Presence & Purpose


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5 Books Every Parent Needs To Read

There are SO many parenting books out there that it can be overwhelming.  Which ones have the best approach? Which ones are effective? Which will give me the best outcomes?  Which ones are based in research? It is true that what works well for one family, might not work as well for another family.  It’s also true that some parents might not feel the need for guidance from another person and prefer to navigate this journey their own way.  Here, I break down my absolute favorite parenting books that I believe teach ways to strengthen your connection with your kids and have a peaceful home.

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  1. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham

    There are tons of parenting books that talk about parenting strategies for addressing and preventing misbehavior.  One aspect that I often found was missing was information to help the PARENT. Dr. Markham has an entire section of her book dedicated to this.  She teaches you, as the parent, to stay calm when things get hectic and prevent yourself from yelling at your kids which only makes the situation (and relationship) worse.  I am SO thankful I found this book.

  2. Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn

    Kohn often goes against mainstream views of public education and parenting, and I absolutely love his views.  His book talks about what unconditional love means and looks like, and how to embrace this in your relationship with your child.  You will always love your child, you don’t have to like their behavior. Their behavior does not define them as a person or you as a parent!

  3. The Whole Brain Child by Dr Daniel Siegel

    Dr. Siegel is a neuropsychiatrist.  In his book, he explains how the brain develops in young children and applies this to everyday situations like public tantrums, arguments, and meltdowns.  He also explains how the way we parent, can directly affect our children’s development. The parenting strategies he clearly discusses in this book are all based in neuroscience research, and they work!

  4. Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen

    As a Positive Discipline instructor, so much of what I teach and what I practice in my daily life with my children is based on Dr. Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline program.  She lays out how to parent with respect and in turn raise respectful and capable children. This book provides so many strategies and tools that do not involve punishment, and instead focus on problem solving and building connection with your children, which I think are some of the most important aspects of parenthood! Nelsen explains why many common parenting practices (like punishment, grounding, etc) are ineffective, and demystifies positive parenting by providing the research and tools that work! If you want to improve your communication with your child, stop engaging in power struggles, teach your children to be accountable, and have a more cooperative home, you should check this book out.

  5. Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford

    This isn’t exactly a parenting book, but it was a game changer for me.  It’s a reminder to be PRESENT and connect with your children. To step away from the screens and the to-do lists and focus on what is really important.  Some have called it a true guide on hot to not miss a childhood and I could not agree more! Mindfulness and presence in parenting is something I strive for, but sometimes fall short of.  Rachel Macy Stafford lays out her journey to being “Hands Free” in an honest and very relatable way that will inspire you to make some changes in your life.

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Matt Hendon