Parenting books are legion. However, many of them either do not have a credible scientific basis or overstate the importance of their recommendations. So, I thought it might be interesting to propose the top three books I’d suggest parents read, at least until mine is available in early 2011 😉 Today, these are my three picks:
NurtureShock. If there were one chapter I’d have every parent, coach, school administrator, teacher, pediatrician, and those who serve children and teenagers read, it would be “the lost hour,” which is contained within. The mounting research on the importance of sleep is well articulated here. As the available evidence suggests that a majority of our children and teenagers do not get enough sleep, this is a very important read. However, this is hardly the only valuable chapter as the rest of the book contains important, research-based findings that may sagely inform parenting strategies.
Sh*t My Dad Says. A hilarious read, this book initially shocks the parent-reader as the father’s insights and counsel are usually wrapped in spicy invectives. However, the parent-reader also gets the sense that the father was engaged enough, and in love enough, with his boy to realize “good enough parenting,” at least. So often we parents conceive of ourselves as sculpting our kids personalities and outcomes, fretting over this and that error. However, the available evidence suggests that we are more like shepherds and that our efforts, while critically important, are hardly exclusively determinative of how our kids turnout. This book reminds us of that important truth.
The How of Happiness. This book effectively reviews the current scientific literature on how to engender happiness. (Spoiler alert: only about 40% of our happiness is under our direct control.) On a short list of evidence-based strategies we parents can pursue to promote our childrens wellness is our own wellness. While this book does not articulate an exclusive list of strategies, it does a yeoman’s job of reviewing the high points.
What are your thoughts? What three books would you have parents read and why?