Every parent feels like they need a refresher or some new parenting information from time to time. After all, parenting can be downright exhausting, especially when mothers and fathers are doing it well. And, parenting children who are high energy or who exhibit difficult behaviors can be an extra challenge. To help in these endeavors, there are many books available to parents covering a variety of different parenting topics. In my work with parents, I have found three books to be helpful to parents who are evaluating their current strategies and who are seeking to accommodate or change their children’s behaviors.
First, “Parenting That Works: Building Skills That Last a Lifetime” by Christophersen and Mortweet (2003) covers a variety of topics that are of interest for many different kinds of parents. Some of the chapters in this book cover different skills that parents would find useful, such as how to provide positive feedback to children, how to discipline children effectively, and how parents can best cope with parenting situations that may prove difficult. Other chapters cover topics relevant to managing children’s behavior as well as building children’s skills, such as establishing children’s bedtime and toileting behaviors. In addition to providing straight forward suggestions for parents across a variety of topics, this book emphasizes that parents should think of effective parenting in terms of a long-term plan. Further, this book also emphasizes the positive, in that it offers a preventative guide for parents to foster their children’s appropriate behaviors before children may present with behavior problems (Christophersen & Mortweet, 2003).
A second book, “The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children” by Greene (2010), may prove helpful for those parents raising children who are already exhibiting difficult and/or inflexible behaviors. This book presents a parenting approach in which parents label those parenting issues that warrant intervention (e.g., unsafe behaviors, such as children exhibiting injurious behaviors), those parenting issues that are negotiable (e.g., behaviors which can involve a compromise), and those parenting issues that do not warrant intervention and that are not as important as once thought (e.g., things that have been downgraded considerably in importance, such as whether or not children wear matching clothes in public). By categorizing parenting issues in this fashion, parents are able to pick and choose their battles much more carefully with their children and only provide disciplinary interactions when they are really necessary. This approach allows for a reduction in hostile parent-child interactions, a reduction in explosive behaviors, and a re-focusing on communication between parents and children (Greene, 2010).
Finally, “Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds” by Forehand and Long (2002) describes a step-by-step guide for parents. This guide can be helpful for improving the behaviors of children who are exhibiting difficult behaviors and for improving parents’ interactions with their children. This book takes parents through steps that are consistent with many parenting programs implemented by child psychologists, beginning with a focus on parenting behaviors that can build positive interactions and finishing with effective ways to discipline children when it is necessary. Thus, with the program presented in this book, parents focus on a new skill each week, including attending to their children’s appropriate behaviors, reinforcing children’s positive behaviors through rewards, ignoring children’s minor negative behaviors, learning how to give effective directions, and using time-out appropriately and effectively (Forehand & Long, 2002).
These books would make a useful addition to the library of any parent but may be particularly helpful for those parents raising children who are high energy or who exhibit difficult behaviors. By optimizing parenting behaviors, mothers and fathers can begin to improve the outcomes of all children, no matter what their characteristics.
Christophersen, E. R., & Mortweet, S. L. (2003). Parenting that works: Building skills that last a lifetime. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Forehand, R., & Long, N. (2002). Parenting the strong-willed child: The clinically proven five-week program for parents of two- to six-year-olds. Chicago: Contemporary Books.
Greene, R. W. (2010). The explosive child: A new approach for understanding and parenting easily frustrated, chronically inflexible children. New York: Harper.