You know how they say there’s no instruction manual for parenting? Ain’t that the truth! Despite this fact, there’s no shortage of reading material for parents looking (begging) for guidance. As a mom of 3 who often feels helpless, clueless and lost in motherhood, I turn to research and reading. I feel better knowing I’m at least trying to do right by my kids, but understanding motherhood is about progress not perfection.
If you are reading this post, it’s because you want to be a better parent. I firmly believe, that wanting to be a better parent means you’re already a pretty good one. So, let that sink in for a minute.
Not all parenting books are created equal. Probably because no kids or parents are alike. My goal as a mom is to raise faithful, God-fearing, independent, kind, happy adults who make a positive impact in their community, or if we’re shooting for the stars here, on the whole world! No pressure at all.
Here are my picks for 5 must read parenting books. These reads help me to be a better mom. Pin this post to keep the list handy and share with friends.
1. How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims. The cover of this book screams: “Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success.” In today’s society, overparenting seems commonplace and that SCARES me. I am certainly guilty of it. It’s always enlightening to read an example (an example of what NOT to do) in a book and think “she is totally talking about me.” This book provides relatable stories and practical advice to ease back on the overparenting and allow our kids to experience tough lessons.
2. The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D. Years ago, when I toured a prospective Christian school for my kids, the Head of School gifted me this book. Don’t think I’m special. She gifted this book to all prospective parents. Reading it changed the way I view each of my three kids. Before kids, I naively thought one size fits all when it came to parenting multiple children. First kid lies = consequence. Second kid lies = same consequence. And so on. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so foolish. Any parent of more than one child knows I ate a huge piece of humble pie when I discovered one parenting style wasn’t going to work with all 3 kids.
Saying each child is different doesn’t skim the surface. Each child reacts differently. Each child wrestles with their own inner thoughts and emotions. Each child has his/her own love language. This book explains and teaches parents how to speak the love language of their child. Knowing and understanding your child’s love language will help with the overall attitude, behavior and development of your child.
3. Grown and Flown** by Lisa Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington. This one is so relevant to my current phase of life and provides sooo much practical advice and real life tips. So much so that even though I started the book on audio, I had to order it in print because I knew I’d want to literally highlight and tab pages for future reference.
A good friend who also happens to be in the throws of parenting her teen daughter just as I am, recommended this book to me. The book specifically addresses parenting in the high school and college years. And this might be my favorite of parenting books I’ve read to date. It marries the need for connection and independence in our teens and young adults. It shares heartfelt, vulnerable stories from parents and young adults who’ve lived through this phase and tackled tough issues. It provides practical tips and an ongoing community for parents presently trying to raise teens and young adults and more.
Grown and Flown is more than just a book. A recognition that high school and college students are still children, whether they think so or not, coupled with a lack of parental support for this age range, compelled the authors to start and build a community for parents of 15 to 25 year olds. Their insight and takeaways grew the Grown and Flown community into what is today the “the #1 site for parents of teens and young adults” and essentially is a “guide for building strong relationships with your teens and preparing them to successfully launch into adulthood.” An absolute must read for parents of this generation.
4. The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud, PhD and Ned Johnson. Do you think today’s generation of kids seems anxious and stressed out and tends to lack motivation and resilience? I think that about my own kids on multiple occasions. And then I start stressing about how to change this. LOL. The Self-Driven Child investigates the science behind what shapes a person to self-motivate. It goes further to provide practical advice for parents to help sculpt our kids’ brains for resilience and drive. It was an eye-opener for me.
5. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. This powerful book doesn’t just apply to parenting, but it’s applications will make you a parent better. The premises found in this book will overall change you for the better. You will apply what you learn in Daring Greatly to every aspect of your life at home, at work, and in all relationships. A life practicum of sorts.
I am a constant work in progress when it comes to parenting. Well, when it comes to life in general. To date, these books shaped my parenting skills. Some days are better than others. I hope these reads help build your confidence in parenting. But remember we are all learning as we go. Enjoy!
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