Best Parenting Books for Spirited Children 2021
If you’ve got Highly Sensitive (Spirited) Children, your parenting life has likely not been an easy one. From sleep issues to epic meltdowns, there is very little peace in a Spirited Household. And the year 2020 made life even more difficult.
I don’t know about you, but 2020 has been a rough year for me. Who am I kidding? This year has been rough for everybody. And the hardships of this year may have sent you into different places. I, for one, hit parenting books like there is no tomorrow. Why did this happen? Many reasons really. It started when I was feeling very negatively about parenting in general, and intensified during quarantine, as I was working on solving my son’s very severe behavior problems.
As weird as it may seem, I haven’t read any books since my eldest one was born over 4 years ago. It was strange for me since I’m an avid reader, but PPD manages to silently steal away most interests you have (if you want to learn more about my struggle read The Dark Side of Motherhood: When PPD Takes Over). So once I started to feel like myself again (about 14 months after my second son’s birth), I got back into reading.
And when I did, I realized that I’m not as alone as I thought in finding parenting a Spirited Child to be difficult. And if you’re like I was 6 months ago, feeling lost, alone, and finding it it difficult to cope, you want help. That’s why I’m sharing with your my list of the Best Parenting Books for Spirited Children. You will find the answers you’re looking for in them.
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All Joy and No Fun
I got back in the reading saddle with a book by Jennifer Senior “All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting“. It was like therapy and a support group all wrapped into one. It helped me understand that I am not alone in my internal parenting struggles. Modern day parenting really is that emotionally difficult. We are expected to not only be present in every aspect of our children’s lives, but enjoy it as well. And that’s just not a realistic expectation for anyone. I credit this book for finally getting me over the PPD slump.
Who will benefit from this book?
Every single parent! This book is raw and honest. One of the best parenting books if you’re feeling like you’re the only person struggling with this whole parenting thing. It walks you through all the truths that parents hide from each other. It’s full of confessions of less than stellar parenting moments, guilty thoughts (like running away from your kids and never looking back), and every day hardships associated with parenting small children. So if you’re feeling that there is something wrong with you because you are not enjoying being a parent, this book is for you. Get it, read it, start feeling better about yourself and your parenting! You are not alone!
Parenting Books for High Sensitivity
When quarantine hit, our family started struggling emotionally. My husband and I were so riddled with anxiety that we could barely function for over a month. And on top of that, our eldest son exhibited the most aggressive and uncontrollable behavior we have ever seen from him. Every day was filled with epic meltdowns full of hitting, biting, kicking, and throwing everything. It was too much for anyone to handle. So I started looking for answers. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered the phrase Highly Sensitive Child. I don’t know why I thought that would be the answer, but I decided to give it a shot.
So I typed in Highly Sensitive Child in the search bar on Amazon and got my result – a book by Elaine N. Aron PhD titled “The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them“. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. Right there on the pages was the validation that I’m not crazy and my son’s reactions are a result of different brain wiring and not poor parenting! It was such a relief.
Now, the book didn’t describe my son to a T. There were some things that didn’t fit his character at all but it was a good introduction into the world of High Sensitivity.
If you’d like to find more about Spirited (Highly Sensitive) Children, read my guest post on Mama Needs A Cocktail titled “Spirited Children”.
Who will benefit from this book?
Any parent that has suspicions that their child might be Highly Sensitive and introverted. How would you know? Head over to Elaine N. Aron’s website and take the Highly Sensitive Child Quiz. If the scores point in the direction of High Sensitivity, click the picture below to purchase the book on Amazon . You will learn a lot about why your child acts the way they do, what causes their sensitivity, how to parent them (traditionally authoritarian parenting methods backfire with these children), and how to raise them so they use their High Sensitivity to their advantage.
Parenting Books for challenging behaviors
While The Highly Sensitive Child Book explained a lot of my son’s behaviors and gave good strategies for dealing with them, it didn’t provide enough strategies to deal with his aggressive behaviors. Since Elaine N. Aron’s experience primarily lies with more quite and introverted Highly Sensitive Children, she just glosses over the Highly Sensitive Children that are extroverted and prone to exploding. So I continued my search for parenting books that could help with my situation.
That’s how I came across the book by Ross W. Greene PhD called “The Explosive Child: A New Approach For Understanding And Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children“. This book wasn’t targeted specifically at Highly Sensitive Children but more at children that are explosive, aggressive, and inflexible. Most of the children in the book had some sort of a diagnosis like ADHD, Autism, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), or CD (Conduct Disorder). Dr. Greene provided great parenting strategies that revolved around collaborating with your inflexible and explosive child. I think the most valuable part of the book was his chart about Lagging Skills and how to work with them in order to improve behavior. The Lagging Skills exercise put a lot of “misbehaviors” into perspective and showed that those “misbehaviors” are not personal.
Who will benefit from this book?
Parents with kids who exhibit explosive and aggressive behavior coupled with inflexible thinking. And parents with children who have a developmental disorder diagnosis. I do have to say that this book is better for older and more verbal kids because a lot of strategies revolve around collaborating with your child, which requires language skills. Although he does have a great solution for a non-verbal boy with Autism. So if you’re struggling with your child’s behavior and don’t know how to move forward, this book is for you. It’s empathetic, non-punitive and sets up the stage for growing a relationship with even the most difficult of children.
The Book That Tied It All Together
By now I had a pretty good understanding on how to handle my son’s outbursts but I still wasn’t satisfied. So I continued searching and stumbled upon Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s book called “Raising Your Spirited Child, Third Edition: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic (Spirited Series)” And OMG, everything finally came together! Mary uses the term Spirited to describe Highly Sensitive Children and her description, encompasses children like my son – highly sensitive, intense, explosive, with never ending energy.
Her book is relatable and brings in real examples from her parenting classes. You get to hear other parents share their stories and struggles that will look so much like yours. She gives great tips on how to work with spirited children of all ages to help improve their behavior through positive and collaborative parenting techniques. And she is the first author that addressed the need for parental self-care! She really gets it.
Who will benefit from this book?
Parents of all Highly Sensitive children. This book will validate your experience, give you real tools to improve your child’s behavior, allow you to restore peace in your household, and give you a deep understanding of why your child behaves the way they do. She also spends a lot of time talking about the school environment and how you can find support for your child in school. Because Highly Sensitive children often need the right support in order to thrive in a school environment.
A Book About Self-Care for Moms
I think that parenting isn’t all about the children. You can know all the right parenting strategies, but be unable to implement them because you are struggling (if you’re wondering, that sentence is about me and maybe you?). As I mentioned before, my Highly Sensitive son is like a sponge for the emotions that run through the house. So if I’m anxious, angry, in pain, or tired – I’m sure to find a very moody, uncooperative, clingy, and often aggressive boy. And that means that all the parenting strategies just fall flat because he just can’t respond to them. So I decided to get serious about my own emotional self-care. And that meant finally starting a mindfulness practice for myself.
I do that by doing yoga almost daily and never skipping a Savasana at the end. I take a few minutes out of my day to just sit and breathe. When I’m feeling off, I tune into my physical manifestations of my emotions and try to restore balance when possible. It’s been a lot of work but so worth it. And I got my ideas for these short mindfulness practices from a book by Shonda Moralis MSW LCSW called “Breathe, Mama, Breathe: 5-Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms“.
Who will benefit from this book?
Every single mom out there! It’s so common for moms to neglect themselves and their emotional needs. And that only leads to burn out, dissatisfaction with life, and less than stellar parenting. And no one wants that! So get this book and stop making excuses about not having time for mindfulness. This book shows you how to turn everyday moments into mindful moments, no extra time or effort required. Believe me, you will feel so much better once you incorporate mindfulness into your life.
Even if you don’t read any of the other parenting books I suggested, this book should be nonnegotiable!
Recommendations for More Useful Parenting Books
I know that my parenting book journey isn’t over yet. There are many more on my list that I would like to read. So I’m sharing those books with you. I’m sure you will find a book that fits your needs.
Why Amazon is the Best Place for Books
Before we part ways, I just wanted to share why I buy all my books on Amazon. The biggest reason is because I can get them on my Kindle App. As much as I like real books and prefer them for my children, when I comes to me, I prefer to be as green as possible. So instead of creating clutter with books in my house, I either read the books through my Kindle App on my phone or listen to them through Audible. Without Audible, I’m not sure I would have been able to get through any books, to be honest.
And right now Amazon is running a lot of promotions for both Audible and Kindle. So check them out and see how convenient it is to have a book available on your phone.
20 thoughts on “Best Parenting Books for Spirited Children 2021”
Ooh these sound really good as my 3.5yo is very full on, I will add them to my list!
I think you will find these very helpful, Amy.
These are all great reccommendations!
Thank you, Danyelle.
This is a great list. I will definitely check some of these books out! Thanks for sharing!
I’m glad you found these helpful, Beth.
today I discovered that I have 4 audible credits. definitely will be getting breathe mama breathe and the highly sensitive child; that is my oldest 1000%. I also discovered today how convenient audible is. Being outnumbered by kids (one being under a year old) makes it hard to read physical books.
That’s so true. I love Audible for that same reason. I can enjoy a meal with my not yet 2 year old and listen to a book. It’s great.
Wow! These all seem super helpful and I can’t wait to read them! I had never thought about using amazon for books like this – I am very old fashioned when it comes to having a physical copy, but I will definitely have to try it now that I have a kiddo and don’t have as much time as i’d like to read!
Thanks for your comment, Sara. I personally wouldn’t get far without Audible. But Amazon sells hard copies as well. So it’s such a great resource for any type of a book reader or listener.
Thank you for these book recommendations! I might start with Breathe, Mama, Breathe. Have heard good things about this one from other friends too!
I definitely recommend Breathe, Mama, Breathe. It’s such an easy read and so helpful for everyday stresses.
This is a great collection of books that will help many parents to parent better.
Thank you, Janeane.
Love these recommendation! Learning more about our kids and their development is so helpful with ushering them through their behaviors.
Thank you, Amanda. So true. I’m so glad we live in the day and age where access to great parenting books is so easy.
Some great choices here! I want to read Breathe Mama Breathe 🙂
Thank you, Kinzy. Yes, please do. It’s such an easy read and so helpful for all those stressful everyday moments.
I love how you gave different book recommendations based on struggles with our children. This is very helpful. I haven’t taken the time to read any books but am definitely in need of some material.
I’m glad you enjoyed the book recommendations, Caressa. Definitely take a look at my suggestions and see what might be of help to you.