Monday, December 27, 2010
My Parenting Bookshelf--The Discipline Books
When we first made the decision not to spank, I felt adrift. I didn't have any real example or practical guidelines for discipline other than punishment. I knew of time-outs, of course, and similar things like ignoring "bad" behavior and rewarding behavior I liked. It didn't quite feel right to me, though. Over the years, while remaining consistent with not spanking, our outlook gradually evolved. In particular, Alfie Kohn's book transformed my paradigm. But I will include all the books we own and a little about what we got from them.
The Discipline Book by the Sears. The gateway drug. ;) The Sears' books were my first introduction to parenting the way I wanted. It is good. It has a lot of great information based on attachment parenting. It was also helpful as a transition for us. There are some things that I am not a fan of now, including mild punitive tactics, but at the beginning of our journey into gentle discipline, it gave us a good place to start.
The Power of Positive Parenting by Glenn Latham. We also got his Christlike Parenting book on the recommendation of a friend who was encouraging us into not spanking. Essentially, it is a very strict behaviorist approach that is entirely about positive and negative reinforcement. The negative reinforcement is almost always simply ignoring. It felt really icky to me, though. Affection and attention are not rewards that my children get for behaving in a way that I enjoy.
Adventures in Gentle Discipline by Hilary Flower. This is one I can definitely recommend, especially for parents of younger children. A great approach from the beginning, starting with the basics of what gentle discipline looks like, resources as you continue your journey, and like her book on nursing through pregnancy, contains plenty of real-life stories and examples. It helped us a lot.
How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish. Excellent. Definitely worth the read. It really helped me to look at things from my children's perspective.
Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. This one blew me away. It challenged all of the things I had heard about discipline, but rang true with my own experiences and beliefs. I still had to re-read it several times to really get it. This, IMO, is a must-read, especially if the whole carrot-and-the-stick doesn't feel right to you. There is a lot of research, which I loved, and it also fit with my heart.
Parent Effectiveness Training by Dr. Thomas Gordon. While UP gave me a new framework, I needed practical ways to implement it. This book helped bridge that gap. One of the coolest things I took away from this book was that we don't have to hold to a false standard of consistency. Sometimes our tolerance level is higher or lower according to circumstances, and that is OK.
Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey. I first read this just after UP and PET, and coming right after their collaborative approach, it felt too scripted and confining. Also, her little titles for everything bugged me a little bit. However, there is really a lot of great stuff in there. Like all the best parenting books, much of it involves helping the parents to become disciplined people. Going back through it later increased my appreciation of it. I would recommend it.
Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen. Easily one of the best. Practical tools and a wonderful understanding. I've read this one many times, and always find more to love.
Connection Parenting by Pam Leo. This may be my very favorite. It distills some of the best material from all the books I've read and makes it easy to apply. If you wondered how to implement all the ideas from UP, this book is for you.
Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort. The first time I read it, I could find some good, but it seemed a little too new-agey or something. I picked it up again right after my daughter turned six, and I was slipping into patterns of shaming. It helped me tremendously! It now ranks as one of my favorites. Funny how different books can catch us at different times.
Also-reads: I've already blogged about the Christian books.
I have read a large number of ones that I don't have right now--either loaned out or from the library, etc. There are also more books that are not specifically about discipline that will be mentioned in upcoming posts. A quick heads up: often discipline "problems" are misunderstandings regarding child development.
Parenting with Love and Logic by Cline and Fay has some good things. I really disliked the advice for younger children, who don't even have the logic skills to make the "choices". I could see some good things for older kids, or for those who need a stepping-stone away from spanking and yelling, but it didn't make my favorites list.
I've heard a lot of great things about Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's books, and found some of them helpful.
I've read or own punitive ones, as well, for those who may have wondered if I really know what those authors are saying, but am not planning to review any right now.
Our bookshelves are constantly growing, and adding to our understanding of ourselves and our children. I find that I need discipline as much as they do, and together we are growing in grace and knowledge.