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Books on Parenting

There are literally thousands of books on parenting in print, not to mention the thousands of websites and blogs on the internet about parenting.

So how do you choose the right books for you? Which ones will provide solid, practical advice that works, based on research and an understanding of how children grow and develop and what they need?

parenting booksMy three children on holiday at Fingal Bay in NSW

The good new is that we know what children's brains and bodies need to grow and develop into joyful, confident, resilient, intelligent, compassionate human beings.

The research for this dates back nearly 70 years to the work John Bowlby, an English doctor and clinical psychologist, did with babies and children during and after World War II.

What's changed in the last 20 or so years is that new technologies are giving us unprecedented insight into the brain, confirming a lot of Bowlby's research about children's need for strong human attachments in order to develop into emotionally-healthy adults. In particular, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), which tracks changes in blood flow in the brain, allows scientists to see brain areas light up in response to the things their carers do or fail to do. 

My Parenting Story

Why does this matter? Why all the emphasis on children's emotional development?

Well, it turns out that if we focus on helping our children develop into emotionally-healthy adults, pretty much everything else will fall into place naturally. Sound too easy? I promise, it's true.

I have three children who are now young adults and for a great part of their growing up, I was worried about all the usual things: how well they did at school, enrolling them in sports so they'd learn all the physical skills they needed, making sure they were intellectually stimulated and had all the things their friends had and constantly correcting and worrying about them. Over about 16 years, I read about a hundred parenting books, including books about parenting twins (my sons are twins) and parenting gifted children, frantically trying to get this parenting thing 'right'. Turns out all this just made me very stressed and unhappy while they ended up stressed, unhappy and often feeling like they weren't measuring up to some weird standard I'd unconsciously set for us all.

twin boys, books on parentingMy twin sons, aged 3. They're a lot bigger now!

Then, while I was searching for solutions to some of the problems I'd unwittingly created in my family, I stumbled across this thing called Peaceful Parenting. Peaceful Parenting is, of course, just a name. It describes a way of relating to children (and adults too) that is calm, respectful and loving, even when - especially when - children are behaving in ways we find unhelpful and stressful. This approach is also sometimes known as Conscious Parenting, Attuned Parenting, Aware Parenting and Respectful Parenting and there are quite a few great blogs and websites about it.

Once I discovered Peaceful Parenting, my family never looked back. My children, my husband and I are happy and calm and the rest of our lives - work, finances, study, relationships - have fallen into place in ways I could not have anticipated a few years ago. It wasn't easy for me to change my approach. In fact it's probably the hardest thing I've ever done. But it's also one of the most rewarding and empowering things I've ever done.

As a result of my experiences, I updated these pages about Parenting Books and can guarantee that the books I've reviewed contain the most up-to-date and accurate information about how to grow emotionally-healthy human beings.

I hope you find them helpful.

Best Parenting Books

The books on this page provide the foundation for how to parent. We say that children don't come with an instruction manual but these books come close to being just that. Yes, all children are different but we know that there are certain things all babies and small humans need from their parents in order to grow in healthy ways. These books will help you learn what those things are and how to provide them. Click here to read about these books.

Best General Parenting and Family Books

These books are mainly about family dynamics and developing a parenting style you're comfortable with. There are some great ideas here about good parenting skills to develop and strategies to try. These books are less about managing behaviour or problem-solving and more about creating a home environment that teaches the values you would like your children to have. Click here to read about these books.

Best Books About Parenting Teenagers

When my twin sons were babies, I couldn't imagine anything could be more challenging than parenting twin babies. Wrong! Parenting teenagers who are twins is just as challenging, as I later found out. Having said that, once I discovered Peaceful Parenting, I found that having teenagers doesn't have to be hard or unpleasant. The key is understanding where the hearts and brains of our young people are at and the books on this page helped me do exactly that. Click here to read about these books.

Best Books About Parenting Gifted Children

Parenting gifted children can be very challenging and it can be hard to find books on the subject that are truly useful. Having said that, I found that it was very easy to get so caught up in worrying about my child's "giftedness" and how best to support it that I sometimes forgot that my child was still a young human with the same emotional and physical needs all young humans have. For this reason, I strongly believe the books on my Best Parenting Books list (see above) are the best books to help you parent your gifted child. They will help you learn how to truly and deeply tune in to your child so that you can meet his or her needs at each developmental stage. From there, you may like to also check out my reviews of the best books about parenting gifted children. Click here to read about these books.

Best Books About Raising Boys

Raising boys can be challenging. Our lifestyle and the way we educate our sons in Australia and elsewhere in the developed world doesn't seem to suit many of our boys and an increasing number of them have been falling by the wayside and developing serious problems. In the past 10-15 years, quite a lot of research has been done into issues around parenting boys and a lot has been written about the challenges of raising caring, confident boys. The result has been a number of books on the subject of what boys need from the adults in their lives and how we can help them grow into healthy, resilient, well-adjusted young men. Click here to read about these books.

Best Books About Raising Girls

The challenges parents face in raising girls are different from those which face parents raising boys but they can be just as confusing. This is a subject close to my heart because my daughter is now 12 and in her second year of high school. I've read lots of parenting books about raising girls and am happy to recommend the ones on this list. They discuss what girls need from the adults in their lives and provide tips to help parents develop good parenting skills so that they can raise healthy, confident, strong young women. Click here to read about these books.

Books About Raising Readers

My passion for encouraging children to read and for helping them fall in love with books and reading is the reason I created this site. So, if you're keen to encourage your kids to read or if your child seems to dislike reading, you'll find lots of helpful info on this site. But if you're after more information about why reading is important and how to encourage it or if you'd just like to read a bit further, I've reviewed some books about how to raise a child who loves to read. Click here to read about these books.

Books About Raising Healthy Children

We all want to raise healthy, strong children but how do you sift through all the conflicting advice about what we should and shouldn't do? Unfortunately parenting today involves monitoring what our children eat and the various environmental toxins they're exposed to on a daily basis. I've read many, many books on this subject over the years and have reviewed the best ones. Click here to read about these books.

Talking to Children About the Facts of Life

Talking to children about the facts of life is a tricky prospect for many of us. Whether your child is a pre-schooler or close to being a teenager, the books on this page can help, even if they just provide a starting point for your conversations. Click here to read about these books.

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