The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5 by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack. I have a video of myself, enormously pregnant and on bedrbed restest with Diddy, this book in hand, saying to my husband, "We are not doing this. Who would let their baby cry themselves to sleep? That's terrible!" Fast forward a few months and I was giving copies of this book to every new parent in our lives. Fast forward a few years and I heard a woman running a baby group tell all those new moms that sleep training was cruelty on par with leaving babies in Russian orphanages to fend for themselves with cuddles or warm coats and I got so angry I nearly got her fired.
Seriously. Save your sanity. Get this book.
The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Raising Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D. My father saw this book reviewed in the Wall Street Journal and sent it to me before our kids were born. Fast-forward 15 years and our kids can handle disappointment and even maybe learn a little bit from screwing up or falling short. It can be really hard not to jump in and fix everything for your kids, but this book is a big part of the reason why my kids can advocate for themselves when they have to and for allowing us all to maintain healthy emotional boundaries that will keep them from hating me someday. (We live in hope ;))
The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp, MD This is the follow-up to "Happiest Baby on the Block," but I think it's a more useful book because toddlers are impossible and this book is serious about taming their inner beasts using "natural consequences" rather than getting into constant fights with tiny little people whose brains don't work as well as they should yet. For the same reason, I found this book very useful for managing my relationship with Mr. Big Ideas. That might sound like a joke. It's really not.
The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler This book is chock-o-block of systems and checklists, and I adore all of it. This book is why we hold family meetings and helped us figure out how to handle allowance. It's also the reason all my kids started doing their own laundry when they turned 8, doing the dishes by 9, and can all keep themselves alive in the kitchen, too. I'm pleased with my little army. My mother, who did everything for us recently remarked, "Your house is every man for himself." She's in her seventies stand ill cleaning up after people, so personally, I think Bruce Feiler wins on this point.
What are your favorite parenting books? Let me know!