Excellent reading selections touching on general psychology, psychology of both toddlers and teens, education, and spirituality---
General Psychology for Parents:
MINDFUL DISCIPLINE: A loving approach to setting limits & raising an emotionally intelligent child, Shauna Shapiro, PhD & Chris White, MD.
This is presently my go-to book for helping parents of young children. However, the psychological premise should be the basis for parenting children of all ages. " ... the authors create a wonderful integration of the power of mindful awareness and the insights from studies of child development."
PUNISHED BY REWARDS, Alfie Kohn: An in-depth look at the downside of "Do this and you'll get that." Drawing from hundreds of studies, Kohn demonstrates how rewards may appear to serve as a quick fix but can be most damaging in the long run. You will initially either yell. 'Eurika,' or you might throw this book across the room. Either way, I suggest you pick it up frequently and read it again and again.
THE SIX PILLARS OF SELF-ESTEEM, Nathaniel Brandon: Yep, it's all about self-esteem, which is primarily established in early childhood. Have to check this one out!
CONTROL THEORY, William Glasser: Based on the psychological premise of William Powers, the only person we can control is ourselves, but in doing so, we have a greater chance of influencing others (including our children).
PEACEFUL PARENT, HAPPY KIDS, How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, Dr. Laura Markham: What parent can't relate to needing to find alternatives to yelling? I know I did. There are no books written about how to be a better yeller, so you might as well start learning hownotto.
MAKING CHILDREN MIND WITHOUT LOSING YOURS, DR. KEVIN LEMEN: While I am not fond of the title since it is not possible to MAKE anyone do anything, and I suspect it was just a matter of providing us with a clever title, the contents of this book align with the philosophy of The Purposeful Parent. This is an excellent book to have on hand when rebellion and power struggles turn up unexpectedly. (The author refers to Christian teachings to help support his Reality-Based training)
HOW TO TALK SO KIDS WILL LISTEN & LISTEN SO KIDS WILL TALK,
Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish, Many of us spend a heck of a lot of time telling our children what is in our head in order to influence what is going on in their heads. Maybe it's time to ask questions and
ust listen. You'll be amazed how much YOU learn!
UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING, Alfie Kohn
“Most parenting guides begin with the question "How can we get kids to do as they're told?" -- and then proceed to offer various techniques for controlling them. In this truly groundbreaking book, nationally respected educator Alfie Kohn begins instead by asking "What do kids need - and how can we meet those needs?" What follows from that question are ideas for working with children rather than doing things to them.”
For Infants Specifically:
THE WONDER WEEKS, Hetty van de Rijt, Ph.D., Frans Plooij, Ph.D. The best resource for new parents! A true comprehensive baby guide based on 35 years of research. Anyone who works with infants will want to have this on hand!
For Toddlers Specifically:
THE SERIOUS NEED FOR PLAY, Melinda Wenner, Scientific American Mind, January 28, 2009.
THE HAPPIEST TODDLER ON THE BLOCK: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful and Cooperative One-to-Four-Year-Old, Harvey Karp, M.D. I found this book to be both educational and fun. However, after reading in entiry, I found some suggestions to be outdated and based on stimulus-response theory, which has been disproven for decades and considered unhealthy for children and adults. I would specifically check out the sections that explain how to reflect emotions when a child is upset and how to use age-appropriate language to help calm a child. I would avoid sections that suggest offering rewards for simple behaviors.
A HANDFUL OF QUIET: Happiness in Four Pebbles, 2008 Thich Nhat Hanh
SITTING LIKE A FROG:Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents), 2013 Eline Snel
PEACEFUL PIGGY MEDITATION (Albert Whitman Prairie Books), 2004 Kerry Lee Maclean and Kerry Maclean
THE LITTLE SOUL AND THE SUN:A Children's Parable Adapted from Conversations with God, Neale Doanls Walsch. A personal favorite 'gifting' book for new parents. The message is one of love both for others and self. "It is a simple yet powerful story that centers on the truth that underneath everything that happens in the world, all that we call "good" and all that we call "bad" is love. God is love, as are all the Little Souls who are a part of God." (Note: I LOVE the message, but in my opinion, the illustrations are a little corny. The souls are represented as children who are donned in robes. This may be comforting to children though, but just a little schmultzy for me. Also, I notice that the main two characters are caucasion, but I was happy to see that all races were represented in the book.)
For Teens Specifically:
THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF TEENS, Gary Chapman: If you are concerned that your child is not expressing his/her love for you and others, perhaps you are not looking through the correct love lens! A great read for all!
THE UNHAPPY TEENAGER, William Glasser: Is this redundant? Well mood changes from Monday to Tuesday with most teens, but there are indeed some that linger in unhappiness. Put on your seatbelt, because William Glasser's ideas are an entirely different ride than you might be accustomed to.
RELAX.CALM, Helping Teens Manage Stress Using Relaxation & Guided Imagery, Jeffrey S. Allen and Roger J. Klein: An excellent book with audio that can help you and your child/teen step away from stress and anxiety by using visualization to relax the body and mind. (Expect long-term positive effects!)
THE MINDFUL TEEN Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time, 2015
Dung X. VoMD FAAP
THE SCHOOLS OUR CHILDREN DESERVE, Alfie Kohn: We know they deserve better, and this book tells it all.
THE HOMEWORK MYTH, Alfie Kohn: Are your evenings spent sitting at the kitchen table for hours trying to help your child finish or even start a pile of assignments? Are you met with a bit of resistance? Since when do teachers/schools get to decide what activities you do at home in the evening after everybody( including the kids) have had a long day at work? Take back your evenings with your children. This book will help understand why this time is sacred and should be used for refueling, re-energizing and relaxation WITH family and NOT more of the same schoolish stuff.
FREEDOM TO LEARN, Peter Gray Ph.D: Could there be such a thing as too much school? Are we depriving our children of much needed opportunities to grow through independent play? Check this out! You willl be glad you did!
For the Spirit of Parents and Children:
THE BEST THOUGHTS TO THINK-- five minutes before, Kate Martin (available now): What if you learned that by merely changing your thoughts five minutes before sleep you could dramatically change your life for the better, would you do it? This book will show you how. The sooner you and your children learn about the power of pre-sleep minutes, the sooner you can move with ease toward having more peace, love and wishes-fulfilled in your lives.
A YEAR WITHOUT FEAR, 5-Minute Mindset Shifts, Tama Kieves: Tama provides 365 daily thoughts based on removing, doubt, blame, comparison, judgement, and all sorts of fear related emotions and replacing them with LOVE filled thoughts. A MUST for all!
A SPIRITUAL SOLUTION TO EVERY PROBLEM, Wayne Dyer: Just as the title states; my personal all time favorite.
A RETURN TO LOVE, Marriane Williamson: An eloquent, peaceful look at who we really are at the core, and how to get back to US. This author ignited my personal desire to share the concept that LOVE is all we have and with love all is possible.
CATASTROPHE HAPPINESS, Catherine Newman. This book is less of a parenting tutorial but more of a fun, comedic and validating read for all parents of young children. It will definitely reinforce the idea that you are not alone and help you to take your parenting-self a little less seriously. This is would be a great gift for a spouse, yourself, or any fellow parent in your life!