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Parents and Parenting


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Are you looking for books to help you improve your parenting skills? Support and nurture a special child? Make it through the "terrible twos" or the teenage years? Click the links below to see Our Editors' Choices of recommended books. Then it's your turn to share titles that you recommend. and tell why you value them. With your help, we will build the best list on the Web of Best Books for parents and parenting.

 


Be sure to check out our other Best Book archives:
Best Books for Students
Best Books for Developing Teaching Themes
Best Books for Professional Development
Best Books for School Leaders

 

In order to make searching for books easier, we have organized the titles in this archive by category. Scroll the page to view the entire list or click a category below for a shorter list of titles.

Building Skills for Life
Child Development
Communication
Community Involvement
Contemporary Parenting Issues
Discipline
Enhancing School Success
Special Needs

Building Skills for Life

Your Competent Child: Toward New Basic Values for the Family
Jesper Juul is better known internationally than he is here in the United States, and, like Benjamin Spock or T. Berry Brazelton, his writing is placed more in the context of early childhood development than in the context of older children. However, like Spock, Juul can be very enlightening because his vision embraces the fundamental aspects of family life. In short, this book calls on families to base their rules on values rather than on authority.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Emotionally Intelligent Parenting: How to Raise a Self-Disciplined, Responsible, Socially Skilled Child
When New York Times science writer Daniel Goleman coined the term "EQ" -- emotional intelligence quotient -- a few years ago, it was one of those lightning rods that drew tremendous attention. Now the concept of emotional intelligence has been applied to advice in many areas, including this book's focus on parenting. Co-written by Goleman, this book manages to be quite comprehensive while, at about 270 pages, staying away from textbook length. A worthwhile approach of which all parents should be aware.
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Generation NeXt Parenting: A Savvy Parent's Guide to Getting it Right
This book is designed to look like a magazine inside -- well, not all glossy, but just the way they've split up the pages. The idea is to bring to people who were kids in the 70s and 80s parenting tips suited not only to their generation, but also to parents of their kids' generation. Indeed, what parent has not asked at some point, "who are these kids?" Warning: there is some specifically Christian content in this book, so skip it if that's not your cup of tea.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Single Parenting That Works: Six Keys to Raising Happy, Healthy Children in a Single-parent Home
Single parents, it seems, don't have time for Ten Keys to Raising Happy, Healthy Children, so this book keeps it to a very succinct Six. The book is also user-friendly, to use a Web term, in ladling out its advice with a dose of humor: Witness such chapter headings as "Got Guilt?" It's also got some drama in it, vividly describing the multiplicity of demands on the single parent, and of course trying to help you think of how you might eek out that most precious parenting commodity: time. Good bedtime reading if you aren't already asleep!
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
Every parent (who isn't wealthy) has a concern for his or her child's financial well-being in the long run, and this book addresses that concern by sharing what proposes to be those things the rich teach their kids about staying rich, that is, how to make money "work for you." Far be it from church-mouse educators like ourselves to question the potential of becoming well-off via finance, but it no doubt requires a great deal of discipline and attention. A worthwhile topic even if you conclude at the end that you're doing all you reasonably can do!
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Child Development

Motivated Minds: Raising Children to Love Learning
What makes children succeed in school? Deborah Stipek, Dean of the School of Education at Stanford, and Kathy Seal maintain that parents and teachers can build a solid foundation for learning by helping children to develop the key elements of success. The authors offer practical advice on understanding different learning styles and down-to-earth tips about how to manage difficult issues. Most important, they help parents create an enriching environment for their children at home.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Dr. Spock's The School Years: The Emotional and Social Development of Children
Dr. Spock is of course known best for his "Baby and Child Care" book, which is so popular that by now it is probably on best seller lists on other planets. But the SchoolNotes parent might find this semi-classic by the good doctor more pertinent to their concerns. The basic Spockian premises are carried through to the school years, with an emphasis on values at the core of the book. Chapters specifically on education are valuable additions to the guidance in the baby and child care classic.
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Science of Parenting
While books stating opinions about how one should parent are useful, this book takes a different tack and simply shares, in textbook-like fashion, a lot of things we know scientifically from research in child development, the brain, etc. To be sure, the book extrapolates from what is known to make recommendations about parenting, and of course not all research nor its conclusions stands forever unchallenged or without re-interpretation, but using scientific knowledge as the touchstone is a useful approach that few other popular books take.
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Playful Parenting
This book focuses on child's play, which, as it turns out, of course, is not child's play. That is, play is actually a way of exploring the world, a method of learning that is natural and universal, and so, as this book contends, it's important for parents to learn how to re-enter that world and to re-discover that learning method if they are to really understand their children.
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Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky
For the parents who want to be able to converse on equal footing with their child's fourth grade teacher who just got a doctorate in education, this helpful primer reviews the basics of some of the biggest names in theories of childhood -- all in about a hundred pages! Though whole shelves of books have been written by, about, or in opposition to any of these thinkers, a quick primer like this one gives the non-specialist reader a lot to think about.
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Communication

Stop Negotiating With Your Teen: Strategies for Parenting Your Angry, Manipulative, Moody, or Depressed Adolescent
Perhaps the only time of life harder than adolescence is the time you're the parent of one or more adolescents. This book suggests strategies that can be employed in a variety of situations with your teen: containing conflicts, avoiding futile arguments, and managing the teen who manipulates through charm. While a book that might truly cover all the possibilities would be many thousands of pages, this relatively succinct book might give you a good start!
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Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool
I just want to yell at this book! (Just kidding.) This book has a chapter heading that seems to stand for its whole thesis: "Put on your own oxygen mask first," meaning, basically, that parenting is about parents (another chapter heading), and while obviously we tend to think it's about kids, the Zen truth is that if you focus on keeping your own cool, it affects the kids in a positive way too.
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Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most
The Harvard Negotiation Project has produced at least one truly classic book, Getting to Yes, in which the concept of non-adversarial ("win/win") negotiation was first made popular. This book applies this concept to specific real-life situations, including family ones. Truly a useful perspective to help those of us who aren't naturally gifted at dealing with confrontational situations.
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Pinocchio Parenting: 21 Outrageous Lies We Tell Our Kids
Interestingly, this book is not about vicious lies or lies meant to deceive as such, but rather lies like, "you can be anything you want to be." That is, lies we kind of wish were true but know, really, aren't. The book is more of a humorous meditation on parenting in an imperfect world, then, rather than a book about imperfect parenting.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
This is one of a series of books that help the reader fashion his or her communications to better suit a variety of relationships; others in the series include Teens, for example. A key insight is that structuring your communications with your kids so that you actually encourage their autonomy (as opposed to focusing on bringing kids "in line") can paradoxically help bring kids in line. Even for the successful communicator, or the person who might be good at communications in other situations but have trouble with his or her own kids, this is a useful set of reminders.
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Community Involvement

It Takes a Village, Tenth Anniversary Edition
Senator Clinton published this book in 1996, and its reception had as much to do with politics as with parenting. Then again, the book really is as much about how our society cares for children (or doesn't) as it is about how parents might best care for them. Unfortunately, it seems the statistics Clinton cites in her first chapter to sound the clarion call have gone unimproved: One in five US children living in poverty in 1996, about the same number today. The number without health insurance Clinton cites as 10 million, while estimates today range as high as 23 million who lack health insurance for one or more months of the past year. So, whatever you think of Clinton, you might want to give this book a look.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Contemporary Parenting Issues

Pinocchio Parenting: 21 Outrageous Lies We Tell Our Kids
Interestingly, this book is not about vicious lies or lies meant to deceive as such, but rather lies like, "you can be anything you want to be." That is, lies we kind of wish were true but know, really, aren't. The book is more of a humorous meditation on parenting in an imperfect world, then, rather than a book about imperfect parenting.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Generation NeXt Parenting: A Savvy Parent's Guide to Getting it Right
This book is designed to look like a magazine inside -- well, not all glossy, but just the way they've split up the pages. The idea is to bring to people who were kids in the 70s and 80s parenting tips suited not only to their generation, but also to parents of their kids' generation. Indeed, what parent has not asked at some point, "who are these kids?" Warning: there is some specifically Christian content in this book, so skip it if that's not your cup of tea.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Parenting Well in a Media Age: Keeping Our Kids Human
Good subtitle! Almost everyone who has access to it enjoys today's bright, shiny media life -- on-demand movies on widescreen TVs at home, looking things up in seconds on the Internet that you might have spent a day looking for in a library in the old days, and even the increasingly amazing portable devices. However, there is certainly a danger that kids' socialization won't resemble what we have thought of as the healthy norm in the "pre-media" age. This book should probably be accompanied by a daily podcast, but in the meantime, a good place for media-concerned parents to start.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood
This book's snappy title promises that its advice will be dispensed not only with humor, but particularly, without judgment. No one seems so in need of this understanding than the modern mother, as the picture of that species that emerges in this book confirms. As one mom puts it, "Am I happy? The word that describes me best is challenged." Each chapter proposes a guideline to keep in mind while navigating this part of a woman's life, and the advice would be well followed also by hubbies.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
Every parent (who isn't wealthy) has a concern for his or her child's financial well-being in the long run, and this book addresses that concern by sharing what proposes to be those things the rich teach their kids about staying rich, that is, how to make money "work for you." Far be it from church-mouse educators like ourselves to question the potential of becoming well-off via finance, but it no doubt requires a great deal of discipline and attention. A worthwhile topic even if you conclude at the end that you're doing all you reasonably can do!
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Discipline

Discipline: The Brazelton Way
T. Berry Brazelton is one of the best known writers about parenting, but his work focuses on early childhood. By the time you're a SchoolNotes parent, unless your SchoolNotes child has a younger sibling, the specific context that Brazelton writes about is not so current for you. However, knowing Brazelton's point of view regarding discipline can be useful even after your children have graduated from second grade, and certainly this is a book you could pass along to a friend or a sibling whose kids are younger than yours.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Parenting With Love And Logic
The "love and logic" series is a popular one that applies its message of balanced relationships to teaching, parenting, parenting teens, and probably even dealing with people at hotel reception desks ... Seriously, however, we all know that parenting can distract you from the "golden mean" and pull you either too far toward "love" (indulgence) or too far toward logic (rules, rules, rules). That being the case, it's good to be reminded to take a measured approach.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Enhancing School Success

Help! My Child is Starting Middle School!
A Survival Handbook for Parents

Parents are seldom -- if ever -- prepared for the enormous changes their child faces entering middle school. The sheltered, structured, and nurturing environment that is elementary school gives way to the fast-paced, organized chaos of middle school. Students often feel more thrown in, rather than eased into, the middle school world, and parents of first-time middle schoolers often feel more lost than their children.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Motivated Minds: Raising Children to Love Learning
What makes children succeed in school? Deborah Stipek, Dean of the School of Education at Stanford, and Kathy Seal maintain that parents and teachers can build a solid foundation for learning by helping children to develop the key elements of success. The authors offer practical advice on understanding different learning styles and down-to-earth tips about how to manage difficult issues. Most important, they help parents create an enriching environment for their children at home.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Family Math
How can parents help their children with math at home? With over 300 pages of lively activities, this book represents one of the greatest strides taken to involve parents in the mathematics education of their children. Using easy instructions and simple objects such as beans, blocks, pennies, buttons, and string, parents and kids solve problems together. For families with children five to twelve years old.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Ten Steps to Helping Your Child Succeed in School
Once in a while you kind of wish there were eleven steps or eight tips, just to keep the number ten honest. Seriously, this compact book (only 140 brief pages) packs a lot of information into its decimal framework. Tables of personality types, multiple intelligences, and learning styles are all part of Step 1, for example. This book focuses on Steps, that is, here are ten things you can do, in the order you can do them, that should contribute positively toward your child's success in school. Given that it shouldn't take you more than about an hour to read this useful primer.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Special Needs

Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy And Successful Children
I guess if we all live in Lake Woebegone, this book should just be called "Parenting," because all our kids are gifted, right? Well, in fact, giftedness of the kind this book addresses brings its own challenges, including perfectionism, superiority complexes, and school systems that, legally obligated to spend extra resources on kids with various learning disabilities, either can't afford or don't want to spend anything extra on kids with special needs due to giftedness. The requisite ten tips structure this book, and many quotes from real gifted kids, real parents, and grownups who were gifted kids, give the book a human feel.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Parenting School-Age Twins and Multiples
Have you ever heard that when you have your second child, your spouse and you have just become outnumbered? Well, what about twins and up? Obviously we think readily about the challenges of the dual or triple stroller, the feeding times, the ear infections, telling the little darlings apart. We think of the terrible two's being multiplied. But what about the school-age phase? Here's a book that is of interest to every parent, if only to show you how things could be even more challenging!
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Parenting Children With ADHD: 10 Lessons That Medicine Cannot Teach
If the popular press is to be believed, it seems like 95 percent of kids today are diagnosed with ADHD, so I doubt we need to add "attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder." Indeed, its being among the 3,000 best selling books on Amazon is a sign that this book strikes a chord with many, many families. Also, its focus on the common-sense parenting issues, rather than spending a lot of time on the medical facts (and mysteries) surrounding ADHD, is clearly helpful to the non-specialist reader.
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1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
A book whose insights can be shared between teachers and parents, this title's 1001 ideas probably represent only a fraction of the ideas you'll need if you're coping with a child who falls anywhere near the autism end of the autism spectrum. More and more children are being diagnosed with syndromes and situations that are encompassed in this book's scope, and these ideas can very well be useful and at least interesting even if your child is well within the norm.
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Parenting After Divorce: A Guide to Resolving Conflicts and Meeting Your Children's Needs
Although the divorce rate is apparently decreasing somewhat in the United States, no doubt for those who go through it, parenting afterwards has got to be among the very toughest challenges faced. This book's focus is of obvious value to many, therefore, but even for parents with intact marriages, the book's treatment of conflict resolution and accounting for children's needs in the midst of parental disputes can be enlightening.
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Single Parenting That Works: Six Keys to Raising Happy, Healthy Children in a Single-parent Home
Single parents, it seems, don't have time for Ten Keys to Raising Happy, Healthy Children, so this book keeps it to a very succinct Six. The book is also user-friendly, to use a Web term, in ladling out its advice with a dose of humor: Witness such chapter headings as "Got Guilt?" It's also got some drama in it, vividly describing the multiplicity of demands on the single parent, and of course trying to help you think of how you might eek out that most precious parenting commodity: time. Good bedtime reading if you aren't already asleep!
Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


Add your voice to our list of parenting books!

The Education World Editors’ Choices above represent just a handful of the great books that might be used to support parents and improve parenting. Now we’re waiting for your review! Simply send us your review of a favorite book in 100 words or fewer and your review will be added to the other Readers’ Choices that appear below.

kidztchr7 recommends
Help! My Child is Starting Middle School!: A Survival Handbook for Parents
by Jerry L Parks
Help! My Child is Starting Middle School! is written to 6th grade parents. It includes virtually everything a parent should know. It also includes a couple of chapters for parents and kids to read together. Our PTO bought copies to utilize at orientation.

Be the next to add your review to this page!


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Updated 06/13/2008


 

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