I kind of have a love/hate relationship with parenting books. On one hand, they are typically written by experts and provide a plethora of wonderful information. Yay! Knowledge is good. On the other hand, I’ve met many people who felt they had to follow the book to a T or their child was doomed and it created more harm than good. It is important to read and educate yourself, but I think it is okay to pick and choose what parenting philosophies/tactics work for you and your family. You know your family better than anyone; what works for you may not work for me, and vice versa. Nevertheless, due to several requests, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite reads that I would recommend to anyone as they are geared towards general parenting issues. These six books are easy to read and understand, provide fabulous information and insight, and give less specific instructions for parenting as they are intended to shift a parents’ way of thinking rather than outline how to parent. However, if I could recommend just one book for any new parent to read, it would be a book on basic child development. I never predicted that my trusty textbooks in OT school would come in so handy as a mother! If you are a parent, it is imperative you educate yourself on development. By understanding typical childhood development you are arming yourself against unnecessary arguments and frustrations with your children. After reading that book, though, read these:
One: I read Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting when I was pregnant with both girls. I use many of the author’s nuggets of advice (such as “The Pause”) and loved learning about French parenting.
Two: Nurture Shock provides wonderful advice regarding communication and the impact we have with our words. I utilize much of this book’s advice into my practice in pediatrics as well as motherhood in order to foster an environment that is less entitled.
Three: Parenting With Love and Logic has helped Nate and I tremendously as we battle toddlerhood. It’s helped to reinforce certain aspects of our parenting and reminded us regarding the importance of firm boundaries.
Four: Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive helps parents understand why we do certain things, to recognize when it is maladaptive, and to change our mindset (when needed) to raise our children. It is helpful to acknowledge how we were raised (whether good or bad) in order to nurture our own children.
Five: The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids might be my favorite! Perhaps it is the similar latitude to Alaska and overarching concept of hygge or the fact that play (a foundational theory in OT) is so fiercely researched/celebrated in this book? Either way, this book really resonated with me.
Six: I included Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay: And Other Things I Had to Learn as a New Mom simply because it is a light, easy read. Most importantly, it made me laugh and made me feel less alone as a parent to an infant. Sometimes, those two things are just as invaluable as expert advice!
The next parenting book on my nightstand is The Whole Brain Child. What are your favorite parenting books? I’d love to add some to my reading list! Also if you are looking for books regarding more specific issues (sleeping, ADHD, toilet training, etc) let me know– I have recommendations for those, too:)