8 new parenting books to add to your summer reading list

Summer reading lists are pretty common for high school and even middle school students. But what about parents? There are some great non-fiction books about parenting that have been published recently. Pick one of these books up the next time you head to the library with your little ones and know that you’ll be getting useful information and be setting a good example of reading in front of your kids. (If fiction is more your speed, check out this list.)

Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World by Deborah Reber

Author Deborah Reber defines “differently wired kids” as the twenty percent of children who have neurodifferences, including ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, giftedness, anxiety and sensory processing disorder. She says that while the symptoms may be different, many of the challenges those kids and their families face are the same. “Differently Wired” aims to challenge the narrative that there is something wrong with these kids and to bring hope their parents. It is based, in part, on her experience as the mom to a gifted son with ADHD and Asperger’s. Reber will be at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville on June 23. Details on her appearance can be found here.

How to Raise Kind Kids: And Get Respect, Gratitude, and a Happier Family in the Bargain by Thomas Lickona 

We all want kids who choose to be kind, and developmental psychologist Dr. Thomas Lickona makes the point in “How to Raise Kind Kids” that kindness doesn’t exist in a vacuum but happens when kids have other virtues as well, such as gratitude and courage. Using both research and practical tips from other families, Lickona explains how parents can give their kids the tools they need to be not only kind, but also happy.

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes

There are a ridiculous number of changes that women go through during pregnancy and childbirth, and there’s a lot of conflicting advice about how to handle pretty much all of them. After having her first baby, Angela Garbes wanted to understand both better. Her thorough research led to “Like A Mother,” which debunks myths and assumptions about pregnancy and childbirth and offers both science and support.

The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control over Their Lives by William Stixrud, Ph.D., and Ned Johnson

Tired of asking your kids to do something for the thousandth time and wondering how to get them to care enough to do it themselves without you having to nag? “The Self-Driven Child” may be just the book for you. The authors are a clinical neuropsychologist and the founder of a tutoring service, which may make them a bit of an odd pair, but from different perspectives they saw parents struggling with one big issue: how to motivate their kids. In the book, they distill the science of how the brain works to help parents understand what they can do to help kids succeed (Hint: That often means taking a step, or several, back.)

No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls by Katie Hurley

Parents have been seeing mean girl behavior appear at younger and younger ages, and Katie Hurley wrote “No More Mean Girls” as a guide for parents to help their young daughters learn to be authentic and to express themselves in healthy ways while also learning how to build friendships and stand up for themselves. It is billed as a guide for parents of girls ages three to 13.

Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives by Rachel Simmons

“Enough As She Is” also focuses on raising daughters, but is aimed more at parents of teen girls, who research shows are prone to negative self-talk and perfectionism as they try to live up to ridiculously high standards. Rachel Simmons, whose prior book “Odd Girl Out” was a New York Times bestseller, says the quest to achieve those ideals is taking a toll on our girls, and offers help to parents and teachers who want girls to find self-worth that comes from within and not from comparison to others. 

The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever—And What To Do About It by Katherine Reynolds Lewis

You’re not alone if your child has misbehaved in public and you felt like everyone was looking at you like it was your fault. But blaming parents isn’t helping, when really the blame should be placed on old ideas of punishments and rewards, according to Katherine Reynolds Lewis in her new book. In “The Good News About Bad Behavior,” she presents a new theory of child discipline that focuses on learning self-control called The Apprentice Method. It includes a lot of empathy, something we wish those Judgey McJudgersons giving us those looks would try out.

Parenting 101 Ways to Rock Your World: Simple Strategies for Parenting with Sanity and Joy by Susan Groner (Author) and Robbie Shilstone (Illustrator)

While this isn’t a graphic novel, the fun illustrations and the quick, to-the-point tips in this book make it a quick and easy read. If you’re looking for more advice from someone who has been in the trenches and less research, “Parenting 101” would be a good pick. It would also make a good baby shower gift.

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