I don’t know if you’ve heard but I have a billion kids. Not really. I have four, but it feels like a billion.
And I’ve read a lot of parenting books. But during #AllieReadsOctober I want to share 5 books that stand out to me in a sea of reading that have helped shape me as a parent and why.
Disclaimer: I’ll be sharing some of my parenting beliefs with you. I don’t typically do that because I just don’t like to, but I feel like I kind of have to in order to explain how exactly these books have shaped me.
These are just my parenting beliefs and philosophies. You can love them or hate them, take them or leave them, that’s totally your choice and your prerogative. Just like it’s my choice and my prerogative to share them.
I’m here to help but what I say will not help everyone or even be liked by everyone. So, don’t put that expectation on me and I won’t put any expectation on you to like them.
One of the biggest most redundant lessons I’ve learned (that you’ll see in a pattern throughout the books I’m going to list) is this: your kids want to be heard and loved. That’s it.
When they feel that way, they are able to give respect back. I have a parenting belief built on mutual respect.
I’m here for my children. I want to hear from them.
I want to hear how they feel and I want them to know they can come and tell me if there’s something that they think should be changed. But I make the final judgement call because I know what’s best for them.
There’s absolutely discipline. There are natural consequences in the world and in life and it’s my job as the parent to teach them that, but discipline can be done respectfully.
The way I discipline and parent my kids used to look very different than it does now. But I believe in what Maya Angelou said: “Know better. Do better.”
And I have these books to thank for this shift in my parenting.
There are a lot of books you can read that might have parts that you don’t agree with or even want to enact into your own life. And that’s OK. You can absolutely still learn from them.
I kind of scratch my head when people freak out on someone and start bashing them about something they said or wrote that they don’t agree with. Listen, we’re not always going to agree with everyone.
That doesn’t mean that the other person isn’t doing something good in the world. It doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from them.
The expression, “Get the meat and throw out the bones” is absolutely valid. It’s important to take in content through that lens and that philosophy and release the author from the expectation of making you perfectly happy.
Another thing I want to tell you before I share these books is that I’m much better off walking through parenting mindfully and prayerfully than I am reading about what to do or what someone else thinks I should do.
My kids are different, they’re their own people. I’m different, I’m my own person, and I’m a better parent for my kids than any author can be. Once I got that, and really believed it confidently, things shifted for me and I became a better mom.
But that’s not to say that books aren’t helpful because they most definitely are. I’m a firm believer in that obviously.
So, here are the top 5 books that have shaped the way I’m raising my kids.
The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
This book brought a lot of clarity on pressing pause and being a slow parent and creating space to be available for your kids. You guys know I’m really big on that and this book made that idea be born in me.
I have a very full life. I’m a very fulfilled woman outside of my motherhood. I have my business. I have my hobbies. I have my exercise goals and other goals and I do not rely on my children to fulfill me.
But they are my priority underneath Brian. I adore being a mom and I always make sure that I have time and space for my children and they know that I would call off the whole day if they needed something from me.
Sally Clarkson’s story and examples really paved the path for me to be that way. I’m super grateful to her for the example that she set.
Although she’s much more in the conservative, traditional Christian camp than I am today, she shaped me as a mom.
This is one of the very best books.
Operation Blessing by Billie Kaye Tsika
Let me first start off by saying that I don’t really recommend that you buy this book. You might look at the title and think that this is such a great book. But it is the weirdest, most random little book of all time.
The author has actually said that she wrote this book for her family and you can definitely tell. It has pictures of this woman, her husband and her grandkids in it. She describes the personalities of each of her grandkids and it has specific blessings that she spoke over them.
So, it’s a very personal book. I wouldn’t buy it again.
But what this book did for me and the reason I’m even mentioning it is that it taught me about speaking out truth and hope and life and blessing over my kids.
One of my most popular episodes of The Purpose Show of all time is about speaking life over your kids. You can listen to that episode here.
This book helped spark the idea in me that what we say to our kids matters and it led me on a hunt in learning more about affirmations and the spiritual and biblical ties to that idea because I was not taught that in the school that I was raised in.
This book is very Biblically based so, if you’re not a Christian don’t get this book because you’re going to hate it.
What you say to your family and over them matters.
I’ve put together a FREE PDF of affirmations that you can start speaking over your kids TODAY!
No Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson
This is the book that really shifted my perspective and helped me see that kids just want to be seen, known, heard and understood. This book honestly broke my heart because I saw how damaging spanking is and how non-constructive time out can be for young kids.
And that’s the kind of discipline that I thought was good in the very early years of my motherhood. That’s what I thought was right.
Now I know for myself that it’s not right and, through this book, I really learned the negative effects of that style of discipline and how to discipline instead to get to my kids’ hearts.
It taught me how to hear them, how to get them to hear me, and how to speak to them in a way that made them feel loved and understood.
I fully believe that kids need parents. They don’t need parents to be their friends. But I know I can parent without harsh punishment. I knew it then but I just didn’t know what to do instead.
This book gave me the information on what to do instead and I’m so thankful for that. It gives you strategies to help you kind of find your own discipline philosophy and figure out the best methods for you acting out that philosophy.
This book doesn’t say, “Here’s how to parent,” and I really appreciate that. The authors just explain the facts.
They explain the neuroscience behind everything and then they say, “Here are some options. You can do this, you can do that. Here are some strategies. Here are some facts on child development and what kind of discipline is most appropriate and helpful for different ages. Here’s how to stay calm and collected in your discipline and how to stay connected to your child no matter how your child’s behaving. Here’s how to deal with tantrums and have empathy and how to repair a damaged relationship because of incorrect discipline in the past.”
This book is so deep and insightful. I highly recommend that every single parent read this. Absolutely one of the best books I’ve ever read. It totally changed my perspective and helped me see what my kids need from me.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
The main thing that stayed with me about this book is that the authors gave real-life examples. They wrote about scenarios that actually come up often in parenting and then wrote about what not to do versus what would be more effective.
This book is super easy to understand. It’s almost written in a “for dummies” format. It’s really easy to take action on.
I felt a lot of clarity after every page I read. I had to read it very slowly because I was like, Wow. I can’t believe I didn’t realize this!” Or “I can’t believe I wasn’t already doing it this way!”
This is a really good book. It’s one of those books you’ll want to have on your shelf so you can reference it later.
Why I Didn’t Rebel by Rebecca Lindenbach
If there is one book you buy from this blog post, let it be this one!
This book is so good. I’m literally like an evangelist for it because I’m constantly telling people to get it.
Rebecca has been a guest on The Purpose Show (listen here) and she wrote this book as a college student after she was just asked all the time, “What made you not rebel? Why didn’t you rebel when other kids who were raised by great parents did?”
The one thing I love about this book is that it’s non-partisan. Rebecca herself is a Christian, but it’s not a Christian book. She’s very unbiased. She’s just stating the facts.
It’s really a scientific study book on kids who rebelled versus kids who didn’t. She interviews a lot of younger people—some had parents of faith, some didn’t—and there are all these different results but they all have common denominators.
This is another book that just cemented my belief that it’s not supposed to be, “I’m the parent. You sit down and listen no matter what.” But rather a relationship of mutual respect.
This was a new idea in parenting that I’d never heard before and wasn’t taught—especially in school. So, if you’re going to get one book, get this one. Read this one.
OK, there are 5 books that really shifted and shaped my parenting beliefs. I hope these were helpful for you.
I would ask that if you’re going to purchase any of these books that you would purchase them from the links I provided above. It’s just kind of a “thank you!” for my taking the time to put this list together for you and I really appreciate it!