Favorite Parenting Books

I just stumbled on this page of books about Positive Discipline and thought it was a good idea to share favorite parenting books.  Here’s my list of books that have helped me the most when my personal toolbox seems empty.  :)

Parents, Please Don’t Sit on Your Kids! by Clare Cherry
In the category of "worst title, worst cover," this little unknown book is still a winner.  Cherry has a very pro-child outlook and offers advice and insight that is really helpful.  You can buy it used for a penny (plus too much shipping) if you can’t find it in your library.

Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline:  The Seven Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation by Becky A. Bailey
This book is not a light read.  Truth be told, I have never made it all the way through it, even though I have gone back to it many times because I find it so good.  It is extremely helpful though, particularly in helping me view things in new ways.  It is one of those books where I need my own copy and a highlighter, because there are so many points to ponder and helpful pieces I want to remember.  If you want a book to help you feel less stressed as a parent, this is one to check out. 

Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This is another book I reread in times of trouble.  I love this book and think that it should be a required purchase the minute you find out you’re having your second child.  It’s short, simple and effective.  It’s even illustrated with cartoons of what to do and not to do, and why!

Anything by Dr. William and Martha Sears
The Searses are like the godparents of Attachment Parenting and pro-child parenting.  They have tons of great advice and a wonderful outlook in their many books.  That said, I tend to go towards the books above more often than Sears books.  Sears books are great for new parents and those new to AP principles, but they can be a little light on the nitty gritty of problem solving real problems.  I think sometimes they fall into the common trap of making things look a little too rosy in an attempt to sell people on the idea of Attachment Parenting.  While it is important to tell people how truly lovely children can be when they’re happy and raised lovingly, this can have the effect of making parents feel that they’re failing at it if their kids go through perfectly normal, not so loveable stages.  This sort of goes along with the "Strangers with Compliments" post from the other day.  Despite all of this, I still love the Sears books and how dedicated they are to happy children.

The Out-of-Sync Child has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Integration Dysfunction by Carol Stock Kranowitz
While I do not have any children with sensory disorders, this is a book I absolutely love and frequently recommend.  The projects and activities are designed for children with issues like autism and sensory disorders, but they are just plain wonderful for ALL children.  These inexpensive, fun ideas are really creative and wonderful and work all of children’s senses.  All children have sensory needs and there are ideas here for any child.  Some examples of projects include stuffing a duvet cover with pillows to make a crash pad, making a fishing game with paperclips and fish shapes, writing and drawing in hand lotion on a tray and using flour to mark an outside obstacle course (plus a million more).  This is also a great book for activities to get you through rainy days and cabin fever.

Your XX Year Old by Louise Bates Ames (some titles by Ames with Frances L. Ilg)
This series is decades old but I have still found it very helpful in understanding my children at each age.  Ames and Ilg don’t embrace any particular parenting philosophy as much as they simply attempt to explain what’s normal at each age (physically, emotionally, behaviorally and more) and give some good tools to deal with common problems.  I found it extremely helpful to read that lying was a normal behavior for four year olds when I was suddenly faced with one (and my previous 4 year olds had not gone through that stage), for instance.  In many cases, I come back thankful that my kids aren’t going through many of the worse stuff that’s typical!  :)  DO keep in mind that the books are dated and the authors have opinions that may not match yours.  One reviewer on Amazon of the 4 year old book had some very good points about issues she had with the books.  Despite the drawbacks, I find the series extremely informative.

Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn
Oh boy.  Prepare for some strong feelings!  :)  This is a great book to really make you think and challenge even your most basic parenting ideas.  I did not agree with all of this and I found it lacking in giving real advice much of the time, but I found it thought provoking and a great addition to my "inner library" (you know, the thoughts that stay with you and make up the patchwork of your own personal philosophies).  This book is like a really potent herb– it won’t make a meal of its own but it can add wonderful flavor if you add it to a mix of other good stuff.  Approach it with an open mind.  Kohn has some really insightful thoughts about kids and what they really need.  

Those are some of the books that have had a big effect on me or get me through the tough parenting days.  I also enjoyed Kids are Worth it by Barbara Coloroso, but it’s been a while and it was a library copy so I don’t remember it well enough to review it much more than that!  :)  It’s one I’d like to get back to and read again.

What areyour favorite parenting books?  Please share!

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Favorite Parenting Books

  1. Anonymous

    Just thought I’d mention Unconditional Parenting is also available on DVD; it’s Alfie Kohn giving a 2-ish hour talk. I’ve read the book several times and enjoyed it, but getting the DVD got hubby to engage with the material too. -Risa

  2. Anonymous

    Interesting post
    I didn’t know I was joining the “attachment parenting” movement years ago, when I bought my first Sears book! I was expecting my first baby, had no experience with babies, and was desperate for an instruction manual! I looked over all the choices in the bookstore and knew that the Sears baby book felt right for me. I agree that they paint a rather “rosy” picture of parenthood–everything is so much harder than a new parent expects! But I have never regretted taking their advice in those early months. I think Your Baby and Child by Penelope Leach gave me a more realistic idea of what to expect, and more of that “nitty gritty” advice that new parents crave. Later, I found Sal Severe’s How to Behave So Your Preschooler Will Too and I recommend it highly! Like all parents, eventually I figured out that there was no perfect book, or perfect parenting method!
    Sparklee

  3. Anonymous

    I have a child with sensory integration disorder. The out-of-sync child books are amazing. I use this stuff all the time with all my kids.

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