Best Parenting Books: 30 Must-Reads For Moms And Dads

While quick blog posts and youtube videos can’t help much about such a broad subject like parenting, a good parenting book can. Parenting books provide a more thorough analysis of a specific topic and offer a wealth of knowledge from experts who have deep experience in the domain. There’s no question that a good parenting book can change your life and that of your children.

Parenting is not a science and so there is no single right way to do it. Parenting books don’t present a simple step-by-step manual. Instead, they provide a more focused and structured approach to parenting, helping you to get the best out of your kids and to become a better parent yourself.

Mathew Jacobson once said, “Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” So, to raise children who believe in themselves, have higher self-esteem, are strong, disciplined, and responsible, you may want to get all your tools from a great parenting book.

30 Best Parenting Books to Consider Reading

Best Parenting Books 30 Must Reads For Moms And Dads

While you may already be willing to read a good parenting book, the sheer number of books on the topic may overwhelm you. You may find it hard to decide which book to start with. So, at ListPink, we did all the research for you. Below are the 30 best books for parents ever written.

1. The Gardner and The Carpenter By Alison Gopnik

Two Homes, Two Families, One Child Who Changed Everything. This is a wonderful book about parenting. It tells the story of how the Gardner family adopted Jason, a foster child, and how their lives were transformed. Jason had suffered severe neglect and abuse. The Gardners, a white family, and the Carpenters, a biracial family, were raising their children in the same neighborhood.

What will happen when the Gardner and Carpenter families come together?

The Gardners and the Carpenters were not sure how their children and Jason would get along and if the parents would be able to work together to keep Jason safe.

This is a beautifully written book with wonderful insights. I was engrossed from the first page to the last page.

2. The Blessing of a B Minus By Julie Gottlieb

The Blessing of a B Minus is a must-read for all parents. The author Julie Gottlieb is a Jewish-American mother of four. Julie Gottlieb understands the pressure that parents feel to have their children succeed. Gottlieb’s main goal is to help parents cultivate happiness and resilience in their children. Gottlieb explains how the lesson of the book of Proverbs is not about becoming a straight-A student but about learning “to do your best work even when you don’t get a gold star.”

3. The Mommy Brain By Katherine Ellison

This is a very interesting book that makes you think about the way you parent. The Mommy Brain is a fascinating look at how motherhood affects a woman’s brain and how a woman’s brain affects the way she mothers.

Author Katherine Ellison has been a practicing psychiatrist for more than twenty-five years. In The Mommy Brain, Ellison explains how this experience has allowed her to develop a unique perspective on motherhood. In particular, she has noted how motherhood changes women’s brains.

4. The Whole-Brain Child By Daniel Siegel

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind is a revolutionary book that takes a new look at how we can best help our children grow and learn.

Siegel, a pediatrician and clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, and co-author Tina Payne Bryson, a developmental psychologist and psychotherapist, make a compelling case that the most important years of our children’s early development are from 0 to 10 years of age. It’s a time when we need to carefully sculpt the architecture of the human brain. The Whole-Brain Child looks at a new theory of how a child’s brain develops and how it can best be nurtured.

5. The Read-Aloud Handbook By Jim Trelease

Jim Trelease, a school library media specialist who has been working in public schools for more than 30 years. In it, he explains the importance of reading aloud to children, from birth until grade six.

In this new edition, Trelease debunks some myths surrounding reading aloud to kids. He doesn’t think that reading to a child is a substitute for a parent spending a lot of face-to-face time with a child. The author also doesn’t think that reading aloud is a substitute for spending a lot of time together doing other activities. He also debunks the myth that reading aloud takes too much time. In fact, it can be a way to make time for a parent and child to spend together.

6. Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell

Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell is a book that teaches us how to look at ourselves and our children differently.

Siegel and Hartzell, both experts in the field of interpersonal neurobiology, believe that how parents and children look at themselves and each other has a direct impact on how they interact with each other. Theyl show us how our brains work and how we can use this knowledge to parent better.

7. NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children is a thought-provoking book that looks at how parents and experts alike hold on to myths and misconceptions about parenting. It’s a book that will make you think about your own parenting and how it affects your kids.

The authors talk about the importance of play and how it can make a difference in a child’s life, especially if he or she doesn’t get enough of it. They also examine how praise can make a difference in a child’s life, and how it can either be positive or negative. Bronson and Merryman also look at how parents can use genetics to understand their kids better.

8. The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene

This book is written for parents of children who are oppositional, defiant, aggressive, or angry. It’s directed towards parents of children with The oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or conduct disorder (CD). The author, Ross Greene, suggests that these behaviors are not due to bad parenting or just being a “bad” kid, but are due to the child’s inability to regulate his or her emotions. Parents are asked to think of these behaviors as communication attempts rather than reject them as misbehaviors.

Greene’s communication approach known as “F.A.misbehaviorC.E.” is detailed in the book. It stands for “ignore,” “validate,” “calm,” and “explain.” If your child is doing something that is unsafe or not allowed, you ignore it. For example, if your child is throwing a toy, you ignore it. If your child is misbehaving in school or at at home, you ignore it. When your child hits someone, you ignore it. If your child is talking back to you, you ignore it. Basically, you ignore everything negative your child does throughout the day. You also validate positive behavior. This is important because children with ODD and CD have a lot of pent-up emotion. By ignoring negative behavior and validating positive behavior, you are giving your child a chance to show that he or she can regulate his or her emotions.

9. Ready or Not by Madeline Levine

Madeline Levine has written a gripping book on how our kids can be pressured to perform and compete for our love and affection. The result of this pressure is that we can end up with kids who feel like there’s something wrong with them if they don’t get straight As, be the top scorer on the sports team, or get accepted to Harvard.

In Ready or Not, Levine shares the stories of kids and families she has worked with. She explains how parents can use her techniques to help their kids develop the skills they need to find balance in their lives.

10. How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

A great book on communication, How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk is a must-read for parents of preschool and school-aged kids. It’s a book that’s been around for decades and has sold over 1.7 million copies.

Faber and Mazlish explain that we can’t just tell our kids what to do. Instead, we have to teach them how to make good choices. In How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk, they explain how to stop arguing with our kids and start connecting with them.

11. Your Two-Year-Old By Louise Bates Ames and Frances L. Ilg

An excellent and timeless classic, Your Two-Year-Old is a great read for parenting children ages two to four. Published in the 1950s, the book provides practical advice for parents on how-to guide and educate their young children.

The book is packed with information and anecdotes on everything from the child’s emotional development to different stages of toddlerhood and how to handle them. It’s a wonderful book, and one we’ve found to be simply timeless.

12. The Happiest Baby on the Block By Dr. Harvey Karp

“The Happiest Baby on the Block” is a child-rearing book written by Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician specializing in newborns, who also invented the 5 S’s, the five steps to soothing an infant that appears in the book. The book was first published in 2002 and has since sold over 1 million copies.

In the book, Harvey Karp describes five methods to calm babies, including swinging, swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, and sucking. The methods are easy to use, effective, and can be done by parents without any special training.

The book also cites scientific studies to explain the importance of the methods. Furthermore, the book discusses other issues related to sleep, baby nutrition, breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, crying, solids, and travel.

13. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

Pamela Druckerman, a writer for The Wall Street Journal, moved to Paris for a year with her husband and three young kids to immerse herself in French life. She was surprised to find that French parents do things differently than American ones—in many cases, they’re more relaxed. Druckerman became fascinated with the French approach, and wondered why it can be hard to do as a parent in France, but so easy in the United States.

Druckerman’s book asks what we can learn from French parents. What’s so special about the French approach to parenting? Why do French children behave so well? How can we replicate the French style of parenting? In the book, Druckerman explores the French approach to child-rearing by sharing her own experiences as a newcomer to France as well as interviews with French parents and parenting experts.

14. Safe Infant Sleep by James McKenna

Sleep is a big deal in the early years, and while there are some basic essentials for safe infant sleep that all parents should be aware of, there are also myths about sleep that can be detrimental to your baby’s development.

James McKenna, the world’s leading expert in co-sleeping, helps parents understand the effects of their parenting choices on their baby’s sleep. Understanding how babies biologically develop in the first year of life can help parents identify the right sleep environment for their child. The book takes into account what research scientists have learned about the importance of parent-baby relationships in the first year of life.

Related: 5 Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids, They Hurt Them 

15. Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky

Mind in the Making is Ellen Galinsky’s exploration into the way that children’s minds develop, and how that development can be positively influenced. This book is full of fascinating information about how children’s brains develop. Galinsky provides parents with tips for helping their children develop their brains so they have the best chance of leading happy, productive lives.

The book is also full of fun activities for parents to do with their children so they can have engaging, stimulating experiences that develop their minds.

16. Becoming Attached by Robert Karen

Based on research by Dr. Robert Karen, author of the highly acclaimed Becoming Attached, this book is an excellent resource for parents who want to facilitate secure attachments in their babies.

With each stage of development, babies need more time and care from their parents. Karen discusses why babies need parent-child contact, the importance of responsive caretaking, the role of emotional communication between parent and child, and how the early attachment bonds are formed.

He explains that the baby’s temperament affects the way he or she responds to parents, and how parents build secure attachments with babies of all temperaments.

17. The Miseducation of a Child by Ron Taffel

Taffel begins with the story of his daughter’s struggle through the educational system. He then looks at how our school system fails our children, especially in the ways it fails to educate children to be compassionate, confident, and capable.

Taffel also explores how our educational system stifles creativity, self-esteem, and individuality. He highlights how this system leaves kids helpless to deal with the real world, unable to find meaningful work, and unable to find purpose in life.

Taffel shares his daughter’s story in hopes that it will give other parents the courage to fight for their kids to have what they need to become genuine, happy adults.

18. The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller

The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller is a classic parenting book that many of us read in our 20s. I’m not sure how many of us read it again in our 40s or 50s. This book is a must-read for parents looking for change in their own lives or their kids’ lives.

Miller’s work on how to raise children with healthy self-esteem is so on the mark. Ideally, her work on separation, individuation, and the importance of play for creativity would be part of the curriculum in every school.

The Drama of the Gifted Child, which is based on Miller’s own experiences raising her son, shows how our parents’ unconscious expectations for us can become our own unconscious expectations, which in turn can become warped into destructive patterns.

19. Brain Rules for Baby By John Medina

Neuroscientist John Medina’s Brain Rules for Baby is a fascinating and fun read, as he explains the importance of stimulating your child’s young brain. Medina, who is also the author of the bestseller Brain Rules, has packed Brain Rules for Baby with fascinating facts about infant brain development.

Medina explains the critical skills that children need to develop, starting from birth, in order to maximize their potential. These include the ability to see, hear, move, think, speak, love, and even play. Medina goes into detail about how to stimulate your child’s brain in the first three years of life. The book is full of scientific facts that are written in an engaging way. It’s a wonderful resource for parents who want to understand how their child’s brain develops, and what they can do to help.

20. Just Listen by Mark Goulston

The title of this book, Just Listen, comes from the fact that when people are in pain, they want others to listen to them. Goulston, a psychiatrist, has spent his career listening to people. His book explains the four keys to being a good listener, which are to be present, focused, empathetic, and open.

Goulston provides techniques that parents can use in everyday situations. This includes how to listen when your child talks, how to listen when your child is angry or upset, how to listen when your child is happy, and how to listen to your child when they are sick. This is a useful book for parents who want to improve their listening skills.

21. How Toddlers Thrive by Tova Klein

The author of How Toddlers Thrive, Tova Klein, is a leading researcher on parent-child relationships and a professor of applied developmental psychology at the Jerusalem College of Technology.

In the book, she emphasizes the importance of a child’s development of a sense of self and the development of relationships with others. She explains that “although toddlers can be difficult, they are also extremely rewarding to parent” and that “this is the time that parents and toddlers form the core of their relationship.”

22. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham

This book is a great choice for parents who want to promote a healthy and peaceful family life. It addresses common issues such as tantrums, sibling rivalry, and power struggles and offers practical and easy-to-follow strategies and tools for parents to use to resolve conflicts and foster self-regulation and self-control in their children.

23. Your Defiant Child by Russell Barkley

This book will give parents an understanding of why their child is defiant and how to help her. It will also help them understand their role in the development of the problem and how their parenting style may contribute to the problem. It also offers very practical and useful tools to manage and cope with defiance and to promote improvements in the child.

24. The Child, the Family, and the Outside World by D.W. Winnicott

The author of this classic book is considered one of the most influential pediatricians in the world, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. In The Child, the Family, and the Outside World, Dr. Winnicott looks at how a child develops, specifically through the parent-child relationship. He covers topics including how parents can best handle situations in which children are in danger, how parents can work with their children’s schools to help them develop, how parents can work with both the child and his or her therapist, and how to deal with an infant who cannot be comforted.

Outlining the developmental tasks that children go through, he shows how parents can best support the child’s development. He feels that parents must be able to handle most normal childhood behaviors, including tantrums, without becoming overly anxious. According to Winnicott, most parents have the tendency to smother their children with love, which he feels is actually harmful.

25. Einstein Never Used Flash Cards by Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Diane E. Eyer

A wonderful resource for parents of babies through age five, Einstein Never Used Flash Cards is organized around the idea that the way to develop a child’s brain is to make sure he or she is involved in challenging, fun experiences.

The book offers practical, real-life strategies to help parents enrich their child’s learning, including ways to help babies understand cause and effect, gear preschoolers toward linguistic development, motivate kids to write, and help children develop math skills

26. Unequal Childhoods by Annette Lareau

In Unequal Childhoods, Annette Lareau uses a mix of observations, interviews, and historical research to show how childhood has changed in the United States over the past 50 years. She looks at the ways in which the movement from home to school to work has changed the lives of children from different social classes.

The book focuses on how attitudes and values within families, communities, and schools shape children’s lives. Lareau also looks at how families and their children cope with challenges such as work schedules and family breaks, and how they negotiate issues such as homework and bedtimes.

27. Cribsheet BY Emily Oster

The new edition of Cribsheet, a comprehensive yet succinct guide to pregnancy and early parenthood, includes the most up-to-date information on what pregnant women and new parents really need to know, presented in a readable and understandable way.

Oster offers her own research on everything from breastfeeding and bed-sharing to vaccines, and she includes the science behind the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and other organizations.

28. The Conscious Parent BY Shefali Tsabary

The Conscious Parent is a guide for raising well-adjusted, resilient children by developing a relationship built on trust, empathy, and mutual respect. This book offers a practical toolkit for setting healthy boundaries, nurturing compassion, and guiding children towards a life of meaning, purpose, and inner peace.

Tsabary uses real-life stories to show how conscious parenting can be applied to children across the ages, from babies to teens. She also explains how to raise “whole” children who are not only happy but also compassionate, confident, and successful.

29. So You Really Want to Be a Parent? BY Kristin Butcher

The founder of the UK’s largest parenting blog shares the wisdom she has gained from raising two young children, helping other parents, and researching parenting issues. The book offers advice on how to deal with the challenges of parenthood, from getting back into shape after having a baby to dealing with difficult teenagers.

Butcher offers her own insights into dealing with the challenges of parenthood, from getting back into shape after having a baby to dealing with difficult teenagers, as well as the best advice she has learned from other parents.

30. Oh Crap! I Have a Toddler by Jamie Glowacki

This is the best parenting book for new parents. It’s a lighthearted and funny look at toddlerhood and the challenges that come with raising a toddler. It includes sections such as ‘Your Baby is a Psychopath’ and ‘The Good News: You’re Allowed to Spank’.

The book provides a lot of practical, down-to-earth advice along with the humorous insights. Glowacki also talks about the emotional ups and downs of being a parent and she offers a lot of reassurance for parents going through similar struggles.

That concludes our list of 30 best parenting books for moms and dads. Which book do you think you should grab from the list? Is there any other book you want to recommend to our readers? We will love to know.


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