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Birth To Teen Years: Parenting Books To Help Through The Tough Times

Mum and child reading a parenting book together
ParentingPost Category - ParentingParenting

Advice about raising kids from experts.

Your baby’s cough sounds like a seal barking and you have no idea what to do. Your toddler threw his 10 billionth tantrum and you’re at your wit’s end. Your teen just lied to you, again, and you need help. Mamas, we’ve been there, and the only reason we can laugh now is that we had some amazing backup to help us through those tough periods. Here is a list of the books that got us through the hardest parenting moments.

Jump to:
Parenting Books: Baby To Preschool
Parenting Books: Elementary School To Teen

Read more: Teacher Recommendations: Books For Reluctant Readers

Dad reading a parenting book with his daughter

Parenting Books: Baby To Preschool

Dr. Spock’s Baby And Child Care

Now in its ninth edition, this book has been a favourite of American parents for decades. I remember my own mum flipping through its pages to see why my rash looked so threatening (it turned out to be an allergic reaction). Whether your child’s cough sounds like a seal (she most likely has croup), or you need a little help understanding immunisations or even nutrition, Dr. Spock is the book to have on hand.

Available at Book Depository 

Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

When I had my first baby I complained to my friend that she was a terrible sleeper. My wise friend Wendy asked, “Have you read ‘Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child’?” I told her I hadn’t (I was so tired I couldn’t fathom reading directions, let alone a book). “Do it,” she said. “You’ll thank me later.”

She was right. And for those of you who have this problem with children of any age, you’ll thank her as well. Dr Marc Weissbluth is a master at getting your child to sleep through the night. My only wish was that I knew about his methods before I had a baby so I could have avoided the dreaded “sleep training.”

Available at Book Depository 

Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems

Another book about helping mamas get some sleep (please!), this somewhat controversial book is beloved by many mamas I know. He explains basic information all parents should know about the importance and nature of sleep, and he addresses common sleep problems (and solutions) at all ages.

Available at Book Depository

Read more: Podcasts Your Kids Should Be Listening To

Mum reading a parenting book on a tablet

What To Expect The First Year

If you’re a fan of What To Expect When You’re Expecting, you’ll love this first-year month-by-month guide for your baby. It addresses all the fundamentals of baby care, crib safety, feeding issues and even controversial topics (co-sleeping, attachment parenting, etc).

Available at Book Depository

The New Contented Little Baby Book: The Secret to Calm and Confident Parenting

Gina Ford certainly hit a nerve with this book, and we dare say you’ll never meet anyone who has read it who doesn’t have a firm opinion about her methods (what is a “dress sheet” anyway?!). It is love or hate, and those in the hate camp probably stopped reading halfway through. If you’re keen to have your infant on a tight schedule – and don’t forget, that means mama is on a tight schedule too – then this book might be for you. Ford instructs on precisely when to wake, feed and put your baby to sleep, including directions such as avoiding eye contact with your infant, so they know it is bedtime. She also tells you when to eat and drink (while it sounds nuts, it is easy to forget in those first few weeks!).

Available at Book Depository

The Happiest Baby on the Block

No shock to mamas here – we would do anything to stop our babies from crying uncontrollably! Dr Harvey Karp shares his thoughts and methods on getting your infant and baby to stop crying. He begins by suggesting mums create a “fourth trimester” (a womblike atmosphere to calm your baby), and offers great tips and tricks to soothe even the most colicky babies.

Available at Book Depository

The Happiest Toddler on the Block

Oh, your toddler throws tantrums? Join the club! Don’t fret, because tantrums are just your little one’s way of expressing frustration because he or she lacks the words to do so. Dr Karp offers more of his soothing methods for dealing with tantrums, meltdowns and more.

Available at Book Depository

Read more: Sassy Mama’s Top Picks: 8 Great Parenting Books For Baby And Up

Mum, dad and toddler reading together

Parenting Books: Elementary School To Teen

The New Strong-Willed Child

Hey, guess what? Not all kids are the same. I happened to be blessed with what this book accurately describes as strong-willed kids. Dr James Dobson is a licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child counsellor. His book taught me how to set boundaries with my girls and how to parent my kids, giving them natural consequences for bad behaviour.

Available at Book Depository

Children The Challenge

If that title alone doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what will. My children attended a Montessori preschool and the teachers, when they heard about my “challenging” girls, suggested I read this book. Its loving approach to parenting made sense to me and allowed me to parent without shaming or making my child feel guilty.

Available at Book Depository

Positive Discipline

If you’re anything like I am, you don’t want to punish your kids and would rather teach your children natural consequences. They didn’t ask permission to use the computer? No computer time for two days. They didn’t take care of the camera they asked to borrow? They don’t get that camera next time they ask. This book is all about consequences that make sense and how to raise kids with love and respect.

Available at Book Depository

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults

No other book will help you figure out that being the parent of a teen is the hardest job you’ll ever have! But the absolute best part of this book is that it also helps you understand why, when you have spent years teaching your kids right from wrong, they will take chances that may scare you. And you know what? It’s not your fault! Highly recommended by teachers and parents, this book is one I have on my nightstand.

Available at Book Depository

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 26 Apr 2018 and updated in September 2020.

Please note that this article contains some affiliate links to products and we may receive a commission for select purchases.

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images, image one courtesy of nappy via Pexels, image 2 courtesy of picjumbo.com via Pexels, image 3 courtesy of Photo Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels.

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