Toddler Behavior Books

Updated on September 08, 2011
K.B. asks from Islip, NY
10 answers

Any books out there that have really changed your toddlers behavior? My son is going through his terrible twos and am looking for a little help and guidance throughout the process. Thanks!

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answers from Austin on

I read the following three books in succession over and over throughout my strong-willed daughter's childhood: "Parenting Isn't for Cowards," "The Strong-Willed Child," and "Dare to Discipline" by James Dobson.

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answers from Omaha on

Jim Fay's Love and Logic books have taught me so much. I used them as a teacher and now as a parent. Giving choices, sharing control and using a tone that is empathetic and understanding changes those terrible two's to terrific two's! My son is 3.5 and my daughter is 2. Sometimes giving them a choice makes all the difference between peace and power struggle. For example, if my son has something that I don't want him to have- an ink pen, car keys, cell phone, etc. I simply say would you like to put the (item) on the table or hand them to me? He usually picks one of those options because it makes him feel like he gets to decide on his own without me forcing him to hand them over. On the other hand, if he doesn't make a choice within about a minute then I tell him I get to make the decision for him. The more you give choices, the less your child feels like you are making all the decisions and controlling him like a puppet. My daughter is 2 and likes to cry to get her way. Finally, I scooped her up one day and put her in her room. I told her she may come out of her room as soon as she stops crying. (Still giving a choice here-stay in your room and cry, or stop crying and be with the rest of the family) She is able to get her act together pretty quick. Check out There are tons of books and workshops you can attend as well. They are even on facebook and give lots of good advice there too. Hope this helps!

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answers from Wichita on

Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child by Robert J MacKenzie was a lifesaver for me! I checked that out from the library, implemented the techniques and in about a week my daughter was an entirely different child. Highly recommend it!

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answers from San Francisco on

I would start by going to the library and checking out a few books in toddler/child development. The biggest challenge in parenting a child is simply understanding where they are at, what they are capable of and what you can can do to encourage positive behavior and discourage negative behavior.
Check out a few different books to see which one feels right to you. I always liked Dr. Sears, because he's a pro AND a father of many (eight, I think?)



answers from Dallas on

Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline - Becky Bailey
Setting Limits with Your Strong Willed Child - Mackenzie

Unfortunately, no books change the childs behavior - the parent does... I think people normally parent how they were parented and it takes work to learn and implement new skills/tricks.

I made my husband and my mom sit down with me, and we made index cards of problem behaviors my two year old son had. We then talked about what the effective statement would be to use with my son. For example, the problem was touching the TV, and my mom would say "Honey, please dont touch the tv. If you keep touching it, it will get messy and you could break it. Please dont do that, OK?" or my husband would say "I've told you five times not to touch the tv, if you dont stop, you will go to time out!:"

The effective statement is "Take your hands off the tv. If you touch the tv, I will turn it off. One, two, three..." and if the hands arent off, the tv is off. Done.

Anyway, it takes alot of work to get away from begging and pleading or reminding and threatening and not following through. But it did help me to sit down and think the behaviors through, and the actions I would take in different situations - what I would say or do - so in the heat of the moment, I was prepared.

Good luck! :)



answers from San Diego on

I heard there is a good book on "How to Raise Your Spirited Child." Not sure who the author is but I hear it is a great book.



answers from Houston on

Yes, a great book we used was Parenting the Strong Willed Child, it worked wonders for my son who is definitely strong willed and you can really tailor the tips so that they will work for you and your child's age.



answers from Waco on

I second the recommendation for Parenting With Love and Logic. It was a lifesaver for me. HTH!



answers from Austin on

Love and Logic is fantastic! I am also reading You Can't Make Me! right now and it is very good of you have a defiant child. Love and Logic is great for everybody, though. Angie H gave a perfect description.


answers from Williamsport on

My personal choice was to steer clear of child development books regarding discipline, because they tend to assert that because a behavior is normal, it should be allowed through ignoring and distraction. My friends who went that route learned to "rethink their expectations" while their kids acted badly and they nurtured it. I take my 3 kids under 5 everywhere with me. They are exceptionally well behaved, and therefore we have a blast and they almost never need discipline. I cant' tell you how nice it is to watch them gain independence through early maturity and to be so proud of it. I was raised the same way, and my husband and I both thank our starts our parents didn't let us act badly as toddlers and that time outs weren't invented yet. It takes firm discipline, calmly delivered within a positive loving home, but discipline cannot be omitted or made so lenient that the kids don't care. You cannot be the nice guy all the time. It's hard at first, but so worth it. this book is great: Back to Basics Discipline by Janet Campbell Matson. It's a discipline book, not an anti discipline book.

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