Top 5 Practical Parenting Books. When You Just Need an Answer.


Parenting /
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Finishing a good book is bittersweet. You are captivated in the midst of a great story. The story plays out in your imagination.  The characters take shape. Come to life.  And exist distinctly in your mind. Then, a few short hours later, it’s over. And if the book did it’s job, you are left wanting more.  I wonder though, is this what we want from our parenting books?
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Historical fiction is a fun place to get lost in a story.  While reading this book you can picture yourself wearing a bonnet and cooking stew over a fire.

Then when you need a refill on your stout cup of dark roast, you make a quick jog to your Keurig. Happy that you do indeed live in the 21st century!

Answers please!

Certainly, when your child has just shown the same bad behavior that she has done 420 times before, is not the time for a good story. You don’t care much for creativity and daydreaming. All you really need is for someone to tell you, “when your child does this, you should do this.” Boring ole’ facts. Strait to the point help!

There are so very many parenting topics to cover. It’s surprising that more parenting books are not written this way. I love a good story, but when it comes to wanting to get something done, solutions are all that really matter. No thumbing through pages of fluff to find one useful nugget of real information.

A little of both?

I enjoy James Dobson books. His years of experience, life’s work and vast knowledge shine through in everything he writes. He is a great writer, not just a parenting, family and marriage expert. The fact that he’s a gifted novelist lends itself to a lot of creative writing in his parenting books. I finish his books with a sense of parenting power. Ready to face whatever challenges are headed my way.

It’s about this time that unnamed child commits unnamed transgression.  I’m left asking myself, “wait, what do I do with this? I know I read about it.” The problem is, the one piece of wisdom I needed is buried in a bunch of good writing. Good writing makes for good reading, not always good parenting help. At this point in life, I can typically pull the needed info from my brain’s library. Though, I remember clearly how frustrating it was just needing an answer and being unable to find it.

Dear Parenting Books: Just tell me what I need to know.

As a result I’ve come up with 5 parenting books that give strait forward, easy to read info in a strait-forward easy to read way. Books that will have the answers you need in a ready and waiting for you fashion. Covering ages from babies to teens. Subject matter spanning sleep training, discipline, and siblings. There’s a book here with an answer for you.

Coming in at number 1.

Drum roll please… (alright that’s probably not necessary)

Focus On The Family’s Complete Book of Baby and Child Care.

This books has everything. I received it as a gift when my first child was born. It is indeed the perfect gift for a first time mom. New moms receive plenty of advice. Both helpful and unwarranted. With this book, she won’t have to decipher what is good advice and what is just plain stupid. This book is full of the right stuff. When she has a question about how much sleep her 4 month old should be getting, she’ll find an answer. What to do with a fever, how to spot red flags in a babysitter, when will puberty start. It’s all in there. Forget going to google to sift through advice that may or may not ruin your child. The Complete Book of Baby and Child Care has It. All.  Next up…

2. God Knows How To Raising Your Kids… even if you don’t. by Joe McGee

Joe McGee is a personal favorite of mine. As a result, this book too is one of my most prized! After listening to Joe speak when my first born was a toddler, I approached him and asked where to start with his books. He was quick to point me to this book. It is full of rich biblical wisdom and clearly defines how’s and when’s of discipline and training. Also addressed are nurturing your child’s gifts and talents, self-esteem, money management and a whole lot more.

As a side note, it is my vehement opinion that the first 5 years of a child’s life are without a doubt the greatest opportunity parents have to teach and establish good habits within a child. Giving them a mental program of good conduct to carry through their lives. What a blessing it would be to have a book about habit training for the first five years. I should write one. OK, I think I will.

3. The New Dare To Discipline. by Dr. James Dobson

So, I bet you thought James Dobson wouldn’t end up on this list, with his delightfully fluffy writing. Although I wish every parent would take the time to read many of his works, if you can only pick one, choose this. He brings to parents a charge and challenge to claim your role as the authority in your home. After which, he covers the difference between childish and defiant behavior, rewarding good behavior, and education to name a few.

Since there is a lot of writing to read in order to get to the nuts and bolts in this book. I strongly suggest you read this book with a highlighter! Have it ready to go. Highlight the sentences you know you’ll need later, along with a note at the top giving a brief explanation of what is mentioned.

4. Keep The Siblings Lose The Rivalry. by Dr. Todd Cartmell

Looking for a book that addresses sibling rivalry? I’ll save you the same frustration I endured. There aren’t many! I had dismissed the idea that sibling rivalry was destined to be a normal part of family life. Rivalry is not typically to blame for conflict among siblings. Lack of living-together-skills is the root of the problem. My children were still quite little when I purchased this book. I had only just begun to see conflicts of will.  Feeling confident that if they had a few really sharp tools in their belts, they could solve whatever discord came their way. Parents are responsible for providing them with those tools. Many can be attained from this book.

Families are teams within society. Some teams work together, put each other first, and win a lot. Others lose regularly. Keep The Siblings… instructs parents how to turn their kids into teammates. Clearly explaining how to teach children living-together-skills. Explains the difference between rivalry and lack of skills.

The majority of siblings don’t have actual rivalry. Rivalry is for opposing teams. Living-together-skills however are largely missing among children.

5. Have A New Kid by Friday. by Dr. Kevin Leman

This book is no joke. While many of the books I’ve read were consumed within my first few years of parenting, this one is relatively new to my library. I got it one afternoon, having heard a commercial on the radio. I had resisted it for years. It seemed over-the-top. The principles here are geared toward strait-up, in-your-face-bad behavior. Rebellious teens. Back-talking youth. Kids that make you uncomfortable to be in someones home. Dr. Leman gives no-nonsense ways (my favorite) to put an end to bad behavior.

When reading this book, you may be inclined to stop. Thinking that since your kids aren’t “as bad” as the examples in the book, you don’t really need to address their behavior. If you pick up this book to read it, then you need it! Don’t allow yourself to believe that a little bit of negative behavior is no big deal. After all, other kids are so much worse! No. Each and every moment you invest into molding and shaping your children is a moment well spent. They will only be better off for it.

Take the concepts presented and tailor them to your family’s needs. Much of what he lays out was already in place at our home. However reading this book helped me crank it up a notch with my preteen. After a few weeks we had made much progress in one particular area that had been proving difficult.

Final thoughts.

Dr. Leman’s book delivers a honest-to-goodness plan-of-action to correct bad behaviors. Each and every book I’ve listed is rich with wisdom. The only thing standing between you and corrected behavior is application. Reading the book is good. Understanding is great. Applying it can be life changing.

 

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