Parenting is a difficult yet rewarding job. There is little formal preparation available for those who want to become parents. Reading books on the subject has become a very important way to gain understanding and insight into the needs of children and how to respond to them. Following is a list of 50 books that will help parents guide their children on the path from baby to adult. The books have been chosen for their insight, humor, inspiration and techniques for raising happy and healthy children, as well as their relevance to modern-day life.
50. Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading, and Get Kids to Cooperate by Elizabeth Pantley
Parenting may be learned through a combination of lessons, sometimes from the parents’ role models and often simply from trial and error. Sometimes, though, the lessons learned by these methods are not helpful at all, but instead create a hostile and uncontrollable environment for the entire family. This book gives parents unique and valuable techniques for dealing with uncooperative children. The book begins with a quiz to identify the parents’ styles and continues with instructional and often humorous insight into the world of dealing with children.
49. You Might As Well Laugh: A Working Mothers #1 Rule by Sandi Kahn Shelton
Being a parent certainly has its ups and downs. In this book, Sandi Kahn Shelton finds interesting ways to turn those negative moments into a source of joy and laughter. Based on Shelton’s magazine columns, this book is a hilarious must read that will help parents stop and pause during the toughest moments and realize that 99% of the time, with some reflection, the situation is probably hilarious. Why wait years to look back and laugh when you can laugh now?
48. The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals by Melissa Chase Lapine
This book provides a delightful answer to how to feed picky eaters. The solution, according to Lapine, is to hide the foods you want your children to eat within the meals they know and love the most. The Sneaky Chef is the ultimate cheat book for getting children to eat healthier without even knowing it. It is a fun and helpful book that will help get parents through one of the most hair pulling experiences of raising children – mealtime.
47. Ending the Homework Hassle by John Rosemond
Today’s schools give parents the task of supervising and monitoring their children’s homework. However, forcing homework on an unwilling child can be difficult at best. In this book, Rosemond explains how parent can stop taking over and start helping their children take responsibility for their own work.
46. The Rookie Mom’s Handbook by Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss
New moms have a lot to learn. The standard parenting books teach them the basics and get them started, but this book takes a different approach. It describes 250 fun and interesting activities for mothers to do with their babies as they find their way in their new parenting role.
45. It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much-Needed Margarita by Heather Armstrong
This real-life story of dealing with depression while becoming a mother is funny, fascinating and heartwarming. Blogger Heather Armstrong has written a detailed account of her experiences before, during and after childbirth. The book talks about subjects that most books avoid. It honestly portrays the difficulties of postpartum depression, yet it is amusing and uplifting at the same time.
44. Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More and Argue Less As Your Family Grows by Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O’Neill and Julia Stone
Parents spend so much time and thought learning to deal with their children that their marriage often takes a back seat. This book puts the couple bond back in the spotlight and shows parents how to enjoy each other more every day, throughout the childrearing process.
43. I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile
This book is based on an interesting experiment. The two authors interviewed moms of all kinds and backgrounds to discover what made them feel guilty as mothers. The results of the interviews are written up in this book in a humorous and heartfelt style. New moms (and dads) who read it will learn how other parents are feeling about their new responsibilities and how they cope. It is an enjoyable read.
42. Becoming the Parent You Want to Be: A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years by Laura Davis and Janis Keyser
Most parents have a good idea of the kind of parent they want to be. This books helps parents understand their ideal parenting style and learn to become the kind of parents who respect their children, teach them well and help them reach their personal potential. Parents will discover new methods for reaching their goals and becoming awesome and caring parents. Parents who have read it find it reassuring and full of practical tools for raising children the right way.
41. The Mother’s Almanac by Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons
Funny and practical at the same time, The Mother’s Almanac is a book of helpful advice for parents of all ages. The book has been around since 1975, but it has continued to be a favorite among parents of babies, toddlers, young children and teens. Parents who read it say the book is as comforting as talking to a treasured, wise and experienced friend.
40. Pressured Parents, Stressed Out Kids: Dealing with Competition While Raising a Successful Child by Wendy S. Grolnick and Kathy Seal
Here is a book that helps parents deal with the hectic and often anxiety-producing task of raising kids who are successful. It offers parents understanding and encouragement and tells them how to help their child thrive in a competitive environment.
39. Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber
Children who have trouble sleeping are at high risk to do poorly in school, have social problems and suffer from a variety of health problems. Parents of such children worry about them and tend to try every trick they can think of to end the sleepless nights. Ferber uses this book to give tips that really work to get children from age one to six on a better sleep schedule. It not only covers simple insomnia, but also discusses night terrors, bedwetting and a host of other problems that keep children awake.
38. Raising Kids Who Can: Use Good Judgment, Assume Responsibility, Communicate Effectively, Respect Self & Others, Cooperate, Develop Self Esteem & Enjoy Life by Betty Lou Bettner and Amy Lew
The title of this book gives parents a pretty good idea of what is contained within its covers. At least, it describes the goals. Read the book to discover how to meet all those challenges and develop a happy and cooperative family who work, play and exist together in peace and understanding.
37. The Everything Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Bullies: From Playground Teasing to Cyber Bullying, All You Need to Ensure Your Child’s Safety and Happiness by Deborah Carpenter and Christopher J. Ferguson
Bullying is one of the toughest challenges kids and their parents face in schools, on the playgrounds and even in the comfort of their own homes. Cyber bullying has become a major problem among young internet users, while physical bullying remains troublesome. This book helps parents discover when and where bullying is happening, how to recognize its signs, and how to teach children to avoid it through assertiveness and other social skills. It is essential reading for both the parents of children who are being bullied and the parents of children who are bullying others.
36. Preschool Art: It’s the Process, Not the Product! by Maryann F. Kohl
This is the perfect book for any parent who has filled a refrigerator door with child art and wondered the point of it all. Kohl’s book is a real eye-opener that explains that children do not do art for the finished product, but for the joy of doing it. Included are activities such as drawing, painting, and making collages and sculptures. Parents will learn to enjoy watching their children create art and express themselves in their own unique ways.
35. Parenting College Students: 27 Winning Strategies for Success by Dr. Debi Yohn
Parenting does not end when the child leaves the nest. College is an important time for parents to keep influencing their children. This book gets down to the nitty-gritty with 27 specific strategies for parenting college students to success. It is a great guide for continuing a healthy parent-child relationship throughout the college years.
34. Baby Play and Learn: 160 Games and Learning Activities for the First Three Years by Penney Warner
Childhood development usually follows a particular sequence, and it is a good idea for all parents of babies and toddlers to understand this order. This book provides fun and developmentally appropriate games and activities for children 3 and younger. It gives detailed instructions for the activities, along with a list of the learning tasks addressed by each one. Parents enjoy using this book to interact productively with their children.
33. Hidden Messages: What Our Words and Our Actions Are Really Telling Our Children by Elizabeth Pantley
This book illustrates the differences between the messages parents would like to send to their children and the ones the children actually receive. Pantley has set up the book in a series of 33 stories; each followed by an explanation of the negative message and how to improve it. Parents who read the book are often surprised and even shocked to learn what they are really saying to their children, and grateful for new insights on how to improve.
32. Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Liberating Parents by Keith Gilbert
Raising children is always easier when you have a good grip on your own issues. This book teaches parents how to rethink old misconceptions and develop a freer and stronger mindset. It is a parenting book that focuses on the needs of the parents so they can focus on the needs of their children in turn.
31. Video Games & Your Kids: How Parents Stay in Control by Hilarie Cash, Kim Mcdaniel, Ken Lucas
Video games are pervasive in the lives of today’s children. They can be an enjoyable pastime for children, but if they are overused, they can take over the child’s life. The good news is that there are ways to keep control of the situation, no matter how deeply involved they are with video gaming. The authors detail the symptoms and consequences of gaming addiction and present ways for parents to effectively limit the time their children spend with this activity.
30. Take Out Your Nosering, Honey, We’re Going to Grandma’s!: Hanging In, Holding On, And Letting Go Of Your Teen by Carleton Kendrick and Barbara Cook
This is an often amusing and always enlightening book of essays written for parents, by parents. It encourages parents to see past the issues with their teenagers that drive them crazy and embrace the enjoyment of living with teens.
29. Teenagers Suck: What to Do When Missed Curfews, Texting and “Mom, Can I Have the Keys” Make You Miserable by Joanne Kimes, R. J. Colleary, and Rebecca Rutledge
Old fashioned parenting book authors never dreamed of the issues that would face parents in recent years. This book tackles issues that trouble parents about today’s teenagers, from texting to teen sex. It is one of Joanne Kimes’s “Sucks” series, which contains even more books that are helpful for parents of children of all ages.
28. What Kids Really Want to Ask: Using Movies to Start Meaningful Conversations by Rhonda A. Richardson and A. Margaret Pevec
Would you like to try an innovative approach to relating better with your tween? This book is based on questions from real middle schoolers. In it, the authors present twelve themes, each with a discussion of the topic and a movie parents can share with their tweens to spark important discussions.
27. The Toddler’s Busy Book: 365 Creative Games and Activities to Keep Your 1 1/2- to 3-Year-Old Busy by Trish Kuffner
Here you will find an activity for every day of the year to entertain and educate your toddler. This is a fun and fascinating book. The activities use household items in interesting ways to exercise your child’s mind and body, and to help them develop into strong and healthy adults. Parents of toddlers will love this book from day 1 to day 365.
26. Be the Coolest Dad on the Block: All the Tricks, Games, Puzzles and Jokes You Need to Impress Your Kids and Keep Them Entertained for Years to Come by Simon Rose and Steven Caplin
This book is a refreshing and humorous take on fatherhood from the most unlikely parenting advisors – a comedy writer and a cartoonist. The book is filled with fun ways for dads to interact with their children. Reading the book is not only a great way to get laughs, but it provides dads with a meaningful way to engage their children with the world around them.
25. Mommy Guilt by Julie Bort, Aviva Pflock, and Devra Renner
Motherhood and guilt just seem to go together, or do they? The expert authors of this book say no. The authors rely on a combination of their professional expertise, solid scientific research and their own mothering experiences for guidance as they present a well-written and informative book on why mothers feel guilty, how it affects everyone in the family, and what mothers can do about it. Most importantly, it helps guilt-ridden mothers relax and enjoy their children more than ever before.
24. The Whipped Parent: Hope for Parents Raising an Out-of-Control Teen by Kimberly Abraham, Marney Studaker-Cordner, Katharine O’Dea
Is it really possible to be inspired and delighted when your teenager is defiant and difficult to handle? These authors have written a surprisingly hopeful book that discusses what to do when teenagers rebel against everything you do. The book handles the tough issues, explaining to parents how to best ways to work with courts and use community resources as they deal with all the drama.
23. Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by Dr. John Medina
Dr. John Medina uses this book to show how brains work – and how they develop. Constant unceasing news stories come out on the best way to enrich the development of babies, much of it contradictory info that only serves to confuse parents who want the best for their new babies. Medina uses the latest science and cuts through the pop science headlines to tell parents what is important to focus on, and what they can leave behind. This leads to some surprising revelations – such as that one of the most important metrics for academic success is early learning of impulse control.
22. Generation Text: Raising Well-Adjusted Kids in the Age of Instant Everything by Dr. Michael Osit
Children these days have instant access to friends, products for sale and gaming at their fingertips through the wonders of current technology. It is no wonder, then, that children have become more impulsive and demanding. Dr. Osit is a seasoned child psychologist who explains how to cope with the excesses of modern technology and teaches parents how to raise happier, healthier, more successful children.
21. My Body Myself for Girls: A “What’s Happening to My Body” Quizbook and Journal by Lynda Maderas
As young girls begin to mature, parents have the difficult task of teaching them about the physical and emotional changes that are occurring within them. Maderas has written a classic guide for parents to share with their young girls to make the transition easier.
20. My Body Myself for Boys: A “What’s Happening to My Body” Quizbook and Journal by Lynda Maderas and Area Maderas
Puberty can be a difficult and confusing time for young boys. It can be very difficult for parents to talk about these subjects openly without help. This book gives boys the masculine perspective on changes taking place within their bodies. The book is filled with helpful and interesting activities such as quizzes, games and learning exercises that boys will truly enjoy.
19. Mental Toughness: Understanding the Game of Life by Dr. Timothy S. Wakefield
In this book, the author applies the concept of mental toughness, a subject often associated with sports preparation, to helping children get ready for the rest of their lives. It is a handy reference tool to assist parents as they teach their children effective and positive ways of thinking and behaving.
18. The Ten Greatest Gifts I Give My Children: Parenting from the Heart by Steven W. Vannoy
Parenting can be a disheartening venture, filled with anxiety and disappointment. In this book, Vannoy shows parents new ways to approach the demands of parenting. At the same time, the book is both encouraging and inspiring, helping parents to gain a more positive outlook on the most important job they will ever have.
17. Worried All the Time: Overparenting In An Age Of Anxiety And How To Stop It by David Anderegg
With all the disturbing news and warnings in the media, it is not surprising that parents are constantly preoccupied with anxiety over their children’s safety, health and development. Anderegg puts all those worries to rest by debunking current myths of childhood dangers. In fact, the author explains that life is now safer and healthier than ever for kids. The book begins by explaining why it is important not to worry and goes on to give advice on how parents can avoid the overwhelming anxiety many of them feel.
16. The Pocket Parent by Gail Reichlin and Caroline Winkler
Written by two professionals and experienced parents, this book is a great pocket-sized reference for the parents of young children. It follows a philosophy of firm, respectful and loving interactions between parents and children. It also includes an alphabetical guide to handling common problems and issues. Concise and easy to use, this book is just what parents need when they have only enough time to look over a well-organized and easy to read reference.
15. Beyond Baby Talk: From Speaking To Spelling: A Guide To Language And Literacy Development For Parents And Caregivers by Kenn Apel Ph.D. and Julie Masterson Ph.D.
Knowing how to talk to children begins with understanding their language development. This book describes the ways children acquire language and guides parents as they monitor and encourage good language learning. Parents can use the book to identify problems with language development as well. As experts in childhood language, Apel and Masterson give sound advice and practical suggestions on how to help children from babies to age eight with everything from learning their first sounds to becoming literate in both spoken and written language.
14. Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too By Elaine Mazlish and Adele Faber
One of the most difficult day to day jobs of parenting is refereeing between siblings who just cannot seem to get along with each other. This book is a must read for any parent with more than one child. The authors spell out ways to deal with all those sticky problems that come up with brothers and sisters in a family. Parents will learn how to handle all kinds of sibling conflicts and encourage their children to live peaceably with their brothers and sisters.
13. The Secret of Parenting: How to Be in Charge of Today’s Kids–From Toddlers To Preteens–Without Threats or Punishment by Anthony E. Wolf
When parents find standard disciplining methods to be ineffective, where do they turn? Wolf makes it easy with this book on innovative techniques for dealing with childhood misbehavior. With this book, parents no longer need to lean on spanking, yelling or even grounding. The author offers new suggestions for parents on how to respond to childish behavior and bring out the best in their children.
12. The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins
Mothers who want to breastfeed their infants face a range of difficult challenges. They need to know how to start nursing their children, what to do about nursing in public, and lots of details on how to make it all work. This book is so well-respected that it has been chosen by the International Lactation Consultant Association as the very best book on the subject. It is the ideal gift for an expecting mother who plans to nurse her infant.
11. Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter
Feeding children can be confusing and difficult in a world where everyone has different opinions on the subject. Satter cuts through the clutter and explains the best ways to feed children from before birth and beyond. Prenatal nutrition, breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, getting toddlers to eat and avoiding mealtime disagreements are just a few of the topics covered. There is also a special section that identifies and gives advice on a wide range of eating disorders and difficulties. The book covers its topic thoroughly and provides a convenient reference for parents.
10. Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson Ed.D.
Often, parents become lost in a confusion of parenting advice and learned parenting behaviors that are not only ineffective but may also disrupt the harmony in the household. This book describes a more positive approach that leads parents to create a more respectful and helpful attitude towards their children. It is a classic guide that teaches parents to be both firm and kind as they guide their children to maturity.
9. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Have you ever felt cut off from your children because of unsuccessful attempts at communication? Faber and Mazlish help parents explore new ways to talk to their children and learn how to really listen to them. Parents who read the book said that they were inspired by it and learned how they can foster an atmosphere of mutual respect between themselves and their children.
8. How to Raise A Brighter Child by Joan Beck
Parents everywhere hope for a bright, intelligent child. This book goes beyond simple hope to practical suggestions for helping your children tap into all their personal potential and become smarter in every aspect of their lives. The author explains that children’s intelligence is not set by genetic factors, but can be influenced by environmental factors such as the way parents nurture them. She gives instruction on how to promote learning and when to work on different skills based on the child’s development. This is the book ambitious parents have been seeking for years.
7. Your Baby and Child – From Birth to Age Five by Penelope Leach
This is the book every new parent needs for practical instruction and advice on raising children. The book tells you both how to give baby her first bath and how to help the toddler handle her emotions. Parents get help with all the daily chores of parenthood and learn to understand their babies and young children better.
6. The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Reading aloud to children was once a common practice, and it is beginning to regain popularity again. Whether you have been reading to your children all along or have just decided to start, Trelease’s book is a great resource. It tells why you should read, why life is better with less television, how to read to kids of all ages, and how to enjoy every minute of it. What is more, it has a comprehensive list of the best books to read to children, from picture books for the very young to chapter books for older children.
5. Perfect Parenting by Elizabeth Pantley
When the time comes to handle a particular crisis or issue, it is not always practical to read an entire book to find the answer. This book provides a marvelous solution by presenting 1000 different issues and ways to deal with them, all in this handy reference book. The book is arranged alphabetically so it is very easy to flip right to the issue at hand and learn what it is about and how to deal with it. This book is a must have for parents everywhere.
4. The Power of Positive Parenting by Dr. Glenn I. Latham
Parents looking for a comprehensive guide and reference on all aspects of parenthood will find it in The Power of Positive Parenting. Dr. Latham has written a book that speaks to a wide variety of parenting issues, all with a positive slant. Parents who have read this book say they go back to the book over and over for advice and help with the everyday tasks of raising emotionally and socially healthy children.
3. Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim G. Ginott
Healthy and productive communications between parents and children are essential in creating a happy family and fostering positive childhood. This book has become a classic since its first printing over thirty-five years ago. Newly revised and updated by the wife of the late author, the book is as relevant and useful as ever. Parents have turned to this book over the years to understand their children better and learn to communicate with them respectfully, positively and effectively.
2. The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by Martha Sears and William Sears
Martha and William Sears are the leading proponents of attachment parenting. Their guiding principles are based in understanding babies and giving them what they need. This book covers a wide variety of topics, all told from a developmental standpoint with a keen focus on the power of touch.
1. What Every 21st Century Parent Needs to Know: Facing Today’s Challenges with Wisdom and Heart by Debra W. Haffner
Today’s parents cannot learn everything they need to know about modern youth from their own mothers and fathers. The world has changed, and children have changed with it. This book covers a wide range of topics that children are up against in modern-day society, including subjects like bullying, sexuality and even keeping pace with new technologies. The book is both fascinating and useful for 21st century parents.