Parenting books can seem a bit daunting. You don’t want to read something that’s going to make you feel like you’re doing everything wrong, but you also want to learn how to be the best parent possible. So, where do you start?
For some guidance, I’ve compiled a list of the best parenting books. These books will help you deal with many of the challenges that come with being a parent. They offer helpful advice on everything from bonding to building resilience.
In Defense of Parenting Books
I love how parenting books normalize aspects of parenting. If you’ve ever thought you are the only caregiver to deal with something, Google “book about (issue)” and prove yourself wrong.
You may not find the best advice, but you won’t feel so alone. And that’s half the battle.
But sometimes you really do find the best advice! I love finding a valuable parenting book that informs my choices and changes my perspective.
No one is a perfect parent; we all have aspects of our parenting habits that we would like to change. But we can’t change what we aren’t aware of. Parenting books can help goad awareness of my own parenting habits, good and bad.
Are Parenting Books Actually Helpful?
Well, it depends. Some studies have found that parenting books can freak new parents out, but it really depends on what, when, and how these books are read.
Remember that these are guides, not Bibles. And parenting books are resources that should be revisited throughout the parenting journey.
Don’t read a bunch of parenting books at the very beginning of parenting, when you’re all bloody and exhausted. Come back to parenting books, through different ages and developmental stages (of both and your child!).
Parenting books have:
- Given me new strategies to try
- Normalized my children’s “weird” or “bad” behaviors
- Helped me understand autism more
- Clearly explained developmental stages (so helpful!)
- Provided scripts for everyday discipline
- Suggested further resources, like other books or IRL organizations
- Made sense of the post-partum journey
- Eased the transition of new babies
- Given great tools for improving sibling relationships
12 Best Parenting Books Of All Time
- 1. Be The Parent, Please: Stop Banning See-Saws and Start Banning Snap Chat by Naomi Schaefer Riley
- 2. Cribsheet by Emily Oster
- 3. The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
- 4. How To Raise Kids Who Aren’t @$$holes by Melinda Wenner Moyer
- 5. How to Talk When Kids Won’t Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King
- 6. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham
- 7. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
- 8. Eat, Play, Sleep by Lulza DeSouza
- 9. Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson
- 10. The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene
- 11. The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey
- All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior
1. Be The Parent, Please: Stop Banning See-Saws and Start Banning Snap Chat by Naomi Schaefer Riley
Whoa boy! Be prepared, this book is a bit of a kick in the gut, taking a hard look at the detrimental effect of electronics on children.
Make yourself finish it.
2. Cribsheet by Emily Oster
This book presents the fact and just the facts, ma’am. Cribsheet addresses common parenting anxieties with a synopsis of the available studies on that subject.
No opinions, no telling you what to do, just a presentation of data. *chef’s kiss*
3. The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
A neuropsychiatrist and parenting expert got together to write this book, and the result is truly groundbreaking.
Heavy on child development, this parenting book provides practical solutions for day-to-day issues and over-arching parenting complications.
4. How To Raise Kids Who Aren’t @$$holes by Melinda Wenner Moyer
Sassy, but scientific. I could hardly ask for anything more.
Moyer presents common issues, from increasing empathy to addressing lying, with practical strategies backed by solid data.
5. How to Talk When Kids Won’t Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King
When the authors said “How To Talk,” they weren’t kidding. This book is packed with scripts, taking the guesswork out of some hard and emotional conversations.
The “why” of these conversations is also presented, so I didn’t feel like I was just parroting mumbo-jumbo.
6. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham
This peaceful parenting book focuses on adult’s understanding and empathizing with their own emotions in order to better connect with their children.
7. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This parenting book is an absolute classic, breaking down all kinds of communication barriers between caregivers and children.
8. Eat, Play, Sleep by Lulza DeSouza
It’s very hard to get a new baby on a schedule, and that’s why Eat, Play, Sleep provides more of a…framework.
I found this book exceedingly helpful for getting through the fourth trimester.
9. Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson
Ok, this is a parenting memoir but it’s soooo funny and well-written. Buy a copy and read an essay whenever feeling especially harried.
10. The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene
Just like adults, some children respond differently to frustration than others. What may make one kid shrug may make another chuck a toy across the room.
Dr. Greene wrote this book to help the latter child.
11. The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey
A manifesto that encourages parents, teachers, and other mentors to allow (even encourage) school children to fail.
Lahey sees overparenting as an enemy, and she’s not wrong.
All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior
A well-researched tome describing the effect that children have on parents, both historically and in the Social Media Age.
If you are feeling lost as a parent, or just want to get ahead of potential problems, picking up a parenting book is an empowering way to get on the right track. They offer support, information, and can an answer questions we didn’t even know we had.
Parenting books are helpful resources to navigate parenting. Reading them doesn’t mean we’re doing anything wrong – it means that we’re taking an active role in our children’s upbringing.
Want More? See my reviews of All the Rage and Fed Up
What are some of your favorite parenting books? Leave your recommendations in the comments.