May is Get Caught Reading Month. What better way to celebrate than to add a new parenting book to your night stand? Consider these 10 parenting books for your next read.
I am a voracious reader. While I don't have the same amount of time to read like I did before becoming a mom, I'll always make time for a good book.
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That said, parenting books haven't made it to my book list for the past few years. When I was a new mother, I filled my home library with parenting books, soaking up the tips, tricks and ideas. As my children grew, I found the middle childhood years to be relatively easy and have only paged through a couple books during the past few years. However, now as my daughters enter the hormonal preteen years, I'm thinking it's time to revisit some of my Attachment Parenting books - this time for some preteen parenting advice.
Attachment Parenting is an approach to raising children centered on trust, empathy, affection, joy, compassion, and respect. The overarching goal is a secure parent-child attachment. Among the parenting behaviors tied with Attachment Parenting is sensitive responsiveness and positive, non-punitive discipline. Especially for parents who grew up in homes where warmth and sensitivity were not ample, Attachment Parenting may require some guidance.
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The parenting behaviors shown by research to lead to a more secure parent-child attachment relationship have been grouped by Attachment Parenting International (API) into 8 general guidelines. Among API's Eight Principles of Parenting is preparing for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. It's easy to think we've got the principle in the bag once baby is born, but we are actually supposed to continue preparing for parenting all the way through our child's development.
Each developmental stage brings with it new challenges. Educating ourselves and finding support in parenting our children and youth at whatever their age and developmental level, ensures that we can meet and overcome those challenges.
Here are 10 must-have Attachment Parenting books to help you continue to prepare for parenting no matter your child's development:
1. Attached at the Heart: Eight Proven Parenting Principles for raising Connected and Compassionate Children by Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson
Written by API's cofounders, this book explains the multidisciplinary research behind API's Eight Principles of Parenting. It also includes ideas and tips to put Attachment Parenting to real-life practice in your home. This is a favorite book for me to give to expectant moms during their baby showers.
2. Parenting with Patience: Turn Frustration Into Connection with 3 Easy Steps by Judy Arnall
I love this book, and it's one of my favorites to pass out to friends who are interested in shifting from punishment-based to positive discipline but are getting hung up on what to do with their own strong emotions. This book offers a simple process for parents to learn how to avoid yelling, but also how to respond appropriately to their tantrumming children.
3. Discipline Without Distress: 135 Tools for Raising Caring, Responsible Children Without Time-out, Spanking, Punishment, or Bribery by Judy Arnall
This is another book that I often pass out to friends investigating positive discipline. I often pair it with the book above. As the subtitle suggests, this book gives more than enough strategies to positively discipline your child without any of the punishment- or reward-based ideas common in our society. Definitely check out this book if you're running low on ideas!
4. Connection Parenting: Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear by Pam Leo
So many people have told me that it was this book that completely changed the course of their parenting! I came across this book after I had been convinced of Attachment Parenting, but this book makes a strong case for a secure parent-child attachment that definitely helped confirm my decision. It's all about why Attachment Parenting works - because we meet our children's emotional needs.
5. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This book convinced me to go with Attachment Parenting as my child-rearing approach. Illustrated with drawings of exactly how the communication-based discipline strategies work, this is probably the best book for learning how to respond sensitively with an older child or teen - though I tried out the ideas on my toddlers and had instant success.
6. Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate
Here is another book that does a great job at giving the case for Attachment Parenting. The whole idea is that our children, until they are grown and leave the house, need positive parental influence. This book challenges the idea that our children and youth need to get to the point of teenage rebellion and rejection of family values, that youth tend to align with peers because of a lack of secure connection with their parents. But we can remedy that.
7. Unconditional Parenting: Moving From Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn
The thing is, with Attachment Parenting, positive discipline is synonymous with sensitive responsiveness. So, once a baby grows to a point where his behavior needs to have limits, this is a great time to really delve into the how-to's of positive discipline. This is another book that provides guidance as to how to do that.
8. The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by William Sears, Martha Sears, Robert Sears, and James Sears
This is known by many as the "Bible" of Attachment Parenting books. Attachment Parenting, as a term, was first coined by Dr. William Sears, who also coauthored this book, to describe an approach to parenting he saw often in his private medical practice that led to happier, healthier babies. This is another book that is great to give away at baby showers.
9. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting by John Gottman
I love this book! It probably helped me sort through and identify my emotions as much, perhaps more, than it helped me learn how to teach my children to do the same. This book is great to help parents learn the emotional foundations they need to be able to respond sensitively to their children.
10. Why Dads Leave: Insights and Resources for When Partners Become Parents by Meryn Callander
I really enjoy this book. It was an eye-opener of the cultural and generational hurdles that confront men as they transition into their new role - wanting and needing to be gentle fathers, but perhaps unsure of how to get there. The author also gives helpful hints to us mothers of what we do that inadvertently undermine our partners and how we can instead empower them.