A Parenting Issue

When you're facing a difficult parenting issue, it can be easy to lose perspective.

We all have moments when we simply don't know what to do - when we've run out of ideas and are so confused and perhaps exhausted and stressed that we've lost the ability to look at the situation objectively.

parenting issue, parenting,

With three children, including twin boys, I remember many times like this!

Before you delve too deeply into the issue itself, though, I'd like to suggest you spend some time thinking about the connection you have with your child.

Children - from babies to young adults - need our unconditional love and warm, focused attention to thrive. When they don't receive this, they start to act in unhelpful ways.

Speaking from experience, it's amazing how quickly our relationship with our child and their behaviour can change for the better once we ditch the judgment and efforts to control them and focus on love and connection.

So, if you have a challenging situation in your house, I'd strongly recommend you start with the books I've reviewed here.

Books About Parenting Issues

The books reviewed on this page are books I've used and found very helpful in my own parenting journey.

They are particularly good if you need to understand the challenging situation you and your child are facing and are looking for information to help you do this.

All the books are available from the Book Depository.


Bullying's a serious issue that will involve every child at some stage.

If your child is not bullied, he or she may actually engage in bullying behaviour in order to be "part of the group". Believe it or not, even kids who are really good at home can get caught up in this, during the early teenage years especially. And even if your child is not the bully or the bullied, he or she will certainly be a witness to it.

Bullying's much more complex than a couple of kids laying into each other. It's often a group behaviour, emotional and psychological rather than physical and can effect a person for the rest of his or her life.

Bullies are also very good at hiding what they're up to from teachers and sometimes they're the top students or sports people so teachers are inclined to think they can do no wrong.

Bullies, Targets & Witnesses is the best book I've ever read on the subject.

It's detailed and based on research so it covers all the issues. If you're a teacher or parent keen to understand the psychology and mechanics of bullying and what we need to do about it, this is the book for you.


Being smart is great but kids also need to be able to get on with people and to develop the skills needed to apply themselves to tasks and follow through on them.

Parents whose children are impulsive, have difficulty controlling their tempers or sticking to a task until it's done often think these behaviours are just part of their children's personality.

Yet, with some gentle tweaking, most children can learn to be more organised and to control their emotions and impulses.

Knowing where to start can be hard though and this is where Smart but Scattered can help.

This brilliant book offers really practical advice about how you can boost any child's ability to ...

  • get organised
  • resist impulses
  • stay focused
  • use time wisely
  • plan ahead
  • follow through on tasks
  • learn from mistakes
  • stay in control of emotions
  • solve problems independently
  • be resourceful

It helps parents decide which skill their child needs to practice then design a step-by-step approach to teach the desired behaviour. The authors show how each skill to be learned can be broken down into small goals, according to the child's age.

The book's really intended for parents of children aged between about 4 years and about 12 years but I found it helpful with my older son too.

I haven't come across a book quite like this before and highly recommend it to all parents, not just those who are finding life a bit tough with one or more of their children.

Internet and Technology Use

Michael Carr-Gregg is a psychologist based in Melbourne who specialises in helping adolescents and their families. I have heard him speak on a number of occasions and he always has some useful advice.

Michael's written a number of general parenting and family books. Real Wired Child is his latest and it's great.

It gives practical advice to parents on how to manage their children's online communications, social networking, web surfing, downloading and gaming.

This is a short, inexpensive, practical book which is easy to read and full of good tips.

More Serious Problems

To be honest, Michael Carr-Gregg's When to Really Worry is a negative, quite disturbing book in many ways simply because it deals with the mental health problems some teenagers encounter on the road to adulthood.

Of course, the majority of teens come through adolescence relatively unscathed but it's sometimes hard to sort out what's normal teen behaviour from the behaviour that indicates something is very wrong.

The first two chapters of this book describe normal adolescent behaviour, the developmental tasks teens need to undertake, some of the bumps they may encounter on the road to adulthood and the risk factors and protective factors.

The rest of the book discusses problems such as ADHD, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, self-harm, depression and youth suicide. As I said, it's a tough book but it could help, either to set your mind at ease or by prompting you to seek help earlier rather than later if you have a troubled teen.

Underachievement at School

Overcoming Underachieving is a very useful book and different to any other I've read about helping children succeed at school.

It's quite a heavy read but if your child is having problems at school - if he or she just doesn't seem to 'get it' - it would be one of the best parenting books to get hold of.

The book aims to help you pinpoint the gaps - the emotional, physical and/or practical skills your child lacks that may be responsible for his underachievement - and provides strategies to help you address them.

The chapter headings are probably the best clue to the approach the book takes.

Part I: Learning Problems and Your Child

  • The Building Blocks of Learning
  • Assessing Your Child's Learning Skills

Part II: Foundational Blocks: The Learning Support System

  • Attention and Impulse Control
  • Emotions and Behaviour
  • Self-Esteem
  • The Learning Environment at School and at Home

Part III: The Building Blocks of Learning

  • Your Child's Motor Skills
  • The Mechanics of Reading and Spelling
  • Reading Comprehension and Writing
  • Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division
  • Math Problem Solving

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