The Best Books for Parents

Published: January 25, 2015

Most new parents have heard about the popular books out there such as the "What to Expect" series and those penned by Dr. Sears.  However, there are a lot of refreshing texts that can be overlooked even by seasoned parents.  Here is a top ten list worth looking into just by being different.  They might just change your view or bring you a sense of solidarity.   Other books might make you shake your head in surprise, and few might make the hard job of raising those precious little people a little easier.  Try one on for size.


  1. It's Okay Not to Share by Heather Shumaker

    Everyone with a child eventually comes upon the wall of conflict, particularly with sharing.   Why won't they just do it?  In the book It's Ok Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids, Shumaker opens the door to some of the expectations we have for children who have not yet finished developing or learning.    Who will let a perfect stranger into their home and offer them free access use their car or any item in their home for as long as they wanted?  Yet, adults expect their children to give their toys to strange children to play with as long as they want!  Read this book for more eye openers.

  2. Free-Range Kids By Lenore Skenazy

    Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) is a fresh look at the world we have been conditioned to fear over the last twenty years.   The stastistics just don't support the idea that our children are in constant danger.  How can we raise confident and responsible children if we can never leave them alone until they are eighteen?  Ms. Skenazy sets the record straight.  If we want to see our neighborhoods vibrant again with the sounds of children playing outside as they used to, this book will give ideas, direction, and support.

  3. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

    How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk will change how a parent speaks to their children to help them to connect and avoid meltdowns.   Who doesn't want their feelings acknowledged and their words heard?  Sometimes adults and children aren't on the same page, and assumptions can be made about what the child is thinking.   This book contains everal examples and scenarios to help change how parents engage their children.  How can you avoid the one word answer?   By being thoughtful in posing a question that can't be answered by yes or no.

  4. How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and How to Listen So Teens Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

    The companion book to How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk to help parents navigate the treacherous years of puberty.   What worked before when they were younger will no longer work as children grow and become adults.    How can one engage a teenager who seems reluctant to supply any sort of information, and seems to withdraw the more questions are asked?    Faber and Mazlish propose a change in how teens are addressed and what questions to ask that will prompt a much needed two sided conversation without blaming, interrogations, or lectures.

  5. The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff

    Why do we behave the way we do?   Are modern social norms innate or have they been learned?  If they have been learned, how different did our ancestors behave?     Jean Liedloff discovered much when she was living with Indians in the South American jungle.     This might not seem like it will change or help parenting in the modern age, but to know where you are going it helps to know where you've been.    Liedloff discovered something very compelling about the society that she lived with.   When babies are kept close and their expectations met without harshness or training, their nature is to become socially balanced without prompting.

  6. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham

    Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting guides parents who are struggling with conflict in their home that seems to escalate despite their best efforts to be calm in such situations.   Written mainly for parents with children six and under, the first change suggested is for parents to change their emotional triggers.  Discover what their tipping point is and to finally address it.   Then be active in choosing another path away from yelling.  The next is to understand the different brain development of young children and to support them as they work through their emotions.   With connection, understanding it becomes easier to guide children and teach them boundaries without bribery or yelling.

  7. Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort

    Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves (Transforming parent-child relationships from reactionand struggle to freedom, power and joy) is not a book about raising children, but a book on how to heal the parents who have struggled with not feeling right within themselves.    Whatever the feelings, the book walks the reader through identifying those things from their childhoods and their current lives that are compelling the to repeat a circle of behavior they are trying desperately to stop.    What the struggle is may be as simple as feeling compelled to yell, or as complex as the struggle to not explode into physical violence.   A must read for those who have always felt off the mark, and are seeking answers.

  8. Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn

    Unconditional Parenting:  Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason challenges the idea that external rewards are more effective than internal motivations.    Many parents have been raised in a world of rewards and punishments and they continue this trend with their own children.   What is one to do when rewards no longer work?   What is the right path when the child rejects the reward and accepts the punishment? Is there an alternative?    Mr. Kohn's book provides insights into the workings of how the mind of a child is wired and why rewards and punishments are, at best, short term.   No rewards does not mean permissive, it means boundaries are set and guidance given without the need to bribe.

  9. The Wonder Weeks by Dr. Hetty van de Rijt and Dr. Frans Plooij

    The Wonder Weeks is not an ordinary parenting book.   Ever wondered if your baby was normal?   Why is she fussing and seem to refuse to be comforted?  Why isn't she sleeping again?   What is going on and will this ever end?    The anwer to most of these questions can be quelled with this book which documents ten specific mental leaps that all babies go through at relatively the same time.   These leaps of development occur in a series within the first eighteen months of life.  Once you know what to look for, you can prepare, and be assured that your sweet baby will be back better than ever.

  10. Go Diaper Free by Andrea Olson

    Did you know that babies are aware of the need to empty their bladder and bowels from birth, and if you know what to look for you can take advantage of that inborn skill?   Go Diaper Free:  A Simplified Handbook for Elimination Communication for Babies 0-18 Months is a book written for parents by a mom whose expertise is in potty learning with minimal use of diapers.    It may seem a crazy idea at first, until you realize that most of the world either does not use diapers or has no need of them after age two because they practice these techniques.    Diapers are a modern invention, and there are ways to be rid of them before there is any need to potty train.

The next time you have a moment, choose one of the books from this list and have your world change just a little bit.  I highly suggest the most radical book of them all for a real gust of fresh air, Go Diaper Free:  A Simplified Handbook for Elimination Communication for Babies 0-18 Months.    If that book doesn't make you the talk of your parent group, nothing will.