7 parenting books for better parenting
Books are great sources of knowledge. They give us a chance to learn from different people and glean from their knowledge and mistakes. We read to improve our work performance, generate finances, and increase wisdom. However, many parents I know don’t read up on parenting.
Many parents struggle with parenting, and yet, disproportionately few of these struggling parents read about parenting. Parents usually learn as they go. However, most of the time, mistakes in parenting cannot be seen in the short term. By the time the kids are all grown up, it is too late to rectify.
Hence, reading gives us new perspectives and change our parenting tactics while still possible. It’s not easy to change what we are used to. So you might find it harder to parent when you attempt to put what you read from the parenting books into practice.
Press on for the best of your children! 🙂
About this Book List
It’s true that different parenting books have conflicting advice, and thus might confuse parents even more. However, like any other topic, there will be good books that enlightened you and bad books that waste your time.
So for time-starved parents who don’t have the luxury to read and filter through, I present a list of good parenting books to read. These recommendations are from a book-loving mother, a children books’ author, a parenting coach, a parenting seminar speaker, and myself.
Parenting has different theories. This book list is geared towards respectful parenting. I believe in respecting the little ones even though it’s sometimes easier to lord over them. However, I find myself forgetting and slipping away from the best practices when I am not reading one of these parenting books. So once in a while, I had to go back to those books I’ve read to remind myself. If not, it’s to keep reading new ones!
Just a note, if you are looking for books to drive children to be academic or economic successes, this book list is not for you. However, you might still want to consider picking up a book from here. Academics are important, so is developing the emotional and social well-being of our children.
I haven’t read all the parenting books on this list yet, so it’s going to be my book list as well. Do bookmark this page, happy reading!
P.S. If you are interested to buy any of the following parenting books, do purchase through my book depository/Shopee’s affiliate links (if available). Your support will keep my writings and this website going, so thank you!
P.S.P.S. You can also support a book I wrote long ago. Purchase my novella for teenagers at CruMedia.
1. Simple Happy Parenting: The Secret of Less for Calmer Parents and Happier Kids
Hannah from @thisreadingnookofmine recommended this book. She has read many (many) parenting books and has a unique perspective as a school counsellor. I have even chronicled her thoughts on respectful parenting on this website too.
Hannah recommends this book as the #1 read for time-starved parents. “Of all the parenting books I’ve read, I really like this book. It’s easy to read too,” she said.
Denaye Barahona is a clinical social worker with a speciality in child and family practice, and a Ph.D. in Child Development, Denaye has spent much of her career working with parents who deal with challenging behaviour in children. She lives in New York state with her husband and two children.
Simple Happy Parenting offers practical tips to free up physical and mental space, along with time. Live simpler to have more time to enjoy living and learning together as a family. The book includes step-by-step projects and realistic goals to guide your way.
- Buy less: Discover how a curated toy cabinet fosters imaginative play; a smaller, carefully selected wardrobe reduces stress; and structured, nourishing meals create relaxed family dinners.
- Fear less: Next, expand the simplicity to your mindset. Learn how letting go of fear provides children with valuable opportunities to grow and develop.
- Referee less: Positive discipline strategies strengthen family relationships.
- Hurry less: Inviting more unscheduled time in your calendar gives your family space to thrive.
- Entertain less: As point 4.
Ratings: Goodreads 4.08
2. Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child
Since Hannah has read so many books, it’s hard to just recommend one book. So here’s another one of her recommendations. According to her, this book has a very respectful problem-solving approach to use with children. She uses this strategy a lot for her relationship with her son.
P.S. Scroll to the end for more of her book recommendations.
Dr Ross W. Greene is a clinical psychologist, and he’s been working with children and families for over 30 years. Dr Greene was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for over 20 years, and is now founding director of the non-profit Lives in the Balance (www.livesinthebalance.org). He is also the author of the influential books The Explosive Child, Lost at School, Raising Human Beings, and Lost & Found.
Dr Greene is the originator of the compassionate, evidence-based treatment approach called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) that’s described in these books. The CPS model is an approach for reducing challenging episodes, solving problems, improving communication, and repairing relationships.
Parents want to have a good relationship with their kids, but not if that means being a pushover. They don’t want to scream, but they do want to be heard. Good parenting is about striking the balance between a child’s characteristics and a parent’s desire to have influence.
In Raising Human Beings, Dr Greene explains how to cultivate a better parent-child relationship while also nurturing empathy, honesty, resilience, and independence. He offers a detailed and practical guide for raising kids in a way that enhances relationships, improves communication, and helps kids learn how to resolve disagreements without conflict.
Dr Greene “makes a powerful case for rethinking typical approaches to parenting and disciplining children” (The Atlantic). Through his well-known model of solving problems collaboratively, parents can forgo timeout and sticker charts; stop badgering, berating, threatening, and punishing; allow their kids to feel heard and validated; and have influence.
From homework to hygiene, curfews, to screen time, Dr Greene “arms parents with guidelines that are clear, doable, and sure to empower both parents and their children” (Adele Faber, coauthor of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen).
Ratings: Goodreads 4.17
3. The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids
This book is recommended by Ames Chen (@ameschen), Singaporean author of the children book series, ‘The Invisible People’. Her series highlights the invisible people in our society: domestic workers, construction workers, and bus drivers. These stories help encourage kindness and inclusivity in children.
Ames is married to her childhood friend Jonathan and they have three children. She initially started writing to alleviate cabin fever after converting to stay-home mum status and found her passion in storytelling. A writer loves to read and thus suss out good books.
P.S. Scroll to the end for more of her book recommendations.
The insights of a licensed psychotherapist and a mom — a Dane and an American married to a Dane, respectively.
- Iben Dissing Sandahl comes from Denmark and is an internationally-renowned public speaker, best-selling author, psychotherapist and educator. She has more than 20 years of experienced insight into child psychology and education, which in a most natural way anchor the Danish way of practicing parenthood.
- Jessica Joelle Alexander is a bestselling author, journalist, Danish Parenting Expert, Psychologist and cultural researcher.
What makes Denmark the happiest country in the world–and what are the secrets of Danish parents for raising happy, confident, successful kids, year after year?
The Danish Way of Parenting delivers fresh advice on how to encourage free play, foster authenticity and confidence, nurture empathy, emphasize teamwork over power struggles, celebrate togetherness. In essence, it presents six essential principles, which spell out P-A-R-E-N-T:
- Play is essential for development and well-being.
- Authenticity fosters trust and an “inner compass.”
- Reframing helps kids cope with setbacks and look on the bright side.
- Empathy allows us to act with kindness toward others.
- No ultimatums means no power struggles, lines in the sand, or resentment.
- Togetherness is a way to celebrate family time, on special occasions and every day. The Danes call this hygge–and it’s a fun, cozy way to foster closeness. Preparing meals together, playing favorite games, and sharing other family traditions are all hygge. (Cell phones, bickering, and complaining are not!)
Ratings: Goodreads 4.02
4. No-Drama Discipline
This is the #1 recommended book by Jacinth, a parenting coach from @ourlittleplaynest. She helps frustrated parents build trusting relationships with their children without yelling and punishment. She conducts emotion regulation and siblings rivalry workshops too.
For other book recommendations by Jacinth, visit her IG post which I have embedded here.
- Daniel J. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. Dr Siegel is currently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, where he also serves as a co-investigator at the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development, and is a founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. In addition, Dr. Siegel is the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute.
- Tina Payne Bryson is a psychotherapist and the Founder/Executive Director of The Center for Connection, a multidisciplinary clinical practice, and of The Play Strong Institute, a center devoted to the study, research, and practice of play therapy through a neurodevelopment lens.
No-Drama Discipline provides an effective, compassionate road map for dealing with tantrums, tensions, and tears—without causing a scene. The book highlights the fascinating link between a child’s neurological development and the way a parent reacts to misbehaviour.
Discipline is to instruct, not to shout or reprimand. The authors explain how to reach your child, redirect emotions, and turn a meltdown into an opportunity for growth. By doing so, the cycle of negative behaviour (and punishment) is essentially brought to a halt, as problem-solving becomes a win/win situation.
Inside this sanity-saving guide, you’ll discover
- strategies that help parents identify their own discipline philosophy (and master the best methods to communicate the lessons they are trying to impart)
- facts on child brain development (and what kind of discipline is most appropriate and constructive at all ages and stages)
- the way to calmly and lovingly connect with a child, no matter how extreme the behavior (while still setting clear and consistent limits)
- tips for navigating your child through a tantrum (to achieve insight, empathy, and repair)
- twenty discipline mistakes even the best parents make (and how to stay focused on the principles of whole-brain parenting and discipline techniques)
“With lucid, engaging prose accompanied by cartoon illustrations, Siegel and Bryson help parents teach and communicate more effectively.”—Publishers Weekly
Ratings: Goodreads 4.24
5. (Christian) Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family
I attended a parenting seminar organised by my church, and Joshua and Cindy is a couple who spoke during the seminar. They have been married for 19 years and have four children aged 18, 15, 14 and 10. They recommended this book to fellow Christian parents.
Paul David Tripp is a pastor, award-winning author, and international conference speaker. He has written numerous books, including the best seller New Morning Mercies. He attended Columbia Bible College (now Columbia International University) and majored in Bible and Christian Education. Later, he went on to receive his M.Div from the Reformed Episcopal Seminary and his D.Min in Biblical Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary.
Sometimes parents wish there was a guaranteed formula for raising good kids–a certain list of rules to follow to ensure they’d have obedient children. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.
In Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. If moms and dads view their role through the lens of God’s grace, they will see that the gospel must first shape how they parent before they can effectively shape their children.
Outlining fourteen foundational principles centred on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God–grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.
Ratings: Goodreads 4.3
6. Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
This is the book that opens my eyes to the concept of respectful parenting. It kind of sets the foundation of how I want to parent my children. This book has spawned off other versions such as managing siblings’ relationships. Those others are more or less on the same parenting principles as this book. So you can read them when you have more time.
Dr Laura Markham earned her PhD in clinical psychology at Columbia University, is the author of three books for parents, and has worked as a parenting coach with countless families across the world. She uses her PhD to translate proven science and child-development research into practical solutions for families. The proud mother of two thriving young adults who were raised with her peaceful parenting approach, she lives with her husband in New York.
If you’re tired of power struggles, tantrums, and searching for the right “consequence,” look no further. You’re about to discover the practical tools you need to transform your parenting in a positive, proven way in Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids.
Based on the latest research on brain development and extensive clinical experience with parents, Dr Laura’s approach is as simple as it is effective. Her message: Fostering an emotional connection with your child creates real and lasting change. When you have that vital connection, you don’t need to threaten, nag, plead, bribe—or even punish.
This remarkable guide will help parents better understand their own emotions—and get them in check—so they can parent with healthy limits, empathy, and clear communication to raise a self-disciplined child. Step-by-step examples give solutions and kid-tested phrasing for parents of toddlers right through the elementary years.
Ratings: Goodreads 4.24
7. 3-6岁做对管教, 不打不骂孩子更听话 : 爸妈安心育儿 = Happy advice
I highly recommend this book to parents who read Chinese. It’s written in traditional Chinese and so I was not keen to read it initially.
The book turned out to be an easy read because of the heavy use of comic strips to explain the different parenting situations and concepts. It’s so good, I am interested to get his other books, such as parenting for the 0 to 3 years old. If you’re unsure, head to Kinokuniya to browse through before buying!
The book is originally written in Japanese by Daiji Akehashi (明桥大二), a Japanese psychiatrist.
He was born in Osaka in 1959 and graduated from Medical School at Kyoto University in 1985. He used to practice at the National Hospital Organization Kyoto Medical Center (Department of International Medicine) and Nagoya University Hospital (Department of Psychiatry).
Since 1994, he assumed his current post as the Psychiatrist, General Manager of Psychosomatic Medicine Department in Shinsei-kai Toyama Hospital. Dr Akehashi is currently also a commissioned doctor to the Child Counseling Center, a school counsellor, and the Director of Children’s Rights Promotion Center “Palette”, an authorized NPO.
Some of the book’s parenting principles:
- 重點3：用擁抱軟化孩子的心， 千萬不要硬碰硬
Where to read? Buy at Kinokuniya / Read at NLB
Bonus: Other Parenting Books you might consider:
There are just too many books to recommend. So if you prefer to have more options, here are other book recommendations:
- “The Connected Parent: Real-Life Strategies for Building Trust and Attachment” by Karyn Purvis and Lisa Qualls
- Hannah recommends this and the books listed in #1 and #2.
- This book is more for children who have gone through trauma. However, the principles of attachment remains. Hence Hannah finds the book applicable to all children from the attachment angle. Very easy to read too.
- “Extraordinary Parenting” by Eloise Rickman
- o Hannah recommends this and the books listed in #1 and #2.
- Easy to read. basic but good as a starting point This book is more for children who have gone through trauma. However, the principles of attachment remains. Hence Hannah finds the book applicable to all children from the attachment angle. Very easy to read too.
- “The Montessori Toddler: A Parent’s Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being” by Simone Davies
- Ames recommends this and the book listed in #3.
- “This book is a top hit in our home,” Ames said. This is also a book I will recommend for parents who are interested to adopt Montessori at home. It’s easy to read and practical, from tips to set up your home for easy learning to ideas for conducting Montessori activities. For parents who are new to Montessori, this is a good book.
- Goodreads 4.38, Book Depository, eBook from Shopee
If you are interested to buy any of the parenting books, do purchase through my book depository/Shopee’s affiliate links. Or you can buy me a cup of juice if you like what you read here. Your support will keep my writings and this website going, so thank you! 🙂
Let me know your favourite book in the comments below. Or what other parenting books should make it into the list? Love to hear from you!
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