Recommend Your Favorite Parenting Books

by cv harquail on September 11, 2016

My neighbor is having her first baby, and I wanted to give her my favorite parenting book — “Becoming The Parent You Want To Be”.

But when I went to Amazon to order a copy I was shocked — shocked — to discover that the book is now ten years old.


Not that the advice actually goes out of date — but it did make me wonder:

What books are you reading now that are helping you be better parent?

I’d love it if you’d share your favorites in the comments.  ~ cv


momo4 September 11, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Simplicity Parenting
-Kim John Payne

The Happiest Toddler on the Block
-Harvey Karp

American Host Mom in Europe September 12, 2016 at 3:57 am

Not reading it now, but the one I recommend to every mother-to-be I know is Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block. It is the closest thing I found to being like a driving license for parenthood. And if they still sell it, the combo pack that includes a swaddling blanket, a CD, and the book was a favourite gift of mine to give.

Soon to be mom of 3 September 13, 2016 at 3:06 pm

I third Happiest Baby on the Block – I give it to all my new parent friends :). I also recommend books about “The Period of Purple Crying” (a.k.a. the witching hour). I also really liked “Bringing up Bebe” as a light parenting read.

Seattle Mom September 12, 2016 at 12:21 pm

I agree with the Happiest Baby on the Block.

For older babies & kids, Playful Parenting is great. By Lawrence Cohen –

I also love Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting –

Aupair Paris September 14, 2016 at 2:56 am

Not a parent, but addicted to parenting books. I mean, take it with a pinch of salt since I obviously can’t implement the techniques – I did when I was au pairing, but I was still only the nanny! But I love How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk. It’s maybe for a little later on though!

CozyFarmHM September 14, 2016 at 1:43 pm

How to Talk is my favorite book for parenting, and it is great for little kids too!

Seattle Mom September 15, 2016 at 3:51 pm

I haven’t read that one, but the author, Adele Farber, has a great book for parenting siblings- Beyond Sibling Rivalry. It is very useful from the moment you become pregnant with a second child, up through the teenage years.

Au Pair Sis September 30, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Yes! My favorite as well!

AlwaysHopeful HM September 14, 2016 at 10:24 am

Another vote for Happiest Baby on the Block. I also liked The Baby Whisperer, and later, the Love and Logic series (although they’re a little heavy-handed).

Former AP Now HM September 14, 2016 at 11:12 am

Parenting books don’t really seem to be a thing here but this post has made me go out and have a look at the possibilities!

Does anybody have any suggestions for books (both parenting books and children’s books, actually) for helping small people deal with starting school? We’re just dealing with this with our eldest and she’s really struggling… it’s in her fourth language (which neither I nor my husband speak) and she’s feeling very unsteady.

We also just discovered that we’re going to be moving to a country where she will still be too young for formal school in January/February, so it seems rather harsh on her to get her settled and making friends only to move! We do move countries regularly (we’ve had 9 moves in three years, although we’re hoping it’ll settle down now) but the children haven’t been overly affected because they’re so young. Much more difficult now that they’re at school, and especially difficult to explain that we don’t know how old they’ll be when they start ‘big school’ because we don’t know where we’ll be living.

A Smith September 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm

In general, I found the majority of parenting books – particularly when my children were babies – to be baffling and contradictory, often more frustrating than they were worth because of conflicting advice and the nagging sense that I was simply doing it wrong if (when?!) all the magic tips didn’t work. As I got my parenting legs, gaining both years of experience and more (very different!!) kids, I finally understood the seemingly simple truth that not all kids are the same, and the same approach doesn’t work for every kid. The books on mechanics often seemed to ignore that reality.

All that to say: I prefer the “philosophy” type of parenting book to the ones that focus on specific methods. I find myself returning to books that help me remember to stop sweating the small stuff (even things that seem SO BIG, like sleep and potty training, which will happen eventually!) and instead focus on the big picture – the values I want to emphasize and instill, the long-term goals I want to work towards with my kids. Anne Lamott’s “Operating Instructions” always reminds me that all of us are fumbling around, doing the best we can and figuring it out as we go, and there’s no one right way; I think it’s a wonderful gift to new parents. I like Wendy Mogel’s “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee” and Julie Lythcott-Haims’s “How to Raise an Adult” for the lessons about gradually, continually taking steps back, no matter how hard that may be, to set our kids up for successful independence. And I appreciate books like “Nurture Shock” for providing hard data and studies about what actually works.

WarmStateMomma September 27, 2016 at 10:07 pm

NurtureShock and Simplicity Parenting are my favorites. Brain Rules for Baby is great for those who like NurtureShock.

I liked Happiest Baby on the Block until the baby arrived. Then I was just frustrated that my baby wouldn’t respond to the author’s “idiot-proof” techniques. That child is now almost 4 and kicks off every blanket because it’s too restrictive. Now that I’ve seen the differences in kids (I have 2 now), I realize that you really need to recognize what kinds of things work the same on pretty much everyone (usually medical/biological kinds of things) and the things that are hit or miss (usually psychological or cultural).

I learned about 1-2-3 Magic on this site and it’s been very helpful with my almost 4yo. We don’t have to argue or negotiate; we only resort to a quick time out once every few weeks. The concept works well with my daughter because it’s simple enough to implement consistently.

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