The best books for how to parent with love, integrity, and respect rather than control

Jennifer Waldburger Author Of Calm Mama, Happy Baby: The Simple, Intuitive Way to Tame Tears, Improve Sleep, and Help Your Family Thrive
By Jennifer Waldburger

Who am I?

As a child, I grew up with a mom and dad who, like just about every parent, did the best they could with the tools they had. Unknowingly, though, they also carried forward into their roles as parents their own unhealed wounds from the past. Luckily for me, my parents sought to become more self-aware as I grew from child to adult. In this book, we aim to share some of the tools and practices that can help parents find wholeness in themselves from the beginning of the parent-child relationship, and avoid many of the pitfalls that can cause unnecessary conflicts and suffering in family living.

I wrote...

Calm Mama, Happy Baby: The Simple, Intuitive Way to Tame Tears, Improve Sleep, and Help Your Family Thrive

By Jennifer Waldburger, Derek O'Neill,

Book cover of Calm Mama, Happy Baby: The Simple, Intuitive Way to Tame Tears, Improve Sleep, and Help Your Family Thrive

What is my book about?

Eye-opening neuroscientific research shows that your stress and unresolved psychological pain directly affect your child's mood, behavior, and health. The good news is that you can learn how to take responsibility for the energy you bring to the parent-child relationship – and allow your child to develop unburdened by a legacy of negative or destructive patterns.

Drawing on their experience in nearly two decades of working with parents in Hollywood and around the globe, Derek O'Neill and Jennifer Waldburger give parents practical tools for finding your center as a parent and a person, regardless of what is happening with your child. Calm Mama, Happy Baby helps you parent intuitively, with confidence.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive

Why did I love this book?

A wonderful exploration of how the past inevitably comes alive in the present when you become a parent – and how you can use pain points as an opportunity for deeper healing. The willingness to do this inner work can be hugely instrumental in the kind of parent you become.

By Daniel J. Siegel, Mary Hartzell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Parenting from the Inside Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An updated edition—with a new preface—of the bestselling parenting classic by the author of "BRAINSTORM: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain"

In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. Drawing on stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and…

Book cover of The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children

Why did I love this book?

Tsabary pulls no punches as she issues a clarion call for showing up in the parent-child relationship with awareness of your wishes and tendencies to control. Rather than falling into the same traps your own parents did by imposing your own ideas of who you think your child should or shouldn’t be, you can serve as your child’s guide – while pointing her to her own inner compass.

By Shefali Tsabary,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Conscious Parent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Instead of being merely the receiver of the parents' psychological and spiritual legacy, children function as ushers of the parents' development. Parents unwittingly pass on an inheritance of psychological pain and emotional shallowness. To handle the behavior that results, traditional books on parenting abound with clever techniques for control and quick fixes for dysfunction. In Dr. Shefali Tsabary's conscious approach to parenting, however, children serve as mirrors of their parents' forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness. Once they find their way back to…

Book cover of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm, and Connected

Why did I love this book?

A very practical guide on how to unlock yourself from the inevitable battle of wills that crop up in the parent-child relationship, and instead become the “captain of the ship” who is able to co-regulate your child through the ups and downs of difficult moods and behavior. Stiffelman explains in clear language how co-regulating in this way, over time, helps your child build skills of self-regulation and problem solving - bringing a natural feeling of peace of harmony both in your child and in your relationship.

By Susan Stiffelman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Parenting Without Power Struggles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“I trust Susan Stiffelman with my heart, my family, and my community. She knows that what goes on in my home every day is brutal and beautiful and hard and holy. She understands that while we are raising our children, we are still raising ourselves.” —Glennon Doyle Melton, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior

From a family therapist, parenting expert and respected advice columnist for AOL’s HuffPost Parents comes a unique approach to parenting that can help eliminate drama, meltdowns, and power struggles.

Do you ever find yourself asking . . .

• How can you get…

Book cover of The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners

Why did I love this book?

This classic of Eastern philosophy endures for a reason: it contains timeless, essential teachings for living with a full heart, with ease, and in peace. The passages in this book reverberate with universal truths that can be easily applied to the parent-child relationship. The truths in The Bhagavad Gita are universal because they are self-evident, and the reader will likely have the experience not of acquiring new concepts, but of remembering what is known on a soul level but may have been forgotten.

By Jack Hawley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bhagavad Gita as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Bhagavad Gita has been called India’s greatest contribution to the world. For more than five thousand years, this great scripture has shown millions in the East how to fill their lives with serenity and love. In these pages, Jack Hawley brings these ancient secrets to Western seekers in a beautiful prose version that makes the story of the Gita clear and exciting, and makes its truths understandable and easy to apply to our busy lives.

The Gita is a universal love song sung by God to His friend man. It can’t be confined by any creed. It is a…

Book cover of True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart

Why did I love this book?

To truly love another, we must first learn what true love is. A love that shifts and changes depending on circumstances, or depending on how someone else responds or behaves, is not built on the right foundation and is sure to cause suffering. But a love that emanates naturally from genuine presence, that asks nothing in return – cultivated through lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and freedom—is strong enough to weather any storm, and is perhaps the greatest gift any parent can offer.

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked True Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The renowned Zen master and peace activist introduces a Buddhist approach to practicing authentic love in our everyday lives

In this eye-opening guide, Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh offers timeless insight into the nature of real love. With simplicity, warmth, and directness, he explores the four key aspects of love as described in the Buddhist tradition: lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and freedom—explaining how to experience them in our day-to-day lives. He also emphasizes that in order to love in a real way, we must first learn how to be fully present in our lives, and he offers simple techniques from the…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in parenting, compassion, and the Bhagavad Gita?

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