A great book can make an emotion, a problem, or situation that is abstract to your child, concrete, real, and most importantly, solvable. I talk more about how to use books to change your child’s behavior in this post, which also has links to positive book series for younger children. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. See my Policies for details.
For older children, books need to still be specific, but also more nuanced in terms of emotions and how to handle situations. Just because they are older doesn’t mean they know how to handle their emotions — yes the days of the 3-year-old tantrums are over — but this is replaced by feelings that are deeper and more complex, and hence, more difficult to understand. Pair this with social relationships and situations that are more complicated and you can easily have a child who is having difficulty working a situation out — like we all do from time to time. With an older child it is sometimes hard to know how to guide them through these complex situations — sometimes we don’t know how to do this in our own lives. These two series are great because they are really more like guidebooks for parents and children to work through together.
Positive Behavior Book Series for 8 to 13-year-olds
This first series, Laugh and Learn, is by Elizabeth Verdick and others, who authored two of the series I recommend for younger children. This series gets much more in depth for older children and goes through how to recognize the emotion, gives plenty of examples of when you may feel that emotion, and walks through emotion management tips. For example, in “How to Take the Grrrr out of Anger,” kids are taught to recognize anger, how to handle situations and emotions that underly anger like loneliness, guilt, frustration, and fear, and how to manage that anger and resolve conflicts both in person and online. These books also use humor to make it more fun — this can help make heavy topics feel light-hearted (aff links).
How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger (Laugh & Learn)Dude, That’s Rude!: (Get Some Manners) (Laugh & Learn)Bullying Is a Pain in the Brain (Laugh & Learn®)Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves! (Laugh & Learn)Siblings: You’re Stuck with Each Other, So Stick Together (Laugh & Learn)See You Later, Procrastinator! (Get It Done) (Laugh & Learn series)Get Organized Without Losing It (Laugh & Learn®)How to Do Homework Without Throwing Up (Laugh & Learn®)
The What to Do Guides for Kids series is also excellent. This series is published by the American Psychological Association and Magination Press. I love these guides because they are very interactive. These books are really workbooks designed for parents and children to work through together — empowering you to help your child work through difficult emotions or situations. This series is written by clinical psychologists who guide parents and children through cognitive-behavioral techniques to help them work through difficult emotions like anger, anxiety, negativity, and more. The tone of these books are always encouraging and motivating (aff links).
What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Problems With Anger (What to Do Guides for Kids)What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (What to Do Guides for Kids)What to Do When You Grumble Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Negativity (What to Do Guides for Kids)What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD (What-to-Do Guides for Kids)What to Do When You Feel Too Shy: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Social Anxiety (What-to-Do Guides for Kids)What to Do When Mistakes Make You Quake: A Kid’s Guide to Accepting Imperfection (What-to-Do Guides for Kids)What to Do When It’s Not Fair: A Kid’s Guide to Handling Envy and Jealousy (What-to-Do Guides for Kids)What to Do When Bad Habits Take Hold: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Nail Biting and More (What to Do Guides for Kids)
I hope these tools can help you teach your child positive behaviors and give them the life skills they need to navigate this sometimes messy world! Do you have any favorite books that teach positive behaviors? Perhaps stories that do this in a more nuanced way? I am always looking for new resources, so please comment below!
For more suggestions for younger children, see below. In the meantime happy reading!