I have read far too many parenting books (and sorry, the English major in me insisted on underlining the book titles–those aren’t hyperlinks!).
- The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Revised and UpdatedEdition) by Martha Searsand William Sears
- The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth
- The Baby Sleep Book by William Sears (do you detect a theme here?)
- Positive Discipline: The First Three Years: From Infant to Toddler–Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child (Positive Discipline Library)by Jane Nelsen, Roslyn Duffy and Cheryl Erwin
- The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrums, and Tears: Foreword by Tim Seldin (Pantley) by Elizabeth Pantley
- Raising Boys Without Men by Peggy Drexler
- The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
- The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One- to Four-Year-Old: Revised Edition by Harvey Karp
- Real Boys : Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William S. Pollack
- Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen
- Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Lisa M. Ross and Kim John Payne
And, these don’t even begin to touch on the getting pregnant books, glbt family books or the baby yoga books or the blogs or the forums! Let’s just say I’ve researched the notion of parenting within an inch of my own sanity…and I’m not entirely sure I would recommend that others do the same.
Because, as my son has grown, I’ve gradually begun to realize that while the books have (on occasion) been quite useful–making suggestions or affirming choices I was making or thinking about making–that ultimately the best guide to my child is my child. There is no precise manual, no formula, no guide to how to best be a family or create a kind and generous and compassionate human being–just notions and ideas and concepts that may or may not work for my family and my son.
Ultimately the only thing that has consistently worked for me as a parent has been a strategy of being responsive to what is, who he is, who I am, who my wife is and who we are together. And, this has changed from day to day and moment to moment. What works for one family, or one author or one parenting construct may or may not work for us.
That said, and because I cannot help but read (it’s like using training wheels when you’re learning to ride a bike–just the notion that they’ll be there to support you can be enough, even if you don’t “need” them), the books that I consider keepers are:
Simplicity Parenting (helped us to clarify that less is indeed more and create a physical environment that works for our son); Happiest Baby on the Block (great ideas for how to help soothe a fussy newborn, the only book I would say is a MUST have); No-Cry Discipline Solution (some good ideas for coping with discipline issues and a healthy look at the role of parental anger in our responses to children’s behaviour); and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (Our kiddo was NOT what one would term a “good sleeper” this helped us understand the science of infant/toddler sleep).
What parenting resources do you consider “keepers”?
(Oh, and Raising Boys Without Men, good book, but really only served as an affirmation that our son will be just fine! So, not essential but comforting nonetheless!)