Most parents want to do an awesome job raising our kids. That’s easy to agree on, right? The hard part is actually finding the best parenting books and helpful resources to help you get there. Because many parenting solutions are full of rules and regulations that come up short. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs out there. And to do it well is even harder. As a father of two children, I bust my ass to be a great dad. I’m relentless about working with my own stuff that comes up as a parent. That’s where this resource list below is coming from. They are all books that ask you, the parent, to do your inner work. All of these books help you understand the power of your relationship to your children and how it influences your parenting. Focusing on the connection between you and your child is paramount. You may have heard the term Connection BEFORE Correction. And connection is all about attachment. Because to me, any parenting book that isn’t focusing on attachment is missing the most critical foundation piece of parenting. So many other parenting books focus on behavior, techniques and overly simplistic rules or methods. These books dive way below the surface to help you understand yourself AND the power of the bond between you and your kids. So, moms and dads (or moms and moms and dads and dads), let’s dig in and raise our brilliant kids to be all that they can be!
6 of the Best Parenting Books for Raising Connected & Resilient Kids
All of the authors of these publications highlight approaches we support or teach ourselves here at the Relationship School. I’ve also interviewed each person on the RS podcast, so be sure to check each interview out! There’s some really great stuff in there, too. Without further ado, here are 6 of the best parenting books I’ve come across!
1. The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired
By Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. This work examines what Dan Siegel calls the 4 S’s of parenting: feeling safe, seen, soothed, and secure. I created a model of adult needs based on these four S’s. Dan is a pioneer in so many fields, but he continues to push the attachment science field forward. He’s a super nerd but tries to make it simple for us parents in this groundbreaking book. Be sure to listen to these podcasts with Dan about attachment based parenting, reversing disease and illness, and interpersonal neurobiology.
2. Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
By Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., and Gabor Maté, M.D. Interestingly this book is all about keeping your kids close so that the attachment bond remains between you and your children instead of them and their peer group. Gordon and Gabor talk about peer orientation as opposed to your kids being oriented toward you, the parent. Don’t let the title fool you however as it’s not about being a helicopter parent, it’s about being an anchor or a secure base for your kids. Listen to these podcasts with Gabor about the effects of trauma and stress.
3. Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain
By Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. Another one of the best parenting books out there written by Dan. If you have teens, this is the book you want to read. It not only de-pathologizes teens as scary people, it helps you understand the teenage brain and why kids act the way they do. I love how much Dan supports healthy teen rebellion and trying on different behaviors. It’s a normal part of brain development and can lead to a more resilient teenage brain.
4. Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive
By Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed. Just like the title suggests, this book asks you to look at your own history. Because it’s the parent’s ability to understand their history that is the single biggest predictor of secure attachment with your kids. Parents who don’t understand this get lost, overwhelmed and end up blaming themselves or their kids for the inevitable problems that arise.
5. Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
By Kim John Payne, M.Ed., with Lisa M. Ross Another great read. Kim John Payne dives deep into discipline in this book. During his many years working with troubled youth, renowned author and counselor Kim John Payne has come to a rather shocking conclusion — maybe there’s no such thing as a disobedient child. Perhaps we just don’t understand what’s really going on. Don’t mistake Kim’s feelings about “disobedience” for opposition to discipline. He says we need more of it! Check out this podcast with Kim John Payne about why your kids need you to be in charge.
6. The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children
By Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D. A lot of personal growth-oriented people really love this book because once again, it asks us parents to look in the mirror to solve our children’s problems. Dr. Tsabary understands this terrain well and has a wonderful way of speaking to the more intelligent side of us that can inhibit our children’s growth if we are being triggered by past events or experiences from our own lives. Listen to this podcast with Dr. Tsabary about becoming a conscious parent.
Have another book recommendation? Let me know!
There you have it — the best parenting books for parents who want to grow and have securely attached children. Got a favorite parenting book that encourages you to attach and look in the mirror? Recommend yours below!
Thanks for these recommendations Jayson. All amazing resources. Self-Reg by Dr. Stuart Shanker is also a must read for every parent. He describes the 5 domains of stress and the impact of “hidden stressors” on us and our children. It’s a game-changer for those parents who have super-sensitive “sensory” kids, as it can help provide a new perspective on our children’s behaviours.
Would love to hear you interview Stuart on your podcast!
Noel Janis-Norton’s work is amazing and her approach really works. Calmer Easier Happier Easier Parenting and Calmer Happier Easier Boys are just two of her wonderful books. Bill Gates chose her book on parenting a few years ago as one of his top ten books of the year. She is in my mind more of a pioneer with this work and I was surprised she wasn’t on the list but definitely needs to be.
all the best
Compassionate Child-rearing by Robert Firestone
The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller
Thank you Jayson. I love having your wisdom on this.
I would add ‘Playful Parenting’ by Lawrence Cohen and ‘Listen’ by Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore. Both packed excellent connection tools.
Thanks Rowena (I have written these down haha). Thanks for listening and commenting =)
It’s an old book but became my bible when raising my son who was born in 1963. Others were reading Dr. Spock and I was not impressed. Found this one and almost memorized it. The book is Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott, I believe it has informed other authors and parenting advisors. I know it influenced John Gottman who wrote Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. My life growing up was difficult and abusive in many ways. This book helped me transform what I grew up with into constructive parenting, helpful parenting. My son has done well in his life. He is married with two children, has a very successful career, and is generous and loving to family, friends and colleagues. He was actually voted top CEO in terms of employees appreciation of him on a national scoring system. Best for women, best for minorities, best for internships. I think this book helped me recover from my childhood, and helped me raise an emotionally intelligent son. I am a therapist and have recommended this book, as well as the others you mentioned. Most folks think this one was simple and straightforward and easy to read and apply the concepts. Thanks for your recommendations and thanks for listening.
Thanks Mirabai, I have written down the title. Appreciate your comment and thanks for listening =)
Thanks for the tips
thanks for listening =)