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2 Must Have Books for Parents of Spirited Tweens

It’s happened, my spirited kiddo has officially entered the… tweens. YIKES. Actually, we’re making a pretty smooth transition (so far). I attribute this transition to, what else, books. 🙂

2 Must Have books for parenting spirited tweens ItsaWahmLife.comA few years ago now, (Amazon informs me it was Dec 11, 2009) I read one of these books, and it had a huge impact on the way I looked at parenting, and mostly myself. It gave me the biggest lesson I’ve gotten thus far when it comes to raising a spirited kiddo, tween or not, and that’s this: It isn’t usually about them… it’s about you.

I know, that sounds crazy, but give me a second.

I can almost guarantee that every time you’re about to lose it with your spirited kiddo, it has more to do with your expectations, and wants than it does your kiddo’s behavior. Yes, of course, I don’t doubt your spirited kiddo is giving you a run for your money… in fact, they may be acting like a complete jerk (believe me that happens here more than I’d like), however, if you take a minute, and really look at what’s going on, and why YOU are getting wound up, it’s probably a belief you hold.

Let me just share a couple of my go to “get me riled up” beliefs.

  1. I’m the parent, I should be able to make her calm down.
  2. Who does she think she is?
  3. How dare she disrespect me.
  4. She can’t talk to me like that!
  5. Who does she think she is treating me like that?

Any of this sound familiar? It may ring a bell, or bring up some of the things that run through your mind when you’re in the thick of it with your kiddo…

Guess what… that’s all you. Those are your thoughts, and they may be true, or… they may not. Whether they are or aren’t, you have complete control over them, and once you get some control over them, you’ll find things can go a LOT easier. 🙂

So that’s where ScreamFree Parenting by Hal Runkel comes in. It will show you exactly how to do that. Like I said… it’s changed my parenting completely. I highly, highly recommend getting it. Even if you’ve read a hundred parenting books, and not one has felt helpful in your situation. (That was me.) I really think this one will. 🙂

2 Must Have Books for Parents of Spirited TweensScreamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Edward Runkel
Published by Harmony on August 19th 2008
Pages: 240
Buy on Amazon (aff link)
Add to a Goodreads Shelf

You Can Start a Revolution in Your Family . . . Tonight
ScreamFree Parenting is not just about lowering your voice. It’s about learning to calm your emotional reactions and learning to focus on your own behavior more than your kids’ behavior . . . for their benefit. Our biggest enemy as parents is not the TV, the Internet, or even drugs. Our biggest enemy is our own emotional reactivity. When we say we “lost it” with our kids, the “it” in that sentence is our own adulthood. And then we wonder why our kids have so little respect for us, why our kids seem to have all the power in the family.
It’s time to do it differently. And you can. You can start to create and enjoy the types of calm, mutually respectful, and loving relationships with your kids that you’ve always craved. You can begin to revolutionize your family, starting tonight.
Parenting is not about kids, it’s about parents.If you’re not in control, then you cannot be in charge.What every kid really needs are parents who are able to keep their cool no matter what.
Easier said than done? Not anymore, thanks to ScreamFree Parenting, the principle-based approach that’s inspiring parents everywhere to truly revolutionize their family dynamics. Moving beyond the child-centered, technique-based approaches that ultimately fail, the ScreamFree way compels you to:
focus on yourselfcalm yourself down, and grow yourself up
By staying calm and connected with your kids, you begin to operate less out of your deepest fears and more out of your highest principles, revolutionizing your relationships in the process.ScreamFree Parenting is not just another parenting book. It’s the
parentingbook that maintains—from beginning to end—that parenting is NOT about kids . . . it’s about parents. As parents pay more attention to controlling their own behavior instead of their kids’ behavior, the result is stronger, more rewarding, and more fulfilling family relationships.
For those of you reading who are parents, know parents, or have had parents, the notion that the greatest thing you can do for your children is to learn to focus on yourself may sound strange, even heretical. It’s not. Here’s why: we are the only ones we can control. We cannot control our kids—we cannot control the behavior of any other human being. And yet, so many “experts” keep giving us more tools (“techniques”) to help us try to do just that. And, of course, the more we try to control, the more out of control our children become.
“Don’t make me come up there.” “Don’t make me pull this car over.” “How many times do I have to tell you?” Even our language suggests that our kids have control over us.It’s no wonder that we end up screaming. Or shutting down. Or simply giving up. And the charts, refrigerator magnets, family meetings, and other techniques in most typical parenting books just don’t work. They end up making us feel more frustrated and more powerless in this whole parenting thing.
This practical, effective guide for parents of all ages with kids of all ages introduces proven principles for overcoming the anxieties and stresses of parenting and setting new patterns of connection and cooperation. Well-written in an engaging, conversational tone, the book is sensible, straightforward, and based on the experiences of hundreds of actual families. It will help all parents become calming authorities in their homes, bring peace to their families today, and give kids what they need to grow into caring, self-directed adults tomorrow.


The second book that I highly recommend (and re-read regularly) is Parenting in the Present Moment by Carla Naumburg. I found this book shortly after I started my mindfulness journey. I had found a way to be mindful in my daily life, but had yet to find a way to bring that mindfulness into my parenting. This book helped me do it.

2 Must Have Books for Parents of Spirited TweensParenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters by Carla Naumburg
Published by Parallax Press on October 14th 2014
Pages: 208
Buy on Amazon (aff link)
Add to a Goodreads Shelf

This generation of parents is overwhelmed with parenting advice. Carla Naumburg sets out to remind them that they have everything they need to raise healthy, happy children. Mindful parenting is about paying attention to what is going on with your children and yourself, without judging, freaking out, or thinking everyone should be doing something differently. In Learning to Stay, Naumburg shares what truly matters in parenting — connecting with children in ways that are meaningful to them and you, staying grounded amid the craziness of parenting, and staying present for whatever life throws your way.
With reassuring, compassionate storytelling, she weaves the most current theories — about healthy relationships, compassionate self-care, and mindfulness — throughout vignettes of her own chaotic childhood and parental struggles. She shows how mindfulness creates a solid foundation for any style of parenting, regardless of your cultural background, socioeconomic status, or family structure. She also introduces the STAY model for tough times: Stop whatever it is you’re doing; Take a breath; Attune to your thoughts and those of your child; and Yield.
Parenting is an ongoing journey that constantly challenges every parent. Learning to Stay will helps each family find its own way.


I’ve always wanted to be one of those calm, cool, collected, happy, smiling moms… well, with a spirited child, let’s just say, that didn’t always happen. 🙂 However, once I started implementing the ideas in Parenting in the Present Moment it started happening more often. The more I practiced them, the more often I was the mom I’d always hoped to be.

If you find yourself putting up your defenses, gathering strength for the fight you’re sure is inevitable, I highly recommend picking up this book. It will help you connect with your kiddo (and yourself) and help tear down the walls between you.

Granted, I haven’t been a mom to a tween for a super long time, but I have been a mom to a spirited kiddo for a decade now. It’s been a bumpy road, but we’ve had a couple years of mostly good times, and it’s mostly thanks to these books. If you’re struggling, read them. It may seem like a waste of time to read, yet another, book, but I bet it’s worth it.

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5 Responses to 2 Must Have Books for Parents of Spirited Tweens

  1. Lisa says:

    OMG no joke, I have definitely been looking for a book on mindful parenting for my brother and his wife! They have an 8 year old son with sensory processing disorder and the past few years have been very challenging. I will most definitely check out Parenting in the Present Moment. Thanks so much!

  2. Love these Jackie, thank you for sharing. Anything that helps you survive the next few years with the least amount of gray hairs is great in my book. Shared, thank you!

  3. Lisa says:

    I just ordered the Parenting in the Present Moment through your link 🙂

  4. Kelly says:

    I really wish I’d known more about these books when my boys were smaller – We made so many mistakes when they were young and I was sort of thrust into the mommy role (as a stepmom) – I thought I was prepared, and I SO was not. We’ve come through it all mostly unscathed on the other side, but I really wish I could go back and change a few things.

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