Here are My Top 5 Picks:
#1: What to Expect the Toddler Years
By Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff and Sandee E. Hathaway
We’ve all heard the phrase: “Kids Don’t Come with a Manual.” And, this is so true! The “What to Expect” series”(With books on pregnancy, the 1st year, the 2nd year, and the toddler years) is the next best thing to a “manual.” I remember referencing these books repeatedly to learn what developmental milestones are “normal” at certain ages, what to feed my little ones, and how to solve problems such as “stroller struggles.” In my opinion, these books were like having a confidante who was as knowledgeable as a professional but as approachable as a friend.
My only regret is that they don’t have a “what to expect” book for every age!
#2: Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
If you have more than one child, this is hands-down the best book you can read on how to help your kids get along. Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore to buy it. The book was written by two social workers. The authors were experiencing tattling, bickering, arguing, pinching and other mean-spirited behaviors among siblings and so were others in parenting groups they ran. They tested the concepts out first with their own kids and then in a group setting with parents.
The result is a book with five cardinal rules for parents to use with their children that are illustrated with case studies, narrative, and cartoons. (I love the cartoons because once you read the chapter you can just take a peek at the cartoons as a reminder of the key concepts. Brilliant!)
The authors had the novel idea that siblings don’t always have to love each other but they do need to know how to get along with others, solve problems peacefully and learn to tolerate differences in others. If we can accomplish these goals as parents, we’ve been successful and hopefully, they’ll love each other, too!
I had the good fortune of reading this book before our 2nd child was born and I can tell you that my kids have never hit each other and they rarely. I attribute this success to integrating the five key concepts from this book into our family life. In addition, I’ve shared these concepts with hundreds of clients over the years and they, too, have integrated them in their family life with success.
#3: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More
By Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
Often times, I meet parents who are extremely caring and committed parents but they’re really struggling. They’ve tried everything they know to parent their “strong-willed,” “intense,” or “persistent” child and they keep hitting a brick wall.
The parenting methods that they used on Child 1 are not working with Child 2. Or their child just seems more difficult to parent than the neighbor kids. The child is MORE of everything and tried and true conventional parenting methods don’t seem to make a dent with their kids.
The reason, often times, is because of temperament. There are nine temperament traits that we all have, but some of us have MORE of these traits and when are kids have MORE, it makes them harder to parent.
The author, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, has as assessment in her book and then explains each temperament trait before sharing strategies that you can use WITH the temperament traits your child came hard-wired with rather than continually bucking up against them.
#4: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting
By: John Gottman, Ph.D.
When I work with parents, one of the skills I love to teach them is how to become an “emotion coach” parent. John Gottman’s book is the best book for teaching you how to raise a child with high EQ (emotional intelligence.)
There are over a dozen benefits that come to our kids when we help them develop high emotional intelligence, but to me, the greatest benefit is that you end up closer to your kids for their whole life. What could be better than that?
#5: Why Do They Act That Way?: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen
By: David Walsh, Ph.D.
As a parent of two teenagers, I can tell you that knowing that there is a biological basis for some of the ups and down of teenhood has made me a more compassionate parent.
David Walsh takes great care explaining that the prefrontal cortex of a teen’s brain is still “under construction.” It’s this part of the brain that’s responsible for impulse control and the good sense to keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself when the going gets tough. So, while we have to hold teens accountable for their behavior, it can be difficult for teens to put the brakes on some of their impulses.
When your teen does something wrong you might ask “What were you thinking?” and the truth is that the teen didn’t stop long enough to think through the cause and effect, in part because that part of their brain isn’t functioning at an optimal level yet.
Another key concept is that the “myelination” of a teen’s brain is amped up 100% and this process is one of the reasons that teens have “lightning fast” anger.
This major construction process isn’t complete in most teens until they’re in their mid-20s so we need to hang in there!
#6: 20 Great Ways to Raise Great Kids
By Toni Schutta
I don’t claim to have one of the best parenting books of all time, but my book 20 Great Ways to Raise Great Kids is the first-ever compilation of interviews with America’s top parenting experts. You can glean the best parenting tips from the very best experts in short, succinct chapters that get you started with practical parenting tips that work.
I’d like to invite you to join me in the Great Parenting Book Club. We’re going to read two chapters a month for three months (Easy-peasy, right?) that will help you examine if you’re raising your kids with the right values and critical skills that they need to succeed in today’s world today, Here’s the LINK TO SIGN UP NOW and Start Reading.
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