Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Parenting Books

I LOVE to read! I read mostly fiction, with a smattering of nonfiction (mostly memoirs, autobiographies, and of course parenting books). I would not consider myself widely read in parenting books, but I have read a fair few. I wanted to not only give you some ideas for parenting books if you are interested, but I also wanted to get YOUR ideas!!

One thought before I give the reviews. I have NEVER met with a parenting book that I agreed with 100%. It is impossible to find a book that aligns with your parenting philosophy perfectly. So, be wary as a reader - don't take everything you read at face value. Read it, think about it, talk about it with someone, and then make a choice. Take what you like, and for heaven sake - take it with a grain of salt. I am always frustrated when reading parenting books to find contradictions between authors, and guess what - BOTH AUTHORS SAY THAT THEY ARE RIGHT! An author writes to sell and give their opinions like fact, so don't be thrown off if the author tells you that this is the only way to do it - it isn't!! Most of all, don't feel bad if you do something that an author tells you is taboo (especially if it works for you).

I've given reviews in three parenting book categories (though there are doubtless MORE); sleep/routine books, discipline books, and general information books.

Sleep/Routine Books: The Baby Whisperer Series by Tracy Hogg. Tracy has written 3 books to my knowledge (perhaps more... someone help me out, 3 is all I could find), all of them in tandem with Melida Blau. I have read The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, but not the other two (the original Baby Whisperer and Baby Whisperer for Toddlers). Sleep/routine books are handy for parents who have babies with sleep problems, or for parents (like me) who can't survive without some type of routine for their baby. If you aren't into routines/schedules then this book isn't for you. The Baby Whisperer is the marriage between the philosophy that your child should "cry it out" and "attachment parenting." She encourages you to teach your baby to sleep in his/her crib and fall asleep alone from day one, but she doesn't advocate crying it out. I have to be honest - this didn't work for my son, but I do believe that I will try it with my next baby from the get go (I started at 4 months with my son). I love that it teaches a baby to sleep well through the night, without the pain of listening to them sob for hours. Tracy is also witty and it makes her books VERY fun to read.

General Information Books: The What to Expect Series by Heidi Murkoff (and others - too many to list). These books give general information about parenting. I have read all of What to Expect the First Year and about half of What to Except the Toddler Years. What I love about these books is that they are so hands off. They give a lot of ideas, great general information, and most of all make you feel good. They don't pressure, but just give advice. You also don't have to read these straight through - you can just look up pressing issues. I've also read What to Expect When You're Expecting and LOVED that one too. That book has been criticized as being too strict on a pregnant woman's diet, but I didn't follow that..... :)

Disciple Books: Love and Logic by Cline and Fay. Discipline is a TRICKY thing! We all have our different philosophies and ideas. For ME Love and Logic strikes a familiar chord. It encourages you to be loving and yet firm with your children. I have read Teaching with Love and Logic and also parts of Parenting with Love and Logic. My favorite one however is, Love and Logic Magic for the Early Childhood Years. This is perfect for me now because it is about 0-6 years. Some of the discipline methods might not be to your liking, because it can be viewed as rather strict. However, I think the strict side is tempered by the HUGE emphasis on LOVE.

Again, I didn't agree with everything in these books, but they are three of my favorites. I can't wait to hear what your favorites are! I want to hear from you (as do other readers). So tell us....
What is your favorite parenting book(s)?
Why do you like that book(s)?
What does it teach?
What did you find especially helpful?

I have also listed my favorite religious parenting book as a comment. So if you are interested you can look at that as well.


Tannie Datwyler said...

My personal favorite religious parenting book is Raising Up a Family To The Lord by Gene R. Cook. It is mostly for parenting with older children, but Richard and I are reading it right now to get some ideas going. Then when our kids are a bit older I think we'll read it again.

Erin said...

I like the AAP's "Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5." I thought it was really helpful when I was a new mom. It's mostly a health book and at the back tell about some childhood diseases and things to watch for.

PS I made JeriLynn's wipes and I love them!!! They are even really gentle on babies with rashes and they don't hurt!

On The Go Family said...

I really liked parts of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." To be honest, I never did read it cover to cover, but it's broken down well so you can read the sections or chapters that are applicable to your stage of parenting.

I started at 6 months with my first child and 4 months with my second and it turned them both into great sleepers. It spells everything out very clearly, which is exactly what I wanted and needed as a new parent. (Obviously that's not for everyone but it was perfect for me.)

I'm a huge fan of Love and Logic as well.

One I've got on my book shelf but have yet to read is The Power of Positive Parenting. I've heard great things about it!

Tannie Datwyler said...

I've read parts of The Power of Positive Parenting as well and I REALLY like it too!! I'm glad you brought that one up.

Megan said...

To be honest, I haven't read any parenting books. But, I do have the What to Expect when Your Expecting, and I really did find that book informative.

Courtney said...

Another great one from Glen Lathem is "Chirstlike Parenting!" I also like "What to Expect When Your Expecting" and the "What to Expect in the Toddler years."

Jared and Delia said...

I am a fan of Love and Logic as well! I don't follow is to a T because some of it just doesn't suit my personality or our circumstance, but I use a lot of the principles.

Everyone has listed a nice compilation of books. I don't feel like I have much to add.

I also really like Tracey Hogg's book. There are some great things that help you understand your baby's cry and temperament better along with sleep training.

Heather said...

I think Glen Lathem has written some great stuff in "The Power of Positive Parenting." I am excited to read the early childhood version of Love and Logic because I really enjoyed the teaching version and found it effective in the classroom. However, sometimes I feel like I am manipulating my daughter when I use that approach. It is like Tannie mentioned in her post--take bits and pieces from books and use them to fit your style, right? I would like to try out "Christlike Parenting." I wish I could say I try to use the best parenting techniques all the time. . . I don't. But, what I love about reading these books is it gives me more tools, validates what I am doing right, and helps me rededicate myself to becoming better.

Jessie said...

Actually my favorite parenting book is the one my mom gave me that she used. It's called How to Parent by Dr. Fitzhugh Dodson, published in 1970. He has some really great ideas on how to teach children and raise them to be independent thinkers. Also know, though, that much of the basic information is outdated--we no longer sleep babies on their stomachs, or give our babies crazy things for their ailments, and Sesame Street is not a "great new show" on PBS... :)--so you can't read it for that as much, but his ideas on teaching children to play on their own, and encourage different types of development at each age, are great. I have yet to find another parenting book I like as well as this one, and I've read several.

I also really liked Your Pregnancy Week by Week quite a bit, but I didn't like Your Child's First Year Week by Week nearly as much, mostly because pregnancies are more predictable, whereas childhood is much more irregular, and so I didn't think the organization worked as well, though the information was still great, and I refer to it often.

Tannie Datwyler said...

Thanks for those suggestions Jessie - I hadn't heard of those ones. That's great!!

I know what you mean about L&L Heather. It does seem a bit manipulative sometimes.... but for the most part I think it is great (for me at least). The thing I didn't agree with were when you had your child "pay" for a babysitter if they misbehave (or something like that). I was also unsure about using chores as consequences. For the most part though I loved how it foused on natural consequences, and letting your child learn how to think. It is a fun and easy read.

So yes, just remember - read it and take what you like and what works for you.

JeriLynn said...

I'm a loyal follower of Tracy Hogg and The Baby Whisperer. She only has the three books because she died of melanoma in 2004.

The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is what I would call an all-encompassing baby manual. I love that book. I used it to teach Liesl how to go to sleep, and I loved it!

Kelly A. said...

Not exactly a "parenting book" but another book kind of along the same lines that I enjoyed was "I am a Mother" by Jane Clayson Johnson.

Spring said...

Tannie, good review. I need to read Love and Logic. I love "The Baby Whisper" coupled with "On Becoming Baby Wise". Baby Wise did a great job of explaining how to get baby into a good sleeping routine. The author can be a bit rigid so I felt like "On Becoming Baby Wise" together with the soft touch of "Baby Whisperer" were a great fit. Those two books have made the baby stage for me much easier and enjoyable.