In part two of this blog, I’m giving you my go-to toddler & child behaviour parenting books. I’m giving you a little run down on each one and their main messages. This is not a definitive list and there are many many more books that I have read and own in my vast collection. This list is the most helpful list from my point of view. The boring as bat$3it books are not on this list and believe me there are way too many to list in this category! In the previous blog I covered 6 books on parenting, now it's time for the final 7 in my goto list.
- No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury
- Co-operative & Connected by Aletha Solter
- Jo Frosts Toddler Rules by Jo Frost
- The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
- Heart to Heart Parenting by Robin Grille
- Children Are People Too by Dr Louise Porter
- Oneness & Separateness by Louise Kaplan
No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury
This book is from a well respected parenting source who passes on the teachings of Magda Gerber and RIE in her popular books, podcasts and social media posts. She enourages parents to use an empathic approach and attunement to help the child resolve anger and a potential stand off. Once you hit a stand-off you are into a lose-lose. She normalises childrens behaviour and the reasons why behind a behaviour outburst.
Janet helps parents model expected behaviours using a gentle guidance approach. She gives you practical and tried and tested strategies and encourages you to keep calm and avoid anger. This approach fosters a healthy will and leaves the spirit in the spirited child.
Honesty is a core value at the heart of her approach. There is no quick-fix approach and truthful and respectful parenting can help both the parent and the child. She says on one hand that she doesn't use time-out or shame based parenting but on the other hand says its OK to take your child to their room to work out their emotions. And to stay with them. Preferring instead to use logical consequences more than time-out.
Co-Operative & Connected by Aletha Solter
Aletha is a world reknowned psychologist who has worked with the eminent Piaget as well as written many books on kind and respectful ways of parenting. What I love about Aletha's approach is the science and psychology behind her strategies. Crying and tantrums are essential for healthy well balanced children and normal emotions long term. We must allow emotion to flow and not stop it, it's cathartic and stress reducing for the child.
Without connection you won't have co-operation. Connection is everything. This book looks at strategies for getting your little person actually listening to you and co-operating. Aletha is a fan of approaches that are not based in the reward and punishment style of behavioural psychology. This is definately a must read.
Jo Frosts Toddler Rules by Jo Frost
Supernanny has graced our screens for many years now. Her no-nonsense and practical style has won a lot of admiring fans. This book is clear and well designed and a really easy to follow guide. If you're looking for clear strategies that work then this is your book. The only parts are object to are the naughty chair - it labels the child as naughty rather than the behaviour. It is far better to use the words time-out or chill-out zone as it takes the label away from the child. It is so important to separate the childs behaviour from the child. I'm also not a fan of making the child apologise. What if it is a false apology? And by making them apologise are we reinforcing the negative behaviour?
The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
This book moves away from a firm control approach to parenting towards an empathetic model of the normal ups and downs of childhood. There are workable strategies to help with everyday speedhumps and emotional outbursts of a normal toddler or child. She gives you options for minor misdemeanours and working through problems as well as discipline for major outbursts and how to do time-out. There are what to do's and what not to do for each behaviour as well as a general explanation.
Pantley has zero tolerance for dangerous outbursts and offers control back to a frazzled parent. I actually think this book is a much better book than her sleep book. However the promise of a no-cry discipline solution? This leaves me cold and is the opposite of what should be happening. Emotions need to flow and come out. Repressing crying is so toxic and I really dislike the title because of this.
Heart to Heart Parenting by Robin Grille
A well respected Sydney based Psychologist Robin looks at parenting from a growth perspective of the parent. This book starts with pregnancy and how all the ways culture impacts on parenting shape the outcomes in our children. He encourages you to question the status quo and seach for a better world. This is less of a practical skills book and more of a whole life and the universe approach to being a parent.
He asks 'what can we do when we make the painful discovery that something we have done has caused our child to hurt? And how can we deal with the guilt that comes up?...Parenting is an ever-evolving work in progress. A quick glance at the evolution of parenting through the ages does wonders to liquidate our sense of guilt, and replace it with humility and excitement for learning and growing as parents.'.
Parenting nowadays has shifted to an empathetic and emotion based model rather than the practical needs based parenting of yesteryear.
Children Are People Too by Dr Louise Porter
Dr Louise Porter is a parent and child psychologist in Australia and lectures at Flinders University. Promoting a guidance approach and using communication rather than a typical rewards based behavioural stance it helps teach children self-regulation of emotions and ultimately self-control. With an emphasis on prevention it looks at the normal behavioural challenges children develop and the best ways of managing these. It also has a section on atypical behaviours and autism spectrum, OCD and ADHD.
The old ways of reward and punishment have no place in a modern society and certainly offer no benefit to the child. Moving away from a heavily controlling fear-based focus on parenting to a more child-centric way with an emphasis on helping a child solve their own issues. Reward charts and pocket money bribes should be a thing of the past she espouses. She belives in guidelines rather than rules, rights of others and the responsibility of the parent. And if we are to expect children to think and act responsibly we need to give them some responsibility to help them practice on. And their responsibilities need to grow with their increasing capabilities. This is a good book to help you with the older child and specifically 3-8 years age group.
Oneness & Separateness by Louise Kaplan
Louise is a professor of Psychology and a researcher in the field of attachment, her work is world reknowned and thought leading. I first came across her teachings whilst studying for my Psychology degree and her work has certainly helped and informed my practice in helping parents understand their babies and children. In this book Louise looks at developmental changes through the eyes of the baby and child. She takes you on a journey on what it means to be a separate individual and how that separation process plays out on a daily basis. It helps a parent understand why their baby has all these intense primal emotions and why they need help and support to naviagte these big developmental changes. I never ever tire of reading this book and each time I go back to it I glean and learn something new. Amazing.
And that is my final synopsis of books all about parenting and how to handle as well as understand these normal developmental outbursts. There are strategies, different approaches and practical applications but above all there is a gentle, kind and more empathic approach to parenting our children emerging. And this warms my heart and soul and gives me hope for humanity. We are raising our children in such a way that they are capable of solving the very big issues our world is currently facing.
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