Calms the Chaos book sits next to a poster with positive phrases for parents from the book.

Top Parenting Books for Positive Parenting – Updated for 2023

When we decide to look for new parenting tools, one of the first things most of us think about is finding a good book to read. These are the best books for learning about positive parenting. Some books below I have only read in part, some all the way through. I tend to be a “gleaner” of parenting tools, picking up ideas here and there as I need them or come across them.

Positive parenting refers to parenting in a way that supports and encourages children's development through non-violence, care, acknowledgment, direction, and well-defined boundaries. The pediatric experts at UC Davis Children's Health describe positive parenting this way:

  • Positive parenting is about showing children love, warmth and kindness.

  • It’s about guiding children to act the way you want by encouraging and teaching them.

  • It’s about helping children thrive by sending the powerful message: You are loved, you are good, you matter.

The authors of the positive parenting books below use a variety of techniques for bringing peace to families. I believe all are within the realm of positive parenting, but not all will be a fit for you. In fact, some tools are a fit for a time, but then we need to move on. You may have luck finding many of these at your library – a nice way to “try out” a book before you purchase it to see if you'll find enough tips that will work for your family. Some of the following links are affiliate links; if you purchase through them, I receive compensation.

Reading about a variety of parenting approaches gives you more options when you reach a frustrating point in your parenting. When you know something needs to change, you at least have an idea of something new to try.

One of The Best Positive Parenting Books I Wish I'd Had Earlier:

Calms the Chaos book sits next to a poster with positive phrases for parents from the book
Photo Credit: Alissa Zorn

Calm the Chaos: A Fail-Proof Map to Parenting Even the Most Challenging Kids is a positive parenting book that came out in August of 2023. It's filled with acceptance and the belief that we are ALL inherently worthy and valuable human beings. Can you imagine the shift in our world if we have a generation raised like this? Also – it has lots of doodles!! My brain feels so happy looking through the pages and having visual elements to anchor to – so much easier to make sense of!

I can't tell you the sense of relief and possibility this book brings up. I've put in years of effort (along with tears, fears, and disruption) to bring safety, connection, and emotional resilience to my family. It's been a hard path to walk, and I hope this book makes it easier for others to do the same. In this book, I recognize ideas and strategies that have made a huge positive impact on us. It's incredible to see these ideas captured in a clear framework that any parent can use in their own circumstances and situations.

This book is especially good for you if you have a challenging child, if you have a neurodivergent family, or if you are healing generational dysfunction. Calm the Chaos meets you where you are and gives you a framework so you can make a plan specific to the needs of YOUR family.

Positive Parenting – The Essentials

For an overview of the basics of positive parenting, take a look at Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide by Rebecca Eanes. This is a wonderfully readable book that covers the basics of positive parenting – why it matters and how to begin enacting it in your home. It would make a great gift for expecting parents as well.

More Essential Positive Parenting Books

Positive Parenting Books for Connection:

Alissa Zorn holds up her positive parenting book titled Bounceback Parenting a field guide for creating connection not perfection
Photo Credit: Alissa Zorn

Hey, here's my book! I wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide For Creating Connection, Not Perfection to give parents a non-overwhelming way to connect with their kids in the everyday chaos. In it, I give a variety of journal prompts and “secret missions” that help you connect with your kids as well as check in with yourself, find self-acceptance, and gently take a look at your own perfectionism and see if it might be stopping you from connecting in the ways you'd like.

Here are more of the best positive parenting books for connection and mindfulness:

Figuring out ways to connect with your kids and putting structures in place that help your days go smoother can prevent many (but not all) frustrating behaviors. At least if you feel a strong connection to your children, you will likely have more energy to deal with discipline in a positive way.

Positive Parenting Books about Discipline and Behavior

In the parenting books below, the authors come from the standpoint that our kids WANT to be successful.  This helps us remember that our kids are learning and growing beings who want to succeed and that their behaviors are communication to us about what's going on with them.

Books About Parenting Intense or Strong-Willed Children

If you sometimes feel bowled over by the intensity of your kids, the following books may help. Raising Your Spirited Child is a long-time favorite. You can be a connected parent with an intense child – in fact, this kind of parenting may be the best for both of you!

Books Recommended by Parents I Trust

(I haven't personally read these, but they come highly recommended.)