Gentle parenting books are gaining in popularity, and I, for one, am thrilled. People are starting to take notice that positive parenting is not a passing fad, but rather, a way of raising happy kids while doing no harm to them. Plus, there's now plenty of evidence that gentle parenting "works."
When we opt for positive discipline rather than punitive methods, we nurture the child's developing mind. When we parent gently, children feel safe to grow and thrive at their own pace. Kids will listen to people they trust, and when they no longer fear their parents, that trust grows naturally.
This greater trust offers us a paradigm shift from loving our kids unconditionally to also blessing them with unconditional parenting. It's not just what we feel for them; it's also what our children perceive we feel about them. How incredible it would feel to be raised in a home that feels full of love.
When we're calmer and more peaceful, we raise calmer children. This comes from a beautiful concept called co-regulation, which essentially means that when we set a peaceful emotional tone in our homes, our children reflect it back to us. We all want to enjoy our parenting journey, and being peaceful together is certainly part of that.
When we're a gentle parent and model being a good human, the result is that we end up raising good humans, too. I truly believe we can change the world for the better when we raise children who feel loved, respected, seen, and valued from the very beginning.
With that, I am humbled to announce the upcoming release of my first gentle parenting book. It's called Peaceful Discipline: Story Teaching, Brain Science & Better Behavior. If you haven't already, please subscribe to my mailing list so you can be among the first to be notified when pre-orders are available (just click "log in" at the upper right-hand corner of this page). I'll have some special perks for those of you who are among the first in line. (I hardly ever send emails and I promise to respect your space here.) Still, I am SO excited to share this piece of my heart with you.
Here's some of the early feedback I've received, and for which I feel immense gratitude:
Sarah R. Moore is the Godmother of peaceful discipline! In her new book, Peaceful Discipline, Sarah has crafted an essential guide for every parent. It charts a path for parents to experience the joy of parenting. “Story Teaching” is a truly wonderful way of helping children gain the needed skills for a lifetime of happiness. I thought I knew just about every idea and strategy for parenting, but Sarah reminded me of how much more I could learn. - Sam Goldstein Ph.D. Co-Author of Tenacity in Children, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Utah School of Medicine
I'll update this page as soon as my book is available. Until then, here are some other gentle parenting books I recommend. I know many of these authors personally and can vouch for them being truly good and decent humans. I'd trust them with my child...and I'm extremely picky about who I trust to watch my child!
Note that this is my SHORT (and ever-evolving) list -- gentle parenting books are on top (in no particular order aside from category -- in fact, several of my favorites are toward the bottom). Children's books I recommend for social-emotional development are down below. I update this list often so check back! Let me know if you’re looking for something else and I’m happy to make specific recommendations.
If you want to be a gentle parent -- and you're here, so I'm guessing you do -- you've come to the right place. Below are the gentle parenting books I've read and used in my own life as a parent. These are, in my experience, the best gentle parenting books available today. Many of them helped shape my own parenting methods and the advice I offer others.
Indeed, I know there are other books that might deserve to be on my list of best gentle parenting books. As soon as I read them, I'll add them here! I have a few on my list right now.
I've organized this list by age, but know that many of these books would apply to more than one age range.
These books are for children ages birth to about two or three.
No-Cry Sleep Solution: This is my favorite gentle sleep book; it's what I used with my own child and can vouch for it firsthand. Personally, I was uncomfortable leaving my crying baby without support, but I also didn't want to be exhausted 24x7. This is a very gentle approach to good sleep habits.
I hadn't specifically been looking for an attachment parenting book when I found this one, but Elizabeth Pantley's writing style simply felt right to me. It gave me the comfort and encouragement I needed (and I'm thankful to call her a real-life friend now)!
Note: Sometimes people ask why I haven't recommended Sarah Ockwell Smith. Full transparency: I didn't know about her when my child was a baby and just getting started with positive parenting. Now that I do know of her, I plan to go back and read all the books Sarah Ockwell Smith has written to ensure her parenting strategies align with mine. I suspect they do given what I've heard, but I won't recommend parenting books I haven't read.
Bottom Line for Baby: This is an evidence-based, fantastic book to help you make informed decisions about baby's first year. Written by Tina
Payne Bryson, PhD, who is truly a great resource on all things gentle parenting.
Parenting Right from the Start: Want to set the stage for a peaceful home early on? This helps get you there with specific parenting tools you can incorporate from the very beginning.
No Bad Kids: No Bad Kids is a fantastic primer for building a relationship based on mutual respect with your kids.
Note: some people ask me which potty training book I recommend, and in all transparency, I never potty trained my child! After researching options, I felt that child-led toilet learning was best for our family. With this approach, my daughter was completely out of diapers, day and night, by age 2.5. I've made a mini-course about what we did. It's available here (and yes, that's my daughter with a clean training toilet stuck on her head like a very unfortunate hat).
Brain-Body Parenting: Dr. Mona Delahooke is among my favorite parenting authors.
Nurture Your Child's Emotional Intelligence
Whole-Brain Child: The Whole-Brain Child book was one of the first gentle parenting books I read, and. it's what convinced me that positive discipline was the way to go. I immediately read every other book that Drs. Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson wrote together, and I recommend all of them.
No-Drama Discipline: This gentle discipline book is full of practical tips you can use "in the moment."
The Power of Showing Up: Want a secure attachment with your child? Start here.
How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen makes so much sense. I use many of its ideas every day in my parenting.
Parenting from the Inside Out: This is great if you're also working to re-parent yourself.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: Dr. Laura Markham is an invaluable resource, and she also occasionally offers courses. When they're available, I note them on my social media posts, so check my Facebook and Instagram posts.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: This book by Dr. Laura Markham is hands down the best sibling rivalry book out there.
Spoiled Right: This book is a must if you're looking to simplify childhood and take the emphasis off screens.
Unconditional Parenting: This book is blunt but extremely enlightening about what's "wrong" with punishment.
Differently Wired: This is fantastic support for any caregiver of a neurodiverse child.
The Good News about Bad Behavior
Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: This is a Christian perspective on corporal punishment and the lack of biblical support for it.
Thrivers: If ever we needed this book and the next one, it's now.
The Addiction Inoculation: This book is a must-read for all parents and caregivers.
What Do You Say?: How to Talk with Kids to Build Motivation, Stress Tolerance, and a Happy Home
Nonviolent Communication: This book is not specific to parenting, but parenting definitely benefits from this approach.
The "Why" Behind Classroom Behaviors
Creating Sensory Smart Classrooms
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes
What To Do When You Feel Like Hitting
Bedtime Bible stories: These are very gentle but still interesting to older kids.
Reading the best gentle parenting books has been a big part of my life, personally, and I'm eternally grateful for the authors who've helped bring peace to my home.
If you prefer videos over gentle parenting books, you're also welcome to take my courses. This is one of my most popular videos to get you started. Below, you'll see how this approach has influenced my relationship with my own daughter, as well.
I'm wishing you peace in your home, and welcoming any questions and comments you may have about these recommendations!