“Must Read” Books for Parents: Fun, Practical, & for Various Ages
The last couple weeks I’ve been hitting many of the top statistical predictors of healthy kids and marriages. And in case you missed a few weeks, you parents will especially want to hear the research from week 3! (click here to see videos). But my wife and I want to give you some more information that you can explore on your own.
Of course, if you know my wife at all, you’d know that she’s obsessive about being a great parent. In fact, I call her the “Mommy-ologist” because she’s always got at least 2 parenting books on her at any given moment. (I’m not kidding. It’s almost ridiculous). In fact, I don’t think we’ve gone on a vacation in ten years where she wasn’t reading another parenting book. So, when it comes to parenting advice, what are the books that stand out amidst the clutter? Below, my lovely lady, (a.k.a., “Dr. Mom”) gives us a few of her favorites – and why!
“As many of you know, Peter & I were already senior pastoring a church of middle aged families before we had any kids. So, as you would imagine, our first child was quite the ordeal. (She was the church baby). For better and for worse, all eyes were on us as we entered this new adventure of parenthood. Too add pressure, our firstborn was off-the-charts “spirited” (it’s the nice way of saying ‘obnoxiously strong-willed’). In fact, the expert that made this assessment even recommended that I find a support group! But, don’t worry: everything worked out fine. In fact, all of those humbling parenting moments caused me to seek out all the books, mentors, and wisdom I could find. Unfortunately, many parents don’t do this until it’s too late.
Obviously, the Bible is the ultimate source of wisdom (Jer 33:3, Jms 1:5, Psm 32:8); so, don’t forget this when you read my list below. Also, contrary to folk-wisdom, good parenting is NOT an innate skill. If anything, we all have a fantastic ability to screw up our kids. That’s why we need to treat parenting as a skill that needs constant sharpening. Isolating yourself from advice is one of the worst things you could do (as irritating as opinions can be). But, if you have the right mentors and parenting books, God can make parenting a joy – which is how it should be. So out of my journey of seeking wisdom over the last decade, here are a few of my favorite parenting books!
Of course, there are hundreds of “good” books. Naturally, it’s hard to narrow things down to a top 4 or 5. But, I tried to pick books that are fun, practical, and easy to read. Thus, my truest test: Which books do I tend to recommend the most? Well, here’s a few you should read (In no Particular Order).
(1). Clueless: 10 things I wish I knew about motherhood before becoming a mom. by Kerri Weems. (www.kerriweems.com) This is a MUST read for every mom. I just finished it this week and LOVE LOVE LOVE it! She says everything I would want to say about the process and journey of motherhood: from the myths, to the expectations, to the fears, emotions and joys. It’s brilliantly written and fun to read. This book is going to the TOP of my list of parenting books for we all know “if mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy!”
(2). Creative Correction, by Lisa Welchel. This is the most life-giving parenting book I’ve ever read! If you have a toddler or older, this is a MUST READ. It is well written, funny and filled with scriptures. (In fact, when you read it, you’re actually encouraged rather than overwhelmed… which, sad to say, is a common occurrence with many books.) But, Creative Correction is full of tools & tips for every age & season your kids go through. So just buy it: You’ll want to read it over and over as your children grow.
(3). Nurture by Nature, Understanding Your Child’s Personality Type – and Become a Better Parent, by Paul D. Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger Details: For help with kids of all ages. Most parent / child conflict is due to personality conflict. So this book gives you fascinating insights into your kid’s incredibly specific personality type (one of 16!) This book will eerily describe each of your kids (from toddler to teenager) and how you can best parent them in each season.
(4). Seven Habits of Happy Kids & 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens (by Sean Covey) Details: These are two different books… (each designed for the appropriate age). These are great tools for teaching the principals of the “7 Habits” to your children and teens. The children’s book version has great illustrations that teach children to be proactive, to begin with the end in mind etc… and the book for teens has incredible illustrations and homework assignments that make it a must read for EVERY teen. (Note: I will be personally forcing my kids to go through this book over and over again!)
(5) Revolutionary Parenting, by George Barna – Details: A perfect book to educate parents on statistical causes of success. It’s more of a “big picture” type book (no matter what age your kids are). Barna surveyed over 10,000 young adults who are thriving in their faith and life. He then interviewed their parents and came up with some incredible insights on what we can do as parents to be intentional in our parenting. So get ready to produce spiritual champions!
(6) Boundaries with Kids, by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend – Details: For penetrating insights about kids of all ages. This book does a great job outlining the building blocks that create healthy adults. But get ready, you’re going to learn a lot about yourself when you read this. It’s hard to see the strengths and weaknesses of your own upbringing until you’ve read a book like this. Again, this is a must-read.
But here’s the bottom line: The average parent only spends 15 minutes a day interacting with their kids. And no matter how smart you are, this type of apathy will never produce healthy results. For some of us, this means we need to take a serious look at how much we work (or perhaps a deeper question, how much do we really need?) But if you’re willing to educate yourself — and if you’re willing to put in a little time – your children will be a treasure both to you and to the kingdom of God.