Therapist Approved Reading List for Parents of Children Ages 2-10 (and Beyond).

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” -Jim Rohn

I have always been a voracious reader and love to read and listen to audiobooks that teach me something!  I am good at sharing, and I often make recommendations to parents struggling with a particular parenting challenge. After giving several recommendations recently, I thought I would compile a short list of “must reads” to cover a variety of parenting concerns. Happy Reading!

1.) The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child by Allen E. Kazdin, MD. This book is really for all children, and not just those we may classify as defiant. Behavior modification can be a great tool for young children or those who have behavioral issues such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD and even anxiety. This book lays out best ways to implement solid behavior modification while explaining the science behind why it works. The chapters are laid out in ways that make sense so that you can read the most important chapters and skip ones you may not need. If you follow the Kazdin Method fully, I am confident you will see a dramatic difference in your child’s behavior.

2.) The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Seigel, MD. I recommend this one so often I should buy stock in this book. Dr. Seigel offers a great book explaining the neuroscience behind your child’s behaviors and ways in which parents can manage those behaviors more effectively through co-regulation. The interventions recommended are easy to use and his metaphors allow for complex ideas to be easily understood by anyone, not only a child development specialist. If you have ever complained about not being able to understand why your child throws temper tantrums or seems to struggle with handling big emotions, this is a must read!

3.) Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Dr. Laura Markham. This book helps parents to learn how to manage and control their own emotions so that they are better able to meet their children’s emotional needs. Dr. Markham offers practical tips on how to connect and build a stronger relationship with your kids while also working to set healthy and appropriate limits.

4.) How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This book teaches parents how to listen and communicate in a way that is effective for children. So many times as parents we don’t want to see our children be upset, and therefore tell them they are not, “Oh that didn’t hurt,” “You’re fine, there is nothing to cry about” all the while sending the message that their feelings do not matter and that some feelings are not “ok” to have. This book offers exercises for practice and advice that can be used immediately. This is another great resource for helping to squash power struggles with your child.

5.) Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline, MD and Jim Fay. This book is a great resource for helping to raise children who are self confident, respectful and have strong morals. It can be hard to understand at first if you were raised with this parenting style, but this book emphasizes love, empathy and connection with your children. This book helps to eliminate power struggles by allowing children to learn from natural consequences while you are the “parent as consultant” there to help guide while allowing children to learn from their own experiences.

6.) Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlash. If you have more than one child, you need to read this book! The nuances in a sibling relationship are numerous and as parents we may unwittingly be fueling the fire of competition and contempt. This book teaches some practical tips on how to handle sibling rivalry so that your children can maintain their relationships and you can maintain your sanity! This book helps parents learn how to encourage cooperation, handle conflict, and reduce competition while helping parents to understand the dynamics between siblings (including their own)!

7.) The Blessings of a Skinned Knee: Using Timeless Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Dr. Wendy Mogel, PhD. Dr. Mogel does not mince words and offers important advice that helps to ground us as parents, offering an age old perspective that many of us may have lost in the modern parenting era. If you are a parent that needs to hear your child is “ok” this is the book for you! The scenarios and language help to reassure, but also remind us that our parenting shapes the type of children we have, so we should be aware of how we may be enabling those unwanted behaviors.

8.) The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Dr. Shafali Tsabury. This one goes a little deeper and helps parents explore ways in which they may be bringing psychological pain into their parenting relationship and teaches parents how to make the shift from “parent-to-child” to “parent-with-child” radically changing the way we may have learned to parent. This book acts as a how-to guide for mindfully raising children and remaining ever present.

9.) The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman, PhD and Ross Campbell, MD. When i read the first edition of this book meant to identify you/your partner’s Love Language several years ago, I remember it being a game changer for my relationship with my husband and helped explain so much about the differences in “language” we were speaking, and once we were able to understand each other better, it opened up our communication and deepened our relationship. I have since read many of the books in the “Love Language” series, and I reference/recommend this one often. Understanding how your child needs to be loved, and learning to meet those needs can make a great impact in your child’s ability to learn, have successful relationships and be more well-behaved.

Just like there is no one size fits all for parenting, the same goes for literature on the subject. I have read and use the information contained in all of these books daily both personally and professionally. I believe that each one has helped me to learn something new about myself as a parent. If you are a parent or love a child, I encourage you to read these books and apply the wealth of knowledge they contain. All of these books will require a certain amount of change on your part as a parent, but if you’re up for the challenge, it will be worth it. Your children will thank you!

If you would like more information on parent coaching or ways to get the most out of your relationship with your child, contact me to schedule an appointment!