Top 10 Respectful Parenting Books I love :)

Today I’m sharing the top 10 respectful parenting books I love 🙂

I love lists and I love parenting books.

So this post was a total joy to write. I hope you enjoy reading it and checking out the books.

Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you click through and decide to buy I may earn a small commission from the sale, at no extra cost to you. I am super picky about the links on my site and only share resources I believe will bring value to your life, most of which I personally use and love. Thanks in advance if you follow any of my links, I hope you find them helpful.

Where possible I’ve linked to whose fees support independent bookshops.

Of course you’re free to shop wherever you like, nip down and order from your local bookshop direct, borrow from your local library or pick them up second-hand. The choice is yours, but I hope you’ll be inspired to check out at least some of the books on this list.

They might just change your life, they did mine 😉

To begin with, I had some trouble finding parenting books. At least, parenting books I love.

I found plenty.

But they weren’t what you’d call kind, relationship-building, or even love-inspired.

A little too much of the tough love, cruel to be kind vibe going on. I share more about this frustration in my journey to taking a kinder path

Wading through all the parenting books I could find, I felt more and more uncomfortable… Littered with calls to control, demand obedience and punish and reward her every move, the books I found seemed much more concerned with undermining our relationship than supporting it.

But then I found…

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk

by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

And finally I felt like this was the kinder path I was looking for 🤗

In A Letter to Readers at the start of the book, the authors describe their larger goal as…

the constant search for methods that affirm the dignity and humanity of both parents and children.

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, page x

With chapters on helping children deal with their feelings, engaging cooperation, alternatives to punishment and encouraging autonomy, they’ve certainly provided plenty of those.

This book is like a manual for effective and compassionate communication. And the tools and insights shared have the potential to transform all our relationships.

Each chapter contains helpful illustrations, personal reflections and practical exercises.

A must-read for anyone who cares about children, who wants to revamp their relationships and boost their communication skills. A total treasure 🙂

Full review coming soon.

Once I’d read one respectful parenting book, I was eager for more. And luckily I found some beauties.

Keep reading for 9 more respectful parenting books I love. This lovely bunch are THE books that transformed my parenting and to be honest, my life. And I can’t wait to share them with you.

So, let’s get on with it…

Unconditional Parenting : Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason

by Alfie Kohn

A common theme running through all the respectful parenting books I love is the importance of relationships.

Building strong connections with our children through respect, trust and unconditional love. Rather than attempting to control them through rewards and punishments.

Children need to be loved as they are, and for who they are. When that happens, they can accept themselves as fundamentally good people, even when they screw up or fall short. And with this basic need met, they’re also freer to accept (and help) other people. Unconditional love, in short, is what children require in order to flourish.

Alfie Kohn, page 11

The cover describes this book as a provocative challenge to the conventional wisdom about discipline. And this book isn’t the only challenge he offers.

Alfie Kohn is the go-to guy to learn more about how rewards and punishment mess with our motivation, and our minds. Check out this impressive pile of books.

Full review coming soon.

In the meantime, find out how another of Alfie Kohn’s books, Beyond Discipline : From Compliance to Community played a vital role in our home ed story here.

Connection Parenting : Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear

by Pam Leo

Connection Parenting is a beautiful book. Deep, powerful and profound. Yet also short, easy to read and perfect for dipping in and out.

Originally intended as a workbook to be read and discussed with other parents. It’s jam-packed with wisdom and actionable advice based on the author’s personal and professional experience, including 16 years of running parenting classes.

But whether you read it alone, or with friends, there’s so much to be gained from this book.

Connection Parenting… is a book about children’s need for connection and the importance of meeting that need… Children are the expert on their needs, and they are always trying to tell us what they need. Connection Parenting is about listening to children and finding our best ways to meet their needs.

Pam Leo, page 20

Read my full review here

Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages (A Little Hearts Handbook)

by L. R. Knost

True to its title, this book offers practical tips and wise words wherever we are in our parenting journey. From surviving the first three months with a newborn…

Soft cheeks are snuzzled, and a fuzzy little head is nuzzled, and two thousand kisses a day seems a reasonable number to a mama’s heart overflowing with tenderness for this tiny member of the family.

L. R. Knost, page 1

…all the way to gently parenting our adult children.

…family relationships are the steady and sure bedrock of secure connection and belonging that ground us and assure us that our needs will not go unmet even in the darkest of times.

L. R. Knost, page 2

Two thousand kisses a day is a slim volume, quick and easy to read.

Yet don’t be fooled by its size, it’s packed with specific examples and actionable advice on a whole range of classic parenting concerns.

Read my full review here

Parenting for a Peaceful World

by Robin Grille

Parenting for a Peaceful World is a much longer and more involved read than any of the other books I’ve mentioned so far.

And utterly captivating in a completely different way.

Disturbing and distressing at times, Robin Grille spends half of this book exploring the history of childhood and childcare and much of it isn’t pretty.

But the ultimate message is one of hope and heartening outcomes

Peaceful and prosperous communities, societies and nations are wholly possible when children’s wellbeing is made a top priority. If we continue to actively pursue the path of childrearing reform and evolution throughout the world, then utopian ideals such as world peace and ecologically sustainable development are entirely within our grasp.

Robin Grille, pages 172 – 173

The latter half of the book contains a wealth of practical information on how we can parent for a peaceful world and offers an optimistic vision of the future.

By no means an easy read but totally worth it.

Full review coming soon.

Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D and Gabor Maté, M.D

We’re often sold the idea that our primary purpose as parents is to make ourselves redundant. And that early and frequent separation from our children is the fastest and most effective route to fostering our children’s independence.

And in that context, the idea of holding onto our kids can seem counterintuitive and might even leave us feeling mighty uncomfortable.

Yet this book explains how strong attachments and connections to our children lay the foundations for true independence, autonomy and maturity.

For children, the ultimate agenda of becoming viable as a separate being can take over only when their needs are met for attachment, for nurturing contact, and for being able to depend on the relationship unconditionally.

Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté, page 116

Perhaps we think that if we don’t push a little, they will never leave the nest. Human beings are not like birds in this respect. The more children are pushed, the tighter they cling – or failing that, they nest with someone else.

Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté, page 188

A fascinating read.

Find out more about this book here, and other work by Dr Gabor Maté here.

Full review coming soon.

Parent/Teen Breakthrough: The Relationship Approach

by Mira Kirshenbaum and Charles Foster, Ph.D

While other books in this list cover the whole range of childhood ages and stages, this book is especially relevant to parents of teens.

And if you think it’s too late to work on your parenting, think again.

This book begins with some comforting words…

It used to be thought (Freud and all that) that early childhood was the critical period for your making a difference in how your kid turned out. But there is more and more evidence that nothing has more impact on what your kid does with his life and how he feels about himself than what you do during his adolescence.

Mira Kirshenbaum and Charles Foster, Ph.D, page xi

With a clear commitment to the relationship approach, Parent/Teen Breakthrough shifts the focus from controlling our teens to building our influence.

And it speaks directly to many common fears around sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

Readable, relevant and hugely reassuring.

Full review coming soon.

The Explosive Child : A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children

by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D

Kids do well if they can.

Ross Greene, page 11

And if they can’t, then this book will help.

Packed with real-life examples and practical advice, this book offers optimism and hope for us all.

A compassionate and constructive response to one of the most challenging aspects of parenting, The Explosive Child provides a clear framework for collaborative problem-solving, not only within our homes and families, but far beyond.

… it’s clear that it’s not just explosive kids who benefit from identifying their concerns, having those concerns taken seriously, taking another person’s concerns into account, generating and considering alternative solutions to problems, working toward mutually satisfactory solutions, and resolving disputes and disagreements without conflict. It’s all kids (and all adults).

Ross Greene, page 292

Full review coming soon.

Radical Unschool Love: Stories of an Unschooling Family

by Sue Elvis

Parenting should be a pleasure. Life should be joyful. And our children should feel enjoyed and loved. But, unfortunately, so many concerns get in the way.

Sue Elvis, page 102

In this book, Sue offers some alternative perspectives on some of those common concerns, learning right from wrong, demanding children, keeping teenagers safe, chores, food and sibling rivalry just a handful of the many topics covered.

Radical Unschool Love is full of stories of an unschooling family (also the name of Sue’s blog and unschooling community). But this book…

…isn’t only for unschoolers or even homeschoolers. It’s for anyone interested in living a life of unconditional love.

Sue Elvis, back cover.

This book is a follow-up to Sue’s first unschooling book, Curious Unschoolers. You can read my review of that one here.

Full review coming soon.

Siblings Without Rivalry : Help your children live together so you can live too

by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Another Faber and Mazlish book?!

Yes, indeedy. And to be honest I could’ve added more.

But while I’ve been remarkably restrained keeping it at 2, I can’t resist sneaking in another bonus book, the classic Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim Ginott, their early mentor 🙂

This book is now branded as part of the How to Talk series. And follows a similar format to the original, How to Talk so Kids will Listen.

Tackling issues of comparison, equal treatment, familial roles and fighting, Siblings without Rivalry contains plenty of personal stories, visual reminders and adaptable scripts.

Sibling relationships are fluid, changing, constantly in process… There is no way that we as parents can mandate a fixed, close, loving relationship between our children. However, what we can do, with skills and goodwill, is remove the usual obstacles to sibling harmony, so that when our children are ready to reach out to one another, the road is clear.

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, page 240

A heartening read.

Full review coming soon.

And there you have it, the top 10 respectful parenting books I love 🙂

Please share in the comments your favourite respectful parenting book and let me know which of the books on this list you love.

Quick links to those individual book reviews here –

What is Connection Parenting : A book review

Two Thousand Kisses a Day by L.R. Knost. A book review

And look out for more coming soon.

There are so many books I love, I’ll be sharing more lists in the future.

For now though, you might enjoy…

17 Epic read-alouds you’ll love as much as your children 🙂

Keeep reading x

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