collecting” our kids when they come in the door restores their trust in us, and helps reestablish a good relationship. I love this book! If there were an order to this list, it would be number one.

The Awakened Family: How to Raise Empowered, Resilient, and Conscious Children

This book sounds kind of new-age-y, or mystical from the title, but there is nothing mystical about mindfulness and being present. Our children need us to understand them. What we need to understand is that the things our kids do that trigger us are not their fault, and if we can pause and recognize that our triggers are our own, we would not be so hard on them. So much of how we react stems from our own shame, or past injuries. I have heard that Dr. Shefali’s other books are just as amazing, and I plan on reading them, too!

The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

Not the typical parenting book. This book is about how we excuse the way we treat people by making justifications for our behavior. We say to ourselves, “they would have done the same” or “they don’t deserve this” and we basically dehumanize them because of our own limitations. This book is full of truth about relationships, and peace. The sequel is just as good: Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

Amazing book on communication and allowing our kids to open up by giving them the freedom to talk! So many great tips and ideas for talking to our kids. Talking is so important to that attachment I was telling you about from the first book, Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, because they need to know we can be trusted. I’m not just talking about the kind of trust where you don’t divulge their secrets. I’m also talking about the kind of trust where they can feel vulnerable, open up, and not be judged or ridiculed. That’s what our kids need from us.

The Child Whisperer, The Ultimate Handbook for Raising Happy, Successful, and Cooperative Children

Since I have discovered Carol Tuttle’s energy profiling, I have been amazed by how accurate it is. I love these kinds of things that teach me about personalities, and why people are who they are. This book has helped me understand myself, and why my kids act the way they do. For instance, my son is a strong Type 4, which means he like to be in control of his stuff, doesn’t like to share, likes to be in charge of his time, and doesn’t like to feel ignorant. This really helps me understand why he gets so upset when his brother takes from him, or why he is possessive, or why he doesn’t like to be told what to do. I have to tell him to take charge of himself, and get gratification from his independence.

Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, Revised and Updated Edition

As you know, I interviewed Carol Danaher of the Ellyn Satter Institute, and we talked about how important it is to have a good relationship with food with our kids.  I cannot recommend this enough! Kids are falling into traps of the food and body image industry, and we aren’t helping by ordering them to clean their plates, or don’t eat so much candy! There is a feeding relationship, and each have roles. The parents’ role is to decide where, what, and when to eat. The child’s role is to decide if, and how much. We can help them by not labeling our food as good or bad. Just enjoy your food, and listen to your body.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids

This is the explanation why less is more. Les is more! Too much stuff is overstimulating, and distracting. Too much in your schedule does not allow for space to play and have unstructured time. So much anxiety stems from our over scheduled, busy lives. A close second to this one would be The Opposite of Worry: The Playful Parenting Approach to Childhood Anxieties and Fears, because with our over-crazy lives, we forget to slow down and give our kids what they need. Disordered behavior stems from a personality trait traumatized by anxiety. For example, OCD stems from a kids who likes things clean but then experience trauma, so that cleanliness takes on a new form of disordered behavior. Slow down, clear out the clutter, don’t overstimulate, and allow space to be free.

The Hands-Off Manager: How to Mentor People and Allow Them to Be Successful

I know this doesn’t look like a parenting book, but it is! I learned so much from this about how to mindfully manage my home, my family, and the issues that arise. I learned a lot about mindfulness and being present, too. I was seriously surprised by how much I got out of this book. I picked it up thinking it might help me with my assignment at church to lead the children’s organization, but I got so much more than that!

The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition

This is one of the books I always want to give at a baby shower because it is so great! I loved reading about how important it is to read-aloud to our kids, and how it has so many benefits.

The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity To The Most Important Organization In Your Life

I enjoyed this book because it helped me understand how to prepare a family mission statement. I would read this along with the classic First Things First and Roles: The Secret to Family, Business, and Social Success to help with figuring out where to place priorities, who who aught to fulfill what responsibilities.

This is not an exhaustive list. I still have MANY books on my list to read. But, so far, these are the ones I would say top the list. I’m sure I’ll think of more. For now, you can go see my list of favorite books, and books discussed on the podcast at homeandfamilyculture.com/books.

About the author, Jodi

I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband, Michael, and our four young kids. We homeschool, and work remotely, so I guess we may take this on the road some day! I have a bachelor's degree from George Mason University in Health Promotion Studies, but I attended five different universities before finally finishing while I was expecting my third baby! I'm a returned missionary from the Hawaii Honolulu Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, but I do enjoy reading personal development and parenting books, finding new ways to enjoy exercising, and learning more about being an entrepreneur.