The stress of parenting through a global pandemic may have you feeling inadequate or stuck. Luckily, these best parenting books empower, create inspiration, and guide you to form a better bond with your child — even if you have a teenager or an adult child. Becoming a better parent regardless of life stage is something that every parent should strive for.
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How to Choose the Best Parenting Book?
The overwhelming number of parenting books makes it difficult to find the best fit for your family, situation, and life stage. In general, the best books are based on both research and experience. It should have a collection of parenting lessons and foundational parenting philosophies.
Type of Parenting Book
Most parenting books have a specific focus that helps you narrow down your search. Some books focus on the child, while others offer support for the healing or growth of the parent. For instance, the best books for first-time moms won’t be helpful for a parent struggling with a teen’s behavior.
When choosing a parenting book, decide if you are hoping to improve communication, troubleshoot discipline, or understand child development. The books below cover various topics that serve as a starting place for your search.
Parenting Based on Age
Every parent knows how different parenting becomes as their children enter new stages of development. While some parenting books offer concepts that you can apply to any age, most target specific age groups.
Understanding strategies and development concepts specific to your child’s age is one of the most critical factors in choosing a parenting book. Target age groups include:
- Pregnancy and preparing for birth
- Infants and babies
- Toddlers and pre-school children
- Elementary school-age children
Best Parenting Books
If you’ve been window-shopping for the best parenting books for some time now, you’ve probably come across this book by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. The good news is that it lives up to the hype.
Each book contains simple but effective lessons about encouraging cooperation, building autonomy, and validating feelings. Moreover, the authors’ principles build the confidence you need to tackle sibling rivalry or mischievous behavior at the moment. The chapters are illustrated with playful cartoons and give you thought exercises to apply the concepts.
There are age-appropriate versions of this book for toddlers, school-age kids, and teenagers to keep you covered throughout your child’s development.
As parents themselves, Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson understand the struggle of disciplining a child. Unlike the rest of us, they are also experts on brain development and have applied that knowledge to parental discipline.
The charming illustrations and real-life stories bring their practical strategies to life. While their discipline techniques are gentle, they emphasize the importance of boundaries and accountability. This book is beneficial if you feel stuck in a negative pattern of relating to your child. It uses techniques that encourage connection, loving touch, and validation to empower you to begin new ways of relating.
“No-Drama Discipline” also provides age-appropriate explanations of brain development for children to give little ones a dose of self-understanding.
The authors of “No-Drama Discipline” once again combine their parenting experience and knowledge of brain development in this easy-to-read book. They help you understand why your little one is having a meltdown over little things like wearing a swimsuit and offer strategies for dealing with tough behavior. Even better is the page of strategies to put on your refrigerator.
Reminders like “Connect Then Redirect” or “Name It to Tame It” are lifesavers during a heated parenting moment! While these strategies target school-age children, the authors offer ideas for applying them to younger children and teens.
Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids
Are you trapped in a cycle of chaotic responses to your kids? Using Hunter Clark-Fields’ mindfulness principles, you’ll have a road map towards cooperative and authentic relating.
Rather than offering specific tips or strategies, Clark-Fields encourages us to change our underlying philosophies about parenting. A crucial part of this is looking at your childhood and healing any wounds still impacting you.
Once you begin this work, you can relate differently to your children. You may even find that the principles of mindful parental communication transform other relationships in your life as well.
Having a harmonious and healthy home life without using punishments or imposed consequences feels like a pipe dream. This utopia is precisely what Dr. Laura Markham advocates for in her groundbreaking book.
Her guidance is based on sound research and presents what may be an unfamiliar vision of parenting. Dr. Markham uses cutting-edge neuroscience to find the emotional source of your kids’ challenging behavior.
What’s unique about this book is the step-by-step examples offering specific language that will resonate with kids of different ages. You might be skeptical at first, but these strategies work.
From the start of her book, Dr. Shefali Tsabary challenges you to turn your notions of parenting upside down. “The Conscious Parent” proposes that our children show us our truest selves through our relationship with them.
Dr. Tsabary focuses on parents, and you may find yourself wincing in recognition at some of the points she makes. However, the more you work through these painful truths, the more you give your children the freedom to become their authentic selves.
“The Conscious Parent” provides reflection exercises to give you a start in working through your healing.
Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman spin an unexpected parenting book that shocks and enlightens. NurtureShock upends conventional childrearing wisdom about topics like language development, interracial friendships, and truthfulness.
Each chapter is based on reputable and up-to-date studies and unpacks the data in an accessible way for parents of any background. While some concepts may unsettle you, they are crucial to understanding the reality of modern parenting.
“NurtureShock” causes us to look beyond our preconceptions, making it one of the best books for new parents.
While some faith-based books keep their parental guidance abstract, Paul David Tripp brings practical applications for theology in “Parenting.” He suggests that Christian parents go beyond a preoccupation with their authority and instead parent out of grace.
What makes this one of the best Christian parenting books is its emphasis on you as a parent. Instead of teaching your children to follow a set of rules, Tripp presents a series of attitudes and values that will affect your family at a heart level. You must get your own heart right before you can model Christ to your children.
It’s a refreshing contrast to rule-based Christian parenting and offers you a better relationship with your children and your faith.
You may have heard of Gary Chapman’s love languages and found them meaningful for your own life. Chapman’s book for parents takes those concepts and applies them to the nuts and bolts of how children receive love.
If you are a parent to two or more kids, it can become overwhelming to learn their individual needs. This book is key to identifying your child’s specific needs and being receptive to their love. Chapman even offers ways to integrate love languages into discipline.
One of the best expectant father books comes from an unexpected author: Benjamin Watson, a player for the Baltimore Ravens. Despite his unique position, Watson’s guide for fathers is deeply relatable as he leans heavily on his own parenting experience. He uses the football season as a metaphor for the steps and stages of being a father.
The strength of “New Dad’s Playbook” is its kind guidance for being both a better father and a better spouse.
It is tough to understand what is happening in your teenager’s brain when he or she acts irrationally. Dr. Frances E. Jensen tackles this mystery in “The Teenage Brain,” and her insights create one of the best books on parenting teenagers.
The human brain experiences major changes during adolescence, and understanding those developments is key to connecting with your teenagers.
Dr. Jensen doesn’t shy away from presenting cutting-edge neural research but always makes it understandable to parents from any background. Most importantly, she offers practical suggestions so you can support your teen’s emotional and physical development.
With everything going around the world, it may seem impossible to have a meaningful bond and honest communication with your child. Before it’s too late, give these best parenting books a shot. Before picking up a book, remember to think about your parenting goals and consider your child’s age. Happy reading and parenting!
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Bobby Kania is a full-time blogger with multiple blogs spanning topics in education, music, and advice. He currently lives in Seattle with his wife and cat. Learn more at Capitalize My Title.