for the weekend | favorite books on parenting


favorite_parenting_books-2 favorite_parenting_books

Weekends are always the best time for personal reading. On Saturdays, I tend to stay in my PJs longer and often meander back into my bed with coffee and a book, a small gratitude with having older children. A couple of people have recently asked me about my favorite parenting books, so I thought I might share a few here for those of you interested in the books that have helped shape the strategy and heart in our parenting thus far. Truly, my mother and other dear friends have been my favorite resources, although I know not everyone has parents they can trust for advice, or friendships nearby with whom to share a drink and swap parenting joys and woes. On a brief side-note, if you are in the latter group, please don’t be  discouraged. I have found myself in similar places after moves or in new transitions or simply due to the fullness of our family life, and there is a sweetness, too that comes with seasons alone with your children. You might find a few ideas for meeting friends in what I wrote here last year.

Parenting books are wonderful for hearing ideas and strategies outside of my immediate circles, especially when I have felt in a rut of routine or simply defeated. Let’s agree now: no book is entirely perfect or will match one family or child exactly. But I’ve learned if I’m willing to listen and observe my own children and habits and not assume I have to know everything or get it right all the time, it’s easier for me to hear just the right lessons anywhere. Also, prayer matters. Taking time to bless my children (and husband), to ask God for wisdom in how to lead them, is a bold act of humility; it also shapes my own heart. I digress again. As we grow nearer to the teen years, I’m looking again at these books and turning to a few new ones. Of course, I’d love to hear any of your own favorites (and so would other readers), so feel free to share in the comments.

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson | I want to read this again as an older parent. This book covers a broad range of topics and is written in a way that explores and exposes research than gives didactic steps for parents to practice. It’s smart and narrative-drive, and the writers have clearly titled and sub-titled each chapter for quick reference or if you’re simply interested in reading a part. The book is intriguing for exploring some of the common social beliefs/stereotypes about children and teens.

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne | I mentioned this book here, so you might have known it would appear on this page, too. It is a “less is more” book on parenting and is clear, gentle, and well-written. I should also note that although it addresses the clutter of toys and routine, it’s truly a deeper philosophy, one that if begun in little ways while children are small will be a gift in upcoming years, too.

Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk | This book is written from a Christian perspective about loving and empowering your children with self-control over punishment-driven tactics. It is narrative-driven, brief, and easy to follow. Although the ideas are his own, Silk often references Parenting with Love and Logic, another reference I’ve heard other parents rave about over the years, although I have never read it.

Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline: The Seven Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation  by Becky Bailey | I read this when Olive was a toddler, when I found myself exhausted of strategies to nurture her emotional self while setting boundaries that worked for my other children. This book is clear and highly practical, and always address the parent’s heart/thoughts first before addressing the children. The seven basic skills are clearly outlined with sub-titles (for skimming or reference as you need it). I wish I could put one in the hand of most adults, who it seems could benefit from learning these skills as much as children.

Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey | This book has little to do with parenting and much to do with understanding people. We all know our partners and children are different than us, and yet it’s still difficult to resist making them like us. This book, based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), has been so helpful over the year for noticing the nuances of temperament. I don’t limit myself or family member to their boxes, as some might fear, but rather use it as a tool to see, “you’re not doing this to frustrate me, you truly experience the world in a way that doesn’t value or see this.” It leads to all sorts of interesting conversations.

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    1. Author

      I just went to see Sally at her conference in Dallas last month. What a strong voice of encouragement and truth she has. I’ve only read her last book, and am about to begin her newest, so I appreciate this recommendation. Thank you!

  1. No Drama Discipline, how to raise your spirited child, how to talk so your kids will listen and listen so your kids will talk were ALL game changers for me. Reading simplicity parenting right now.

    1. Author

      Mmmm. I haven’t read any of those, although I’ve heard the last one referenced a few times, too. Thank you for sharing, Amanda. I certainly have a couple of spirited children, too, so that might be a particularly good read here. ;)

  2. the Loving Kids on Purpose link goes to Simplicity Parenting if you wanna fix it

    1. Author

      Haha! Thank you for alerting me, Kimberly. I suppose the help of directly linking fails when it sends you to the wrong place. ;)

  3. Simplicity Parenting is a perennial favourite. Also, “Hold on to Your Kids” by Gordon Neufeld. Thanks for sharing – a lot of these are new titles to me!

    1. Author

      We went through an adoption process several years ago, between our girls’ births, and one of the books we had to read was called Holding Time. I forgot about it until your mention. I love the importance of touch, of holding our children literally. Thank you for the reminder, and I’ll certainly check out this title. x

  4. I loved Nurture Shock and Simplicity Parenting. The latter was full of amazing ideas for averting behavior issues.
    Another recent favorite is Raising Burning Hearts, by Patricia Bootsma. She pretty much covered everything, and was very hopeful and encouraging. Parenting is such an intense journey, I appreciate encouragement for the journey.

    1. Author

      I’m almost finished with Raising Burning Hearts right now–haha! I loved everything she wrote about blessing and am curbing some current blessing/prayers over my children as a result, some of it I’ll share at W+F. Can’t wait for a longer chat with you, friend. xo

  5. “…a bold act of humility.” So beautifully put. And I’m encouraged to pray for my family. Thanks Bethany.

    1. Author

      I’ve been re-awakened to the power of prayer in our home in the last couple of months. It feels like such a small act, but is so life and heart-changing. I’m realizing as I write this, prayer might be the most powerful beginning to anything I do as a parent.

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