A Review of Connection Parenting

Author Pam Leo’s Guide on How to Parent through Connection and Love

In her 2005 parenting book, Pam Leo teaches us the importance of connecting with our children and offers some practical advice on how to build this connection.

Is it possible to parent without coercion and fear? Pam Leo thinks so. Treating children with respect and honoring their emotional needs is the cornerstone of Leo’s groundbreaking book, Connection Parenting: Parenting through Connection instead of Coercion, Through Love instead of Fear. Learn how to truly connect with your children and pave the way for better behavior and a more rewarding parent and child relationship.

Modeling Good Behavior

Leo maintains that we are our children’s teachers. How we treat them is how they learn to behave. If we attempt to coerce them into good behavior, they will learn how to coerce. If we treat them with respect, they will treat others with respect.

Many times parents feel they have to prompt their children to behave correctly by reminding them to say please and thank you or by bribing them to share. Leo reminds us that we are teaching these behaviors when we model them. If we don’t routinely say please and thank you, then our children will not learn to say them either. If we are not sharers, then our children will not be sharers.

Meeting Children’s Emotional Needs

Children’s emotional needs are as important as their physical needs. Children need one-on-one connection time with their parents in order to have their emotional needs met. Parents need to work at filling their children’s love cup. Leo defines the love cup as the emotional fuel that children need to thrive. Attention, nurturing and connection are the fuels that fill the loving cup.

Connecting with Children

Leo makes a distinction between quality time with children and high-quality time. High-quality time is time spent actively engaged with children. Playing and working together with both qualify as the high-quality time when the parent is focused on the child.

To illustrate the difference, Leo gives the example of taking children to the playground. Sitting on a bench watching the children play is quality time. Playing tag with them is high-quality time.

Parents should devote a minimum of ten minutes for one-on-one connection time each day with each child. Leo offers several practical tips on how to plan for this time and how to make it a priority.

For the Parents

Leo devotes an entire chapter to teaching parents to meet their own needs. Unmet needs to create stress and that stress affects the children in the home. She recommends parents spend ten minutes a day alone to relax and recharge. Likewise, a parent needs to spend time connecting with her partner each day.

About the Author

Pam Leo created and teaches a Connection Parenting workshop series called “Meeting the Needs of Children”. She is a parent and a grandparent, a former child care provider, and has studied child development, psychology, sociology and anthropology.


Leo, Pam. (2005). Connection Parenting: Parenting through Connection instead of Coercion, Through Love instead of Fear. Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Inc.: Deadwood, Oregon.