Finally! Life is getting back to a natural rhythm again. Schools are reopening, many sports and recreational activities have resumed and summer is on the horizon. This all means that for the first time in a year you may actually be able to find some real time to yourself. After you catch up on some long awaited self care and dinner dates, you may actually be able to get back to reading some books for leisure. I am sure many parents would agree that parenting in a pandemic has been like a spotlight on the best and worst areas of your family dynamics. Maybe you yell more than you thought or have less patience and tolerance than you’d like Whatever you realized let it be 1) A judgement-free observation and 2) An invitation to improve.
CAUTION! Don’t make this a chore – you already have plenty to do, so approach this in bite-sized chunks that feel manageable for you. To get you started, I put together a short list of books
that have been helpful for me over the years. These books informed much of my own parenting philosophy and have stood the test of time. I hope they can be of some value to you. (They are listed in no particular order.)
Before diving into the list of books from other authors, I first want to recommend my book, Parenting with Sanity & Joy not only because I wrote it, but because of the reason I wrote it. I know that while you may want to learn all about every parenting style and the theories and research behind them, the reality is – you don’t always have that kind of time. For me, it was confusing and disheartening. Rather than help, the plethora of parenting books, many of which I never even finished, made me feel as if I wasn’t doing a good job of being a parent and had already negatively impacted my children. My book provides you with easily implemented strategies to help you parent with sanity and joy! you need in the most condensed manner possible. The book is a compilation of 101 parenting tips and it can be read one tip at a time, used as a reference and as reinforcement. Each tip is brief enough to be read in one bathroom break or while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew!
Okay! Let’s dive in to my parenting book recommendations:
- Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish– The subtitle of this book is “How to help you children live together so you can live too” – which let’s you know the authors “get it”. Children constantly yelling and bickering with each other and running to you with their issues day after day definitely leads to frustration for everyone. It sure did for me – and this book allowed me not to play parent referee. I especially love this quote: “The family is where we learn our relationship skills. And the way we relate to our children and teach them to relate to each other, even in the heat of battle, can be our permanent gift to them” It reminds us that teaching our children to resolve conflict helps them build strong relationship skills – and gives us some moments of peace to breathe and regroup throughout the day – WIN/WIN!
- How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk also by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. As you can see, I love these authors! The concepts covered in this book are not only work when communicating with children, they are also helpful as you communicate with the adults in your life.. “When we acknowledge a child’s feelings, we do him a great service. We put him in touch with his inner reality. And once he’s clear about that reality, he gathers the strength to begin to cope.” While the first edition of this book was written almost four decades ago – it’s still incredibly helpful and relevant today.
- The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Raising Self-Reliant Children– along with it’s companion for when you have teens – The Blessing of a B Minus, both by Wendy Mogel. The theory of these books is that parents, in an attempt to give their children the best or better than we had it, have shielded them from “the worst” or even anything negative. “Real protection means teaching children to manage risks on their own, not shielding them from every hazard.” This book helped me to allow my kids to develop resilience and problem-solving skills.
- How to Raise an Adult – Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success” by Julie Lythcott-Haims. One of the things I gained from this book’s guidance is “freedom”. In the early years of raising my kids, I thought that I was a good parent by doing everything for my kids and constantly being by their side. . This book served as a strong reminder that my goal was to raise children who would be capable, independent adults. “We’re depriving our kids of the chance to do the work of life for themselves.
BONUS: If you learn best by knowing what NOT to do, I have a book for that too – lol. Ironically enough, this book was given to me as a gift from my Mom. “How to Traumatize your Children. 7 Proven Methods to Help You Screw Up Your Kids Deliberately and With Skill.” If nothing else, it’s sure to make you laugh!
I’d love to add to my list. What books have helped you grow as a parent? Comment below.