The Bookshelf

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!)

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5 thoughts on “The Bookshelf

  1. I rely on peers and elders for advice, reassurance and guidance through this parenting thing. I was reading through that massive list wondering if I should be reading some sort of book on the subject. LOL!
    I think I will check out that last one.

    • Where we used to live we had very little in the way of peers with children and/or elders who had raised children–and no family of origin. So, we felt VERY much on our own (which is not to say we didn’t/don’t have wonderful friends) and I find that I am very tentative in seeking guidance from folk in real life (for a variety of reasons). That said, Raising Boys Without Men was really a nice affirmation of women who are raising boy/manchildren w/o men in their households.

  2. OK, I know this might sound cheesy, but most of the time I feel like I’m running on instinct. Where that instinct comes from is a mystery to me because before having one of my own, I was afraid of children. I’ve read some books, picking sections here and there but there never seemed any one that fit right – is there ever?

    Great post, Joy!

  3. Thanks Manisha…I’m a “reader” and researcher soooo the books are comforting to me. However, you’re right on about instinct!

    What scared you about children?

  4. I liked what you said about finding a sense of control in reading parenting books. Whatever works for you. I do have to say I am amazed at the list, but I am just now starting to finish a novel that has taken me a year to read! As for my experience, I would often get all flustered when I would read a parenting book. I have found a couple sentences that have been helpful but each time I have read one I walk away complaining or second guessing myself. But I can see myself checking out info on toddlerhood as I am thinking it may become a bit more complex. But instinct has definitely always been my best gift that I have to remind myself to trust.

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