You’ve probably heard of and/or read many of the top parenting books out there: Happiest Baby on the Block (pro tip: watch the DVD instead, it saves so much time!), Baby 411, 1-2-3 Magic, Parenting with Love and Logic, and then there are approximately 5,000 books about how to get your baby to sleep (some of you may have read all of them!)
Here are some ideas for other parenting books you should check out to explore some really interesting but not as talked about parenting topics. I highly recommend e-books if you spend a lot of time in your car or have a long trip coming up!
Nuture Shock: New Thinking About Children
Nurture Shock is a series of essays on various parenting topics including the problem with over-praising children, why white parents don’t talk to their kids about race, why kids lie and the science behind teenage rebellion. With current research that is often surprising and seems counter-intuitive to today’s common parenting philosophies, this book really challenges you to rethink how you parent and how you can best nurture your children. This book was a huge hit in my book club. My husband also read it, and we had some great discussions about how we want to parent. Nurture Shock is a book worth passing along to another parent friend and one that I know we’ll pick up and re-read as our daughter enters new phases in her life.
Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn’t
This book brought me so much healing when I was grieving my inability to breastfeed my daughter. Suzanne Barston, AKA the Fearless Formula Feeder, shares the research behind breastfeeding and formula feeding and debunks many of the common myths surrounding the breast vs. bottle debate. She shares her own personal story of struggling to breastfeed her children and the stories of many other women that have shared their struggles with her. Whether you breastfed, formula fed, or combo fed, this is a book for you. It will challenge many of the underlying assumptions you may have about women that fed differently than you did, and that will make you a better mom and a better friend.
Free Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)
Labeled the “Worst Mom in the World” for letting her 9 year old ride the subway by himself, Lenore Skenazy examines the fear mongering surrounding parenting in our society. My main takeaways from this book: trust your instincts, trust your kids, and allow them to fail! We like to wax poetic about how “when I was a kid…” but what are we actually doing to encourage our kids to explore and experience that same freedom? The world is NOT more dangerous today than it was when we were kids and Lenore’s book share statistic after statistic to drive this point home. If you are an anxious mom worrying about EVERYTHING, this book is for you. It’s time to get some perspective and let go of the irrational fears that modern society pushes on us. This was an excellent audio book and my husband and I enjoyed listening together on a road trip, it gave us lots to discuss and debate!
How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success
You’ve probably heard of “helicopter parenting” and this book clearly explains the dangers of this kind of parenting and how it hurts our kids, especially as they attempt to leave the nest. While parents of young children might find this book doesn’t seem to apply to the stage of parenting they are currently in, I found it really helpful as I look ahead at what kind of parent I want to be and how to reframe the “success” I hope my children will achieve in life. This book is a great combination of real life stories, important research, and advice for how to avoid the “overparenting trap” that so many parents have fallen into.
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting
This was an eye opening read about how marriage changes after kids (the book cites a stat that couple time decreases by two-thirds after kids are in the picture!) A quote that really stuck with me: “our mothers (and mothers’ mothers) called themselves housewives, we call ourselves stay-at-home moms. The pressure on women has gone from keeping an immaculate house to being an irreproachable mom.” The author explores the ways that modern mothers and fathers parent differently (moms doing many things at once, dads focusing on one thing at a time). This is NOT a book about how to parent, it’s about how having children completely alters our lives. It’s a book about the way parents parent in the 2010s and how it differs from parenting in the past, both good and bad. It is filled with lots of research, history and a sneak peek into how other families cope with the demands of parenting.