When you enter the world of parenting, there’s another world that comes along with it: parenting books. Whether or not you were that parent that read every pregnancy and birthing book in preparation for your baby becomes moot when you have a toddler. As we come to know, toddlers turn our worlds upside down, once again.
Toddlers and young children have an incredible way of challenging what we once thought we know about parenting. They are adventurous and curious, outgoing yet reserved, and have the strangest quirks. And, many of them are so stubborn and willful that you feel at a loss for what to do next. Books can definitely help bring perspective and guidance at times when you’re beyond confused.
But, the number of parenting books out there can be overwhelming—with so many choices (and so little time to actually sit down and read), how do you know which ones will be worth your time? Here are 10 parenting books that have withstood the test of time and trials and have become regularly recommended among parents.
This book, by internationally renowned parenting experts Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, has become one of the most beloved parenting books in recent history. With actionable methods and practical solutions, this book helps you builds a strong foundation for communication with your kid. Faber and Mazlish address common problems between parents and their kids, and help you understand effective ways to discipline and praise your child. According to many parents and teachers, if you’re only going to read one book on parenting, this is the one to read.
In The Whole-Brain Child, Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson explain exactly how how a child’s mind works -- and where all of those tantrums come from --in a way that is completely accessible. The authors go on to give you super simple solutions and strategies on how to deal with daily struggles in a way that promotes healthy emotional and cognitive growth in your children (while also saving your sanity).
The follow-up to The Whole-Brain Child uses the whole-brain approach to address how to discipline children effectively. They define discipline as not yelling or reprimanding but instead instructing. And, since basically, every parent wants to yell less, this book is quickly becoming a favorite among those wanting to parent more intentionally.
Brain Rules For Baby is another book that considers actual brain development of children in conjunction with how most people parent. The book is really approachable -- the author makes his points using smart and funny stories, so it reads easy. You’ll learn things like nature vs. nurture, why impulse control is more important than intelligence, and how your parenting decisions will affect your child within the first five years of their life.
If you have more than one kid, chances are you’ve come across one (or many) sibling arguments. This book came about because the authors, who are parents themselves, were determined to figure out how to make their kids get along. Faber and Mazlish tell the stories of their own parenting journeys in order to explain how to get your kids to stop fighting and give them the tools to cope with conflict and competition.
Janet Lansbury has sort of a cult following in the parenting world -- parents everywhere go crazy for her simple, sage advice. This book is a collection of her most popular posts on how to parent toddlers. It addresses most of the common problems of toddlerhood in a practical way and shows parents how to get past tantrums, hitting, boundary testing and really get to know your toddler.
This book takes an evolutionary approach to parenting and brings up how drastically our concept of parenting has changed over the years. The author presents fascinating research to explain her theory that we’ve gotten way too caught up in trying to raise particular kinds of children, instead of just caring for them deeply. This is definitely a must-read if you’re into attachment parenting or looking to change your parenting philosophy.
Ah, entitlement. It’s one of those things we can’t escape. Many well-intentioned parents love getting things for their kids -- add grandparents, friends, and other family into the mix and you’ve got the ingredients for a truly spoiled kid. Author Kristen Welch found herself in that exact predicament, and this book is the story of her family’s journey on learning how to be grateful and not greedy.
As parents, we know that every kid is truly unique. But, what if yours seems more intense or sensitive or energetic than others? You may have a spirited kid on your hands, and if you do, this is the book for you. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka offers time-tested research and a plan to help you guide your child through their own temperament, behavior, and emotions. This book consistently is listed as one of the top parenting books of all time.
Dr. Karp, of The Happiest Baby On The Block fame, doesn’t disappoint with this handy guide to toddlers. Karp’s book likens toddlers to tiny cavemen, with a way of thinking and communicating that is all their own. And, if you’ve ever met a toddler, you know that’s totally true. This book offers simple parenting plans to reduce frustration and tantrums and increase peaceful moments with your tot.