Top Pick of Parenting Books

When I knew I was pregnant I went seeking advice in a plethora of parenting/pregnancy books. I read everything that was published at the time. Many of them set up impossible standards that even then I knew I was going to struggle with, others spoke down to me, while yet more espoused beliefs that I didn’t feel comfortable with (and often in a very judgemental way).

In the end I developed a few favourites, which even now, many years on from toddler days, I recommend for friends about to begin their parenting journey.

What to Expect the First Year – Heidi Murkoff

This one was my bible – the one I referred to almost daily in the first year (and beyond). It set out clearly what was expected on a month by month basis but assured me not to panic if my child wasn’t at that milestone. While the section on the typical childhood illnesses was very helpful to a panic stricken new mum who thought every cough, splutter, tinge of red on the skin was the plague!

The Complete Secrets of Happy Children – Steve Biddulph

This is one where author and reader values aligned. Biddulph talked in a way that made sense to me the book blurb says it encouraged “affectionate, warm and engaged parenting. How to have discipline without using fear, and how to listen so children tell you their needs and fears before problems arise.   A parent-friendly, funny, and easy to read book about understanding children and how they grow.”

Even today, with children almost fully in the teenage years I still use his advice on how to listen.

Buddhism for Mothers  –  Sarah Napthali

I’m not Buddhist so I don’t even know why I picked this one up at the book store. To be honest I don’t remember much about it because I read it at the height of the mummy overload years with demanding toddlers, no time for myself and feeling completely overwhelmed. What I do remember is the book made me feel calm. It was the right read at the right time. Here’s some of the blurb – “Parenthood can be a time of great inner turmoil for a woman yet parenting books invariably focus on nurturing children rather than the mothers who struggle to raise them. This book is different. It is a book for mothers.”

At the time I also read every book I could find on Montessori Education and much of the philosophy rubbed off on my approach to raising the girls. These were some of my favourites.

What are your favourite parenting books? Where there any that helped you at a critical time? Maybe you are a young Mum currently struggling through the sleep deprived, manic early years are there newer books that you are finding comfort in?


11 thoughts on “Top Pick of Parenting Books

  1. I wish I’d discovered Mindful Motherhood by Cassandra Vieten earlier than I did. It was transformative for me. I’ve read several books about Montessori, which I loved. But Nurtureshock by Po Bronson was probably the most helpful book for me. It changed the way I parent in many ways–offering praise, my attitude about “lying,” etc. I appreciated that it was science-based.

  2. hello janine! the montessori books are my favorites, of course! the “what to expect” books were my go-tos when my children were babies. also an oldie but a goodie “the mother’s almanac” – sweet and wonderful. joy and happy monday to you and yours..

  3. Pingback: How I Found The Secret of Childhood « Bilingual Montessori Education

  4. I have grandchildren who are now in their teens but back in the day I remember relying on a close knit group of moms and grand moms. You are supremely fortunate to have had those books to breathe with.
    Good article!

  5. Buddhism for mothers looks interesting although I am also not a buddhist, but I am interested in mindfulness and other Buddhist practices. Speaking of which I recently heard of a parenting book about mindfulness by John Kabat Zinn which also looks good.

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