Like the saying goes, babies don’t come with instruction manuals. New parents are often left to figure things out for themselves, using a mix of personal experience and advice from friends and family. Even practiced parents struggle as they try to guide their children through crucial stages of development. Here are six parenting books that offer trustworthy information and practical solutions for families with children of all ages and abilities.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

This book uses modern neurobiology to help parents understand their children’s developmental stages. It presents 12 ways to encourage healthy intellectual and emotional growth in children.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting 

Many parenting books focus on the child and children’s behavior, but don’t always address how parent behaviors contribute to family dynamics. Dr. Laura Markham works with parents in this book to identify how they affect each situation, how to minimize reactions in themselves, and how to cope and connect with their kids in a positive way. Approachable and compassionate, Markham and her followers have created a whole community online where parents can find ongoing encouragement, tips, and support.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

Positive parenting techniques build trust, encourage independence, and reduce the likelihood that your child will make dangerous decisions. Good communication is a key component of effective parenting. This book gives you solid examples of ways to build effective communication between you and your child by overcoming common barriers.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

Dependence on electronic entertainment has sent the rates of childhood obesity, attention deficit disorder (ADD), depression, and anxiety off the charts. This book lays out scientific evidence that spending time in nature improves the overall well-being of low-activity children.

Raising Your Spirited Child, Third Edition: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic

Spirited children present unique parenting challenges like emotional meltdowns, defiant behavior, and high levels of sensitivity. Parents learn strategies to help their child build self-regulation skills. This book is great for autism, ODD, and ADD families that struggle with social integration.

Teen Picks

These three selections will help you guide your teen across the bridge from child to adult.

  • How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk presents advice specifically geared towards older children. These strategies keep the lines of communication clear during these potentially turbulent years.
  • Parenting Teens With Love And Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood, Updated and Expanded Edition is a practical guide to ensuring your child is ready to take on the trials of adult life.
  • Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World examines the way internet-based technology changes young people’s thinking and presents ways to counter negative or erroneous digital influences.

Parents can sometimes feel alone in their quest to build a better life for their children. However, a trip to your local bookstore is a great reminder that aid is always available.

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