6 Psychologist Recommended Books for Easier Parenting

parenting psychologists psychology recommended reading

I’m often asked by fellow parents, blog readers and podcast listeners for book recommendations. I have my favourites but when I need a recommendation for parenting books I look beyond my library and crowd source from my colleagues who specialise in kids and parenting.

Looking for tips on

  • getting kids to listen?

  • helping them to thrive?

  • dealing with tempers, tantrums and big emotions?

  • discipline without destruction?

  • or just staying sane while you do the best you can?

Here are six excellent and entertaining books recommended by psychologists for parents.



Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman and Joan Claire.

This book has been around for almost 20 years but it's still the go-to tome for parents wanting to understand their kids' emotions and help them to deal with the ups and downs that life brings.

Psychologist and researcher John Gottman is well known for his research into relationships and marriage but he has also worked extensively in emotion-focused coaching with parents and children.  This book equips you with a five-step emotion coaching process that teaches you how to be aware of your children's emotions, label emotions in words that kids will understand and work with them to deal with upsetting situations in a helpful way.


How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

Do you find yourself yelling or pleading with the kids to get ready for school, tidy their rooms or help out with things at home?  Are you sick of it?  This book is another parenting bible written in a fun and practical style and designed to help you figure out:

  • How to listen to and understand your child's worries and concerns

  • How to get the family cooperating without nagging

  • How to find alternatives to punishment, and

  • How to help your child develop a positive self image.


The Politically Incorrect Parenting Book: 10 No-Nonsense Rules to Stay Sane and Raise Happy Kids by Nigel Latta

Do your kids make you feel as if your head will explode? Have you yelled until you were hoarse? Do you have days when you feel like making a run for the airport? Why is it so hard to be the parent you'd like to be? 

Nigel Latta, bestselling parenting author, clinical psychologist and father of two, knows full well the challenges of being a parent. Loved for his clear and refreshingly down-to-earth parenting advice, Nigel takes the guilt out of being a parent with his 10 simple rules.


The Gentle Discipline Book: How to Raise Co-Operative, Polite and Helpful Children by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Do you want to raise a well-behaved, happy child but feel that common forms of discipline used today, which focus on rewarding, excluding or punishing children, don't work for your family? 

In The Gentle Discipline Book, Sarah Ockwell-Smith debunks many commonly held beliefs about punishment and motivation, and provides an alternative approach that will empower you to discipline your child in an effective way and with respect.

In her trademark practical style, Sarah offers solutions for coping with the most common discipline challenges, including:

  • Whining and sulking

  • Aggressive and destructive behaviour

  • Not listening and refusal to do things

  • Rudeness and backchat

  • Sibling rivalry

  • Lying

  • Swearing

  • Low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence


The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W Greene

What’s an explosive child? A child who responds to routine problems with extreme frustration—crying, screaming, swearing, kicking, hitting, biting, spitting, destroying property, and worse. A child whose frequent, severe outbursts leave his or her parents feeling frustrated, scared, worried, and desperate for help. Most of these parents have tried everything-reasoning, explaining, punishing, sticker charts, therapy, medication—but to no avail. They can’t figure out why their child acts the way he or she does; they wonder why the strategies that work for other kids don’t work for theirs; and they don’t know what to do instead.

Dr. Ross Greene, a distinguished clinician and pioneer in the treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behaviour challenges, has worked with thousands of explosive children, and he has good news: these kids aren’t attention-seeking, manipulative, or unmotivated, and their parents aren’t passive, permissive pushovers. Rather, explosive kids are lacking some crucial skills in the domains of flexibility/adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem solving, and they require a different approach to parenting. 


The Complete Secrets of Happy Children by Steve Biddulph

In the Secret of Happy Children you will discover what's really happening inside kid's minds, and what to do about it. And you will find out how to be a stronger, more loving, more definite and more relaxed parent. You'll learn how to let go of old, negative approaches, and free up more energy to enjoy your kids and your life. The Complete Secrets of Happy Children tackles important concerns of parents today such as: how to help toddlers and children feel secure and settled; discipline methods that work (without hitting or yelling); making sure your love gets through; being the best kind of dad; and the childcare dilemma.

Happy reading!

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