The Best Parenting Books

shelved under Parenting

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.


Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five

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.


Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems: New, Revised, and Expanded Edition

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.)


Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense

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.


How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

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.


The Secret of Parenting: How to Be in Charge of Today's Kids -- from Toddlers to Preteens -- Without Threats or Punishment

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.


Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too

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.