As the mother of two boys and an avid reader, I've read a lot of parenting books. Many have some useful ideas, but I've found the six below truly indispensable and therefore, in my finite wisdom, I deem them the 6 Best Parenting Books. (Or, at least the best parenting books I've come across in my fairly extensive reading on the subject.)
All six books not only contain great practical advice, but also strike deeper truths about kids and parenting. Three of the books are about general parenting issues; the other three are about three subjects that loom large for many parents: sleep, eating, and sibling rivalry.
by Penelope Leach
This is a great how-to for all aspects of caring for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Both the practical aspects (how to bathe a baby) and the emotional aspects (how to deal with toddler temper tantrums) are covered. In addition, Leach has a warm, empathetic voice that helps you see things from the child's point of view.
by Richard Ferber
This book is a godsend for sleep-deprived parents. Ferber explains, in clear, simple terms, how sleep works and how to teach your child to fall asleep and stay asleep. (Editor's Note: Flashlight Worthy has received a number of comments on this book, both positive and negative. When the list author was asked about the negative comments her response was to encourage those who wrote such comments to read this new and revised edition of the book. The revisions address many of the concerns critics voice.)
by Ellyn Satter
Feeding your kids is a huge part of parenting, but a minefield for parents, especially when pickiness sets in. This book covers everything you need to know about feeding your kids, starting with infants and going all the way up. Satter provides a common sense approach to avoiding battles at mealtimes.
by Elaine Mazlish, Adele Faber
If I could ask every parent to read only one book, this would be it. Faber and Mazlish set out a framework for communicating with your children with respect, and for getting cooperation without threats and punishment. Dealing with kids' emotions, dealing with your own emotions (including impatience and anger), helping kids find their own solutions — it's all in here. Truly life-changing.
by Anthony E. Wolf
Anthony Wolf has written a funny, realistic book about how to deal with the dark side — whining, tantrums, disobedience. His tips for handling the annoying, childish behavior that all kids sometimes engage in can make things a lot easier.
by Elaine Mazlish, Adele Faber
For anyone with more than one child, this book by the authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen is invaluable. They set out what you need to do to help kids get along, for dealing with the inevitable squabbling, and even more importantly, how to avoid pigeon-holing your children.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Karen Kennedy
Karen lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side with her husband and two sons. She's a lawyer by vocation, a reader by avocation and she's spent years finding the best children's books on various topics with the help of her sons and the New York Public Library.
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