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Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  6,884 ratings  ·  746 reviews
A groundbreaking guide to raising responsible, capable, happy kids

Based on the latest research on brain development and extensive clinical experience with parents, Dr. Laura Markham’s approach is as simple as it is effective. Her message: Fostering emotional connection with your child creates real and lasting change. When you have that vital connection, you don’t need to t
Paperback, 276 pages
Published November 28th 2012 by Perigee (first published November 27th 2012)
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Popular Answered Questions
Sara Absolutely not.
For ODD I'd recommend looking into:
The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child - Alan E. Kazdin, Phd
The Explosive Child - Ross W.…more
Absolutely not.
For ODD I'd recommend looking into:
The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child - Alan E. Kazdin, Phd
The Explosive Child - Ross W. Greene(less)
Cristina Your question sounds more like "can I read books on", and the answer is NO. You have to buy it else where and then come back here after…moreYour question sounds more like "can I read books on", and the answer is NO. You have to buy it else where and then come back here after you read it and discuss about the book, write a review, etc. (less)

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Xe Sands
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to put into words how I felt as I read this book.

Actually, that's a lie. It's pretty easy to put into words how I felt: like I had failed.

So how can I recommend this book? Why give it 5 stars? Because it's an honest, well-written, compassionate roadmap for a relatively new way of raising our kids. And it works. Frankly, I think this book should be offered to new parents in delivery rooms.

So why the feelings of failure? Well, my kiddo is a teen now, and while reading I couldn't help bu
I have no idea how to rate this book, so I just chose the middle-of-the-road rating.

A lot of things in this book resonated with me, and in the few weeks that I've been incorporating the author's techniques into my parenting, I've seen many positive changes. My toddler will now ask for a hug when he starts getting upset, and I've staved off many tantrums with my new, gentler parenting style.

That said, there are some instances in this book where the author comes off as batshit crazy. One of her cl
Nov 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Okay, buckle up:

Let me start by saying that the first section (of three) is great. I have already started using some of the advice and it's excellent. I did get a little peeved at her implication that all parents have free time they're just not using, but I convinced myself I was being oversensitive.

Then! Part 2! Which opens with a statement that children in daycare more than 20 hours a week and/or who start daycare before age 3 will inevitably develop behavioral problems (if your kid meets bot
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was impressed. The idea of no consequences, no punishment, is kind of hard to accept, especially because time-outs and losing privileges is the only thing that seems to work in our house. However, in this book, Dr. Laura explains how bad behavior stems from emotions that need to be processed, and our kids need us to HELP them do that. As I was finishing the book, my 2- and 5-year-olds were fighting over a car. The 5-year-old was riding and her brother wanted a turn. He went over to hit her and ...more
Sara Sell
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2016
Couldn't finish it. My kids are fucked. ...more
Brandy Mcdonald
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I reached for this book from a friend's recommendation because I have a 4-year old who is talking back and a 2-year old who thinks running from me in dangerous situations is a joke. I was searching for something to give me real answers rather than the old, tired advice I had tried a million times. This was the answer!

So many things in this book were almost uncanny in how they described my children, but I really struggled with the idea of removing consequences and time outs as a part of our paren
Jan 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I have very conflicting feelings on this book. It is very much an attachment parenting manifesto, and often touts that its method is the best without citing actual research or long term, peer reviewed studies. Regulating my emotions as a parent and spending more time hugging and empathizing with my toddler, I can get on board there. No discipline or negative consequences, well, that's just not how the world works. Not teaching a child that actions can have positive or negative consequences is do ...more
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Best parenting book I have ever read, and I've read them all :) Has totally changed the way I see my kids. ...more
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
I found some useful tips in this book, but I also found a lot of guilt. It just doesn't align well with my views on parenting. I do wish to parent with less yelling and I will likely implement some of the suggestions of the author, but I don't think I am causing irreparable harm to my child by some of the choices I make in parenting. ...more
Feb 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: professional, 600s
This book snuggles into the bosom of attachment parenting and Alfie Kohn-style resistance to behaviorism without actually using those terms much. And I have to say I pretty much agree with Markham.

The foreword by Jack Canfield did the book no favors, and there were occasional maudlin passages about the joys of connecting with your child and cutesy testimonials from satisfied consumers. But the ideas in the book are good. Essentially, babies and children can only thrive in a warmly connected rel
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have been using Dr. Markham's techniques to calm myself & my often strong willed child. Growing up with parents that more often than not, yelled, spanked, threatened & used consequences to get me to behave still has left scars on me. This is not how I wanted to parent my child. Fear works to make a child obey, that's exactly how I was, obedient & yes I turned out "ok" but was always scared of my parents growing up & were the last people I confided in with my problems.
Seeing things from my son'
Andrea Nair
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As a parenting educator, I am constantly on the look out for resources which will help parents, using the most evidence-based information possible. "Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids" is definitely in my top three list of best parenting books. Use this as a tool to stop shouting and start connecting with your kids. ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: natalism
Offers up the unimpeachable advice that one should foster connection with one’s kids rather than yelling at them all the time. The difficulty, of course, is in how each of these things is to be accomplished—because those little fuckers are very very very frustrating at times.

This text falls within the broad spectrum of well-intentioned pop psych self help books (of which I read five last year wtf) that recommend ways of accommodating to the Real of capitalist society rather than soliciting it in
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Notes: I like the part about listening to your anger, rather than acting on it. "acting while we're hardly ever constructive...The constructive way to handle anger is to limit our expression of it" -p. 14

"Despite the popular idea that we need to 'express' out anger so that it doesn't eat away at us, research shows that expressing anger while we are angry actually makes us more angry." -p. 15

"Laughter releases the same tensions as tears, so playing with children is also a terrific way
Kimberly OutspokenMom
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This is THE book that was missing from my repertoire of gentle parenting resources. This is THE book that I read two times in a row while barely coming up for air. The is THE book that has actually showed me, in a palatable manner, how to be the patient, non-voice-raising mama I knew I could be.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids might seem like a lengthy book at first glance but it is divided into three sections which makes it much easier to digest. Each section is broken down further into pointed topi
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
The beginning of this book had me really thinking of the Seinfeld episode where George's dad listened to some relaxation tapes that told him to say, "serenity now," every time he felt his blood pressure get too high. By the end of the episode all the yelling, "serenity now," turns to pent up emotions and the saying becomes, "serenity now, insanity later." I kind of worried and laughed a bit as I listened to this book that all the calming breaths and peaceful demeanor in dealing with young childr ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,0 stars!

I found this book helpful in interacting with my pre-schooler. As she had just started pre-school I found myself challenged in how to address behaviours. I think this book is really helpful for those with young children (before age of 10 years) and it gives a lot of practical tips on what to say and do during the toddler years (pre-school included). If you are a parent that is already conscious and mindful of your own thoughts and feelings then I think the practical tips will help a lo
Jan 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book strikes me as a more intense version of Dr. Sears' writing. At least he acknowledges discipline has a place in parenting. Her "coaching" chapter doesn't offer any specific, practical examples. It's all "If-you-don't-agree-my-way-is-best-you're-not-attached-to-your-child" generalities. This is what irks me about all the "Attachment Parenting" hype. It encourages new parents to believe that misbehaving children are the product of subpar parents, which increases everyone's judge-iness le ...more
Lea Ann
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Talk about putting someone through the mommy guilt wringer. I vacillated between chastising myself for essentially ruining my children's lives and patting myself on the back for maybe not doing such a bad job afterall. The final outcome is that yeah, I could probably do better as a parent. And lucky for my kids, I'd like to try to do better. I won't always get there, but I will try. So they've basically won the parenting lottery right?

Essentially, if I had to condense this book's advice into a s
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I started out this year with "Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Kohn, which was an extremely validating and powerful reading experience for me and has been immensely important in our parenting. This book is in a similar vein. It may be more appealing and accessible to people just beginning to explore gentle discipline, because it is softer in its presentation and has much more in the way of concrete examples. (I see "Unconditional Parenting" as being more of a tool to develop one's overall paren ...more
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The peaceful/gentle parenting completely changed the dynamic in our household. When I started reading I didn't understand how we could raise a disciplined and obedient child without using methods like time-out, but the time-in method has worked wonders for us. Our son loves us, and deeply wants to feel connected to us and earn our approval. When we shut him away from us he felt confused and didn't understand what we had done wrong. Doing a time-in and sitting next to him as he kicked, screamed, ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has been so helpful for my husband and I as parents. I read about half of it when my son was very young, but recently decided to start over and finish it. I am so glad that I did!

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids has three big ideas: 1. Regulating Yourself, 2. Fostering Connection, and 3. Coaching Not Controlling. Some thoughts on each:

(1) Regulating Yourself. This section focuses not on the child, but on the parent! I love this because it’s easy to put the spotlight on your kids when you th
Jul 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Other working titles for this that got rejected:
"How To Be An Enabler - A Guide To Parenting"
"How To Emotionally Coddle & Be A Rudderless Parent"

This parenting book is basically filled with catchphrases or directives that are thrown out there and hard to necessarily disagree with, however little exploration of the veracity of those claims is given and when they are explored, the author does a little hand waving to assure the reader she is correct. I happened to be reading Cribsheet by Emily Ost
I want to start by saying that I agree with 90-95% of what Dr. Markham has to say. Her thoughts on reducing stress, increasing connection and communication, and empowering our kids very much mirror how I parent my own kids (or at least how I aspire to parent!). I went into this wanting some help to yell less in my interactions with my elementary schooler and it was some help with that, although despite the stated intention of the book, this is largely aimed at the parents of toddlers and prescho ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: aborted-read
If you can read a book and take the good while leaving the bad, then this book is worth reading. If you're the kind of person who falls head-over-heels for a parenting philosophy and then treats it like the Bible, then please avoid this book because you will become a completely demented person (like the woman in a FB mom group who recommended this to me).

The basic premise is that kids misbehave because they crave your attention, so the best way to prevent misbehavior is to proactively slather yo
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I disagree with her notion in the early parts that the reason we want to yell at our kids is because we have some pent-up childhood insecurities or scarring from when we ourselves our children. Sometimes you're just exhausted, and you know that your kid had made a good choice in the past but for some reason today wants to pee on the couch.

I did like that when you get to a standoff with your kid, when he's being openly defiant, the best thing to do is defuse it by going goofy. Start talking in a
Newbury Town Library Youth Services
This hits on some of the major thinkers and researchers I have been following for some time, all in one place and easily accessible.
Alexis K.
+ A number of practical tips and techniques.
+ Breaks down situations into age ranges.
+ Emphasizes empathy and recognizing your child's needs

- Makes bold, wide-ranging statements without any reference to the actual research she is supposedly summarizing.

- Advises to avoid "threatening" or "forcing" kids to do what you want, but also says you should "control the options" so kids do what you want via implied manipulation. And if they cry, scream and kick when you "order" them (
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very enlightening. If you value having a great relationship with your kids, if their mental health (and yours) are your highest priority, then this book will give you food for thought and lots of tips. The author illustrates her recommendations with many examples. It's a little treasure and I already see positive results in my own life.

The only part I don't agree with is letting your kids freely chose their extra-curricular activities. I believe that when they are young, unless they really hate
Feb 01, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
DNF @ 21% in Ch.2 when I read, "If your situation requires daycare, choose warm,nurturing care with a high staff-to-child ratio." (Why would anyone choose a cold, heartless daycare with a low staff-to-child ratio?), followed by, "Put daycare off for as long as you can. Keep the hours as reduced as you can." (Guilt trip, much? Also, this is in direct conflict with the first chapter about caring for yourself so that you can care for your family.), finishing with, "Consider postponing having anothe ...more
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“Human beings weren't designed to handle the amount of stress our modern life loads on us, which makes it difficult to hear our natural parenting instincts. It's almost as if we're forced to parent in our spare time, after meeting the demands of work, commuting and household responsibilities.” 10 likes
“Most parents think that if our child would just “behave,” we could maintain our composure as parents. The truth is that managing our own emotions and actions is what allows us to feel peaceful as parents. Ultimately we can’t control our children or the hand life deals them—but we can always control our own actions. Parenting isn’t about what our child does, but about how we respond.” 10 likes
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