While you enjoy the latest novels this summer, I’d like to encourage you to add in a parenting book or two as well.
As summer is a time to regroup for many parents, it makes an ideal opportunity to reflect and recharge our parenting. A great way to do this is through reading about parenting.
To help you get started, I’m sharing some top picks for the best parenting books*…
1. Check out All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior. In this book of vignettes and portraits about families, the author looks at the impact of children on parents in modern day society. Ms. Senior reviewed the substantial research on the connection between having children and parents being happy and presents the findings in an easy-to-understand and interesting manner.
The conclusion is one that ties into ‘paradox’ in the title. Our children are incredibly precious to us, but raising them under a different set of expectations than earlier generations is also incredibly hard.
But while the book does unpack the why’s of this, it also focuses on the joy that is possible. This book will help you think more deeply about the challenges of parenting in a relatable way as you follow the situations of other families in the book.
2. Next up is Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Dr. Laura Markham. In this book the author draws on both her clinical experience and the research about how our brains are wired around relationships to help parents discover more about themselves and their children.
The book spends time helping parents understand that while some conflict is a part of all relationships, it is the parents’ understanding of their own emotions that will allow children to regulate theirs. In this way the door opens for less yelling and more connecting as the title suggests.
In addition, Dr. Markham offers lots of concrete tools for dealing with all the challenges of conflict that arise when parenting children. Rather than a list of do’s and don’ts for discipline, she ties these into emotion management, like the importance of staying calm, of empathizing, and of seeking compromise…and offers strategies for how to do so.
3. The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively by Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross rounds out the list.
You’ll get fascinating insight into the many ways that love is expressed by our children to ourselves as parents and from us to them. Some of them may surprise you!
In this book you will learn about five main communication styles and how to recognize the ‘love language’ you and your child use primarily. These are physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, meaningful gifts, and acts of service. Understanding these gives you a unique way to more effectively share your deep positive feelings like affection, respect, and commitment. The authors offer lots of strategies to help you communicate more positively with your child.
The bottom line from the authors is that the relationship you have with your children is the key to their having optimal outcomes. There is also a study guide for small group/book clubs to use.
I hope this starter list of great parenting books helps you add reading to your summer list that will bring you not just self-reflection and discovery, but also some useful strategies to help you be the parent you most want to be.
The books on this list are just a very small handful of those I have reviewed and included as matched suggested reading in the reports that accompany each of the parental role and child assessments we offer at Parent in the Know. To learn more, please visit our website and the tab Assessment.
Dr. Lilla Dale McManis
President & Founder~ Parent in the Know
Article date: August 2, 2017
*Parent in the Know is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.