I’ve been asked this question a lot recently, so I thought it was time to post about it. There is an overabundance of books out there about parenting, and I’ve probably read too many! But I want to share the ones I keep coming back to.
There’s a few things I’m looking for in a good parenting book. First it has to line up with Biblical principles and God’s heart for children. I understand parenting to be modeling God’s unconditional love for my children – so I’m looking for a book that reflects God’s heart. Ironically, I’ve found this more in “non-Christian” books than “Christian” ones!
Secondly, it’s important to me that the author has knowledge of child development and the science of attachment. I need the author to be coming from a place of understanding how children grow and learn and I find this essential in any book about raising kids.
So, having said all that, here are my top four:
To me this is the classic book that gives a solid foundation for discipline. It gave me a framework to think about what discipline really is and what I want it to look like in my home along with practical tips. I love it because it starts with the idea that discipline flows from connection. To me this style reflects the heart of God and resonates with my own heart.
Other Dr. Sears books worth mentioning:
Playful Parentingby Lawrence J. CohenI’ve posted a lot about this book already, but I’ll mention it again here. This book really gave me so many new ides and revolutionized my parenting in a lot of ways. As the title suggests, it does talk about adding playfulness and fun into our parenting and even discipline. But beyond that it covers much more about dealing with strong emotions, tantrums, and all problem behaviors you may face. He talks about how to translate behaviors into needs and about filling “love cups.” These concepts have been really helpful to me.
Connection Parenting: Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear,by Pam Leo I really appreciated this book because it seemed to take a lot of different parenting books and mesh them together into a simple, easy-to-read, easy to understand book. (So helpful for busy moms who often have to read on the fly!) It’s almost written in bullet points, where each sentence packs a punch. Again, it just really made sense to me and lined up with my understanding of God’s heart and child development.
These are books that sit well with me. When I apply the principles from these books I can lay down at the end of the day exhausted, yet feeling good about my interactions with my kids. It’s not the easy way. It’s the hard way because it requires a lot more work on my end to be kind, compassionate and respectful – especially when I feel the opposite. But it’s worth it because I feel good and my kids feel good too. I can’t help but think that’s how God intended it to be.