On Reading: Parenting By the Book

by Jennifer


The two most obvious reasons that we read is to be entertained or to be informed. Some of us lean more in one direction than the other, but any reader has likely turned to books when they need information.

Elizabeth has posted a review of Bullying Decoded on 5 Minutes for Mom (and you can enter to win a copy by leaving a comment over there). In her post, she shares about the bullying that one of her sons has dealt with time and again, and what they did about it. She also shares what she likes about this particular resource, and in addition to gleaning wisdom on how to parent him through it, she’s going to pass it on to him to read for himself.

Though I can only take so much parenting advice, there have definitely been times that I turned to the experts to help me get through a certain situation. What mom-to-be didn’t at least pick up What to Expect When You’re Expecting and/or What to Expect the First Year? (Really–I’m asking–if you never read either of these, you must leave a comment and let me know.) But for me, it was scheduling and sleep training and nursing that had me running for the bookstore for help. And it did help.

Raising a spirited preschooler had me a bit frustrated until the wisdom and encouragement of Mary Sheedy Kurcinka made its way into my brain as I read her book.

I’ve been reading books about adolescence, specifically raising daughters, since before my daughter hit the double digits, partly because I’m a book reviewer and these types of books are heavily promoted on mom blogs, and partly because I wanted to be sure that I understood my daughter and didn’t lose touch with her as a teen. I wanted to be ready. I wanted parenting to come naturally to me. I wanted to know what I believed and how I was going to act.

Also, as an adult reader of young adult literature, I’ve been somewhat educated — or perhaps illuminated — about the mind of a teenager, which has come in handy since I now have one of my very own who will be entering high school in the fall. Sometimes memoir or fiction can instruct as effectively as a book written by a Ph.D. or a psychologist.

What about you? Is there a book that helped you get through a particular stage in your kids’ lives? Is there one that changed your thinking so much that it’s defined how you parent? Let us know, and check out the comments to see if your favorites are mentioned.

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Jennifer Donovan has indeed turned to books for comfort and commiseration as well as content. She blogs at Snapshot when her reading and reviewing schedule allows.

Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer

Jennifer lives in Houston with her family. In addition to reading, she enjoys travel, Bible study, food, and fun. She blogs about some of these things -- when her nose isn't in a book -- at Snapshot.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara H. July 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I recently enjoyed Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boys by Hal and Melanie Young and wished I’d had something like it when my guys were small. My go-to book when mine were little was Dare to Discipline by James Dobson.
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2 Jennifer July 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm

That one sounds good. My little boy is still young, but at 8 he’s growing up fast!!
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3 Dawn July 10, 2012 at 8:48 am

Oh, the parenting books I’ve read! The most common theme that I read about is parenting a child with ADHD. I have too many titles on my shelf to name them all, but the one that I referred to a whole lot in the last year is LATE, LOST, AND UNPREPARED: A PARENTS’ GUIDE TO HELPING CHILDREN WITH EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING. I highly recommend it!
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4 Jennifer July 10, 2012 at 9:52 am

I am buying that book right now!! As Amanda has gotten older and adolescence has set in, some of her choices have had major consequences — since schoolwork and other responsibilities are more demanding now.
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5 Trish July 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

I have sort of given up on most mainstream parenting books since my was diagnosed with autism, but I remember personally loving The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine. So funny and down to earth!!
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6 Jennifer July 10, 2012 at 9:46 am

Yeah, I remember that one too. I think it was actually specifically written in rebuttal to the What to Expect. . . books that are pretty intense!


7 Nancy July 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Lenore Skenazy and her Free-Range Parenting is one of my favorites, it reinforced my beliefs that kids don’t need to be kept in bubble wrap and also pushed me to let them do some things I might not have.

Also, not a parenting book, per se, but The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease got me out of a reading rut when my oldest was 5 and pushed us to move beyond picture books into some easy chapter books.
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8 Jennifer July 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

I can’t believe that one didn’t immediately come to mind! It was so fun and read-able, and like you said it simply reinforced my beliefs — yet in a world of helicopter parenting that really helped me!
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