I have sort of a love – hate relationship with parenting books. Anyone else?
To me, it seems like the same situation as health books / philosophies – a myriad of “experts” touting opposite opinions and capitalizing on fear.
With this sort of opinion, you’d think I would just stop reading them. The problem is, I love to read and I love to have a plan. Having a book to turn to automatically makes me feel like I’m doing something about the problem. Having a plan makes me feel in control, even if the plan winds up failing. No problem, I’ll make a new plan.
But I hate how each parenting book starts by telling you all of the catastrophic things that will occur if you fail to execute their plan – how your child will be sleep deprived and therefore ADHD and therefore never amount to anything. How your child will become hopelessly codependent or unable to form a bond with anyone or grow three heads.
I’m pretty sure parents worry enough about these things without the books magnifying it. Aaaand, I’m quite sure that parents, for instance, reading a book about supporting healthy sleep in children, are already aware of the importance of sleep.
I was “off” of parenting books for quite some time, but alas, the nap situation caused me to fall off the wagon and I bought another one. I started listening to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child on Audible. A lot of the book makes a lot of sense to me, I could just do without the chapters on how sleep deprived children are doomed at life. Thanks for that Dr. Weissbluth. Thanks a lot.
I also find that, similar to health books, you can pretty much find a book to support whatever you want to do anyway. I suppose this can be helpful in boosting confidence about a parenting philosophy you already have, but it’s decidedly unhelpful when you’re actually looking for information on what to do.
With that said, there are actually a couple of parenting books I’ve read that I really liked.
This is an older book and I don’t think it’s in print anymore. I thought some of the information (e.g., regarding breastfeeding) was outdated, but I loved the ideas for gently helping your baby learn to self-soothe from the start. This book had a lot of great tips for avoiding creating crutches that you later need to wean your child off of.
I think this book would be useful even if you’re not familiar with Montessori. It has a lot of great information about developmental timelines and how to support your child in various phases of development and in reaching greater independence. I read this one when I was pregnant and am hoping to reread it soon.
This one is more for toddlers and up, but I recognized so many of the strategies we successfully used with children in the classroom that I would definitely recommend it to a friend. It’s amazing how little tweaks in language can prevent power struggles with a toddler.
I found all three of these books to be helpful and to include minimal “scare tactics”. I think it’s unkind and unnecessary for authors to play into the already present fear that we will somehow mess up our precious children. Because while they may all disagree, I don’t think any expert says, “You know what today’s parents need? To worry more.” No thanks.
How do you feel about parenting books? Do you have any favorites?