Connection Parenting: A Review Of The Classic, Beloved Book

Darcia Narvaez and Mary Tarsha review the beloved and classic book, Connection Parenting, by Pam Leo. Connection Parenting celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2021 and is due to be released in a Spanish version in September.

What Is Connection Parenting?

“Connection parenting is parenting through connection instead of coercion, through love instead of fear.”

The model of parenting most of us grew up with was authoritarian parenting, which is based on fear. Some of us may have grown up with permissive parenting, which is also based on fear. Authoritarian parenting is based on the child’s fear of losing the parent’s love. Permissive parenting is based on the parent’s fear of losing the child’s love. Connection parenting is based on love instead of fear.

Connection Parenting recognizes that securing and maintaining a healthy parent-child bond is our primary work as parents and the key to our children’s optimal human development. Our effectiveness as parents is in direct proportion to the strength of the bond we have with our child. Connection Parenting promotes parenting practices that support a strong, healthy parent-child bond.

Both authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting are reactive. Connection parenting is proactive. Rather than focusing on ways to discipline children when their feelings of disconnection result in uncooperative or unacceptable behavior, Connection Parenting focuses on ways to maintain and increase the parent-child bond/connection.

Connection parenting is an ideal, a navigation star we can look to for guidance. Whenever we question how to respond to a child we can ask ourselves, will this response create a connection or a disconnection. We feel connected when we feel listened to and loved. We feel disconnected when we feel hurt and unheard.

Sometimes a child’s behavior will push our buttons and we react rather than respond. As soon as we realize we have created a disconnect, we can reconnect by doing the following: 

  • Rewind – Acknowledge we have said or done something hurtful
  • Repair – Apologize and ask for forgiveness
  • Replay – Respond with love and listening

Even if we can’t parent in the most nurturing ways all the time, the more often we can, the more our children get what they need, the better they will be able to weather the times when we parent in less nurturing ways.

About Pam Leo

Pam Leo, is a family literacy activist, founder of the Book Fairy Pantry Project, the author of Connection Parenting, and children’s book, Please Read To Me. Pam has worked with children and families for more than forty years. From her work with teen parents, parents in prison, parents in recovery, and low income parents, she learned that all parents want very much to provide for their own children. She has ” never met a parent who didn’t want life to be better for their children than it was for them.”  Her enduring love of children’s  books, her passion for literacy, and her commitment to empowering parents, are combined in her new role as the founder of the grassroots literacy movement, the Book Fairy Pantry Project,  whose mission is “No Child With No Books” – because “Books change children’s lives…for good.”

Pam Leo is a member of Kindred’s International Editorial Advisory Board and a member of the board of directors for Kindred’s parent nonprofit, Kindred World.

Read Pam Leo’s work on Kindred

Visit the Connection Parenting website.

Visit the Book Fairy Pantry Project’s website.

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