There are about a million different resources out there for parents, so when I come across the ones that align with my belief in a yoga lifestyle and a positive parenting approach, I need to share them with the World ASAP! Check out my faves below.
Janet Lansbury is my go-to for all things parenting. Her gentle, respectful and positive approach to raising children resonates deep in my heart. I listen to her podcast, Unruffled, in the car after dropping my daughter off at school in the morning. There is no subject she doesn't cover as she answers a different email question in each episode. Her advice on how parents should discipline is always coming from a place of curiosity, respect and love, and never from a place of punishing, shaming or harming in any way. I have learned SO MUCH from her podcasts, including how to be more understanding of where my child is coming from and what she is experiencing. Ever heard the saying, "My child isn't giving me a hard time, she is HAVING a hard time?" Well it's true, and Janet has helped me to see this and respond accordingly. When I implement what I learn from her in our daily home life, I notice a positive change every single time.
In addition to her podcast she also has two books, Elevating Childcare; a Guide to Respectful Parenting and No Bad Kids; Toddler Discipline Without Shame. Check out her website and follow her on Facebook for all her latest.
Dr. Laura Markham
I was first introduced to Dr. Laura Markham when an acquaintance recommended her positive parenting workshop several years ago. I saw her in person and loved everything that she had to say. Her approach to handling conflict with children was different then anything had ever seen before. During a role-play exercise, she demonstrated how she would respond to two fighting siblings, one of which had just hit the other. I was shocked to see her responding to the hitter with as much love, compassion and comforting as she did the one who had been hit. It wasn't that she was condoning or allowing the physical behavior, but she was compassionate for what the hitter felt and experienced, causing them to act that way. It immediately felt right to me and I knew I had found someone whose advice I could trust. In addition to in person workshops and lectures, Dr. Laura Markham has books, articles, videos and many free resources you can check out on her website, Aha! Parenting. For all her latest, follow her on Facebook!
Taking Back Childhood, by Nancy Carlsson-Paige
I discovered this book completely by mistake when I stumbled upon it in my library. There are not many books in the parenting section of my library that fit a positive parenting philosophy, so this one jumped right out at me. Within the first few pages, I knew this book would change the way I parent. I may have been a child once myself, but it doesn't mean I understand what it's like to be one anymore. Taking Back Childhood changed that for me. It offered me a window into the social and emotional development of children, taught me about different ways to look at and interpret my child's behavior, and how I can better interact with her to best meet her needs. The information in this book allowed me to understand my daughter better. That. Is. Amazing.
After beginning this book I felt a deep sense of sadness that every parent out there wasn't privy to this information. It made me realize how badly we misinterpret and misunderstand our children, and as a result, react instead of respond, which is not at all what they need. I felt so grateful that I found it, but at the same time couldn't help but think about all the other parents out there who have not read this book, and would not ever read it.
This book also delves deeply into the issues that are harming our kids today, including too much screen time and the violence they are exposed to in shows, movies and video games. There was no way I could return this book to the library and never read it again so I immediately bought it on Amazon and have since marked up the whole book with highlighted sections, notes in the margins and dog-eared pages that I don't want to forget about. I have even bought copies of this book to give to other parents as gifts. Do yourself and your children a favor -- read this book!!
Zen Mama; Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, by Karen Maezen-Miller
A friend mentioned this book to me one day, back when my daughter was still a baby and the way she spoke so highly of it made me run out and buy it right away. It was totally worth it and quickly became another book that I would buy copies of to give to other moms as gifts. Being a first time mom is full of love, joy and happiness … but lets be honest, its also confusing, scary, depressing, frustrating and exhausting. The author combines her own experience as a parent with her years of experience with Zen meditation to offer advice and bits of wisdom that are easy to take with you and remember long after the book is closed. What I love most about this book is that you don't have to read it cover to cover in order to benefit from the information. You can read a chapter if that's all you have time for, and not pick it up again for months. Heck, you can read just one page if that's all you have time for. You can even read the chapters out of order and it doesn't even matter. The material is presented in a way that can work for you however you chose to take it in. And you know what's really cool? No matter what stage of parenting I'm in at the time I pick this book up, whatever chapter I chose to read seems to apply to what's happening, and speaks to what I need help with, or need reassurance about. Snag your copy here.
Breathe Mama, Breathe: 5-Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms by Shonda Moralis
I found this book while at Michaels buying yarn. Random, right? I didn't even know Michaels sold books. But this one was staring me in the face as I turned the corner, and interestingly enough, was experiencing a lot of stress at that time in my life so the Universe must have known I needed it! This book is awesome because it introduces meditation and mindfulness in a way that is easy and comfortable. I think a lot of people don't meditate because of all their preconceived ideas of what meditation is supposed to be. But this book shows that meditation doesn't have to be hours of sitting still in silence -- who has time for that with little kids running around?? -- it can be two minutes in your closet where you take some deep breaths before returning to whatever sent you in there in the first place. It can be taking the time to give yourself some positive reinforcement and it can be slowing down just long enough to recognize what's happening in your physical body when your stressed.
The best mindfulness activity I learned from this book is the Triangle Meditation. This meditation involves looking at three different aspects of yourself when your upset: your thoughts, your emotions and your physical sensations. The idea is that if you are aware of them, and can change ONE, it will in turn change the others as well. For example, being late for things really stresses me out. So when I find myself being triggered by a late start in the morning, I try to stop and notice what my thoughts are (we are going to be late...I have to rush now...my whole day will be off because of this...) what my emotions are (frustration...concern...anxiety...) and what physical sensations I notice (tense muscles...tight jaw...hunched shoulders...fast heart rate...) I then pick the one that is easiest for me to access and change, which is my physical sensations. I unclench my jaw, I relax my muscles, I take deep breaths to slow my heart rate. Then the miracle happens --> My thoughts and my emotions begin to change as well. I start to recognize that being late for school drop off this morning is small potatoes and my emotions change from anxiety and frustration to calm and acceptance. It's pretty wild!
Whether you have 1 hour or 1 minute, you can carry out the mindfulness activities in this book, trust me. Grab it here.