Top 10 Parenting Books

41F35b+fOGL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_Remember when your parents told you that you didn’t come with an instruction manual? They lied (kidding… kind of). Maybe it was just that they couldn’t choose WHICH book to go by. Leave it to Breezy Mama to narrow down the Top 10 Parenting advice books after cross referencing best seller lists, factoring reader reviews, consulting Hanna Fenichel Parent Educator Patti Aretz’s picks and adding a healthy dose of personal opinion.

10. NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

In a world of modern, involved, caring parents, why are so many kids aggressive and cruel? Where is intelligence hidden in the brain, and why does that matter? Why do cross-racial friendships decrease in schools that are more integrated? If 98% of kids think lying is morally wrong, then why do 98% of kids lie? What’s the single most important thing that helps infants learn language?
NurtureShock is a groundbreaking collaboration between award-winning science journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. They argue that when it comes to children, we’ve mistaken good intentions for good ideas. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, they demonstrate that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring–because key twists in the science have been overlooked.
For Amazon’s price of $14.99 (vs. $24.99), click here to purchase.

9. Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
With a title like this, it’s no surprise that authors Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish had a monster bestseller on their hands when the book first appeared in 1988. From the subsequent deluge of readers’ stories, questions, and issues, they have created nearly 50 pages of new material for this, the 10th anniversary edition. The central message remains the same, and sounds almost too simple: avoid comparisons. But parents know that’s easier said than done. The value of Faber and Mazlish’s discussions is precisely that they talk you through umpteen different situations and outcomes to help you teach your brawling offspring a new set of responses. The highly informative text is punctuated with helpful summary/reminder boxes and cartoons illustrating key points. It’s a must-read for parents with (or planning on) multiple children. But parents of young children who get along fine (so far) should read it too–as the authors make very clear, rivalry is inevitable. The only question is how to manage the rivalry with intelligence and compassion, and on that subject they offer a wealth of good advice.
For Amazon’s price of $10.97 (vs. $13.99), click here to purchase.

8. Key to Personal Freedom: How Myths Affect Our Family Lives
by Susie Walton
Most myths that we have about parenting stem from the way we were raised as children and what we have heard or seen over the years. In Susie Walton’s book, Key to Personal Freedom: How Myths Affect Our Family Lives, Walton explores these old myths while shedding light on some new ideas about parenting. By illustrating new concepts with stories of her own experiences, she provides insight as well as practical tools that you can implement instantly into your home or classroom.
For Amazon’s price of $8.95, click here to purchase.

7.The Values Book: Teaching Sixteen Basic Values to Young Children
by Pam Schiller
Citing circumstances within our culture and environment that are creating changes in behavior, this book offers teachers and parents quick, straightforward ideas for raising children’s awareness, understanding, and experience of 16 basic values, including tolerance, honesty, patience, and cooperation. 70 line drawings.
For Amazon’s price of $11.66 (vs.$14.95), click here to purchase

51C1TZYFMXL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_6. Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson
A genuine enthusiasm for their subject shines through the pages of this enormously compelling book, as the authors share insights on boys’ emotional development from birth through the college years. An increasingly high-profile topic in the wake of disheartening statistics about adolescent suicide and violence. In much the same way that Reviving Ophelia offered new models for raising girls, therapists Kindlon and Thompson argue that boys desperately need a new standard of “emotional literacy,” showing how our culture’s dominant masculine stereotypes shortchange boys and lead them toward emotional isolation. The authors turn a spotlight on the inner lives of boys, debunking preconceptions about gender, explaining the importance of nurturing communication skills and empathy in boys as well as girls, and steering boys toward a manhood of emotional attachment, not stoicism and solitude. They also challenge the ways in which, in their view, traditional school environments put boys at a disadvantage (why not hold off on reading instruction a year or two? they ask; why not five short recesses a day?). Such issues as drinking, drugs and the “culture of cruelty” among adolescents, in which “anything a boy says or does can and will be used against him,” also meet with sensitive treatment. Separate chapters examine the relationships between fathers and sons and mothers and sons, and show how these can be protected and redefined. This thoughtful book is recommended for parents, teachers or anyone with a vested interest in raising happy, healthy, emotionally whole young men.
For Amazon’s price of $9.85 (vs. $15), click here to purchase.

5. Raising Confident Girls
by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer
How parents and teachers can help young children through the crises of confidence that mark their formative years. Girls need ample, loving demonstrations from adults close to them that they are appreciated and can be trusted to know what they need for themselves. They also need to be given plenty of opportunity to develop their talents. Girls who lack sufficient emotional support may feel neglected and unworthy of attention, and easily find themselves at greater risk of exploitation and abuse, even as adults. Raising Confident Girls provides parents and teachers with the best hands-on, practical advice available for nurturing girls in a changing and challenging social environment.
For Amazon’s price of $12.35 (vs. $13), click here to purchase.

4. Raising Your Spirited Child
by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
The spirited child—often called “difficult” or “strong-willed”—possesses traits we value in adults yet find challenging in children. Research shows that spirited kids are wired to be “more”—by temperament, they are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change than the average child. In this revised edition of the award-winning classic, Kurcinka provides vivid examples and a refreshingly positive viewpoint. Raising Your Spirited Child will help you: understand your child’s —and your own—temperamental traits, discover the power of positive—rather than negative—labels, cope with the tantrums and power struggles when they do occur, plan for success with a simple four-step program, and develop strategies for handling mealtimes, sibling rivalry, bedtimes, holidays, and school, among other situations.
For Amazon’s price of $10.19 (vs. $14.99), click here to purchase

21DQuGZlDfL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA198_SH20_OU01_3. Last Child in the Woods
by Richard Louv
Today’s kids are increasingly disconnected from the natural world, says child advocacy expert Louv (Childhood’s Future; Fatherlove; etc.), even as research shows that “thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can… be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorder and other maladies.” Instead of passing summer months hiking, swimming and telling stories around the campfire, children these days are more likely to attend computer camps or weight-loss camps: as a result, Louv says, they’ve come to think of nature as more of an abstraction than a reality. Indeed, a 2002 British study reported that eight-year-olds could identify Pokémon characters far more easily than they could name “otter, beetle, and oak tree.” Gathering thoughts from parents, teachers, researchers, environmentalists and other concerned parties, Louv argues for a return to an awareness of and appreciation for the natural world. Not only can nature teach kids science and nurture their creativity, he says, nature needs its children: where else will its future stewards come from? Louv’s book is a call to action, full of warnings—but also full of ideas for change.
For Amazon’s price of $10.17 (vs. $14.95), click here to purchase.

2. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
An excellent communication tool kit based on a series of workshops developed by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Faber and Mazlish (coauthors of Siblings Without Rivalry) provide a step-by-step approach to improving relationships in your house. The “Reminder” pages, helpful cartoon illustrations, and excellent exercises will improve your ability as a parent to talk and problem-solve with your children. The book can be used alone or in parenting groups, and the solid tools provided are appropriate for kids of all ages.
For Amazon’s price of $10.85 (vs. $15.95), click here to purchase

51G4EA9YJNL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_1. Children: The Challenge : The Classic Work on Improving Parent-Child Relations–Intelligent, Humane & Eminently Practical
by Rudolf Dreikurs and Vicki Soltz
Children:The Challenge gives the key to parents who seek to build trust and love in their families, and raise happier, healthier, and better behaved children. Based on a lifetime of experience with children–their problems, their delights, their challenges–Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs, one of America’s foremost child psychiatrists presents an easy to follow program that teaches parents how to cope with the common childhood problems that occur from toddler through preteen years. This warm and reassuring reference helps parents to understand their children’s actions better, giving them the guidance necessary to discipline lovingly and effectively.
For Amazon’s price of $10.40 (vs. $16), click here to purchase.

breezy_deal1Breezy Tip: Want great books for your kids? Check out Breezy Mama’s Top 10 Children’s Books — click here. For great chapter books, click here.

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  1. I have been meaning to get #2 so I just bought it. Thanks for reminding me. I heard it was a helpful tool. I will follow up and let you know.

  2. I have to add: Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey. It has transformed our family life and how I deal with myself as well as my children.

  3. I have been reading “Raising Confident Boys” and it’s great. The tips are useful for kids of all ages, each idea is short and to the point, and the tips for parents and teachers are really helpful.

    I also highly recommend “The Pocket Parent.” It’s basically like a short reference guide for parents to most of our top issues (from potty training to power struggles). Also organized with short chapters and quick tips, it’s a good one to go to when you need a quick answer or review (i.e. help). And you don’t have to read it in any order, you can just jump to the topic you need help with.

  4. I agree with Shannon, “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline” by Becky A. Bailey is a must-read for every parent. You dont’t even have to be a parent to benefit from reading this book. Highly recommend!

  5. Thanks for this list, I’m really interested in the book about sibling rivalries as my kids bicker and fight a lot. I know it’s common for sisters to argue but I’d really like to make our home lives a bit more peaceful!


  1. […] top 10 parenting books for moms and dads — Breezy […]

  2. […] know, children do not come with instruction manuals, but we are lucky enough to have a plethora of parenting books available to us on all facets of […]

  3. […] found this list of “Top 10 Parenting Books” on the Breezy Mama website. Several books in this top ten stood out as ones I’d like to read. […]

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