Before I even had children, I was reading a lot of parenting books. I studied Family Life with an emphasis in Human Development and hoped to pursue clinical research, but ended up having my own girls and doing some clinical research that way. Now I read parenting books for myself and not necessarily to write papers, so I thought I would share my favorites with you today.
It’s so important to be educated as a parent, to fill your toolbox with effective methods to encourage your children, structure their days, discipline when needed, and show love in the best way possible. I take all parenting books with a grain of salt – they are a guide book, not hard and fast rules. Read, learn as much as you can, and collect the best knowledge. Then follow your intuition and love your children fiercely – it will all work together to make you a better parent.
I love these books because they are definitely backed by GOOD science – not bogus celebrity opinion – but read in a fun, interesting way. Many of them came highly recommended from my college professors who research and teach human development and parenting for a living. I hope you pick up a few of these titles and gather some inspiration for yourself & your family.
1. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
Read it if: You’re having trouble getting through to your kids and want to stop volatile communication patterns.
Why I love it: There are so many genius tips to deescalate a fight or tantrum with kids and practice exercises for you to do in every chapter.
2. Siblings Without Rivalry
Read it if: You’re sick of having to always buy two purple cups, bowls, basketballs, or head bands to avoid a fight OR if you constantly hear ‘that’s not fair!’ when your youngest can’t go to soccer camp with your oldest.
Key takeaways: Don’t act as though you treat them all the same (because you don’t), acknowledge why differences in treatment or possessions exist (age-appropriateness, ability, behavior), recognize the deeper feelings and show love and compassion.
3. There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather
Read it if: You want a quieter, calmer, happier way of raising kids, or if you are stuck inside on the 275th consecutive snow day of the year and need to embrace the cold but just don’t know how.
My input: It’s not really about weather – it’s about mindset. This American-transplant author relates how Swedish kids play outside year-round and shares ways we can adopt a slower, richer, way of life.
4. The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money
Read it if: You want to talk to your children about money but don’t know where to start, and want to gauge how spoiled (or unspoiled) you are making your kids.
Why I love it: Part guidebook and part parenting philosophy, it’s practical and concise but has an underlying theme – be open, honest, generous, and kind. Your kids will do the same.
5. Permission to Parent
Read it if: You are sick of getting advice from your distant relatives, TV celebrities, and internet trolls.
Key takeaways: You are the parent – you literally have permission to parent! You need to steer the ship, make the guidelines, and stand by limits in your household. Being a pushover to your kids, in-laws, or passerby at the grocery store serves no one – especially not you or your kids.
6. How to Be A Happier Parent
Read it if: You are feeling like life is a bit of drudgery and need to lighten your load.
Why I love it: It will make you feel less alone in your little everyday struggles, and deals tons of practical tips to manage your time, divvy up responsibility, and chill out.
7. No Drama Discipline
Read it if: You’ve tried counting to three to no avail.
Key takeaway: Discipline doesn’t have to be synonymous with punishment – it’s more about teaching correct behavior. Make it clear, proactive, and consistent.
8. The Whole-Brain Child
Read it if: You want to know why your child acts the way they do (here’s a surprise: it’s not all your fault!)
My input: This book is a great overview of brain development during childhood – it will help you to remember your child’s abilities and limitations. Funny and practical, it also gives you lots of ways to foster emotional health & cognitive development in your kids. In essence, if you want your kid to be kind & smart, read this.
I hope you pick up a few of these for your family and find them as inspiring and helpful as I have! Let me know which ones you’ve read and your favorite parenting titles so that I can put them on my list!