The best books about raising emotionally rounded children without exhausting your marriage

Who am I?

I am a marital therapist with thirty-five years of experience helping couples fall back in love and deal with the fall out from infidelity. I trained with RELATE – the UK’s largest couple counselling charity – and have a private practice in Berlin and lead a team of therapists based in the UK. I have heard over a thousand couples argue – more often than not – about their children. So I am always looking for books that will give a wider perspective and practical advice on how to be a parent without exhausting your marriage and forgetting to still be lovers.


I wrote...

I Love You, But I'm Not in Love with You: Seven Steps to Putting the Passion Back Into Your Relationship

By Andrew G. Marshall,

Book cover of I Love You, But I'm Not in Love with You: Seven Steps to Putting the Passion Back Into Your Relationship

What is my book about?

Translated into over twenty languages this self-help classic has sold over 100,000 copies. Why do people fall out of love? The answer will surprise you. Of course, if you neglect or hurt someone there will be a drip, drip effect but the number one cause is avoiding arguments. We think we're helping our relationship by not making a fuss, but by switching off our annoyance and anger we eventually end up switching off all our feelings.

Parents are particularly likely to avoid issues – in order not to upset their children – but that means nothing really gets REALLY sorted or one partner thinks everything is fine and the other is sinking into despair.

The books I picked & why

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Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself

By Lisa Marchiano,

Book cover of Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself

Why this book?

There are plenty of ‘how to’ books on being a mother but this looks at how having children changes you and what you learn about yourself. What makes this book profoundly helpful is that Lisa in a Jungian Analyst and she is not afraid to look at the dark as well as the light side of mothering. In my podcast, The Meaningful Life with Andrew G Marshall she talked about the moments where she crossed a line with her son and daughter and how owning ALL parts of you helps you learn and grow.


The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read: (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)

By Philippa Perry,

Book cover of The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read: (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)

Why this book?

Another guest on my podcast, psychotherapist Philippa Perry looks at how the sort of parenting you received influences the sort of parent you will be. She likens it to being a link in a chain and she explains how to be a different shape and not repeat your mother or father’s mistakes. She will help you understand your children’s feelings and managing them in a way that is both accepting and shows how to fit into the wider world. The bonus is that Philippa is often really funny.


It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

By Mark Wolynn,

Book cover of It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

Why this book?

Looks further back than the previous book and how the trauma of previous generations can be passed down the line. The first half is full of examples of how even unknown incidents are reflected in the problems of Wolynn’s patients today. The second half is about how to use these insights to heal. I use it a lot with my clients and they are full of praise for the book. It is particularly helpful to understand how your grandparents impacted your parents. I used this book to throw light onto how the First World War and my Great Uncle’s death on the Somme still affects my family one hundred years later.


The Work / Parent Switch: How to Parent Smarter Not Harder

By Anita Cleare,

Book cover of The Work / Parent Switch: How to Parent Smarter Not Harder

Why this book?

‘I can’t just flick a switch’. It’s something that I hear in my therapy office all the time but what if you could transition better from work to parenting – because they each require a different part of you. Anita Cleare was a great guest on my podcast: The Meaningful Life with Andrew G Marshall. She is good at explaining the different stages and challenges of child development and how stressed our parents often end up fighting with each other. Parenting as a team, rather than bickering with each other, is often one of the breakthrough moments for improving my clients' love lives.


Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting: Five Strategies That End the Daily Battles and Get Kids to Listen the First Time

By Noel Janis-Norton,

Book cover of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting: Five Strategies That End the Daily Battles and Get Kids to Listen the First Time

Why this book?

How do you get your children out of the door without stressing out them, yourself, and everybody else in the house. This book is full of strategies like not having to ask twice, preparing for success, starting new rules, and the joys of descriptive praise. I find that if parents argue better and communicate more effectively with each other that has a knock-on effect on the children but it works equally well the other way round. If you can communicate more calmly with your children, you can use the skills with your partner too.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in parenting, self-actualization, and family?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about parenting, self-actualization, and family.

Parenting Explore 116 books about parenting
Self-Actualization Explore 105 books about self-actualization
Family Explore 384 books about family

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like French Children Don’t Throw Food, The Gardener and the Carpenter, and The Whole-Brain Child if you like this list.