THE TOP 7 BOOKS ON MINDFUL PARENTING
So what the heck is mindful parenting and how it can help us become more calm and confident parents?
Mindful parenting has been one of those new and evolving areas of parenting that is starkly different than the way we were parented but an inspiring way for us to parent.
But for many moms this is a foreign and unclear concept and you maybe wondering what does mindful parenting even mean?
The last thing I do is tell moms what kind of parents they should be. It’s hard enough being a parent and I know info overload can add to the overwhelm.
To me I believe ‘Mindful parenting’ is all about supporting parents to tune into their intuition and find their own answers to tough parenting problems.
I often find that moms who come to me for mindful parenting coaching have tried everything – and feel stuck because nothing is working. I think it’s often because they’ve spent so much time listening to other people’s opinions or are so consumed by fear of doing this ‘parenting’ thing wrong they’ve lost touch with their own intuitive guidance.
The mindful parenting books I’ve chosen help us better understand our child and ourselves in this role as a parent so we can connect with greater compassion and calmness and raise happy, resilient and confident people.
I think it’s HARD to find time to sit-down and a read parenting book cover to cover without falling asleep after the second paragraph so I’m doing you a solid.
I’m sharing my favorite mindful parenting books and key takeaway strategies without having to read the whole book. Holla-atya-girl!
As a mom and passionate mindful parenting coach, I practice, embody and teach these tools on a daily basis. If you are ready to learn how you can start implementing mindfulness into your parenting style now, check this out…
Book #1: The Whole Brain Child
Your first book choice is The Whole-Brain Child (2011). THIS-WAS-A-GAME-CHANGER to help me cultivate empathy and compassion during my son’s meltdown.
Before reading this I felt like he was behaving badly on purpose. That his meltdown was a manipulation to get what he wants and it felt like it was a battle, me-against-him.
When we understand a bit more about how a child’s brain works, we can see that their tantrum isn’t our fault or something they do out of malice– it’s just a sign that their fight-or-flight response has been triggered.
Siegel’s work can really help with this because he’s taken some very complex neuroscience and translates it into very simple language. I really like how he divides the brain into the “upstairs brain” and “downstairs brain” and the right and left hemispheres.
The upstairs brain is basically the prefrontal cortex -— the part of the brain which handles logic and decision-making, empathy, emotional regulation, impulse control- basically everything we except our 3 year old to do but this part of the brain isn’t fully developed until you’re twenty five years old.
The “downstairs brain” is home to the more primitive fight-or-flight mechanism that is fully developed at birth. It’s essential our survival brain. When this part of the brain is activated think of it like a fire in the downstairs house, there is no way to get upstairs and access the characteristics of the upper brain.
The left brain is related to logic and language and the right brain regulates emotions.
In order for our child to be calm and thoughtful the bridge between the right and left brain needs to be intact and the upstairs and downstairs brain need to be connected.
When our child meltdowns I like to envision what Siegel says they are experiencing an emotional flood. The bridge between the two brains are broken and their right brain is activated and they have lost all connection to their left brain.
Because their left brain shuts off, that’s why talking or reasoning to your child mid-meltdown sets them off even more. They aren’t processing it and you sound like that waahh- waahh -waah sound from Charlie Brown.
I like that Siegel teaches us it’s actually very normal and necessary for them to experience big emotions.
That’s what the brain does at that age. The emotions just take over. The frontal part of the brain is not fully developed yet, so of course they can’t calm themselves down very easily on their own.
So next time your child has a meltdown, remember that there is a fire in their downstairs brain that prevents them to go to their upstairs logic brain and there is a flood of emotions in their right brain that prevents them to understand words and logic.
Book #2: Mindful Discipline
Your next choice is mindful discipline.
Grounded in mindfulness and neuroscience, this pioneering book redefines discipline and outlines the five essential elements necessary for children to thrive: unconditional love, space for children to be themselves, mentorship, healthy boundaries, and mis-takes that create learning and growth opportunities.
This book focuses on discipline from a relationship-centered approach which will restore your confidence as a parent and support your children in developing emotional intelligence, self-discipline, and resilience―qualities they need for living an authentic and meaningful life.
The quote I loved in this book was:
“Sometimes children get exactly what they need when we get pushed over our edge and raise our voices at them. Children learn there are limits to a parent’s patience, that we can only take so much abuse. This is important to learn before going out into the world where people will be less forgiving.”
With every book and teacher telling us that yelling is the wrong way to parent, I found this viewpoint refreshing and honest.
I’ve found that on very rare occasions when my son has violated my physical or emotional boundaries raising my voice is exactly what he needs to understand that behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Now of course everything in moderation and if you are yelling about small things, every day then this strategy won’t work.
Next, mindful discipline all begins with helping ourselves learn to be more self-disciplined and build mindful awareness of how calm or agitated our mind is when we are faced with a tough parenting moment.
It’s this checking in process and asking yourself “Am I in a reactive, responsive or intuitive mental space?” You check in whenever you are spending time with your kids so it gives you an indicator how you will respond if a stressful or unforeseen situation arises with your kids.
Reactive: You find yourself tense, tired, frustrated or angry. We lose our cool and act in ways that hurt others.
Responsive: You are flexible to respond to situations in a healthy way. You pause are more thoughtful and considerate when you respond. You parent with confidence and skill.
Intuitive: We go with the flow of up and down moments easily without affecting our mood and we can tap into our intuition and find creative solutions and compromises when tough situations arise.
Lastly, I loved that the authors reframed parenting mistakes into mis-takes. Usually we call something a mistake when it is out of alignment with what we think is right- what we think should happen. There is judgment around mistakes and that leads us to feel mommy guilt.
Mis-takes as the authors explain are things that happen in the territory that lies outside of our visualized”ideal but holds enormous opportunity for learning, compassion and intimacy.
These strategies have helped me understand why sometimes I can stay calm and connected and other times I lose it when certain boundaries are violated. I no longer let mommy guilt for poor choices cloud my ability to learn from my mis-takes.
Book #3: The good news about bad behavior why kids are less disciplined than ever- and what to do about it
If you think children in the good ole day were better listeners and calmer than children today well then you are right. This book gives an interesting blend of science to back up this belief and interesting facts of how misbehavior is increasing over the years and why.
I mean one thing is clear it’s all the gadgets. But if you want to read some really cool experiments they did on this topic this is the book to read.
My favorite quote in this book goes along with the idea of mistakes above:
“Mistakes are when learning happen. We want to create an environment where kids are making mistakes every single day and we are there to help them process.”
This was HUGE for me because I used to define a successful parenting day when all went well and life was easy. No one had tantrums that stressed us out, made us act out or made us late. I now adopted the above idea of embracing that a successful parenting day can come from some of the hardest and rawest episode we have with our kids so long as we use it as a learning and teaching experience.
So now when someone gets angry or has a tantrum I have a supportive cheer squad in my head saying- “Alright game on, show me what you got so we can learn and grow as a team.”
A lot of the ideas were summarized from parenting coach Vicki Hoefle so I decided to go straight to the source and read one of her most popular books. Duct Tape Parenting which is the next book on the list.
Book #4: Duct Tape Parenting
This book is a game changer for anyone who has children 3 and up.
The big idea from the book is the “less (talking) is more parenting approach”. Hoefle says when we spend the time training our kids to be more responsible, more self-sufficient and independent with chores and taking care of themselves (i.e dressing themselves, eating themselves tidying up after themselves etc) we decrease negative behavior.
What the? At first I couldn’t see the connection but then it made sense. The more our kids can do for themselves the less demanding, nagging and reminding we do. Which means less opportunities to butt heads and less power struggles.
So if you are a hovering mom or helicopter parent it’s time for you to put some duct tape on your mouth and try this new and much more effective approach to raise more respectful, responsible and resilient children who are better prepared for the real world.
If you want to raise children who are confident to solve their own problem and stop feeling like you are a maid constantly cleaning up and barking orders at your kids, this book is for you. I’ve been implementing this for the past 6 months and have seen INCREDIBLE shifts in Ayaan. If you have any questions on how to train your toddler to be more self-sufficient, contact me here to set up a free discovery coaching call.
Book #5: The Five Love Languages for Kids
This one is more of a general book about communicating with our child in the way they will hear and feel our love. Based on the bestselling book The Five Love Languages, this is adapted to meet the needs of talking to our kids in a way they will understand. There are five languages 1. Physical Touch 2. Words of Affirmation 3. Gifts 4. Quality Time 5.Acts of Service
Learning our child’s love language will help you discipline more effectively and builds the foundation of unconditional love for your child.
Since I work with young kids, 8 and under, I’ve realized to cultivate a strong sense of self and security we have to touch upon ALL these love languages as they are growing up so they truly feel loved. Saying “I love you” just isn’t enough. We have to fill their love bucket as much as we can in their youth and as our kids grow try to intuit what their specific love languages are so we can more deeply connect and communicate with our kids.
I’ve been practicing this with Ayaan for two years and I love giving moms ideas of how to speak your child’s love language that are practical and empowering to both you and your child.
TAKE THE TEST
Discover your child’s primary language—then speak it—and you will be well on your way to a stronger relationship with your flourishing child.
Take the test to determine your child’s love language HERE.
Take test to determine your own love language HERE.
Book #6: dharma parenting
This the first book that I’ve read that combines Ayurvedic typology (brain/body type) to understand your child’s learning style and what situations causes them to feel imbalanced and triggered.
This book shares specific diet and environmental suggestions for each brain/body type to help our children feel more grounded and safe.
When coaching moms, one of the first steps I do is help them discover their own brain/body type and their child’s type. When they know each other’s stress type they can be more empowered to know what situations will trigger their fight or flight to get activated. Learn your stress type here.
Book #7: the conscious parent
This is THE holy grail of the idea of mindful/conscious parenting.
When Ayaan was born this was for a very long time the only parenting book I read. It breaks down the traditional parenting model that we were raised in where there was a heirarchy where it was a “Do as I say, not as I do.” and fear-based punishment model to discipline. Dr. Tsabary turns parenting around on it’s head and suggests parenting is a partnership where the parent raises themselves before they can raise the child.
If there is any book you invest time in reading it’s this one. It will transform the way you look at your role as a parent entirely.
Though this book gives you new ideas and perspectives what it lacks is the next step. How to implement these ideas into tough parenting moments every-single-day.
This is where I come in.
If you’re ready to infuse mindfulness into your parenting but don’t know where to start or what tools to practice, I’ll meet you where you are.
If you wanna learn more about my personal mindful parenting coaching, join me for a free 25-min non-obligatory discovery session so I can answer your questions and see if we are a good fit. Learn more about mindful parenting coaching here.
YOUR NEXT STEPS
1.Have a private question for me about mindful parenting coaching? Ask me here!
2. Come join my insanely supportive and Free Mindful Mama FB Group!! =)
3.If you don’t get my email newsletter updates sign up for it now! Get all my inspiring Facebook Live Tips, TejalTV episodes and most popular Instagram Posts straight to your inbox every other Wednesday. Sign up below!
WANT MORE STUFF LIKE THIS?
Sign up to get Tejal's weekly actionable advice + soulful wisdom to keep you inspired and on track... Yep, It's FREE!