Best Parenting Books: Top Picks for 2021
Whether you are in the trenches of potty training, are trying to teach your kids empathy, or need the magic formula to coparent 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 that 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.
Before we jump into our Top Picks for 2021, we just HAVE to tell you about a must-have book that’s being released on March 16, 2021! Sure, at first glance it might not look like a parenting book, but for anyone with a parenting partner, this book will help lay the perfect foundation for a united parenting front.
If you’re parenting with a partner and have trouble getting on the same page, this book is for you! The Freemans are world-renown relationship experts and will help you make the most out of your adult relationship so that 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.
Plus, if you preorder this book before March 16, you’ll get access to 3 Pre-Order Bonuses worth over $200 — including a 4-part mini-course, a “debrief after conflict” guide, and a 90-minute communication training video. Simply order The Argument Hangover…and claim your bonuses here!
Now for our list of already-published parenting favorites…
1. The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children
By Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.
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.
In Live Love Now, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Macy Stafford tackles the biggest challenges facing kids today and equips adults to engage them with humanness and heart, compassion and honesty to discover the deep, life-giving connection everyone is longing for.
What do young people need now more than ever? Adults who are Truth-tellers not taskmasters. Encouragers not enforcers. Guides not half-listeners. The good news is, it’s not too late! No matter what’s happened in the past, you can help the kids you love face the top stressors of today, including academic pressure, parental expectations, technoference, lack of purpose, isolation, and loneliness.
Whether you’re a parent, educator, older sibling, coach, or anyone in a role of leading young people, Rachel Macy Stafford will help you meet the goal of raising and guiding young people to become resilient, compassionate, and capable adults.
3. Positive Discipline: The Classic Guide to Helping Children Develop Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Cooperation, and Problem-Solving Skills
By Jane Nelsen, Ed.D.
Jane Nelsen is the mother of Positive Discipline – the books, training and methodology based on the work of Alfred Adler, MD.
Jane’s background as a psychologist, educator and mother of seven make her a trusted voice in parenting. In this book (and in all the books authored and co-authored by Jane) she shares practical strategies to help parents and teachers be both kind and firm, loving and consistent.
The key to Positive Discipline is not punishment, she tells us, but mutual respect. Jane will teach you strategies to get compliance from your children while still saving their dignity.
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 accomplishment in their kids.
By Leslie Josel
Our dear friend Leslie Josel (founder of Order Out of Chaos) developed the must-have guide for parents who struggle helping kids push through the roadblock of PROCRASTINATION.
Procrastination is especially tough for young adults. Getting started is overwhelming, it’s hard to get motivated, not knowing how long things take messes up planning, and distractions are everywhere.
We are all wired to put things off, but we can learn tools and techniques to kick this habit. This book is a user-friendly guide to help teens get their tasks done. Simple, straightforward, and with a touch of humor, this book is packed with practical solutions and easily digestible tips to stay on top of homework, develop a sense of time, manage digital distractions, create easy-to-follow routines, and get unstuck.
In her breezy, witty style, internationally recognized academic and parenting coach Leslie Josel opens the door to a student’s view of procrastination, dives deep into what that really looks like, and offers up her Triple Ts―tips, tools and techniques―to teach students how to get stuff done…now.
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 which 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 that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.
By Michelle Icard
This little book is a must-have guide for parents and educators who want to help the tweens in their lives navigate the socially fraught hallways, gyms, and cafeterias of middle school.
Michelle helps parents, teachers, and other adults in middle school settings understand the social dilemmas and other issues that kids today face.
She covers a large range of topics, beginning with helping us understand what is happening in the brains of tweens and how these neurological development affects decision-making and questions around identity. She also addresses social media, dating, and peer exclusion.
Using both recent research and her personal, extensive experience working with middle-school-aged kids and their parents, Icard offers readers concrete and practical advice for guiding children through this chaotic developmental stage while also building their confidence.
NEW FROM MICHELLE IN 2021! On February 23, 2021, Michelle is releasing her brand-new book 14 Talks by Age 14: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids Before They Start High School. This book is another must-read for all parents who want to equip their teens with the skills they need to grow into capable and responsible adults. Pre-Order your copy today!
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.
By Jamie Glowacki
Jamie is my go-to gal for all things potty training. Her no-nonsense approach to potty training is effective and informative, humorous and heartfelt. Jamie is a mama and social worker who has been there and helped thousands of parents cheer their toddler onto success in the bathroom.
Using no bribes and no gimmicks, Jamie can help you wave farewell to the diapers in your life for good!
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 Dr. Laura Markham
I couldn’t choose my favorite book on Sibling Rivalry, so I had to include them both! Popular parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham tackles one of the greatest struggles parents face: sibling rivalry.
In this book, she shares strategies to improve the relationship between your children by equipping you with tools and scripts to use in the heat of the moment.
You’ll learn how to decrease the competition in your home and how to foster a loving, supportive bond between siblings.
By Jessica Lahey
This book is a must-read for any parent of school-aged children! While many parents tout their desire to raise responsible, resilient, and independent adults, Jessica argues modern parenting strategies inhibit our progress towards this goal.
In this beautifully written manifesto, Jessica challenges the idea that we need to deliver the forgotten homework or try to resolve our kids’ friendship troubles.
She explains that even though overprotective parents see themselves as being highly responsive to their child’s well being, they are prohibiting their child from learning to solve problems on their own.
To help parents adjust their over-responsive tendencies, Lahey lays out a blueprint for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, and sports. Most importantly, she sets forth a plan to help parents learn to step back and embrace their children’s failures.
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!
15. 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.
By Dr. Michele Borba
Dr. Borba tells us that teens today are forty percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. She argues that this lack of empathy hurts kids’ academic performance, leads to more bullying, and correlates with more cheating and less resilience. But don’t worry, not all hope is lost.
In this book, she offers a step-by-step plan to increase empathy in your children.
Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured and Dr. Borba will teach you just how to do it, so that you can raise successful, happy kids who also are kind, moral, courageous, and resilient.
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 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!
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