The BabyShrink Book Bag: Current Faves

Today I’m focusing on “expert” parenting authors, and tomorrow I’ll share my list of hilarious mom and dad authors. I’d go crazy if I tried to create a comprehensive list of great parenting books; these are my faves right now, and I will update periodically.

Don’t forget to list your top picks in the comments section below.

  • BabyShrink reader Dylan recommended Dr. Anthony Wolf’s The Secret of Parenting, which immediately rose to the top of my recommended list. He’s got exact scripts for us to use with all sorts of annoying kid behavior, from whining, to lying, to “I’m Bored”, “You Promised”, and of course the always popular, “It’s Not Fair”. He sets limits in a way that takes the angst out of the process for parents, and keeps the focus on the positive -- without punishment.
  • Where’s this little gem been all my kids’ lives? Claire Lerner and Amy Laura Dombro write for Zero-To-Three, the national authority on early childhood, and this book hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Bringing Up Baby; Three Steps to Making Good Decisions in Your Child’s First Years is a quick read that gives us a way to make our own best decisions about our unique kids, without giving a “cookbook” list of advice. Their Three-Step Approach to Parenting helps us develop our own sense of what’s best for each kid (and each parent), in each situation.  I      especially appreciate their emphasis on discovering your kid’s temperament, (as well as your own), and how that impacts your parenting decisions.
  • I’ve learned so much about the importance of sensory issues, and how they impact our kids’ mood and behavior, from my Occupational Therapist friends. One of my kids is a little sensitive to noises, and he reacts accordingly. Another needs a lot of running around and “heavy” physical play in order to get into a centered, receptive mood. These are all secrets learned from the pros who wrote Raising a Sensory Smart Child. It’s often recommended for kids who have a diagnosed sensory problem, but believe me, it’ll open your eyes about the importance of being “sensory smart” with every kid (and adult!). Lindsey Biel and Nancy Peske have won awards and accolades for their work, and I highly recommend it. UPDATE: On a related and very exciting note, Lindsey Biel has agreed to a BabyShrink interview! So, more soon on this interesting sensory stuff!
  • OK, this one’s not a book, but you’ve gotta see this series on DVD if you missed it on the Discovery Health channel. The Baby Human is the most fascinating documentary on the development of babies and toddlers that I’ve ever seen. It got all sorts of awards, because it explains the miraculously complex process of babies’ development with startlingly simple demonstrations and explanations. I’ve been a shrink for a long time, and there are some illustrations of the importance of pointing and speech development that are the best I’ve ever seen. There’s also fascinating footage of infant and toddler research in progress at major universities. Check it out to have a whole new appreciation of the changes your little ones experience every day! I especially like the episode: To Talk.
  • And of course, I must recommend anything written by the gentle giant of the field, T. Berry Brazelton, MD.  Why can’t all pediatricians have the sensitivity and appreciation for little minds that this great man has? He helps us see that back-tracking (or “regression”)  is usually quite normal in development, that tantrums and other annoying toddler behavior is to be appreciated for the message of independence and competence that it sends, and explains why kids do actually want (and need) kind (but firm) limits, in a way that makes perfect sense. There’s so much to be learned from this man; if you haven’t heard of him, immediately get one of his books

What’s your list of favorite “expert” parenting books? Comment here and let us all know!