Some of the Parenting Books I’ve Read So Far



One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was start pulling books out of our collection and out of the library that I wanted to read as we start this journey into having a baby and raising a family. There were quite a few of the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”-type books that go into the physical aspects of pregnancy and the birthing process.

But the books I wanted to share here were some of the ones that look more at the day-to-day elements of raising kids, whether they’re intended as parenting books or not. They're not for everyone, but I enjoyed them (particularly during the weeks when I felt like I could do nothing more than lie in bed!).

Here are my thoughts on some of the first parenting-type books I’ve read through, so far:

Bringing Up Bebe: I first read about the book long before I was pregnant and added it to my reading list purely because I’m interested in that sort of thing, looking at the “nurture” part of raising kids and the impact it can have. Turns out, the book came available at my library soon after I learned I was pregnant, so I was eager to read it before my time limit was up. I didn’t have a problem reading it quickly, though. In the book, an American woman who has moved to France with her British husband talks about the culture shock of raising a child in France—specifically, how the two backgrounds approach parenting differently. But it’s also pretty entertaining. She’s a funny writer, talking about her own clumsiness as a parent and the embarrassing antics her kids put her through. Where applicable, she included scientific study that may or may not back up the different approaches, along with plenty of anecdotal experiences. There’s plenty in the book that I thought sounded like things I’d like to try with our little one (assuming he’s cooperative!), others that are totally not going to happen, and others that, who knows? I really enjoyed the book and whether or not you adopt any of the “French” tactics or not, I still thought the humor of it made it a worthwhile read. I still laugh remembering some of the parts in the book!

A Love that Multiplies: I know a lot of people think the Duggars are crazy, and I certainly don’t agree with everything they believe or do. However, I do think that, from what I’ve seen watching their show for a couple of seasons, they’ve done a really good job of raising kids who appear to be respectful and well-behaved, traits that are important to me, which is why I was curious to read this book. It gives background on some of their parenting practices, although a lot of it is like a Dear-Diary version of what happened when their youngest baby was born prematurely and how they weathered that, spiritually and emotionally. I had already seen a lot of that on the show, so that was kind of boring to me. But later in the book is a lot more information on certain parenting practices they employ that I marked as some good ideas to try sometime in the future. Like the others, there’s also stuff I wouldn’t replicate, but I think that’s par for the course when it comes to parenting advice. Pick and choose what works for you and your family, and then move on.

The MoneySmart Family System: One of the things my husband and I have talked about is that we want to make sure to teach our kids how to handle money wisely and from a young age. But how do you do that? So when I got the chance to review this book from Booksneeze, I figured it could be a helpful resource. Their approach to teaching your child about money rests on having children from an early age earning their own money through a variety of different areas, whether it’s completing chores, finishing schoolwork, completing daily tasks, or showing initiative. Basically, they choose to replicate the real-world approach to money (in that it’s earned) and by tying the money as a reward to skills or behavior that they wanted to encourage in their children. Depending on what you want to reinforce in your own household, you could mix up the areas covered, such as tying them to spiritual aspects (listening and participating during Bible time, for instance), which was not an area included in their matrix but is something that is important to me. For the areas they do cover, they explain different ways to apply these tactics to children of different ages and what that looks like or what to expect. One of the things I really liked about their approach was that they put an emphasis on having children complete the tasks with a good attitude. For instance, when it came to schoolwork, it wasn’t required that they get straight A’s, but that they do the work and assignments with a good attitude. I really liked their approach to dealing with allowance vs. chores and I think it’s one I’ll strongly consider as our children get older.

Pray Big for Your Child: I am not officially done with this book, but praying through each of the sections on a daily (or near-daily) basis. I really like it because the author's premise is that we shouldn't merely ask that God keep our children "safe" and "healthy.' God can do far, far more than that, and he wants to. So shouldn't we be asking him for that, for all that he wants for our kids? He breaks it down into dozens of Biblical items and goals that we can pray for our children, from having a love for God's Word to developing godly character traits to learning how to use their talents for his glory. It is really helpful in breaking down what can be a huge amount of specific prayers into smaller chunks that you can work through, day after day. 

 
Are there any parenting books you'd recommend or are reading? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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15 comments:

  1. Good list. I'm taking more of a one life event at a time type approach. I've read "Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn" and "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way." This week I ordered "Heading Home with Your Newborn" and also plan to read "Working without Weaning" before the baby's born. I'll think about parenting books when the baby's here.

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    1. Yeah, I've been jumping around with my reading, some of the pregnancy / childbirth stuff mixed in with these parenting kinds of books. Saving the deeper, spiritual stuff for once the baby is here or else I will totally forget it all without having to apply it right away!

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  2. Once your little one is 3, I highly recommend 123 Magic for discipline.

    Sarah Whitman

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    1. Oh, fun. I know with two little girls running around you must know what you're talking about, so I'll have to add that to my reading list for the future. I am pretty much clueless when it comes to discipline!

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  3. Sarah (Proverbs 31:30)September 13, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    I happen to love the Duggars and the Economides. I don't agree with everything, but no one can argue with the fact that they have raised God fearing children. I'm home schooled too so maybe I like them more for that :) My parents bought a book from America's Cheapest Family (aka Economides) a while ago and though we never put some stuff into practice, it has given me a respect for budgeting and I intend to do that when I am an adult. Bringing up Bebe was nice as well, though I don't like France's way of being over reaching in schools- and I definitely don't want it adopted here (hey, that's just the conservative in me). And why on earth do I read parenting books? Geez, that's just AWKWARD.

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    1. Haha, you are too much! But I think I'm totally the same way because I remember reading ADOLESCENT parenting books when I was still in my early twenties and finding them fascinating. (At the time I was helping out with the youth group, so that's how I justified it, but really I just that it was so interesting and filing the info away for later.) Oh and there were definitely things about the Bebe book that I wouldn't want to replicate (the schooling-from-as-an-early-an-age-as-possible thing, like you mentioned) but did think that it was pretty cool how seriously the schools took their kids' food. I kinda wanted to go and eat there, myself! :)

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  4. Very interesting reviews. I enjoyed reading them. I haven't read the last three but I did read bringing up bebe. I enjoyed the easy and interesting read. Some of the 'french way' of parenting reminded me a lot of christian parenting. Probably due to an older more traditional approach. Other things were interesting yet I disagreed like the no breastfeeding policy.

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    1. Yeah, it was interesting to me reading the Bebe one and the Duggar one so close together because while I am sure others would think the two are diametrically opposed I actually saw a similarity, like what you were talking about. Kind of teaching a child (whether intentionally or not) that they are NOT the center of the universe. It was interesting to see that show up in those two very different books. But yeah there were quite a few things in the Bebe book I didn't like (breastfeeding, like you mentioned) but was totally enamored with their process for getting babies to sleep through the night. I looked up the study she cited and everything. Would LOVE that to work out for me :)

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  5. Two good ones are Shepherding a Childs Heart by Tedd Trip and Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzatrick.

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    1. I actually have had the Tedd Trip one on my wishlist for a long time, way before I was even thinking about being pregnant because I heard such good things about it. Plan on getting that one for sure, and will have to look into the other one too. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  6. I want to read the first two- though I'm many years away from having children. I live in France and it's such a different way that children are raised. At first I was horrified at how strict the parents were, but now I really respect the fact that children are polite, well-behaved and don't seem to rule the roost like they do at home (UK). And I love watching the Duggars! I've never come across Christians with such traditional values but I find them very inspirational, even if I wouldn't do everything the same way as them.

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  7. Hi Carmen,
    I'm studying child development and thought I'd pass along these resources I've learned of-
    You might find the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families informative. I really liked the topics they covered in their podcast, too. http://www.zerotothree.org/
    Also, you might see what you think of the book The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Henry Karp.
    In regards to teaching children about money, I heard on NPR (I know, so liberal lol) about this website http://moneyasyougrow.org/
    -Carrie

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  8. i love your reading list! definitely saving those for when my time comes to be a mom. i actually heard about the french one some time ago and was instantly interested in general since i work with children. i always thought to myself i wanted to raise my kids like that...but also being an educator a lot of the times we think they're going to put certain practices in action but they end up never happening. but, so excited for you! when are we going to see some baby bump pictures?!

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  9. Congratulations on the pregnancy! I am currently pregnant as well and am really enjoying Ina May's Guide To Childbirth. I'm planning for natural childbirth, and this book is really positive and supportive. It helps you understand how awesome the female body is while explaining the science behind childbirth without dumbing it down.
    I plan on reading a few from your list later on, but I am currently focusing on childbirth :)

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  10. Today is my first day back from maternity leave so I'm going through 3 months of emails and came across this one. :)
    I loved Bringing Up Bébé! I lived in France for a couple years when I was younger so I remember my friends being different from me in small ways. It was fun to read the parenting culture behind that.
    Good books for once baby gets here: Baby Day by Day by DK Publishing and The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. I like that I have something to read everyday in Day by Day and it gives helpful things to do with baby at each developmental stage. I'm still pretty early on in Power of a Praying Parent but so far I really like it. One to keep on the bedside table for many years to come!

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