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15 books to help you be the best possible parent

Laura Paul is most widely known as Hong Kong’s gluten-free guru and champion for natural health and wellness. She enjoys bringing people together to improve the lives of families. She is the founder of Healthy Living Asia and the membe...

Check out these parenting books with great advice

Parenting books can be full of conflicting information or overwhelming with new concepts and ideas. I'm filtering through the latest to bring you some well-known authors as well as hidden gems in this roundup of books for parenting success.

More: 10 things that happen when you start a really good book

1. Parent Effectiveness Training

by Thomas Gordon

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Thomas Gordan’s book on empathy, conflict resolution and communication skills will enhance any parent/child relationship for life. Even better, these same skills can enhance relationships at home, work, school and beyond.

2. Raising Girls

by Steve Biddulph

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This book is a call to arms for parental engagement, reflecting on our own personal biases towards girls and boys, as well as a how-to for raising girls through the ages of plummeting self-confidence. For more reading on girl’s self-esteem and what you can do about it, check out Anea Bogue’s 9 Ways We’re Screwing Up Our Girls and How We Can Stop.

3. Siblings Without Rivalry

by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

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If bickering and competition for attention have taken over your household, it is time to unwind the clock to encourage cooperation and bonding between siblings. The concept of fair doesn’t mean equal is groundbreaking for many parents and children alike.

4. Parental Guidance Recommended

by Dr. Louise Porter

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Using parenting techniques from the 1900s are ineffective for our highly digitized, social-media mania culture. Guide your children to adulthood using an engaged, thoughtful and mentor-style approach that cultivates self-esteem, resilience and perseverance. This book is a must for parents who want to encourage children to be strong in character, self-motivated and feel supported by a backbone of loving parents and a strong community.

5. A Reader’s Delight

by Noel Perrin

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It may feel awkward reading a book about reading books, but this thought-provoking list of ‘wrongfully forgotten’ stories will have you at the library or bookstore in no time. We used this book to discover a variety of rich hidden gems in our local library.

6. The Well-Trained Mind

by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

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Typically used as a homeschooling curriculum, this book is an excellent guide to exposing your child to a well-rounded, classically-based education. We loved the resources in the book for interesting, additional and future reading as well as using the guide as a blueprint for what our children should be learning in and out of school.

7. In Defense of Food

by Michael Pollan

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“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t,” says Michael Pollan. Our children eat for growth, vitality, energy and learning. Michael will take you on a rollercoaster of what is happening in the food industry now, and how you can act three to five times per day to make sure your child thrives on real sources of nutrition. If your child is interested in food, pick up the young reader’s edition of The Omnivore’s Dilemma for an easy, yet informative, read.

More: 12 powerful books that celebrate the female voice

8. Super Baby Food

by Ruth Yaron

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Ditch processed food for this comprehensive food guide to nutrient-dense, brain-building foods for infants to toddlers. With a bit of planning, any parent or guardian can make, freeze and organize a thoughtful array of real, unprocessed foods any child will enjoy. We still use this book for more extensive nutrition information. If you have a child with special dietary requirements like our family, this book is indispensible.

9. The Opposite of Spoiled

by Ron Lieber

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If you don’t know how to start conversations about money at home, Ron Lieber gives you a concise guide on how to talk, create experience and raise children who are smart about finances. A must for every parent wishing to raise financially-savvy children.

10. Last Child in the Woods

by Richard Louv

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Nature-deficit may be one of the most critical considerations for our youth. Research continues to come out about the importance of connecting with nature resulting in higher test scores, decreased stress levels and increased positive emotional and physical well-being. If you don’t know how to get started in the great outdoors, check out Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids by Rebecca Cohen.

11. The Book of New Family Traditions

by Meg Cox

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This enlightened book shares the importance of rituals in celebrating special occasions and as a way to pass on important family and social values to the next generation. By putting more thought into everyday small rituals as well as larger celebrations, we can enhance the connections between family members.

12. Whole Brain Child

by Daniel J. Siegel

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The best part of this book are the multiple sections of “What You Can Do” that are full of practiced suggestions and real examples implementing techniques based on the neurological studies talked about in this book. Better yet, is the read-aloud discussion section on brain development to share with your child called, “Whole-Brain Kids.”

13. Raising Your Spirited Child

by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

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Find out how to think of your child’s energy and intensity positively whilst learning the tools to manage strong emotions, sensitivity and energy in the midst of regular daily life.

14. It’s OK Not to Share

by Heather Shumaker

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With helicopter parents multiplying by the thousands, it may be time to step back and realize the benefits of rough play and discussing normally taboo subjects such as lying, death and gender-neutral play. Pick up this book if you want to ‘raise caring, competent and compassionate young people.’

15. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

by Ken Robinson

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Parents who take care of themselves are happier, more fulfilled and a model of inspiration. If you have been toiling away in a dispassionate career or you are looking to discover that which makes you jump out of bed in the morning with excitement, read this book. Be inspired by the stories and the benefits you will receive from discovering what lies within.

More: 12 cookbooks that will help make your locavore aspirations come true

Parent of two, Laura Paul is most widely known as Hong Kong’s gluten-free guru and champion for natural health and wellness. She enjoys bringing people together to improve the lives of families. She is the founder of Healthy Living Asia and the member-based Facebook forum Healthy Living in HK. When she isn’t thinking, reading or writing about natural health, you can find her running parent support groups for highly-able children as a Certified Facilitator of SENG parent groups, working on commission oil paintings and traveling around Asia with her family. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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