Parenting. There are a million opinions here, but I’ve found some general guidelines that have helped guide my parenting so far. From the research I’ve seen, connecting with your child and developing a strong relationship even from infancy is the greatest contributing factor in fostering development across all areas. Here are some resources I like: Provides a variety of researched based articles on early learning and parenting topics.

Positive Discipline For Today’s Busy (and Overwhelmed) Parent. By Jane Nelson, Kristina Bill, and Joy Marchese. This book is the latest in a series of Positive Parenting, there are also books specifically for birth to three, preschoolers, teens, and a variety of other populations. This one is specifically for working parents, which I learned, are 75% of moms in America. I liked that the book takes the unique perspective of the working mom into account, and addresses issues such as mom guilt, limited time, and also gives kind of a roadmap for positive discipline, making the point that connected and really good parenting also exists for the working mom too. I loved it.

No Drama Discipline. We know from research that connection and attachment are the basis for all kinds of areas within child development, and this book recognizes this concept. There is a great metaphor for "flipping your lid" in this book, with the brain like the palm of a fist and then all finger extended like you are making the number "4" sign. When your "lid is flipped," you are in flight or fight mode, and similarly in marital argument, you can't make decisions clearly or act rationally when you're in that state. You need to get your body and brain calm again before being able to work through something. Similarly with a child, when they get to that state, (tantrum, etc.) the first priority is helping them (and yourself) regulate and calm down, before addressing the cause of the situation.

More books:

The Emotional Life of the Toddler

Parenting From the Inside Out

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

The Whole Brain Child

One piece of encouragement I wanted to include was that I learned that we don’t have to be perfect parents 100% of the time to have good outcomes for our kids. I have heard this statistic cited multiple times, although I cannot find the source, but I’ve heard that mothers who respond to their babies in 30% of opportunities are linked to good outcomes for development. We try to meet all the needs of everybody all the time, and yet, we are human and we cannot. Doing our best, connecting with our child, offering empathy and compassion, will go a long way in sending the message that our children are seen, known, loved, and belong. I can think of no greater gift for a child.

Shared in partnership with the publicity team for Positive Parenting. I received a copy of the book for review, although all opinions are my own.