31 of the Best Parenting Books

There are so many parenting books on the market these days that it can be hard to know which one to choose.

If you're looking for a comprehensive guide to effective parenting, one of these 31 titles might be perfect for you. You'll find a range of titles for your little ones and as they grow turn into teenagers.

From discipline strategies to advice on how to raise happy and healthy children, these books have got you covered. 

Parenting Books

1. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year

Operating Instructions

Written by: Anne Lamott

Published: 1993

Pages: 251

Since parenting is usually such a serious topic, we thought we'd start this list with a bit of lightheartedness.

Anne Lamott chronicles the first year of her son's life in Operating Instructions. The book is part memoir and part parenting guide, and it offers a frank and often funny look at the challenges and joys of motherhood.

Lamott covers everything from pregnancy to childbirth to the early months of parenting, and she provides readers with honest insights into the highs and lows of new motherhood.

While Lamott is sometimes critical of how society expects mothers to behave, she ultimately argues that there is no one right way to be a parent.

Operating Instructions is a must-read for anyone expecting a child or struggling with the day-to-day reality of parenting.

2. Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool


Written by: Emily Oster

Published: 2019

Pages: 352

Cribsheet is a data-driven guide to better, more relaxed parenting from birth to preschool. Emily Oster, an economist, uses the latest research to dispel common myths about pregnancy, breastfeeding, sleep training, and more.

Oster provides clear and concise explanations of the risks and benefits of various parenting choices, equipping parents with the information they need to make the best decisions for their families.

While Cribsheet is primarily focused on evidence-based advice, it also includes practical tips and tricks for dealing with everyday parenting challenges.

Cribsheet is an essential resource for any parent who wants to make informed decisions and create a calm and happy home, whether you're expecting your first child or struggling to keep up with a toddler.

3. Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

Like a Mother

Written by: Angela Garbes

Published: 2018

Pages: 256

The well-respected journalist Angela Garbes sets out to explore the science and culture of pregnancy in this book.

Through a mix of personal narrative and reportage, she delves into pregnancy and motherhood's often-ignored physical and emotional reality. Garbes is particularly interested in how our society views pregnancy as a medical condition rather than a natural process.

She argues that this perspective can be harmful to both mothers and babies and calls for a more holistic approach to pregnancy care. Though her book is ostensibly about pregnancy, it will likely resonate with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider in their own body.

With candor and insight, Like a Mother offers a much-needed corrective to our culture's limited.

4. The Single Dad's Survival Guide: How to Succeed as a One-Man Parenting Team

The Single Dad's Survival Guide

Written by: Michael A. Klumpp

Published: 2003

Pages: 192

Most fathers are not alone in parenting their children; they have the support of a wife or partner. But for, the single dad must figure out how to be both mother and father to his kids.

It's not an easy task, but it is possible to succeed as a one-man parenting team. This book outlines the challenges and obstacles that single dads face and provides practical advice on how to overcome them.

He covers topics such as co-parenting, discipline, communication, and self-care and offers tips and strategies for each.

While single fatherhood is not easy, it is possible to be a successful one-man parenting team with the proper knowledge and finesse.

5. Raised By Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents

Raised By Unicorns

Written by: Frank Lowe

Published: 2018

Pages: 198

In his new book, Raised by Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents, Frank Lowe explores the unique experiences of people whose parents identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.

 Through a series of interviews, Lowe gives readers a glimpse into the lives of LGBTQ+ parents and their children, showcasing the diverse ways that families can be formed.

He also highlights the challenges that many LGBTQ+ parents face, from discrimination to lack of legal recognition. Ultimately, Lowe provides a nuanced and understanding portrait of the families that are created when love transcends traditional boundaries.

Raised by Unicorns is an essential contribution to our understanding of family dynamics, and it should be required reading for anyone, no matter your sex, gender, or orientation.

6. Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts: A Healing Guide to the Secret Fears of New Mothers

Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts

Written by: Karen Kleiman and Molly McIntyre

Published: 2019

Pages: 160

This book is an excellent handbook since it offers a healing guide to the secret fears of new mothers.

Kleiman is a licensed clinical social worker and the founder of The Postpartum Stress Center, so she is well-equipped to address the topic.

New mothers are often afraid to admit that they have dark thoughts for fear of being judged or labeled as "bad moms." However, it is crucial to understand that these thoughts are typical and expected.

In fact, up to 70% of new mothers experience some form of postpartum anxiety. Kleiman provides guidance on coping with these fears, offering strategies for managing stress and improving self-care.

She also includes information on when to seek professional help when you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure of yourself. The illustrations by Molly McIntyre make this book easy to read and understand.

7. The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom's Guide to Style, Sanity, and Big Success After Baby

The Fifth Trimester

Written by: Lauren Smith Brody

Published: 2017

Pages: 352

In her book The Fifth Trimester, Lauren Smith Brody offers working moms a guide to style, sanity, and success after baby.

Drawing on her own experience as a working mom, Brody provides readers with practical advice on everything from coping with sleep deprivation to what to wear at work so you can pump during pregnancy and after childbirth.

She also addresses the unique challenges working mothers face, such as finding affordable childcare and achieving work-life balance.

In addition to offering helpful tips and resources, Brody also provides encouragement and reassurance that it is possible to be both a successful working mother and a present, loving parent.

8. Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids

Raising Good Humans

Written by: Hunter Clarke-Fields with a foreword by Carla Naumburg

Published: 2019

Pages: 184

This book aims to help parents break the cycle of reactive parenting and raise kind, confident kids.

The book is divided into three sections: "The Roots of Reactivity," "The Path to Greater Awareness," and "Tools for Change." In the first section, the author explores the roots of reactivity in both parents and children.

The author offers a path to greater awareness through mindfulness practices in the second section.

In the third section, the author provides tools for change that can help parents Shift from reactivity to responsiveness.

With this book as a guide, parents can learn to parent mindfully and slow down their own reactions so that their children can learn to do the same and make life easier for the whole family.

9. Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression

Dear Scarlet

Written by: Teresa Wong

Published: 2019

Pages: 128

Dear Scarlet is the compelling story of one woman's experience with postpartum depression in the form of a graphic novel.

Teresa Wong candidly chronicles her journey from the early days of motherhood, when she felt like she was failing at everything, to her eventual diagnosis and treatment. Along the way, she dispels the myths about postpartum depression and offers valuable insight into this little-understood condition.

Teresa's story is both inspiring and eye-opening, and it will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled with mental health issues.

In Dear Scarlet, Teresa Wong has given voice to the countless women who suffer from postpartum depression in silence. The artwork is beautiful and powerful at the same time. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand this complex condition better.

10. Raising Resilient Children: Fostering Strength, Hope, and Optimism in Your Child

Raising Resilient Children

Written by: Robert B. Brooks, Sam Goldstein

Published: 2001

Pages: 317

In this book, Robert B. Brooks and Sam Goldstein provide parents with strategies for helping their children develop the skills needed to cope with life's challenges.

The authors begin by discussing the importance of resilience, or the ability to adapt and bounce back from adversity.

They then go on to describe the three critical components of resilience - strength, hope, and optimism - and how parents can foster these qualities in their children.

Finally, they offer practical suggestions for coping with everyday stressors and more serious difficulties. By teaching their children to be resilient, parents can give them the tools they need to thrive despite life's setbacks.

11. Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + Teens

Getting to Calm

Written by: Laura S. Kastner, Jennifer Wyatt

Published: 2009

Pages: 304

In this book, Laura S. Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt provide parents with a wealth of practical advice on navigating the often-turbulent years of adolescence.

Drawing on cutting-edge research, they offer a range of strategies for dealing with common issues such as managing conflict, fostering communication, and promoting responsible decision-making.

In addition, they provide guidance on how to deal with more serious problems such as substance abuse and mental health issues.

Whether you are struggling to deal with a teenager's mood swings or trying to prevent them from making risky choices, Getting to Calm is an essential resource for any parent of a tween or teen.

12. Raising Teens with Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents

Raising Teens with Diabetes

Written by: Moira McCarthy

Published: 2013

Pages: 272

Raising Teens with Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents by Moira McCarthy is a must-read for any parent of a child with diabetes.

This comprehensive guide covers everything from the basics of the disease to the challenges of adolescence. McCarthy provides practical advice on how to help your child manage their diabetes, stay healthy, and avoid potentially dangerous complications.

She also discusses the importance of open communication and support from parents, family, friends, schools, and the medical community.

With Raising Teens with Diabetes, McCarthy has created an invaluable resource for parents who want to ensure that their child grows up to be happy and healthy.

13. Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence

Age of Opportunity

Written by: Laurence Steinberg

Published: 2014

Pages: 272

In his book Age of Opportunity, Laurence Steinberg presents the latest research on adolescence and its implications for raising happy and successful children.

He argues that the teenage years are a crucial time for development and that parents should actively support their children during this period.

Steinberg provides practical advice for parents on fostering their child's independence and helps them navigate adolescence's challenges. He also discusses the importance of respecting teenagers' privacy and allowing them to make mistakes.

Ultimately, Steinberg seeks to dispel the myths about adolescence and provide parents with a more realistic and optimistic view of this challenging but rewarding stage of life.

14. Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall?

Get Out of My Life

Written by: Anthony E. Wolf

Published: 2002 (Original publish date: 1991)

Pages: 240

Anthony E. Wolf provides an insightful and humorous look at the challenges of parenting teenagers with this book.

Wolf draws on his own experiences as a parent and those of the many adolescents he has treated as a psychologist to offer a unique perspective on this challenging stage of life.

He tackles such topics as peer pressure, communication difficulties, and teenage rebellion, offering practical advice for both parents and teens. This includes ones as problematic as mental health and drug use.

While the book is sometimes funny, it is also honest and realistic, offering valuable insights into the teenage years.

15. Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood


Written by: Lisa Damour

Published: 2016

Pages: 352

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood is a book that seeks to help parents navigate the often-difficult journey of raising teenage girls.

The author, Dr. Lisa Damour, is a clinical psychologist who has spent years working with adolescent girls and their families.

In the book, she outlines seven critical transitions that girls go through during adolescence and offers strategies for how parents can best support their daughters during these times.

While the book is specifically geared towards parents of teenage girls, it also contains valuable insights that can be applied more broadly to raising children of any gender.

With warmth and wisdom, Dr. Damour shows parents how to support their daughters during this crucial time in their lives.

16. Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids Before They Start High School

Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen

Written by: Michelle Icard

Published: 2021

Pages: 320

This is, without question, a book that every parent should read to help them understand what is going on with your kid at this tender age.

As the title suggests, it guides the fourteen most important conversations that you need to have with your kids before they start high school.

Icard covers a wide range of topics, including friendships, bullying, sex, and drugs. Each chapter includes advice on how to approach the conversation and questions that you can use to ensure that your child really understands what you're saying.

Icard's book is an essential tool for any parent who wants to ensure that their child is prepared for the challenges of high school.

17. Parenting Teenage Boys: How to form a Bond, Turn Problem Behaviors, Communicate and Listen to Your Teenage Son

Parenting Teenage Boys

Written by: Sebastian Jones

Published: 2017

Pages: 40

Sebastian Jones's book Parenting Teenage Boys seeks to help parents form a better bond with their teenage sons, turn problem behaviors around, and learn how to communicate and listen more effectively.

Drawing on his own experience as a father of three teenage boys and his work as a professional counselor, Jones offers readers a wealth of practical advice.

He begins by exploring the challenges of raising teenage boys, including the hormonal changes that can lead to mood swings and impulsive behavior.

He then offers concrete strategies for handling common issues such as defiance, anger, and poor communication.

With its insightful advice and real-world examples, this book is an invaluable resource for any parent struggling to connect with their teenage son.

18. How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success

How to Raise an Adult

Written by: Julie Lythcott-Haims

Published: 2015

Pages: 368

Overparenting has been on the rise in recent years, as parents strive to give their children every opportunity to succeed. However, this helicopter parenting style can do more harm than good, leading to kids who are unprepared for the real world.

In her book How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims offers a refreshingly honest look at the problems with overparenting and provides parents with concrete strategies for letting go.

Lythcott-Haims argues that by hovering over their children and doing everything for them, parents rob them of essential life skills.

As a result, these kids never learn how to solve problems on their own or cope with disappointment. So, her idea is that instead of hovering over them, let them explore, make mistakes, and become an independent person who is willing to examine the world on their own.

19. The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives

The Self-Driven Child

Written by: William Stixrud & Ned Johnson

Published: 2018

Pages: 384

William Stixrud, a clinical psychologist, and Ned Johnson, a motivational coach, explore the importance of giving children a sense of control over their lives.

Supported by research in psychology and neuroscience, the authors argue that giving kids more choice and autonomy leads to better academic and mental health outcomes.

In particular, they suggest that letting kids self-direct their learning leads to greater engagement and motivation. While it may be counterintuitive to step back and let kids take the lead, the evidence shows that it is essential for their development.

As such, The Self-Driven Child offers an important perspective on the role of parents in raising happy and successful kids.

20. The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make

The Price You Pay for College

Written by: Ron Lieber

Published: 2021

Pages: 368

Author Ron Lieber offers a comprehensive and practical guide to helping families navigate the often-confusing world of college financing.

Drawing on his experience as a parent, financial journalist, and education advocate, Lieber provides readers with an invaluable resource for making one of the most important decisions of their lives.

Covering everything from choosing the right school to taking out loans and filing for financial aid, this is an essential read for any family considering higher education. Lieber provides an in-depth exploration of the various options available to families, including need-based and merit-based aid, student loans, and 529 plans.

With clear and concise advice, Lieber walks readers through the complicated college financing landscape, helping them make informed choices that won’t break the bank.

21. Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls

Odd Girl Out

Written by: Rachel Simmons

Published: 2002

Pages: 304

Rachel Simmons' book, Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, examines the hidden culture of aggression that exists among girls.

Simmons argues that girls are socialized to be friendly and avoid conflict, leading to a buildup of resentment and frustration.

While girls are typically more covert in their anger than boys, Simmons argues that the consequences can be just as damaging. This can result in indirect aggression, such as gossiping and exclusion. This type of aggression can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

It can also make it difficult for girls to resolve conflicts in healthy ways. As a result, Simmons' book is an essential addition to the conversation about aggression in children.

22. How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes

How to raise kids who aren’t assholes

Written by: Melinda Wenner Moyer

Published: 2021

Pages: 320

Even though the title of this book is humorous, it actually is a somber topic. In this book, the award-winning science journalist Melinda Wenner Moyer offers parents a refreshingly sane and data-based approach to child-rearing.

Drawing on the latest research in psychology and neuroscience, Moyer provides practical tips for instilling empathy, cooperation, and respect in children.

She writes that one of the most important things parents can do is to model these behaviors themselves. When parents treat their children with kindness and understanding, they set the stage for their children to do the same.

In addition, Moyer advocates for “positive discipline” techniques such as setting clear limits and consistent consequences. With racism, sexism, and hate crimes rising, this is a fundamental lesson for parents to teach their children.

23. And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents, and Our Unexpected Families

And Baby Makes More

Published: 2010

Pages: 235

In this book, you'll learn about the lives of queer parents who have chosen to use known donors to conceive their children.

Dwight interviewed dozens of couples and individuals to create this nuanced and deeply personal portrait of modern family-making.

And Baby Makes More challenges assumptions about what it means to be a parent, a child, and a family. They argue that the traditional nuclear family is no longer the only "normal" way to create and raise children.

Through stories of heartbreak and joy, challenge and triumph, you'll see that there are many ways to build a family and that all families are deserving of love and respect.

24. The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults

The Teenage Brain

Written by: Frances E. Jensen, Amy Ellis Nutt

Published: 2015

Pages: 384

Adolescence is a difficult time for both teenagers and their parents. The teenage brain is still developing, making adolescents more prone to impulsive behavior and poor decision-making.

Dr. Frances E. Jensen provides readers with a comprehensive overview of the latest research on adolescent brain development.

Drawing on her own experience as a mother and a scientist, she offers practical advice for parenting teens and young adults. She discusses the importance of sleep, nutrition, and exercise in brain development, providing tips for managing stress and impulsivity.

She also addresses the topic of digital media use, offering guidance on how to strike a balance between the benefits and the risks.

By offering an accessible and authoritative resource, Dr. Jensen provides parents with the tools they need to support their teenagers' healthy development.

25. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

Written by: Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau

Published: 2001

Pages: 304

The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is a book that promises to help parents calm, connect, and communicate with their babies.

The book is written by Tracy Hogg, a renowned baby expert, and Melinda Blau, a parenting journalist. It provides parents with a wealth of information on how to best care for their babies, including tips on sleep training, feeding, and establishing routines.

Furthermore, the book stresses the importance of building a strong bond with your baby from an early age. This can be achieved through making eye contact, using gentle tones of voice, and taking the time to cuddle and play.

By following the advice in this book, parents can learn how to create a calm and loving environment for their babies -If you're looking for a way to understand your baby better, this is the book for you.

26. Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children

Balanced and Barefoot

Written by: Angela J. Hanscom

Published: 2016

Pages: 256

In her book, pediatric occupational therapist Angela J. Hanscom makes a compelling case for increased outdoor playtime for children.

According to Hanscom, unrestricted outdoor play is essential for developing strong muscles, bones, joints, and coordination and balance.

Furthermore, she argues that outdoor play allows children to develop a sense of confidence and capability, as they can explore and solve problems independently.

While it is important to provide opportunities for structured activities such as sports and music lessons, Hanscom emphasizes the importance of unstructured playtime for children to reach their full potential.

With evidence-based research and practical experiences, this book allows parents to relax and let their little ones learn independently.

27. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind

The Whole-Brain Child

Written by: Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson

Published: 2011

Pages: 192

The Whole-Brain Child, written by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, is a book that offers 12 revolutionary strategies to nurture your child's developing mind.

The book delves into the science of how a child's brain develops and grows and provides insight into the best ways to support that development. It also offers practical tools and tips for parents to use in everyday situations.

The book is divided into three sections: "The Foundations of Whole-Brain Parenting," "Strategies for Raising Healthy Brain Children," and "Putting It All Together." In each area, the authors provide clear and concise information that is easy to understand and follow.

They also offer practical challenges at the end of each chapter to help parents put into action what they have learned in it and feel secure that their child will be getting a complete experience.

28. Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child

Raising Human Beings

Written by: Ross W. Greene

Published: 2016

Pages: 304

In this book, Dr. Ross W. Greene offers a new approach to parenting that is based on the latest scientific research.

Rather than using punishment to enforce compliance, Greene advocates for a collaborative partnership between parent and child. This approach rests on the premise that children are not deliberately disobedient but instead are trying to meet their needs in the best way they know how.

By understanding and responding to their needs, we can help them learn more effective ways of behavior.

In addition, by establishing a collaborative relationship with our children, we can foster their sense of autonomy and encourage their willingness to cooperate.

Ultimately, Greene provides a compelling argument for why this more respectful and responsive approach is essential for raising happy and well-adjusted children.

29. Adoption Stories: Excerpts from Adoption Books for Adults

Adoption Stories

Written by: Janine Myung Ja

Published: 2021

Pages: 88

In this concise read, the stories here can educate, enlighten, and entertain readers who might not be familiar with the adoption process.

Myung Ja's book is a compilation of real-life accounts from adult adoptees, and it provides a unique perspective on the subject.

The stories range from heartwarming to tragic, but they all offer valuable insights into the experience of being adopted. In one account, a woman recalls how she could finally connect with her birth mother after years of searching.

In another, a man describes how he struggled to understand his identity as an adoptee. These personal narratives provide a moving and insightful look at the complex reality of adoption.

For anyone wondering what the challenges and rewards of adoption are, this book is for you.

30. The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children

The Gardener and the Carpenter

Written by: Alison Gopnik

Published: 2016

Pages: 320

In her book, The Gardener and the Carpenter, Alison Gopnik draws on the latest research in child development to explore the complex relationship between parents and children.

She argues that parents need to be more like gardeners than carpenters in their approach to child-rearing. That is, they should provide their children with a rich and stimulating environment rather than trying to mold them into a specific shape.

This approach is based on the premise that children are born with a remarkable capacity to learn and grow.

Based on evidence and science, this book shows that given the right conditions, they will develop in ways that are uniquely suited to their individual needs and interest.

31. The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults

The Loving Push

Written by: Temple Grandin &  Debra Moore

Published: 2016

Pages: 280

Well-known authors Temple Grandin and Debra Moore offer a practical and compassionate guide for parents and professionals who want to help kids on the autism spectrum become successful adults.

The book draws on the latest research and Grandin's own experiences as a person with autism to provide readers with concrete strategies for promoting independence, social skills, and employment opportunities.

The authors also address the unique challenges that kids on the spectrum face and offer guidance on how to advocate for inclusive education and workplace policies.

With its mix of expert advice and real-world wisdom, The Loving Push is an essential resource for anyone who wants to help kids on the autism spectrum thrive.