If you’re a new parent, you are likely learning as you go. Whether you’re just beginning your pregnancy or have rambunctious twin toddlers, parenting questions always come up. And, let’s face it—sometimes they can be overwhelming. However, having a handy manual by your side can quell those new parent anxieties.
What Defines a Good Parenting Book
Whether it’s written by an expert with a Ph.D. or from a graduate of the school of hard knocks, the best parenting book will make you feel capable and inspired. A top parenting book should not talk down to new parents or shame them for their choices or circumstances. Whether you’re seeking anecdotal wisdom, a scientific background for an issue, or general, practical tips, you can find your ideal book on parenting at your local library, bookstore, or audiobook provider.
Good parenting books are like good friends: they’re always there to guide you, support you, and offer advice. And if that advice isn’t right for you, no harm done: just flip to the next chapter.
Top 10 Books For Parents That Should Be on Every New Parent’s List
Even if not every book from the list below applies to you and your child, this parental book selection will help you understand the other parents and children that you will come in contact with as your child grows. Understanding different perspectives will reduce conflicts and help you gain an appreciation for different problems, which can provide context to your own.
Here are our Top 10 books on parenting for new parents:
- The Newborn Handbook: Your Guide to Bringing Home Baby by Dr. Smita Malhotra (2020)
The perfect guide for the first three months of your infant’s life, this book takes you week-by-week to ensure health and wellbeing for your little one. Written especially for first-time parents by a pediatrician, this go-to manual covers babyproofing your home to bringing in other caregivers beyond parents.
For a Feminist Pregnancy
- Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes (2018)
This honest and personal investigation from the perspective of a journalist and first-time mother examines the psychology and biology of pregnancy. Having this book on hand is like having a friend along with you for the whole bewildering, empowering pregnancy journey.
For Classic Wisdom
- How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (originally 1980, republished 2012)
This bestselling classic transports you into the authors’ parenting workshop, covering topics from “Helping Children Deal With Their Feelings” to “Encouraging Autonomy.” With its effortless humor and charm, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best parenting books, well-loved by millions over the decades.
For Breaking Cycles and Improving Emotional Intelligence as a Parent
- The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (And Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) by Philippa Perry (2020)
This #1 International Bestseller by psychotherapist Philippa Perry examines how a parent’s psychology influences parenting and how to stop harmful, unconscious behavioral patterns before they negatively affect our children.
For Global Perspectives
- Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us by Dr. Christine Gross-Loh (2014)
Like an au pair, this book will enrich you and your children’s lives with cross-cultural experiences. This book invites you to shed myths that American society has perpetuated about parenting and to consider different ways of thinking about parenting from countries around the world.
- The Co-Parenting Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted and Resilient Kids from Little Ones to Young Adults through Divorce or Separation by Karen Bonnell with Kristin Little (2017)
This makes our list of best parenting books because it shows that a two-home childhood can be full of love, trust, and happiness. This guidebook provides strategies to help both parents and children move through the complex emotions of grief, anger, and confusion that come with parental separation.
For Navigating the Climate Crisis
- Parenting in a Changing Climate: Tools for Cultivating Resilience, Taking Action, and Practicing Hope in the Face of Climate Change by Elizabeth Bechard (2021)
These days, parents are increasingly worried about the effects of climate change and how their children will cope on an unstable planet. Part memoir and part inspirational resource, this timely book is meant to support parents as they balance the well-being of their children and the planet.
For Kids on the Autism Spectrum
- Positive Parenting for Autism: Powerful Strategies to Help Your Child Overcome Challenges and Thrive by Victoria M. Boone (2018)
If you have a special needs child in your life, this book provides applied behavior analysis (ABA)-based strategies to encourage positive behaviors and reduce problematic behaviors that are common with autism spectrum disorders. Boone provides tips for patient communication and advocates for methods to empower, not to punish.
For a Scientific Perspective
- The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson (2012)
Dr. Siegel, a neuropsychiatrist, and Dr. Bryson, a parenting expert, combine forces to create one of the best parenting books about your child’s brain development. This New York Times Bestseller shows that learning the “why” behind the tantrum leads to more compassionate problem-solving.
For a Historical Perspective
- Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Modern Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans by Dr. Michaeleen Doucleff (2021)
In this New York Times Bestseller, a new mother and her three-year-old daughter learn and incorporate the wisdom of time-honored parenting techniques from “Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania.”
Need More Support?
Support is crucial as a new parent. If you need more hands-on help than parenting books can provide, perhaps allowing an Au Pair to help your family is the answer. Au Pairs provide live-in childcare support for extended periods of time. Contact Go Au Pair today to learn more.