Is It Discipline?

I was asked recently what discipline books I recommend. There are plenty I haven't read, but here are some that I have found to be beneficial:

The First Seven Years by Kay Kuzma. It's huge. And mine is full of underlining and notes. It's biblically based (meaning the principals line up with what you'll find in the Bible) without being overpowering. It's also got plenty of quotes from psychologists, pediatricians, parents...and lots of practical examples (here's what this parent did -- this is how it turned out). It's my top pick and I reference it often.

Here's what others have to say about this book.

And right here is where I made an important realization -- cue light-bulb!

I don't have any books on discipline!

And that's really not my focus. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of..."

Yep, my books are all about raising confident, self-reliant, original, respectful, awesome WINNERS! Focusing on teaching and guiding our children positively, saying and modeling the right things, so we won't NEED as much discipline.

I know -- it's all in the verbage. There's not a thing wrong with reading about discipline. But as I search for books on I find that most books on child-rearing are using more forward-thinking methods.

"Setting Limits"
"Parenting from the Inside Out"
"Understanding your ____-year-old".

There's a trend. And it's a good one! Anyway, back to my favorite books on raising children.

Another huge favorite is "How to Talk so Kids Can Learn". I bought this book back in college with teaching in mind, but many of the concepts I read have carried over beautifully to parenting. These books by Faber (there are a couple different titles) are so fun to read! TONS of examples, complete with comic strips! Then questions from parents and teachers with expert answers. I learn more every time I crack the cover.

Here's what others say about it.

Next up is "Raising Confident Boys" by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer. Broken up into two-page spreads -- 100 tips with a brief description and then two columns of bullet points, one designed for parents and one for teachers. Another book from my college days.

Here's an example: TIP #28 Listen with both EYES.

Bullet point #1 -- "When your son wants to tell you something, use your eyes first, not your ears. Stop what you're doing and focus on him."
Bullet point #2 -- "Study his facial expressions. Look for any hidden meaning. Notice how he is standing or sitting, and his tone of voice."
Bullet point #3 -- "Let him know you are taking him seriously: 'This sounds important. I think I'd better sit down and listen properly.'"

I appreciate the brief, easy-to-reference, organized format of this book. And the fact that it focuses in on the unique needs of boys.

There is a book for girls too. =)

And here's what others have to say.

That's pretty much it! I have a few other books that provide a more general understanding of what children need -- "The Five Love Languages", "How to Help Your Child Really Love Jesus", "What Kids Need Most in a Mom", etc. and I've gained other insights from websites such as, and other friends' blogs.

The bottom line is -- every child is going to need a different approach. It's important to learn techniques, but then you really need to tweak your methods to best meet your child's needs! Parents are research specialists. They are scientists. They are superheros!