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A Therapist’s Top 10 Parenting Books

November 30, 2017

Last week, I shared my top 10 favorite marriage books with you. Why?  Because marriage is awesome but difficult and maintaining healthy relationships is an integral part of self care.  When you intentionally cultivate amazing relationships, your life will be rich and joyful. But if I’m being honest, I have to admit…though marriage can be […]

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Last week, I shared my top 10 favorite marriage books with you. Why?  Because marriage is awesome but difficult and maintaining healthy relationships is an integral part of self care.  When you intentionally cultivate amazing relationships, your life will be rich and joyful.
But if I’m being honest, I have to admit…though marriage can be difficult at times, parenting can be off the charts HARD…I would say, like 30-50% of the time.  Or maybe more.  There are a million reasons for this, including (but not limited to):
1.  We can’t control other people (even the little ones)
2.  We want (generally speaking) 100% obedience
Oh. My. Word.  Parenting is such a joy, but you see why it can be so trying, right?  To make matters worse (or at least more complex), there are 293,820 parenting books out there, all promising to cure your baby’s colic, potty train your toddler in 2 days, ensure that they sleep through the night every night, and make sure your teen gets into Harvard.  But alas, no matter what books we read, babies still cry uncontrollably at times, some kids take months to potty train, sometimes bad dreams happen and only 5.4% of applicants are admitted to Harvard.  
Wouldn’t it be nice to know the exact parenting books therapists recommend?  Um, yes…yes it would.  So here you go, my fellow mamas (and papas!); today I present you with my top 10 parenting books – full of my favorite advice that actually works!
1.  Have a New Kid By Friday – Dr. Kevin Leman is one of my favorite parenting experts.  He writes with a wit and candor that make you feel better about life/all the parenting problems you are facing.  This book is a simple, no-nonsense guide for parents with kids of all ages.
2.  If I Have To Tell You One More Time – Amy McCready is my go-to source for positive parenting solutions.  She offers an entire toolbox of knowledge for parents who find themselves continually asking the question “what in the world am I going to do about this?”  With a time-tested suggestion for each parenting issue, this book is one I refer to again and again.
3.  On Becoming Toddler Wise – Gary Ezzo has a whole “wise” series that starts with babies and goes up through teens, but this one is my favorite.  Personally, the toddler years were super frustrating for me, so this book helped with lots of practical suggestions for parenting a strong-willed little person.  
4.  Five Love Languages Of Children – Dr. Gary Chapman did wonders for me (and countless others) with his best-selling book on the Five Love Languages, and this book is no different.  Learning your child’s love language is life-changing.  Just like with adults, making your child feel deeply loved will be miraculous for your relationship with them.
5.  The Happiest Baby On The Block – I discovered this book when I had my second son and I’m so thankful I did!  I have read countless baby books that make all sorts of bogus promises, but this advice actually delivers.  This book teaches you how to soothe your baby in ways that work.  I honestly think it should be called The Happiest Mama On The Block.  It’s that good.
6. Parenting Your Powerful Child – This is another Kevin Leman book that explains that there is a powerful child in every family, and what to do about it.  Each child is different, and “powerful” children need different types of correction than their siblings.  
7.  31 Days To Managing Your Moods – I promise this isn’t just shameless self promotion, even though yes, I did write this book.  As I told you here, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.  My goal with this book was to encourage people (parents or not!) in every stage of life to take care of themselves and be intentional about understanding their thoughts and behaviors.  The tools I share are the exact same ones I use with all the frustrated mamas and papas who make their way into my office. 
8.  What To Expect When You’re Expecting – This book is a staple for just about everyone I know that has ever been pregnant.  If you’ve ever been preggo, you already know that every stomachache, terrible night’s sleep, and muscle spasm can be a source of anxiety.  This handy guide takes the fears out of what can otherwise be a very stressful time.
9.  How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk – This book is a best-seller for a reason!  It teaches parents how to understand their kids’ emotions based on their behaviors and how to respond in a way that will nurture the bond between parent and child while still setting the child up to be obedient and make good choices. #winning
10.  Grace-Based Parenting – This book is a favorite among families with Christian values.  It focuses less on punishment and more on loving your child well (similar to the 5 Love Languages of Children).  It’s a breath of fresh air for parents who are looking for ways to model grace and forgiveness to their children.  
Do you have any books that have been especially helpful to you?  Which ones do I need to add to my list of top 10 parenting books?  Share your favorites with us in the comments!

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