Without a doubt, parenting is one of the most rewarding and challenging roles we may undertake in our lives.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to good parenting, positive parenting has emerged as a powerful evidence-based framework to support children’s — and parents’ — emotional wellbeing.
Positive parenting focuses on creating a loving and supportive environment for raising children. By emphasizing positive reinforcement, positive communication, and empathy, this parenting style encourages the development of emotional intelligence and healthy self-esteem in children.
This is your go-to source for great positive parenting books, videos, training options, and more.
The Triple P positive parenting program is an initiative that provides parents with research-backed strategies to foster nurturing, positive environments for their children. Triple P draws on the principles of positive psychology and other evidence-based practices (Sanders & Mazzuchelli, 2017).
By partnering with trained professionals, parents gain access to valuable resources, practical tools, and evidence-based strategies. The program rests on four pillars:
1. Enhancing parent–child relationships
Triple P emphasizes strengthening the bond between parent and child through effective communication techniques, active listening, and establishing solid household routines.
2. Encouraging positive behavior
The program equips parents with a range of positive discipline strategies, enabling them to guide their children’s behavior more effectively. By emphasizing praise, rewards, and consistent consequences, parents learn to reinforce positive behaviors while reducing undesirable ones.
3. Promoting self-care for parents
Triple P recognizes the importance of self-care for parents, acknowledging that parents cannot pour from empty cups. With self-care tips and stress-management techniques, the program empowers parents to prioritize their wellbeing.
4. Targeted support for specific needs
The Triple P program caters to families with various needs, including parents with mood disorders, children with behavioral challenges, and families undergoing difficult life transitions (Sanders & Mazzuchelli, 2017).
This evidence-based initiative has helped many parents build strong foundations for their child’s social, emotional, and mental wellbeing (de Graaf et al., 2008).
6 Positive Parenting Training Books
Because many parents have realized that parenting is far from easy and feel in need of guidance, there are now hundreds of positive parenting books out there.
Today, most of us no longer live in intergenerational households. As a consequence, we cannot benefit as much as previous generations from the kind of parenting advice that used to be passed down from our parents and grandparents.
What is more, parenting advice also changes, often quite dramatically, through the ages. Because we now know much more about developmental and child psychology than our parents and grandparents did, we are now even more anxious to get our parenting right than previous generations.
Many parents feel tremendous pressure about the task of parenting, and this pressure can become overwhelming. Social parenting ideals often clash with the reality of parenting, and many of us feel guilty and ashamed about our inability to live up to these ideals. It is for this and other reasons that parental burnout is on the rise (Mikolajczak et al., 2023).
How can we choose wisely from the overwhelming offer of positive parenting books? Selecting positive parenting books that are based on empirical evidence and solid research is always a good starting point.
Books that have remained classics for several years can be another indicator of quality. Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers also tend to be good indicators for high-quality positive parenting books that touch a collective nerve. So here is our selection of recommendations.
1. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) – Philippa Perry
In this Sunday Times bestseller, the psychotherapist Philippa Perry illuminates how our upbringing shapes us and how we can learn to respond better to our children’s feelings. Pragmatic, wise, and humane, her positive parenting book is teeming with valuable suggestions.
Self-reflection and self-improvement, Perry suggests, are particularly important for parents, as we need to model what we want our children to learn from us. She encourages us to acknowledge and understand our own emotions, behaviors, and triggers because they significantly impact our interactions with our children.
The book you wish your parents had read - Curious Ignorant
You might enjoy this short video that sums up the book’s content in a digestible way.
2. Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids – Hunter Clarke-Fields
In Raising Good Humans, Hunter Clarke-Fields emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and self-regulation for parents. These qualities are essential for modeling balanced and mindful behaviors for children.
Clarke-Fields encourages parents to practice mindfulness and learn to recognize their triggers so they can respond to their child’s behavior in a calm and empathetic manner.
There are numerous practical tools and exercises for parents in this positive parenting book, including breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and reflection questions.
3. How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2–7 – Joanna Faber and Julie King
For over 35 years, parents have turned to Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish’s classic How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk for its effective solutions to the challenges of raising children.
Now Adele’s daughter, Joanna Faber, with Julie King, has tailored How to Talk’s powerful communication skills to children aged 2 to 7. The strength of this positive parenting book is its emphasis on narrative and metaphor and its very hands-on practical advice.
5. The Yes Brain Child and The Whole Brain Child – Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Written by neuroscientist Daniel Siegel and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson, these positive parenting books offer practical strategies to promote resilience, independence, and creativity in children.
One of the key concepts emphasized in both positive parenting books is the idea of a “yes brain.” This refers to a state of openness, adaptability, and emotional balance in children. The authors argue that cultivating a yes brain can lead to improved wellbeing and success in various areas of a child’s life.
6. Good Inside: A Practical Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be – Becky Kennedy
Becky Kennedy’s book addresses many common struggles parents face, such as feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and worried about getting parenting right. She offers actionable strategies to help parents move from uncertainty, self-blame, and shame to confident leadership.
She also emphasizes the importance of parental self-awareness, the need to recognize our triggers and patterns, vulnerability, authenticity, and the importance of cultivating an openness to learning from our failures.
These detailed, science-based exercises will equip you or your clients to build healthy, life-enriching relationships.
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Online Parenting Programs, Podcasts & Reads
If you don’t have time to read a positive parenting book — which is likely, given the many challenges parenting entails and the endless demands on our time and attention — you may find this selection of online parenting programs, parenting podcasts, and YouTube videos on the topic helpful.
First of all, you may find Becky Kennedy’s TED talk on parenting inspiring. She models here what she advises: how vulnerability and authenticity can help us build strong, nurturing relationships.
The single most important parenting strategy - Becky Kennedy
Professor and neuroscientist Yuko Munakata presents a more critical view on positive parenting books and parenting advice generally.
Munakata gets to the heart of parenting science in this inspirational TED talk, which offers a surprisingly different take on parenting that many of you might find soothing.
Why most parenting advice is wrong - Yuko Munakata
If you cannot read Tsabary’s book, you may enjoy her popular TED talk on conscious parenting instead. She is a clinical psychologist and was exposed to Eastern mindfulness from an early age. She reminds us to see our children as teachers and as awakeners and questions the idea of the parent as a “greater than” figure.
Conscious parenting - Shefali Tsabary
The Triple P parenting program
As mentioned above, the Triple P parenting program offers numerous science-based practical resources for parents, as well as access to a community. It provides many simple strategies you can start using right now.
The organization’s blog features numerous helpful articles on a wide range of parenting topics.
The Positive Parenting Diploma Course
This course is based on tried-and-tested techniques and promises to teach you how to communicate more positively and effectively.
It will teach you how to connect more deeply with your children. Based on neuro-linguistic programming principles, it will show you practical ways to implement change to your parenting style.
Parental Burnout: Diagnostic and Treatment Training
Isabelle Roskam is a professor of developmental psychology, and Moira Mikolajczak is a professor of medical and health psychology.
Roskam and Mikolajczak are leading researchers on parental burnout. They now offer a training course called “Parental Burnout: Diagnostic and Treatment” for psychology practitioners who wish to professionally support burnt-out parents.
List of 19 great parenting podcasts
The Parents website has compiled a helpful list of the 19 best parenting podcasts for all tastes, situations, and challenges, which should help you find a podcast on parenting tailored to your special needs and interests right now.
2 Helpful Positive Parenting Workbooks
If you wish to supplement your theoretical understanding of positive parenting practices, you may find the following two positive parenting workbooks helpful.
They include plenty of practical exercises and reflection questions, encouraging you to engage more deeply with the frameworks and explore them on a subjective experiential level.
1. The Positive Parenting Workbook: An Interactive Guide for Strengthening Emotional Connection – Rebecca Eanes
Rebecca Eanes is a popular parenting blogger and the author of the classic Positive Parenting book. Eanes’s inspiring workbook shows parents how to find new paths through the parenting jungle, develop greater emotional awareness, enhance their communication skills, and cherish and multiply the joyful moments of parenting.
A key pillar on which positive parenting practices rest is the concept of positive discipline. Positive discipline strategies focus on guiding children’s behavior through positive reinforcement and respectful communication. It involves setting clear and reasonable expectations, providing constructive feedback, and promoting autonomy and self-regulation.
Positive discipline avoids the use of punishment, shaming, or aggressive behavior. Instead, it promotes understanding and problem-solving.
1. No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind – Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson emphasizes the importance of understanding a child’s brain development and tailoring discipline strategies accordingly.
Instead of resorting to immediate punishment or timeouts, Siegel and Bryson suggest the technique of “connect and redirect.” This involves connecting with the child during moments of conflict or misbehavior and creating a safe space for communication and understanding.
2. Calm Parents, Happy Kids: The Secrets of Stress-Free Parenting – Laura Markham
In this positive parenting book, the author reveals a three-step program that is based on the latest research in brain development and that focuses on fostering emotional intelligence.
Markham encourages us to build connections and stronger relationships, to set limits with empathy, and to concentrate on positive communication. She also advocates positive discipline techniques that focus on teaching rather than punishing, which helps children learn valuable skills and build self-esteem.
3. Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide – Rebecca Eanes
In this guide, Eanes shares her parenting wisdom for overcoming limiting thought patterns and recognizing emotional triggers. The book emphasizes the importance of understanding our children’s perspectives and cultivating a strong and respectful parent–child relationship.
The author puts a strong emphasis on positive discipline. Instead of resorting to punishments or rewards, Eanes advocate for using empathy and communication to guide children’s behavior.
4. Positive Discipline: The Classic Guide to Helping Children Develop Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Cooperation, and Problem-Solving Skills – Jane Nelsen
Positive Discipline has been a classic resource for adults working with children for over 25 years. In 2006, it was revised and expanded by its author, Jane Nelsen.
Nelsen emphasizes the importance of mutual respect rather than punishment in positive discipline. She guides parents and teachers in being firm and kind, enabling children of all ages to develop cooperation and self-discipline without compromising their dignity.
PositivePsychology.com hosts an extensive collection of research-based articles and resources that can further enhance parents’ understanding and application of positive parenting practices. You may enjoy reading the following additional articles on related topics:
This masterclass focuses on developing meaningful and positive relationships with others and reminds us of the importance of investing in the social bonds that matter most, including, of course, our children. The course is suitable for psychologists, counselors, teachers, and others.
Positive parenting is a transformative, evidence-based approach that empowers parents to become more self-aware, cultivate positive emotional connections, build effective communication skills, and create a supportive and loving environment in which children can thrive. It can support us in raising resilient, emotionally intelligent, kind, and well-adjusted children.
What is more, positive parenting works both ways. Not only does it impact positively on our children, but it is also a parenting style that asks us to grow and develop as parents.
After all, the most powerful parenting technique out there is still simply to model and embody the behaviors we want to see in our children. Only if we practice what we preach can we hope to enhance our children’s wellbeing and ability to thrive.
de Graaf, I., Speetjens, P., Smit, F., de Wolff, M., & Tavecchio, L. (2008). Effectiveness of the Triple P Positive Parenting Program on behavioral problems in children: A meta-analysis. Behavior Modification, 32(5), 714–735.
Mikolajczak, M., Aunola, K., Sorkkila, M., & Roskam, I. (2023). 15 years of parental burnout research: Systematic review and agenda. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 32(4), 276–283.
Sanders, M. R., & Mazzuchelli, T. G. (2017). The power of positive parenting: Transforming the lives of children, parents, and communities using the Triple P system. Oxford University Press.
About the author
Anna K. Schaffner, Ph.D., is a professional burnout and executive coach and a writer. She used to be a professor of Cultural History at the University of Kent. Anna specialises in helping people overcome burnout and overwhelm and rediscover their passion and purpose. Her unique blend of expertise as both a writer and a coach reflects a lifelong dedication to the art of self-improvement.