Whether you are in the trenches of potty training, are trying to teach your kids empathy, or need the magic formula to co-parent with your ex, one thing is certain: You. Want. Answers.
With the overwhelming amount of information on the internet and the slew of parenting books that make their home on Amazon, it’s nearly impossible to sift through the online bookshelves to find the help you need.
As an author myself, I get asked all the time, “Amy, what are your favorite parenting books?!” Well, my friend, it’s nearly impossible to give you all of my favorites, but here are a FEW I know you will love.
From general parenting advice to tackling specific struggles, this list of books will help you navigate many of the parenting issues you’re facing.
Here are our top picks for 2023:
Eight Setbacks That Can Make a Child a Success: What to Do and What to Say to Turn “Failures” into Character-Building Moments
By Michelle Icard
Failure can be scary for kids and the parents guiding them. But Michelle’s latest book (after the success of Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids Before They Start High School) puts this fear and anxiety into perspective.
Michelle reminds us–in a world of seemingly perfect people–that mistakes are an inherent and invaluable part of growing up. Through this reality check, she shows parents and kids how to embrace those setbacks and redirect them toward wisdom and resiliency.
You may know Eileen from the 5 Friendship Skills Every Child Needs masterclass or from her book, Growing Friendships: A Kids’ Guide to Making and Keeping Friends.
Those who aren’t familiar with Eileen’s work are in for an educational treat–this book is all about social awareness and the neverending complexities, challenges, and nuances that come with kids’ relationships.
As children grow more independent from their parents, the more they need a strong, dependable social network. This book helps them navigate social challenges–and corresponding emotions–to find and nurture the relationships that count.
After the popularity of her first book, UnSelfie, Michele is back to discuss why some kids are more successful than others.
Kids today are bigger and better achievers than ever before. But–not coincidentally– they aren’t any happier.
Those that do “thrive,” however, share a few essential character traits. And thankfully, these traits can be taught!
Thrivers, now available in paperback, dives into each of these attributes and helps parents and educators understand what kids really need to persevere.
Social Justice Parenting: How to Raise Compassionate, Anti-Racist, Justice-Minded Kids in an Unjust World
Dr. Baxley, a mother of five, knows raising responsible kids amounts to more than ensuring their self-sufficiency. As Baxley so brilliantly discusses, it’s about creating a better world for themselves and others.
The biggest changes in our society often begin one step at a time, at the hands of socially enlightened and educated children.
By Ron L. Deal
As a leading expert in stepfamily dynamics, Ron guides readers through the rewarding, yet often painstaking, process of blending two families into one.
Ron knows the hardships are real: dealing with exes, managing finances, and building stepparent/stepchild relationships one step at a time. But he also shows a path forward–one that leads to happiness and harmony.
I also recommend Building Love Together in Blended Families: The 5 Love Languages and Becoming Stepfamily Smart, by Ron and his coauthor, Gary Chapman, PhD.
The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children
By Ross W. Greene, PhD
Do you feel like your child is out of control? Does your child often respond to problems by crying, screaming, swearing, hitting, etc? If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, please get your hands on this book.
This compassionate, thoughtful, and practical book will give you the roadmap you need to diffuse these destructive behaviors in the moment and prevent them from happening in the future.
Dr. Greene will help you understand why traditional parenting methods of punishment and rewards don’t work with explosive children, and what to do instead.
By Mona Delahooke, PhD
Dr. Delahooke reminds us that behavior is not a problem, but a symptom. When we stop parenting so reactively, we have a chance to focus on what matters and bring change and purpose to our children’s actions.
Managing our expectations, by learning about how our children’s brains are constantly working and developing, furthers our ability to empathize, understand, and help our children effectively.
It’s critical not only to talk to kids about substance abuse, but to fortify them against it.
Through comprehensive research, Jessica illustrates that a few solid strategies can be the difference between a child’s crippling addiction or healthy self-control.
The dangers are out there, but Jessica’s recommendations will help give you insight and a clear path forward. Don’t lose another night of sleep worrying about possible substance abuse!
Another book I highly recommend by Jessica is The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed.
Kids aren’t automatically adults at age 18. It takes time and patience to earn that grown-up title.
In addition, what defines an “adult” is ever-changing.
Julie has worked with undergraduate students for years; that critical age when young adults may be old enough to make their own decisions, but aren’t always ready to do so.
Julie stresses that becoming an adult is a hard-earned, but rewarding, process. Thankfully, this guide helps big kids every step of the way.
By Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
After a quick search of the title, you may be thinking, “Wait a second! That’s not a parenting book!” Before you stop reading, my friend, let’s get something straight: parenting, like most things in life, is all about mindset.
If YOU want to be a successful parent and you want to raise successful kids, then this book has EVERYTHING to do with parenting.
In this brilliant book, Dr. Dweck shows how success in almost every human endeavor (parenting included) can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.
People with a fixed mindset–those who believe that abilities are fixed–are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset–those who believe that abilities can be developed. This must-read book reveals how great parents and teachers can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishments in their kids.
By Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, M.D.
By understanding what’s happening in your child’s brain, Dr. Siegel and Dr. Bryson give you strategies that work with your child’s brain instead of against it. By implementing these 12 strategies, you’ll help foster healthy brain development that leads to calmer, happier children.
Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.
By Dr. Shefali Tsabary
In this book, Dr. Tsabary helps parents get in tune with their own psychological and emotional awareness. By encouraging parents to look in the mirror, Tsabary helps parents understand why it’s important to be conscious of our own histories in order to pass along a positive wholeness to our children.
This book serves as a holistic approach to parenting, rather than a quick fix, but will help parents and children engage in a mutually loving relationship rather than a hierarchical one.
Potty training can be a literal mess. SOOO many accidents. But parents can make accidents during this process, too.
In an effort to make the entire process easier for everyone involved, Jamie’s lighthearted guide brims with keen advice for parents entering, in the midst of, and fed up with this daunting journey.
Bonus: If you’re ready to move on to the hearty subject of cute, yet confounding, toddlers, check out Jamie’s other book: Oh Crap! I Have a Toddler: Tackling These Crazy Awesome Years―No Time-outs Needed
Perhaps the secret to understanding toddler behavior–like infamous tantrums–is dissecting how these tykes are trying to learn about themselves and the world around them. They aren’t trying to be bad.
But, you can bet they are already trying to be independent.
By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This gem is a must-read for any parent who frequently finds themselves in the throes of a power struggle. This book is easy-to-read and packed with practical steps you can take to resolve conflict and improve cooperation from your children.
Filled with exact scripts and real-life examples, you’ll learn how to talk with your kids in a way that diffuses their anger and allows you to reconnect with their sweet, loving side.
By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Adele and Elaine bring sound wisdom again in this second book! As parents themselves, they were determined to help their children get along. The result was Siblings Without Rivalry.
With the help of scripts and cartoons, they teach you how to manage the competition in a way that feels fair to all children.
This book offers practical strategies to improve cooperation among your children and reduce feelings of competition – all while helping your children connect to build lifelong friendships.
By Casey and Meygan Caston
If you’re looking for a more detailed response to “How was your day, Kiddo?” than “It was good,” you’ve reached the right book.
Communication can be difficult–even amongst family members. This is often compounded by busy schedules and attention-sucking technology. But the Castons–who’ve also written 365 Connecting Questions for Couples–have compiled a thoughtful set of questions to inspire more meaningful family conversations.
Whether it’s in the car, before bed, or around the dinner table, this book helps get communication flowing…and relationships growing.
By Christina McGhee
Oh, sweet friend. If you are co-parenting or parenting apart from your ex, you NEED this book. This is the book every child of divorce wishes their parents would read!
Christina tackles all of the biggest issues of divorce and separation and helps you make a game plan for parenting your kids. You’ll learn:
- How and when to tell the children about the divorce
- How to guide children through family change
- How to help children cope with having two homes
- Deal with finances
- Manage a difficult relationship with an ex
- And more…so much more!
This book is relevant no matter what age your children are!
The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy
By Kim West, LCSW-C with Joanne Kenen
Are you losing sleep over your bedtime routine? Don’t worry, The Sleep Lady has got you covered from infants to bigger kids. This step-by-step guide helps you tackle even the toughest bedtime struggles so you and your children can get the sleep you need, without any of the frustration leading up to it.
Having helped thousands of parents tackle the bedtime routine, The Sleep Lady is a trusted resource in the world of sleep training.
If you’re parenting with a partner and have trouble getting on the same page, this book is for you! The Freemans are world-renowned relationship experts and will help you make the most out of your adult relationship, so you and your parenting partner can do the best you can for your kids!
In this relatable, no b.s. book for couples, the Freemans explain what an argument hangover is, what causes it, and how to clearly communicate your needs to feel understood–without having to change each other.
This modern guide includes step-by-step tools and exercises you can implement right away, so you can handle the challenges that so many couples face today. Topics include:
- Why conflict doesn’t have to be something you avoid
- How to keep arguments from escalating
- How to resolve those nagging two or three disagreements that keep coming up
Embrace conflict and grow from it with the right communication skills―and say goodbye to argument hangovers once and for all.
By Katie Hurley
In this self-promoting, digital age we live in, it’s incredibly difficult to raise daughters who are able to confidently separate themselves from society’s views of who they should be. When girls feel insecure and devalued, these feelings often manifest in ways that put other girls down instead of lifting them up.
Luckily, Katie provides actionable steps to help parents empower young girls to be kind, confident leaders who work together and build each other up.
Katie will help you and your daughter navigate this consumer world so she can discern what positive traits she can offer this world. By empowering your daughter to focus on her strengths, you’ll increase her self-confidence and ability to lead other girls well.
I hope this list helps you sort through the millions of parenting books on the shelves and that you’ll find them helpful! These authors and teachers are incredibly wise, and you can trust that they are offering sound advice. I’ve also written a couple of books that could be helpful to you, too!
The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World
In today’s 24/7, often over-stimulated, over-indulged, can’t get enough culture – many parents struggle to find the means to not only say “no” – but to connect with their kids in a way that allows them to better learn to be RESPECTFUL, RESPONSIBLE, and READY to meet a world where frankly, it’s NOT all about them.
In this book, I outline the step-by-step strategies for empowering your kids without indulging them. Fueling their spirit – not just funding their wish lists. Building bonds that can last a lifetime. Fostering compassion for others, rather than focusing on themselves. And parenting in powerfully positive, proactive, life-changing ways.
If I Have to Tell You One More Time…: The Revolutionary Program that Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling
In this best-selling book, I point to one of the all-time great paradoxes of parenting: giving our children more power–not less–can put an end to power struggles in the home.
Drawing on Adlerian psychology, I explain that every human being has a basic need to feel powerful–with children being no exception to the rule. And when this need isn’t met in positive ways, kids will resort to negative methods, which often result in some of the most frustrating behavior they exhibit.
Inside these pages, you’ll find step-by-step tools and instructions to diffuse the power struggles in your home!
If, after reading through some of these books, you’re still looking for answers, I’d encourage you to join us for a FREE ONLINE CLASS and learn how to get your kids to listen without nagging, reminding, or yelling! We are always here to help you on your parenting journey!