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Fed up with yelling & on the lookout for the best peaceful parenting books?
Raising kids is hard & parenting advice can so often seem contradictory, leading to frustration or confusion. This is where a natural, or peaceful parenting approach can offer you a concrete set of tools to work. Tools that aim to foster connection with your child, rather than dis-connection through arguments, power struggles & disagreements.
Peaceful parenting is often associated with Dr. Laura Markham, of Aha Parenting. A clinical psychologist & mother of 2, Dr. Markham argues the ‘noise’ of today’s lifestyle has made it hard to listen to, hear and act upon our natural parenting instincts. Instead, exhausted & frazzled, we resort to yelling or threats.
And so often, this leads to us ‘feeling disconnected from our kids, as we end up in a cycle of yelling, punishments & reward systems. This is where, with a little patience & perseverance, a peaceful parenting approach can start to work wonders.
What Is Peaceful Parenting?
Peaceful parenting seeks to foster happy, connected, confident children, without resorting to shouting or modern parenting strategies, such as rewards or punishments.
With a focus on meeting the needs of parent and child, peaceful parenting aims to model emotions, accept children’s’ ‘big feelings’ with compassion and set limits with empathy, rather than force.
Peaceful parenting is not permissive parenting though, nor does it mean we have to be ‘perfect’as parents. But by taking responsibility for our own emotions, we can model this behaviour for our children, teaching them to do the same.
Benefits of Peaceful Parenting
Some of the benefits associated with peaceful parenting include:
- children may be happier & better adjusted
- you may find you yell much less
- your family may connect better
- your children may develop a healthy emotional intelligence that benefits them for the rest of their life.
Here are 6 of the best peaceful parenting books, which offer practical tips & advice on how to connect with your children to foster positive, healthy, co-operative relationships.
6 Of The Best Peaceful Parenting Books
1 – Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids, by Dr Laura Markham
Want to yell less and connect more, so you you ‘don’t need to threaten, nag, plead, bribe—or even punish’? Then take a look at Dr Laura Markham’s ideas in Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids.
Through actionable, practical tips, rooted in the latest brain development research, this is a highly accessible book on peaceful parenting, with practical tips you can start implementing right away.
You’ll learn how to strengthen the bond between you & your child, through a better understanding of your own & your child’s emotions, as well as discover techniques to help your child build a healthy emotional intelligence.
Many parents find this book a great place to start when transitioning to gentle, peaceful parenting techniques.
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2 – How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
Described by the New York Times as the ultimate ‘parenting bible’ How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is a bestseller & another highly accessible peaceful parenting book.
Within it’s pages, you’ll discover effective step by step techniques to help you improve & enrich your relationships with your children.
The book will guide you through ways to:
- break a pattern of arguments
- cope with negative feelings
- engage your child’s cooperation
- set clear limits and maintain goodwill
- express your emotions without being hurtful
- resolve conflicts peacefully.
The essence of this book is quite simple really – respect your children and they will respect you.
If you like books with straightforward actionable ideas or have regular power struggles with your child, you may just find this a must read.
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3 – The Continuum Concept, by Jan Liedlof
Jean Liedloff spent two & a half years in the South American jungle with Stone Age Indians. This shattered her understanding of Western parenting.
One of her primary discoveries was that many indigenous communities, such as those she lived with, simply don’t experience issues like cot deaths, colic or tantrums.
Through her observations, she attributed this to child centred, connection based practices such as baby wearing, swaddling, breast feeding and co-sleeping.
In The Continuum Concept, Liedloff shows you practical ways to regain life as nature intended, not only for your children, but also for yourself. Whilst the book is not a ‘how to’ guide, some of the key principles can certainly be followed & if nothing else, it will make you think.
4 – Playful Parenting, by Lawrence J Cohen
It’s hard to resist Playful Parenting, which could transform the way you look at play time.
Lawrence Cohen invites us to look at how children learn & make sense of the world through play, encouraging you to get down on the floor (literally) & connect with your child through playing with them.
By interacting with our children through play, Cohen shows us how we can help them work out complex issues, such as expressing difficult emotions or breaking through shyness, anger & fear. All without without resorting to ‘tellings off’ or shaming.
Lawrence Cohen is a trained psychologist who writes with deep warmth and compassion. Expect lots of actionable, real life examples of his ‘playful parenting’ ideas, for you to follow.
5 – Parenting From the Inside Out, by Daniel J Siegel & Mary Hartzell
Written by child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel and early-childhood expert Mary Hartzell, Parenting From the Inside Out explores how our own childhood experiences shape the way we parent.
Drawing on neurobiology & attachment research, the book suggests that a deeper understanding of our own upbringing (& life stories) better equips us to raise compassionate & resilient children.
Parenting From the Inside Out isn’t the easiest peaceful parenting book to take on, as it asks you to examine your own childhood, in order to determine why, as parents, we do some of the things we do.
But if you’re up for taking a look in the mirror and don’t mind a bit of science, this book offers some invaluable insights into our own behaviour as parents. More importantly perhaps, it will offer you some some solutions for when things aren’t going to plan!
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6 – Magical Parent, Magical Child, by Michael Mendizza & Joseph Chiltern Pearce
Some of the natural joy of parenting can get lost in today’s hectic lifestyle. This book examines how to get it back.
In Magical Parent, Magical Child the authors present seven principles for guiding & teaching children. These principles reject traditional modern parenting approaches, such as rewards and punishments, in favour of playful interaction, creative intelligence & insight.
What’s interesting about the book is the way it also incorporates strategies that have led top athletes to perform at their peak levels, which the book terms as “zone,” “flow,” and “play.” By employing these concepts, parents can learn how to build “Optimum Learning Relationships” with children of any age.
Don’t mistake this for a blueprint in how to get your child to ‘overachieve’ though – the ideas in Magical Parent, Magical Child are are highly compassionate & child centred, celebrating joyful, fun & peaceful parenting over punishment & reward based approaches.
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Peaceful Parenting Books: Conclusion
If yelling isn’t working & you’re tired of arguing with your child, trying out a peaceful parenting book should give you some practical new tools to try.
With a focus on moving away from yelling & techniques such as rewards & punishments, peaceful parenting seeks to foster happy, connected & confident children through techniques such as modelling of emotions, playful interaction & setting limits with empathy.
For more books on peaceful parenting, check out the Aha Parenting website.
A couple other books I would highly recommend that it sounds like you would like as well include Last Child in the Woods (and its sequel, Vitamin N with about a million ideas of how to get kids in nature) and Simplicity Parenting. Neither are perfect – Last Child gets repetitive and a little academic at times and I disagree with Simplicity Parenting’s advice to avoid talking about “serious topics” with kids – but they have a lot of good ideas. I’ve heard excellent things about Playful Parenting and will have to check it out!
Thanks for the recommendations Shannon. I’ve also got Simplicity Parenting, which I kind of agree with your points on. Love the sounds of the nature one – will check that one out!