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12 Parenting Books Every Mom Needs in Her Library

When she's not writing, Claire Gillespie can most often be found wiping snotty noses, picking up Lego, taking photos of her cat or doing headstands.

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Let's start reading

Image: Amazon/Design: Michaela Early/SheKnows
#1/14:

Let's start reading

With so many parenting books out there, it can be hard to decide which ones to buy — and let's be honest, how many of us really have time to read dozens of books about parenting as well as do the actual parenting stuff? To help you out, we've asked the experts what books they would have in their own libraries. 

#3/14:

'The Baby Book'

#3/14:

'The Baby Book'

For millions of parents around the world, The Baby Book (by pediatrician and father of 8 Dr. William Sears) is their bible — and the experts rate it highly too. "This book literally covers every physical, health and developmental question from birth," said postpartum doula Beth Salerno. While The Baby Book addresses all questions on babies' essential needs — eating, sleeping, development, health and comfort — it also acknowledges that there is no one way to parent a baby and supports parents in developing the parenting style that best suits them and their child. 

#4/14:

'Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child'

#4/14:

'Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child'

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth is the parenting book Dr. Deanna Cole has found most helpful, both in her capacity as a clinical psychologist and development specialist and in her role as a mom of three. "Sleep is extremely important for children and parents but is an aspect of parenting that is often neglected." said Cole. "Don't underestimate the power of restful sleep on behavior, attitude, focus for children and patience, energy and clarity of mind for parents. I highly recommend!" 

#5/14:

'Playful Parenting'

#5/14:

'Playful Parenting'

Kate Orson, Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor and author of Tears Heal: How To Listen To Childrenrecommends Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen. "It's a classic book about how many of our parenting challenges can be solved through play, laughter and connection," says Orson. "It goes beyond talking about children's behavior to the root cause of our parenting challenges: children's emotions." 

#6/14:

'The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting'

#6/14:

'The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting'

If you're suffering from information overload, struggling with societal expectations or feeling the wrath of the parenting police, postpartum doula Beth Salerno recommends The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Dr. Brené Brown. "This book will absolutely put it all in perspective and give you guideposts to steer your family life with," said Salerno. Perfect parenting doesn't exist, and Brown's book is a great reminder of this. 

 

#7/14:

'Last Child in the Woods'

#7/14:

'Last Child in the Woods'

Parenting coach Sarah Hamaker described Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv as "an excellent call to provide our kids with more nature to fuel their natural curiosity and feed their brains." In a world where kids have never been more "plugged in," child advocacy expert Louv offers parents practical solutions to help them expose their kids to nature for healthy development and improved physical and emotional health.

#8/14:

'Nurture Shock'

#8/14:

'Nurture Shock'

"Nurture Shock by Po Bronson is a fascinating read, which counters our long-established parenting of crucial topics such as lying, praising kids, teaching race and sleep," said Bethany Todd from e.Merging Educational Consulting. "After reading it, you will be motivated to try some new parenting skills. I think you'll be shocked by how this research-based book pushes you to think about why and how you parent in these areas." 

 

#9/14:

'Parenting with Presence'

#9/14:

'Parenting with Presence'

Based on the premise that "our children can be our greatest teachers," Parenting with Presence by Susan Stiffelman is packed with practical advice, compelling exercises and intriguing stories from Stiffelman's clinical work. Erin Leyba, counselor and author of Joy Fixes for Weary Parents: 101 Quick, Research-Based Ideas to Overcome Stress and Build a Life you Love, recommends Parenting with Presence as a book "every parent should have." 

#10/14:

'What to Do When Your Child has OCD'

#10/14:

'What to Do When Your Child has OCD'

What To Do When Your Child Has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Dr. Aureen Wagner provides parents guidance for addressing OCD at home as well as tips on how to choose the right therapist for the most effective treatment. "As a therapist specializing in anxiety and OCD, often parents are seeking further information on those specific challenges," said licensed mental health counselor Courtney Rodrigue Hubscher. "For parents whose children are struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder, I highly recommend this book."  

#11/14:

'The Big Disconnect'

#11/14:

'The Big Disconnect'

If your kids are obsessed with screens (and let's face it, that doesn't just apply to tweens and teens these days), parenting coach Sarah Hamaker recommends The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age by Catherine Steiner-Adair with Teresa Barker. "It gives parents a framework from which to develop their own house rules when it comes to devices — and why it's important to have more face-to-face time than FaceTime," said Hamaker. 

#12/14:

'How to Raise an Adult'

#12/14:

'How to Raise an Adult'

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims comes recommended by Elisabeth Stitt, parenting coach and author of Parenting as a Second Language: A Guidebook for Joyfully Navigating the Trials, Triumphs and Tribulations of Parenthood. "How to Raise an Adult is a book for parents right now," said Stitt. "It is the first book I have seen that first fully explains how and why we got to where we are today with hypervigilant parenting, then lays out how it is hurting our kids and finally, gives us a model for how we might shift the choices we are making in order to course correct as a nation." 

#13/14:

'Boundaries with Teens'

#13/14:

'Boundaries with Teens'

Dr. David Simonsen, licensed marriage and family therapist and co-author of When Parenting Backfires, recommends Boundaries with Teens by psychiatrist Dr. John Townsend as "a great book for struggling parents." Townsend, a father of two teenagers himself, offers advice for guiding kids through the teen years, including dealing with disrespectful attitudes and impossible behavior, setting healthy limits and realistic consequences, establishing rules while being loving and caring and determining specific strategies to deal with problems. 

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