Favorite Books For Gentle Discipline

Specifically Regarding Anger:

  • “When Anger Hurts Your Kids” by Mckay, Fanning, Paleg and Landis
  • “love and anger the parental dilemma” by Nancy Samalin with Catherine Whitney

Under Age 9:

  • WALDORF:  “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher” by Rahima Baldwin Dancy
  • WALDORF:  “Beyond the Rainbow Bridge
  • WALDORF:  “Heaven On Earth” by Sharifa Oppenheimer, although I cannot recommend the references to time-out.  Those of you who read this blog know I oppose time-out.  Many parents do love this book though!
  • WALDORF:  “You’re Not The Boss of Me!  Understanding the Six/Seven Year Transformation” available through www.waldorfbooks.org
  • WALDORF:  Donna Simmons’ Audio Downloads  on “The Changing Face Of Discipline” and also “Talking Pictorially and Living Actively with Your Young Child” – can be found here: http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/bookstore-for-waldorf-homeschooling/audio-downloads.html
  • WALDORF“The Challenge of The Will” by Margret Meyerkort and Rudi Lissau
  • DEVELOPMENTAL:  For understanding realistic expectations for each age, I still like The Gesell Institute books “Your One-Year-Old” “Your Two-Year-Old” etc.  They are available at many libraries and are also easily picked up used.
  • DEVELOPMENTAL/LOVING GUIDANCE:  “Mothering Your Nursing Toddler”  by Norma Bumgarner
  • ATTACHMENT PARENTING:  “Attached At The Heart”  by Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker (one chapter of discipline)
  • GENTLE DISCIPLINE:  La Leche League’s “Adventures in Gentle Discipline” –this also has a part about time out as mentioned by parents, which I oppose.    The voices of many mothers are throughout this book, so you will have to pick through what resonates with you.  Particularly if you are also a Waldorf family, the “talk talk talk” of some of the families with their tiny children  may not resonate with you!  There is however, a good section as to what “gentle discipline” is and isn’t in the beginning of the book.  A good place to start if you are new to gentle discipline and equate it in your head with children having no boundaries (which is NOT what it is!)
  • ATTACHMENT PARENTING:  “Connection Parenting”  by Pam Leo
  • GENTLE DISCIPLINE:  “Easy To Love, Difficult To Discipline”  by Becky Bailey
  • GENTLE DISCIPLINE:  “Playful Parenting” by Lawrence Cohen
  • GENTLE DISCIPLINE:  “Discipline Without Distress” by Judy Arnall – you can search through this blog for chapter summaries of this book, not all strategies in this book are compatible with a Waldorf approach but overall a helpful book
  • And may I ever so humbly recommend this blog?:)

Over Age 9:

  • WALDORF:  Specific to the Nine-Year-Old Change:  Donna Simmons’s Audio Downloads on Third Grade and also “The Changing Face of Discipline for ages 9 and up”
  • WALDORF:  Specific to the Nine-Year-Old Change:  “Encountering the Self” by Hermann Koepke
  • GENERAL PARENTING:  “Hold On to Your Kids” by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate
  • GENTLE DISCIPLINE:  “Kids Are Worth It!” by Barbara Coloroso.  Has some good examples of how to “hold the space” in it. 
  •  GENTLE DISCIPLINE:  “Loving Your Child Is Not Enough:  Positive Discipline That Works” by Nancy Samalin with Martha Moraghan Jablow
  • GENTLE DISCIPLINE:  “Raising Your Spirited Child” and “Kids, Parents and Power Struggles” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka  (I put these here because the strategies essentially involve emotion coaching and I feel that is better for an older child).


Over Age 12:

  • WALDORF:  Specific to the 12- Year -Old Change:  Hermann Koepke’s “On the Threshold of Adolescence”
  • WALDORF:  Also, several of Steiner’s works are now available for education and observation of the adolescent:   http://www.waldorfbooks.com/edu/adolescence.htm
  • WALDORF:  “Between Form and Freedom” by Betty Staley
  • GENTLE DISCIPLINE:  “Kids Are Worth It!”  by Barbara Coloroso
  • GENTLE DISCIPLINE:  “Kids, Parents and Power Struggles” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka and “Raising Your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
  • GENTLE DISCIPLINE:  “Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids” by Naomi Drew
  • COMMUNCICATION:  “NonViolent Communication”  by Marshall Rosenberg (and to me, once your child hits 15 or so, why not attend a NVC Group together and practice?)
  • COMMUNICATION:  “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk” and “Liberated Parents, Liberated Children:  Your Guide To A Happier Family” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish


Let me be clear, one can certainly read the gentle discipline books for the older children when one’s child is younger and gleam things from them, but some of  the approaches are best saved for when your child is older!

And finally, some gentle books for the mother:

CHRISTIAN:  “The Power of A Positive Mother” by Karol Ladd

GENERAL/BUDDHIST: “Everyday Blessings:  The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting” by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn

WALDORF/GENERAL:  “Mitten Strings for God:  Reflections For Mothers In A Hurry” by Katrina Kenison



19 thoughts on “Favorite Books For Gentle Discipline

  1. Pingback: Teaching your kids to talk softer | Parenting Help in Maine

  2. Thank you!! I always seem to need help with this unfortunately. A couple of others that I’ve also found to be great are ‘Unconditional Parenting’ by Alfie Kohn and ‘Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves’ by Naomi Aldort. I’m not sure if they would be considered Waldorf though.
    Yes, you should certainly recommend this blog!!

  3. Thanks Carrie! I have read and loved several of the books on your list and will look for a few others. This blog has been a huge source of ongoing inspiration. I am very grateful to have it as a parenting resource.

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  6. Carrie,

    I LOVED your blog. So very helpful and I send you warm blessings almost daily for your insight. Thank you so much for everything.

    I’m the mother of an almost 6 year old boy (Feb 5) and an 18th month old. I’m struggling right now with my son. Basically, I’ve reviewed above and have a question for you. My son reacts horribly to time outs and predictably in the last week or so he’s been over the top (potty mouth, backtalk, etc). As a Waldorf Mom, I’m trying to approach his behavior developmentally, but it has also been unacceptable and I feel that I need to establish that boundary. Do you have any recommendations for books/lectures above that make concrete suggestions about alternatives to “time outs”? Also, is there a specific book you’d recommend on 6 year olds? I’m considering the “You’re not the boss of me” book.


    • Amy, I love the Gesell Institute’s “Your Six Year Old”, also “You’re Not the Boss of Me”. As far as anti – time out, there are several posts on this blog, I think time outs are ineffective unless it is for you…try “Discipline Without Distress” by Judy Arnall (chapters 1-5 on this blog), and “Unconditional Parenting” by Alfie Kohn.

  7. Thanks Carrie. I’ve been combing the blog, and I so appreciate the resource you’ve created here! I’ve read some of Unconditional Parenting, and I’m going to check out Discipline without Distress.

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