Some parents avoid reading parenting books because they say the books promote formulaic ways of parenting. That is an understandable concern especially considering that children aren’t robots. Children are special individuals with their own minds and character traits. However, there are some books that are just too helpful for parents who want to understand their kids’ better and raise them right. These books aren’t necessarily all parenting books—they are just good books that every parent has to read to draw inspiration and learn ways to become a better parent.
1. The Magic Years: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Early Childhood by Selma H. Fraiberg.
This is a classic book that was first published about 40 years ago. It offers a distinctive way to look at how kids think and why they act the way they do based on their emotional and cognitive abilities. It’s an eye-opening read that will help you appreciate that your child isn’t driving you nuts just for fun.
2. The Ten Greatest Gifts I Give My Children: Parenting from the Heart by Steven W. Vannoy
Sometimes we don’t realize we are being patronizing to our children and are actually the cause of why children become rebellious and insubordinate. This book reminds us what it means to be a parent and teaches you how to employ the power of positive reinforcement and other techniques to establish a healthy, pleasant relationship with you children. A very good read.
3. The Five Love Languages for Children by Chapman, Campbell & Campbell
Because children are unique individuals, they experience and show love in different ways. This book tells you more about the five love language for children and helps you determine which love language best suits your child. The more you understand your child’s love language, the more effectively you can communicate and the stronger you can bond with your child.
4. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Like all other relationships, your relationship with your child requires effective communication to thrive. That means learning to not only be the one speaking and giving instructions, but also the one who listens and hears what your child has to say. This heartfelt book delves into this dynamic and offers valuable lessons on how to effectively handle this critical aspect of parenting that is, sadly, often badly overlooked.
5. The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn, and Flourish by T. Berry Brazelton, and Stanley Greenspan.
How much time do children need one-on-one with a parent? What is the effect of shifting caregivers, of custody arrangements? This informative book written by two renowned child advocates answers these and other thorny questions parents often grapple with. You will even learn the seven irreducible needs of any child, in any society. A must read for anyone who cares about the welfare of children.
6. No Regrets Parenting: Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments with Your Kids by Harley Robart, M.D.
An excellent quick read with irrefutable nuggets of wisdom for busy parents about being present in the life of your children. The book’s size alone means that you have no excuse not to read it no matter how busy you say you are if you truly want to avoid common areas of regret as a parent.
7. Get Out of My Life, but First Could you Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager by Anthony E. Wolf
If you are the parent of an adolescent, you’ve likely had those moments when you genuinely feel your relationship with your child is suddenly going down the tubes. This well crafted book make good use humor to explain the basic issues of adolescence and offers practical guidance on how to salvage your relationship with your teenager and get the parent-child relationship back on track.
8. Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross
This fantastic book written by internationally renowned family consultant Kim John Payne offers inspiration and ideas to reduce clutter, as well as a blueprint to live with a greater sense of ease as you raise your child. It’s an amazing read that will help you change your routine so you worry less and hover less while enjoying life more in parenthood.
9. Siblings without Rivalry by Faber and Mazlish.
It can be quite frustrating and exhausting if you are constantly forced to play referee because your kids are always fighting. This #1 New York Times bestseller is one of the best books you’ll read on how to handle sibling relationships. It challenges the notion that constant conflict among siblings is natural and unavoidable and shows you how to teach kids to get along.
10. Fun on the Run!: 324 Instant Family Activities by Cynthia L. Copeland
This is an excellent travel activity book that’s written in a fun-to-read style – one of the best you’ll read, actually. The author offers tons of fresh ideas for things to do anywhere with your kids, such as when held up at restaurants, the doctor’s office or on those “booooring” car rides. Best of all, all ideas seem like real activities that real parents would actually do. No Martha Stewart craft projects for the backseat. Hurray!
11. Heroes for My Son/Heroes for My Daughter by Brad Meltzer
An inspiring collection of heroes from whom our sons and daughters can learn from with an extra page at the back to add your own hero for your child. It’s a brilliant little book you have to read for yourself and with your child to highlight people who truly exemplify the characteristics you are trying to help your child develop and show how great humanity can actually be if we only cared enough.
12. 100 Promises to My Baby by Mallika Chopra
Mallika Chopra, the daughter of well-known author Deepak Chopra, reflects on motherhood by recording a series of 100 promises that she made to her baby, which we can all relate to. It’s the perfect read if you are a new parent and even more powerful to revisit as your child grows. It will help you reflect on the amazing hopes and dreams you have/had for your child and remember just the kind of parent you set out to be.
13. The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children by Lou Priolo
If you have an angry child and you’d like some practical, biblical-based help to correct or prevent the development of chronic “behavior problems” stemming from this anger, this is the book for you. Priolo, an experienced counselor, delves into anger’s root causes, gives you sound advice for the prevention of anger in children and even lists ways in which as parents we often unwittingly provoke our little ones to anger. It’s a great read that will help you examine the heart for anger and bring it under control.
14. The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine
As a parent you will do almost anything to get your child to eat healthy. Unfortunately, begging, pleading, bribing and threatening doesn’t work. This cookbook will teach you sneaky ways to effortlessly ensure your young picky eaters eat healthy. While there are some who question the author’s methods, the book is filled with neat tips and tricks you can use to provide nutrition in the cuisine your children usually crave for.
15. What Every 21st Century Parent Needs to Know: Facing Today’s Challenges With Wisdom and Heart by Debra W. Haffner
Parenting in the 21st Century has evolved tremendously with new sets of challenges emerging, such as cyber security. Debra W. Haffner, a parenting educator for more than twenty-five years, offers one of the most authoritative guides yet on how modern parents can navigate the challenging times we live in today that are characterized by ever-evolving technology and media. As she says in the book, “The choices we make can greatly increase our chances of raising a child who becomes a happy, productive adult.”