I won’t read just anything. Only the best parenting books for me! As a mama with quite a few years of experience under her belt, I know firsthand the challenges, joys, and twists and turns of parenting and raising children. As parents, we all have our own approaches to the ups and downs of parenting and caring for our children the best way we know how. However, there are times when we could all use some extra parenting guidance and support, which is probably how the saying, “It takes a village” came about.
If you’re a new parent who feels somewhat in over their head, you’ll be glad to know that there are countless parenting books that you can turn to for a bit of clarity on what parenting is all about and how to become a better parent. This is not to say that experienced moms – or parents in general – like myself can’t enjoy these useful books on parenting too, on the contrary. There’s bound to be a book that touches on your parenting woes and how to handle them, whatever they may be.
What makes the best parenting book?
When it comes to parenting, it’s important to make sure that your chosen approach is age-appropriate and considers your child’s personality and traits. After all, no two kids are the same, and you should try to be relatively flexible as a parent with each child. When referring to books by experts, those that have done the necessary research, or those who have walked the parenting journey before you, you’ll find comfort in knowing that you’re on the right track. If not, you could improve on your parenting by taking their advice.
Because not all parenting books are equally resourceful, you may be wondering what exactly makes a good parenting book. Well, in a nutshell, a good parenting book should make things somewhat easier for you – not more complicated or make you doubt your ability to be a good parent!
A good parenting book should contain facts and practical advice on being a parent that both novice and experienced parents can easily understand and implement. Personally, I prefer parenting books that adopt a holistic approach to raising children because all the emotional, physical, and social needs of both parents and children are equally important.
There’s a range of books for parents at different stages of their parenting journey. Below are some of the best parenting books that are sure to enrich your parenting experience and help you build a stronger bond with your child over the years. After all, you only have a limited number of years with them before they become completely independent, and these books can help you make the most of those early years of parenting.
Yes, I know, they grow up so fast.
Best Baby Parenting Books
1. What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff
There are several “What to Expect” books for parents on the market, and most parents enjoy them during the pregnancy stage. However, this book goes beyond the pregnancy stage and explores the first year of parenting. Whether you’re looking for the best parenting books for newborns or the best parenting books for toddlers, this book is a good pick because it can be a useful parenting guide in both cases.
Books like these for parents tend to focus on tracking the development of your baby, which new parents aren’t familiar with. What to Expect the First Year is no different. In a way, you could call this book a saving grace for new parents. This book will open your eyes to some of the growth red flags in your child or symptoms that may be worth looking into as a parent, while also highlighting some milestones and behaviors that you can expect from your little one in their first year of life. Many parents regularly turn to such books throughout their parenting journey.
2. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg with Melinda Blau
Most new parents struggle with understanding what their baby is trying to communicate with them, which is why this book can come in handy. This book explores baby cues, baby language, as well as parenting techniques for you to consider. Hogg’s ability to understand and engage with babies is what has led to her being dubbed “the baby whisperer.” Overall, parents worldwide have praised her for dispelling some myths and old wives’ tales, while providing programs and tools to help them become better parents that understand their little ones a bit more.
3. Turning Tantrums into Triumphs by Pamela Ali
Every now and then, there are books that completely exceed expectations and provide parenting guidance in a concise way. Turning Tantrums into Triumphs is one of those books. This best-selling book is suitable for parents who may be looking for a short read to better understand their toddlers and become better parents. Parenting a two-year-old is not easy; there’s a reason why the phrase “terrible twos” has been popularized and understood by parents across the globe!
Fortunately, this book is full of scientific information for parents who want to understand their child/ren’s tantrums on a deeper level, so as to manage them better. Parenting is challenging enough as is, but having a different perspective of what makes your little one behave a certain way could just earn you the title of best parent in the world!
4. Enough About the Baby by Becky Vieira
A book with a title like this is bound to grab your attention! After all, isn’t that what parenting is about – the baby? That’s what a lot of parents might think before reading a book like this. This book focuses on the first year of parenting, particularly for new moms. Not only does this book take on an unbelievably honest and unorthodox approach to the realities of parenting, but it also provides a level of comfort for new mothers with similar lived experiences when it comes to parenting and physical changes to their bodies.
That’s not to say that it can’t be enjoyed by both parents. Because parenting is a joint effort, when one parent (the dad) has a better idea of what the other parent (the mom) is going through, it can make them more empathetic and improve the parenting relationship.
Best New Parent Books For Dads
5. We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook by Adrian Kulp
You can never be fully prepared for what parenting entails if you’re a new parent, especially as a dad! In this book, Kulp offers practical parenting guidance based on and inspired by his personal experiences as a parent. The thought of being a dad can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time, but this book adopts a humorous approach to being a parent, so as to make you feel more at ease.
In this book, you can expect to receive guidance on how to support your partner during this exciting yet nerve-wracking time, week-specific pregnancy milestones, as well as several other parenting tips, tricks and advice.
6. Man Vs. Child: One Dad’s Guide to the Weirdness of Parenting by Doug Moe
Many have described this as one of the more humorous and relatable parenting books around. Considering that this book is written from Moe’s point of view, it goes without saying that it’s one of the more honest parenting books that you’ll find on the shelves! Dads love this book because it offers a good balance between humor and much-needed advice and guidance to journey along with parents in general.
In this parenting book for dads, you can expect to find chapters with humorous takes on being a parent. Not only does it prove that parenting should not be feared, but it also proves that parenting is a life-long journey of learning. Very few parents, if any, can confidently say that they’ve perfected parenting, but that’s the beauty of the perfectly imperfect parenting journey.
7. Father for Life: A Journey of Joy, Challenge, and Change by Armin A. Brott
Here’s the thing, once you become a dad, you’re in it for life! Perhaps this is what makes the thought of being a parent so scary for some, but this book does a pretty good job at quelling some of the fears you might have. For starters, this parenting book details the various stages of being a parent. While some books might choose to focus on a certain period of your parenting journey, this is one of the more comprehensive parenting books you’ll find.
Brott chronologically zooms in on both the physical and emotional growth aspects of being a parent, and how to deal with your child at each stage. Despite the title of this book, it’s arguably a valuable parenting book for both moms and dads throughout the highs and lows of the parenting journey.
8. Lessons for Dylan: From Father to Son by Joel Siegel
Unlike a lot of dads who stepped into those shoes at a relatively younger age, Siegel became a first-time dad in his late 50s and was diagnosed with cancer. As you can tell by the title of the book, it’s a heartfelt dedication to his son, Dylan, so he can refer to it when Siegel is no longer around to guide him personally. Some might even say that this is more of a love letter to his son than a parenting book; nonetheless, a lot of parents – dads in particular – consider this a resourceful book that’s full of relatable anecdotes, comic relief, as well as life lessons that parents should aim to impart on their children.
Best parenting books of all time
9. The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
The title of this book alone speaks volumes about what you can expect from it. This is one of the parenting books that will give you a better understanding of the human psyche and which parts of the brain are activated in certain situations. Overall, this can help you be more empathetic and aware of the ideal response to your child’s behavior.
When you understand the motivation behind why your child is acting a certain way, you’re less likely to become reactive or defensive. Instead, this book can help you be more mindful of your interactions with your child, as well as adopt a more conscious approach to parenting. The Whole-Brain Child is a parenting book that is bound to come in handy in times of conflict and when your child is upset. It can equip you with the necessary tools and understanding to handle the situation in an amicable and constructive manner.
Parenting can be tricky and there’s no manual book for it, particularly with the various stages that your child goes through, but this is a parenting book that could make you a more present and approachable parent in the long run.
10. The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud And Ned Johnson
Some might argue that parenting is a science, which is why this science-based parenting book is useful for both new and experienced parents. Written by a clinical psychologist and an educator, The Self-Driven Child is all about setting your child up for success. Parents with a better understanding of brain structure and development based on neuroscience and psychology are more likely to be more in control of how they approach situations and the ebbs and flows of parenting.
11. Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson
Although this book can be considered a parenting book, it extends beyond that. It’s a book that just about anyone that deals with children can find very useful. Many parents find this book useful in their parenting journey because it touches on important topics such as bridging communication gaps, building strengths, accountability, and dealing with teenage misbehavior, among other pertinent aspects of parenting.
Not only that, but parents can also gain insight into how other parents have dealt with situations that they might find themselves in through the real-life stories that this book contains.
In conclusion – Best Parenting Books
As the saying goes, “Different strokes for different folks.” In this case, something along the lines of “Different approaches for different parents” might be more fitting. Either way, these books can be a great source of guidance and knowledge from parents that have walked the path before you or experts in the field of parenting. By dedicating time to reading some of the best parenting books available, you’ll find that you may become more confident, knowledgeable, and effective in your role as a parent.
Special thanks to author: Sannie Nkosi is the founder of Four-Leaf Consulting. After a few years in journalism, she ditched the newsroom to write about things that really matter (like family, finances and travel). On a regular day, you can find her creating content, listening to podcasts, or engaging with small business owners.