Everything I Needed to Know About Parenting I Learned in Prison

This is an affliate link.

When Leslie Nelson, a naive, small town girl, got a job as a prison guard, her friends called her a female Barney Fife. But that job turned out to be a unique on-the-job training for motherhood. This non-fiction short will take you inside the prison and share tips on how to avoid riots in your own home. Leslie is the mother of five children (three teenagers, heaven help her!). Her youngest is seven so “parole” is a long way off.


I strongly sensed this would be a successful book after the first very short chapter. The author explains how things work in prison, illustrates the point with one of her actual experiences, and then relates the lesson to parenting. I’m a parent and the lessons related more closely than I would have imagined.

There is a lot of value in this book. I believe I won’t forget even one of the lessons because the context made it so real. Some of it was simple such as the need for a guard to see flesh when the prisoner is sleeping. I always need to see flesh too and my kids haven’t tried to play games with me on that score.

The final lesson in this book was complex and profound. It showed how a prisoner can cause a guard harm even though the guard didn’t do anything wrong. This lesson still puzzles me and makes me want more from the author.

I recommend this book for a wide audience, including those willing to write a short book with their own life lessons. I was fortunate to receive this Kindle book as a promotional copy.

— Amazon Top 500 Reviewer Alfie

Are children really that different from prisoners? Hopefully, yes. But there are some amazing similarities between teaching and guiding both groups that gifted author Leslie Nelson manages to teach us in this book.

As a parent myself (3 young kiddos), I was intrigued by the title. As I started reading, I was impressed with Leslie’s ability to share incredibly interesting stories from her time as a prison guard and the take-away lessons she’s applied as a parent of five children.

Leslie’s style is laid back and never too presumptuous. In each chapter, she shares a few key insights from her prison guard experience and then rolls them nicely into parental application. It’s as much of a memoir as it is a how-to. In fact, it’s easily the most interesting book on parenting I’ve ever read.

I’m more than happy to give this book a 5 star rating. It’s fun. It’s an easy read. And there’s no better message than learning how to help our children become “highly functioning members of society”!

–Amazon reviewer M. Sean Marshall

I stumbled upon this book by accident and it looked interesting to me so I decided to give it a whirl. Best decision ever! I read the book in one straight shot and felt really connected to the author. It’s really cool how she relayed the lessons she learned working in prison to parenting. I don’t have kids yet but I like to read up on parenting for when I do one day. Also, as a fellow writer, the book was also wonderfully well-written.

–Amazon reviewer Ari Sims

Get your copy of Everything I Needed to Know About Parenting I Learned in Prison at amazon, Audible, and Barnes and Noble