Our Top 3 Life-Changing Self-Help Books for Parents

adult hand holding a toddler's hand

Written by Abby, part of the Scentered Team

I was a massively ambitious woman at 21 and always wanted to be the very best. Academia just wasn't for me, so I dropped out of school halfway through my A-Levels - or rather, my headmistress suggested that I leave. I was and still am a doer. If I can't be the best at something, then I need to fix it or leave it behind. This is the mantra that I have put this through every single moment in my life; whether that is relationships, job, a deal that I've tried to win - you get the gist.

But then along came motherhood. And you definitely can't walk away from that! It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life but was also a complete learning curve. Below are three life-changing self-help books for parents that have truly helped me in my journey through parenthood. 


1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 Thomas W. Phelan, PhD

If you're looking for a life-changing self-help book for parents, look no further. I really didn't want to be the mum that shouts or threatens naughty step, and so this book was recommended when my youngest hit the terrible two. 1-2-3 Magic helps you discipline and set limits for your children by rather than warnings before a naughty step; it is just saying to them gently: 

That's one. 

That's two. 

That's three.

After just a day or two of adopting this new tactic, I haven't said 'that's three' in months! When I do have to use this tactic, which is much rarer now, my nearly four years old and I sit down, and we apply a SLEEP or a LOVE balm on his wrists. Just this action alone and learning to breathe deeply - which he has got down to a fine art - helps him calm down. He then pops the balms on my wrist too and more often than not, we end up giggling together! 


My Quotable Kid: A Parents' Journal of Unforgettable Quotes

Any parent will undoubtedly know that kids come out with the funniest things! So why not write them down? Okay so this may not be a book as such, but this was bought for me by a close friend. My Quotable Kid is a diary, where you write and document funny, humorous, cute, lump-in-the-throat-happy tear-inducing things your children have said.

It's just an all-round lovely book to record what your children say - I often read them back with my 9-year-old things that he said when he was 3 Upwards, and we sit and chuckle about them. 


The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) by Phillipa Perry 

This is one of my favourite life-changing self-help books for parents. It is a bit of a challenging read in some parts, but it is exactly what it says it is - The Book You Wish Your Parents and Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did). Well-known psychotherapist Philippa Perry is helping us use our pasts to understand ourselves, explain what matters and what behaviours we need to avoid. 

It's a beautiful book that's funny, refreshing and too clever - full of advice that any parent will want to read and it's really helped me a lot. It's also an excellent and non-judgmental book for reminding yourself that life is hard and you're doing your best, so try not to beat yourself up for everyday mistakes. We all know that this can be challenging to do at times! This is my bed head early with a chamomile tea, my SLEEP WELL balm and SLEEP WELL candle book!