There are Many Wonderful Parenting Books on the Market. Find Ones That Resonate With You and That Align With Your Parenting Style. Here are Five of My Favorites:

1. “The Whole Brain Child,” by Daniel J. Siegel: This book offers 12 strategies to help manage day-to-day parenting struggles. At the heart of this book is a discussion about kids’ developing brains and how they’re divided into 2 parts: the primitive (“downstairs”) brain and the more evolved (“upstairs”) brain. Before kids can access higher levels of thought (i.e. reasoning), they need to soothe their more reactive, primitive brain.

What Does All of This Fancy Language Mean for Parents?

It means hold off on the lectures while your child is having a meltdown. During the meltdown, your child’s primitive brain is firing on all cylinders and he/she can’t think straight. Once your child has calmed down, he/she will be able use his/her more rational “upstairs” brain to process what you’re saying. At this point, a lecture might not even be necessary. Instead, a few moments of silence or a simple word or phrase may be able to help your child to see the error of his/her ways.

2. “The Yes Brain,” by Daniel J. Siegel: As you can probably tell (by the fact that I have two books in a row by him), I’m a huge fan of Dan Siegel and his parenting philosophy. Although there’s a bit of an overlap between this book and “The Whole Brain Child,” they’re both well worth the read. “The Yes Brain” focuses on how to help your child get into a positive headspace and build empathy.

3. “Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach,” by Howard Glasser: This book urges parents to be selective about where they put their energy. It’s built on the premise that kids love ALL types of attention and will do naughty things just to get a big reaction out of their parents. If parents refuse to give their child’s negative behavior a lot of energy, their kiddo will often try a more positive approach. This book is helpful even if your little one isn’t all that difficult.

4. “Parenting with Love & Logic,” by Foster Cline and Jim Fay: This book encourages parents to use “natural consequences” as way of disciplining their children. For example, if your child is dawdling and running late for the zoo, instead of taking away his/her dessert (which has nothing to do with the zoo), let him/her know that the zoo trip will be cut short as a result.  This method is fairly simple and makes a lot of sense (even to kids!). Moreover, the “natural consequences” approach mirrors the way the world actually works.

5. “Raising Lions,” by Joe Newman: Although the advice given in this book applies more to older children with behavioral issues, Joe Newman’s philosophy is what’s key. He believes that children inherently know right from wrong and urges parents to give their kids the space to solve their own problems. For him, over-parenting and over-thinking get a big thumbs down.

If you like Joe Newman’s approach, you can even set up a phone interview or a one-on-one in-person meeting with him to tailor his principles to your child. He also offers parent training courses in California.

Like Audio?

Check out the Empowering Parents website. Here, you’ll find online learning programs and online parent coaching (for a fee), plus hundreds of free articles. I’m a big fan of “The Calm Parent AM & PM” program by Debbie Pincus.

Bonus Book:

Need a Good Laugh? Check out the book “Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood,” by Michael Lewis. Although this book isn’t as well-known as his other books (think: “Liar’s Poker,” “The Big Short,” “Moneyball,” and “The Blind Side”), it’s a hilarious, open, and honest real-life story of parenthood for both Moms and Dads.