The following is a list of the best parenting books I have read in the past 20 years. I have used the information with my own family, as well as clients, and recommend them to parents on a regular basis.
1. How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber & Mazlish.
If you are only ever going to read one parenting book, this is the one to read. It teaches respectful, effective parenting skills that concurrently help you build a good relationship with your child. The skills and information is most applicable from toddler hood to the pre-teen years. This is a must read for not only parents, but also anyone who works with children.
This book provides detailed information about sleep patterns and provides specific advice to help parents adjust nap and sleep times, tailored to the child’s age. The book does include a small amount of information about older children, but is most useful for parents of infants and toddlers.
3. Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.
Focusing on temperament, this book helps parents to understand, accept, and work with their child’s unique qualities. The book also focuses on the effects of matching and mismatching of temperament styles between parent and child, which is key for developing positive parent-child relationships.
4. Mom’s House, Dad’s House, by Isolina Ricci.
This is a comprehensive book for parents who are separated or divorced, with a collaborative, modern perspective.
5. Boy Smarts, by Barry Macdonald.
Written by a School Counsellor, and father of 3 boys, Barry Macdonald focuses on qualities unique to boys, and illustrates how we can help boys learn, socialize, and become more confident. In my view, parents of boys will benefit from reading this book, as well schoolteachers and administrators.
6. Sidestepping the Power Struggle, by Alison Miller and Allison Rees.
This is a great reference book for parents, for times when you want some tips for behaviour problems or issues that arise from time to time. These local Victoria authors try to address common behavioural and emotional concerns about children, informed by temperament, child development, and behavioural interventions.
7. Taming the Worry Dragons, by Dr. E. Jane Garland and Dr. Sandra L. Clark.
This book is tailor made for parents (and helpers) of children with anxiety disorders. It guides parents, children, and teens through Narrative Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioural techniques to help children manage their anxiety. This is a “must read” book for parents who have had a child diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
8. Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family, by Ellyn Satter.
Good for the entire family, but especially for parents of toddlers, “picky eaters”, and children with other food issues. This book focuses on developing a healthy attitude towards eating and food, and focuses as much on good esteem and the parent-child relationship, as it does healthy eating habits.
9. The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, by Barbara Coloroso.
This is a practical, sensible, and sensitive book about childhood bullying. It covers the full spectrum of bullying from all sides, and reminds us of our collective responsibility to step in when bullying occurs.
10. The Explosive Child, by Ross W. Green.
If you have a child with extreme behaviour problems and/or emotional disregulation, this is the book for you.