Who has time to read all there parenting books on the shelves? Not anyone! And no one wants to read a book to only realize that it was not helpful at all. As part of my practice, keep up to date on the latest parenting books and blogs. Clients know I have a bookshelf full of books I give away to help them become the parents they always wanted to be. Here are five books I am giving my clients this year and why.
Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Faber and Mazlish have brilliantly put together a book that is incredibly accessible to parents, teachers and caretakers. They have taken the concept of empathic listening and customized the approach for kids. Punctuated with user-friendly examples and delightful cartoons of parent-child interactions, the authors make it easy to see how the old way of communicating is far less effective and how the new way helps strengthen the empathic relationship with the child.
(Note: I also recommend How To Talk So Teens Will Listen And Listen So Teens Will Talk to parents of teens)
Dr. Laura Markham
Dr. Markham is the expert on peaceful parenting and also hosts a terrific website, “Aha Parenting” that shares similar content and examples. Markham relies on the latest research about brain development as well as her clinic experience to provide a simple and effective approach for parents. Combining empathy, healthy boundaries and clear- communication, this book provides parents the tools to raise happy kids. One client literally told me this book changed her life.
(Note: Dr. Markham’s new book, “Happy Siblings is on my reading list)
Daniel Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.
In this book, the authors educate parents about their child’s brain in order to provide practical tips and solutions to help children thrive. They explain behavior and emotions in relation to the way the different parts of the brain work and process information. One of my favorite sections discussion the integration of memories and ideas in helping kids process traumatic events even at the youngest age.
Parents are constantly bothered, worried or concerned about what kids are doing and put rules in place to limit what they do. Shumaker approaches ordinary child behavior and helps explain why it is normal, healthy and necessary to children’s development. She also provides common-sense tips for parents to help raise smart, sensitive and self-sufficient kids. She tackles some of the more controversial issues with an approach I whole heartedly agree with in chapters like: Stop Saying “Good Job!”, “Kids Don’t Have To Say Sorry,” and “Sex Ed Starts in Preschool.” If you disagree, read this book and see why Shumaker makes sense.
Perhaps the most “controversial” of all authors, Alfie Kohn’s is an important critic to the way that our culture encourages parents to demonstrate conditional love through rewards and punishment. Instead of answering the question, “How can we get kids to do what we want?,” Kohn begins with the question of “What do kids need– and how can we meet those needs?” Kohn explains why punishments like time-outs and rewards like positive reinforcement only work to get children to comply with out requests in order to avoid the punishment or get the rewards. They do nothing to help a child develop intrinsic motivation or self-control. This radical departure from the damaging Super Nanny pop-culture parenting rhetoric is desperately needed.
Share with me if you have other parenting books you love.