When looking for parenting advice it can sometimes be a little bit overwhelming, everyone has an opinion and the internet is bulging with hints and tips, theories, practises and thoughts. Looking at Amazon it can be just as frightening, I just looked now at 3.30 in the afternoon on a wet Saturday and there are currently 67,187 results for parenting in the books department, and I bet that number will have changed when I look next. Well, I have been doing a bit of research and would like to offer you the following little guide to ten of the best parenting books out there, these are not the bestsellers, they are not all about babies because the parenting advice doesn’t end when potty training ends! These are books which will help you with any child-care emergency that might occur in the next 18 years, from grizzly babies, through terrible toddling tantrums to typical teenage tempers, there is a book out there to help you out and help you see the wood from the trees.
NEW TODDLER TAMING by Dr Christopher Green
Dr Green is nothing short of a genius and this book should be in every parents survival kit. It is a really readable book and will help you to see the world through your child’s eyes and understand why they behave like they do. The biggest and most easiest lesson to learn is that toddlers are not adults and won’t behave like an adult, when we accept this a lot of stress can be saved. Full of advice on dealing with tantrums, potty training, sleep problems, and anything else your little toddling terror might throw at you (literally!).
ECO BABY by Sally J Hall
In today’s society it is really important that we think about being green, especially as parents, because it is our children who are going to be inheriting this world from us, and let’s try and make sure that we do our bit to try not to spoil it for them. Sally Hall takes us through the first year of babies life and looks at ways we can make ethical decisions about the products we buy for baby. The book looks at every aspect of parenting and gives us the green route: the all important argument of disposable versus washable nappies, the benefits of breastfeeding, a guide to formula milks with dairy free and natural alternatives, toys, toiletries , decorating the nursery, fair trade products and suppliers, everything you could need to make your parenting more ethical. The book has a comprehensive directory of companies, products and services which is an invaluable help for anyone who is keen to rear their child in an eco-friendly way with concerns for the health of their child and the world we live in.
THE ESSENTIAL FIRST YEAR by Penelope Leach
‘An essential read for all first time mums.’ (Pregnancy & Parenting ) Penelope Leach writes in a common sense pragmatic way and the book makes it feel like you have a friend at hand to help you out with whatever concerns you in the all important and daunting first year of parenthood. Leach looks at the infant brain and tells us why babies behave like they do, letting you know what’s going on and helping to rid your mind of its worries and all the old wives tales which make our minds run away with themselves, there is often a biological and sensible reason to why baby is behaving like it is and you probably have nothing to worry about. Penelope Leach has been around for a lot longer than Supernanny and generations have been brought up on her advice, so make this a must read in your parenting library and see what all the fuss is about.
THE STEP PARENTS PARACHUTE by Flora McEvedy
One in ten children in the UK has a step parent, yet most books out there only paint the picture of the wicked step mother and few actually address the challenges of being a step parent and offer help and advice. Flora McEvedy is herself a step-mum and has written what is possibly the best book out their for step-parents and can help the step family become a happy home. It really helps step parents with those all important questions: Who am I in all of this, where do I fit in, what is my role, and how can I help? Divorce or the loss of a parent is a painful business for all, and this book can help everyone involved, it won’t heal the scars but it is an inspirational book giving you a path through the fall-out. Another benefit of this book, for those of us in the UK, is that Flora McEvedy is British and the book has none of the gushiness which comes with some of the American step-parent self help books, its is refreshingly British in its outlook and matter of fact approach.
RAISING BOYS by Steve Biddulph
‘A mix of Billy Connelly and Dr Spock … Steve Biddulph is a publishing phenomenon.’ The Times. Boys are different to girls, you don’t need a book to tell you that but this book is so much more. Mums are often left to do most of the parenting but women are ‘wired’ differently from men and when parenting boys a mum might not be able to see where they are coming from, this book can help you out and offers honest, straight forward advice which can help you right from toddler age all the way to the teenage years. The book is written in a terrifically readable and friendly style and offers really powerful and quite revolutionary ideas. Bring up your son, nurture his emotional side, and you will help him to become a more understanding, happy and well balanced young man.
BE A GREAT SINGLE PARENT by Suzie Hayman
This really is the Single Parent’s Bible. Step by step, common sense guide to everything that might concern you as a single parent. How to cope with the day to day realities of raising a child on your own, do’s and don’ts, lots of useful and instant help with common problems. A single mum or dad’s life is going to be pretty busy and the book comes with great one five and ten minute introductions to all the key principles to help get you started when time is short. The book even has chapters on single socialising, new partners, mating and dating!
SIBLINGS WITHOUT RIVALRY by Adele Faber
‘Helping your children live together so you can live too.’ This books deals in a sensible, common sense and readable way with the reasons why siblings argue and clash and how parents can help make the situation both worse and better. The book will help you as a parent to help your kids take responsibility for handling and expressing their feelings and manage their disagreements, the book helps you as a parent to acknowledge your children’s’ feelings and helps them to and allows them to talk. This book can really be a revelation as your children get older, and is the type of book which you will be recommending to all your friends and lending out a well thumbed copy for many years to come.
RAISE A HAPPY TEENAGER by Suzie Hayman
We all remember how tough life seems as a teenager and its often mum and dad who it is easiest to take out most of our angst on. If you and your teen and experiencing a bit of a break down in relationship then this is the book for you. The book deals with conflict, resolution and communication to help you understand your teenager. Easy to read chapters with easy to navigate titles like: ‘Listening and Talking, Negotiating and Compromising’, ‘Helping Your Teenager to Fly’, and ‘Looking After Yourself’. Suzie Hayman is a leading counselor and trained teacher, and has worked with hundreds of families and teenagers and this book is full of advice and real-life stories for concerned and worried parents.
YOU AND YOUR TWEEN by Hollie Smith
There are so many books out there to help with toddlers and hundreds to deal with teenagers but hardly anything out there to help parents to deal with the tricky ‘Tween’ years, early adolescence. Again this book is written in a really easy to read style and has lots of case notes and reports from parents on what worked and how to help. The book really is a helpful guide and reference with advice on everything that might worry you and your child from the age of about 8 until 13: How much time is right for them to be spending on the computer? When and how should you approach the subject of sex? How can you help them to deal with rejection, rivalry and bullying?
CAN I GIVE THEM BACK NOW? The Aargh to Zzzz of Parenting by Joanna Simmons and Jay Curtis
Lastly, a brilliantly alternative A to Z of parenting for mums and dads who love their kids but are grounded about the down to earth realities of modern parenting. It makes you laugh at yourself and shows that sometimes we all go wrong but we don’t need to beat ourselves up about it.
This book is the parenting book for you if:
You sometimes wonder how you’ll get through the day.
You find yourself opening the Chardonnay at six o’clock!
You find yourself looking back and yearning for your old life, pre children.
You are bored rigid by CBeebies.
You do find yourself using the telly as a babysitter
However much you want to be healthy, your healthy eating ideas don’t always work out.
Magic moments do occur but perhaps not when you expect them to.