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The 11 Best Parenting Books Ever Written

Every parent, new and experienced, can benefit from a little more knowledge about raising their children. The best parenting books give practical strategies that parents can use to help their children feel nurtured and thrive in the long run.


When you first learn that you’re going to be a parent, there’s any number of thoughts that will eventually cross your mind. Is it going to be difficult? Can I provide for them? Will I know what I’m doing? Most people eventually begin to do research about the subject from the moment they know they have one on the way. That's why the best parenting books ever written tackle some of those essential topics on child development.

From potty training to brain development, there is also a wealth of knowledge out there for expecting couples and families who already have children. Raising a child into a healthy, functioning adult is a daunting task, but not one that is impossible. By doing a little research and learning more about what to expect, your day to day parenting tasks will be a little easier.

Why? Simple. Knowledge is power. If you read a book that tells you what to expect in certain stages of your child’s development, you’re bound to feel more confident to tackle issues as they arise.

What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff

This book is the definitive guide for parents who are looking for an instruction manual of sorts for their baby's first year. The book is formatted month by month, which allows new parents the ability to look at what to expect in their baby’s development from the first month of their new lives to the twelfth.

There’s a reason this book has sold over 11 million copies. You get practical advice with easy to understand information. They basically take the science behind newborn care and make it accessible for any reader. They provide you with information pertaining to helping your baby sleep through the night and preparing your own baby food. This is a must have for collectors of the best parenting books out there.

The Baby Book by William, Martha, Robert, and James Sears

The Baby Book is another step by step guide that deals with the changes you can expect in your baby from birth to the time they are two.

This guide starts before the baby is even born, also making it one of the best books for expectant parents. It provides pregnant mothers with information on how to prepare for childbirth. The book then transitions to topics that deal with bonding, temperamental babies, common illnesses, and even addresses the challenges faced by those parents who are balancing a new family with their career.

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior

This book is a New York Times bestseller because it tackles the real life challenges of raising a child. This book is an analysis of the way children help to reshape their parent’s lives. Everything changes when you have a child, and most people don’t really want to admit this fact. From the way you approach your job, maintain friendships, and even go about practicing your hobbies, this book takes a research-based approach to parenting, in a way that is compassionate and caring.

The focus of this book is not just about the way being a parent changes people, but the way that having children helps to give a newfound purpose to the ways people approach life. The book is not just theory either; the author takes her research and had real parents put her strategies to use in their own homes. What you get is an honest book, offering research that can help any parent who decides that reading this book is in their best interest.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

This book is all about communication, and is one of the best parenting books ever on the topic of communication. Written in 1999, the book is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was first published. The book deals with the ways that parents can communicate with their children in a healthy way, one that fosters trust and opens up the lines of healthy dialogue between you and them. If you want to have kids who listen and you're willing to listen to your kids, this is the book for you.

One of the best aspects of this book is that the authors tackle the topic of discipline, and offer alternatives that will work for parents much better than more traditional forms of punishment.

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross

Modern society is one that is fast paced, and full of clutter. The book addresses the concept that our children are presented with too many options, which can cause more problems than most people realize. The book is dedicated to the concept of less is more, and helps parents to create an environment that is the most beneficial to your child’s development. The book will help you reduce clutter, establish routine, and find time for establishing calm connections with your child, which all children need in order to live a life of parenting made easy.

The Gardener and the Carpenter by Alison Gopnik

This book takes aim at the way that parenting has evolved over the years. The author makes it clear that she disagrees with parenting for a desired outcome. Parents should want to nurture their children to be the best versions of themselves, not some preconceived image of what their parents aspire for them to become. The Gardener and the Carpenter embraces the idea that children are imaginative and unpredictable, both good qualities that help children develop into happy and healthy adults, as opposed to some carbon copy of their parents or "the ideal child" their parents might want them to be.

No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury

Anyone with a toddler understands that disciplining them can be a challenge. In No Bad Kids, the authors tackle the subject in a way that validates the parent’s need to establish structure and routine, while still acknowledging some of the more common behaviors of toddlers. It's always good to learn tools that will help you manage the most trying of toddler behaviors that have been known to test the patience of every parent. The knowledge gained from reading this book will help parents to establish bonds that will last long after your toddler has moved past the terrible twos.

Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

The authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen have done it again, writing another one of the best parenting books that improve family relations. The authors decide, this time around, to tackle the subject of sibling relationships, and the way that a contentious relationship between siblings can create unrest in the home. The authors looked at their own life experiences to see if they could figure out the best way to help their own children get along in their respective homes. What they offer is a book full of resources to help your children learn to cooperate, meet each other halfway, and benefit from the bonds that siblings should have. The authors teach parents how help their children channel the negative energy that leads to arguments and fights into more creative and healthy outlets.

Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

This is another book that was on the New York Times bestseller list, and for good reason. It examines the way that children learn and grow, and tasks the reader with rethinking the way that they have been taught to parent in the hopes they adopt a new philosophy that will help their children become truly successful people. They look at the healthy effects of praise, a concept that many schools are adopting today; and tackle issues such as: race, playground behavior, aggression, and a wide variety of other topics. This book is unlike any of the other books on the market, which might be one of the reasons for its widespread success.

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

There’s no shortage of books about the healthy brain development in children. The authors take you through all the stages of a child’s brain development and how that stage of development can control every aspect of the child’s life. So often do parents struggle with behaviors without truly understanding where they stem from. What this book does, which separates it from many other parenting books, is that it gives parents practical strategies based on the neuroscience of the brain, helping parents cope and conquer many behavioral challenges that are all too familiar. The authors do this by providing 12 strategies to help parents foster healthy mental and emotional development in their children.

1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan

Of the best parenting books ever written should be a few manuals for discipline. Luckily, this book claims to help deal with the more obnoxious behaviors that children do that drive parents insane. The book helps parents create routines that are positive, and establish discipline procedures that will effectively manage all the behavioral issues that children might face over the years. 1-2-3 Magic has won a few awards over the years, and is one of the staples within the parenting book genre.

Parenting can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean that you have to deal with those issues alone. The best parenting books ever written will be sure to be an asset to any parent looking to further their knowledge of children, as well as foster healthy, nurturing environments for children of any age.

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