"You think pregnancy is hard?? Just you wait until the real work begins!" This phrase, and others that echo the same sentiment, are frequently offered from well-meaning (maybe) family members and friends to a mother or father who is expecting their first child. And while I vehemently disagree with the approach (please, please don't be a "just you wait" advice-giver), it is generally true that the work of parenting a child is wonderfully rewarding and intensely challenging, considerably above and beyond what is endured during pregnancy. Parenting resources often are needed in the moment, as you experience each phase and specific challenge. But it can be helpful to start learning about and forming your parenting philosophy now, instead of reaching for it when in parenting-crisis-mode.
The following websites and books provide sound, logical, and research-based approaches to communicating with, guiding/coaching/disciplining children, beginning at an early age. It's so important to have support and resources as you move through the phases of parenting -- it really does take a village!
This book was my first introduction to more conscious parenting. The authors Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlich have literally written the book on how to communicate effectively and respectfully with your children. The scenarios in the book are relatable and the advice is both practical and easy to implement.
Aha Parenting (Website) and Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids (Book)
Parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham has been my saving grace to learn how to effectively and empathically coach and guide my three children. The approach and theories she adheres to follow a less conventional but more evidence-based school of parenting. You can find hundreds of free articles on the Aha Parenting website, as well as information on a more in-depth 12-week paid parenting course. Dr. Markham's book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids presents the science behind parenting with empathy while still setting limits in a step-by-step format.
Hand in Hand (Website) and Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges (Book)
The Hand in Hand parenting approach is referred to as "Parenting by Connection," which sounds delightful, right? Who doesn't want to be an effective parent and stay lovingly connected to their child? Hand in Hand, like Aha Parenting has several free resources as well as paid online parenting courses. The theories used are based on recent research which shows that " a close parent-child connection throughout childhood and beyond is the strongest factor in preventing a variety of health and social problems, including young people’s involvement in drugs, violence, and unintended pregnancies."
Elevating Child Care - Janet Lansbury (Website) and Elevating Child Care (Book) and No Bad Kids (Book)
Janet Lansbury became a mom on a mission as she entered into parenting with her children -- and her mission was how to parent with better support and resources. Early on in her parenting life, she became entenched in RIE - Resources for Infant Educarers. With her blog and in her books, Janet aims to "provide clarity, inspiration (and maybe a smile or two) by sharing insights I've gained through my parenting classes, my experiences as a mother, and studies with my friend and mentor Magda Gerber [founder of RIE]."