11 Best Parenting Books for Every Type of Mom

11 Best Parenting Books for Every Type of Mom

bookWith so many parenting books to choose from, it's hard to know which to get. Some are a waste of money. Others ought to come with a highlighter because they're that good. Whether they're giving useful advice on how to manage toddler tantrums without yelling or simply reminding you that, no, you're not crazy (or alone), there are some books you should know about. But which are they? We went to the real experts -- moms -- and asked them to share their favorite parenting books. Here's what they had to say.

woman reading a book in bed

What's the best parenting book you've ever read? 

Image via © Jamie Grill Photography/Tetra Images/Corbis

  • For the (Frustrated) Mom Who's Against Yelling




    The book: 1, 2, 3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan

    A few moms raved about 1, 2, 3 Magic, which is touted as an easy three-step program for disciplining bad behavior, encouraging good behavior, and strengthening the parent-child relationship. One mom said: "I love it because it gave me a way to discipline my children without yelling or spanking."

    Where to get it: Amazon

  • For the Mom of a Baby


    The book: What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff

    One mom summed it best when she said:

    Honestly, this might sound cliché and simplistic, but I devoured and lived by 'What to Expect the First Year.' What made it so great is that they really do have it all covered ... and whatever you’re wondering or needing to know is easy to find in the back index, for the most part. It also really speaks to real moms of all stripes and doesn’t take a strong judgmental stance one way or the other on various issues like co-sleeping, bottle-feeding, etc. Instead, it presents a lot of what new moms need to know and are wondering about in a conversational, easy to digest, and neutral way. It also has a section for dads! And it's super up-to-date with its info. I have often felt like I had my very own little pediatrician in book form right there on my nightstand.

    Where to get it: Barnes and Noble

  • For the Serenity-Seeking Mom




    The book: Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali

    The goal of the book is to teach mothers how to become calmer and happier through Buddhist teachings. One mom raved about it, saying: "It puts the tiny day-to-day tasks, tantrums, etc. into perspective by forcing you to look at the big picture. It's also chock-full of unconventional pieces of advice throughout, like breathing techniques, that I've found really do work. I feel much calmer and, as a result, my child is, also."

    Where to get it: Amazon

  • For the Mom of a Teen


    The book: Parenting for Prevention by David J. Wilmes

    Parenting for Prevention is for parents concerned about their older kids getting mixed up in drugs and alcohol, and the approach is through positive techniques. One mom said, "This is a good one. It teaches you how not to be 'friends' with your children and how to not enable their manipulative behaviors (drinking, drug use, peer pressure)."

    Where to get it: Amazon

  • For the Mom Who Feels Alone


    The book: Confessions of a Scary Mommy by Jill Smokler

    One mom fell hard for this book, saying:

    It was amazing because I realized I wasn't alone, and that it was totally okay for it to not be sunshine and unicorns pooping rainbows all the time. Especially with a baby suffering from colic and mom dealing with PPD. There were a few times during those early months that I was sure I was ruining my daughter and screwing everything up, but after reading Scary Mommy, it just clicked. I knew it was all pretty normal and would pass, and that it was okay to not love every minute of my daughter screaming. It made me realize I wasn't crazy, and I wasn't a terrible mom -- I was just a tired mom.

    Where to get it: Fishpond

  • For the Mom Who's Forgotten She IS Good Enough


    The book: Seven Times the Sun by Shea Darian

    One mom says that this book "grabbed her hand and pulled her back" when she lost sight of what was in front of her, instead choosing to focus on the "what if"s of life. She said:

    It reminded me of what really matters and that I already had all of the qualities I felt lacking in. I just needed to find it within myself. It reminded me what it's like to be a child again and regain that "magic" I thought I lost. It gave me a healthy rhythm and many ways to connect with my little ones: songs to sing to them as we watched the sun rise and I tucked them into bed, stories to tell to soothe hurt feelings, daily rituals to do as a family that brought us together. I loved it. 

    Where to get it: Walmart

  • For the Anti-Coddling Mom


    The book: Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

    Druckerman caused waves a few years ago with her book on how French parents raise their kids. (Spoiler alert: It's vastly different from what super-coddling Americans do.) Many disagreed with Druckerman's celebration of the French parenting way, but some moms really took to it. One mother said:

    It made me feel so much less guilty about how I raise my kiddos. Before I read the book, the differences in how I bring up my babes from that of friends or neighbors were glaring and made me wonder if I was a bad mom. I read the book expecting to mock it, but my jaw dropped when I recognized many of my own child-rearing techniques and habits in those pages! Now I know I'm not abnormal, mean, or wrong, I'm just raising them differently!

    Where to get it: Rakuten

  • For the Free-Range Mom




    The book: Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy

    Another controversial topic: Free-range parenting. It isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for one mom, Free-Range Kids was a great read that taught her she wasn't a "freak." She said:

    It was comforting to know that there were other modern parents like me. My husband and I were the only parents we knew who believed that children as young as 8 should be able to roam around town by themselves. We were also the only parents we knew who refused to teach her not to talk to strangers because we believed it was detrimental to society.

    Where to get it: Amazon

  • For the Adoptive Mom


    The book: Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory Keck, Regina Kupecky, Lynda Gianforte Mansfield

    Many parents who've adopted swear by this book, but it's great for anyone with a child who's been through something traumatic. One mom said:

    This really helps you understand a child who has undergone a trauma (abuse, malnourishment, separation from a parent, neglectful parent, etc.) in their early years, how it affects them, and how you have to parent differently because of it. This was a must-have book for us when we brought our 7-year-old daughter home from the Philippines who had experienced unthinkable neglect as a baby and toddler.

    Where to get it: Barnes and Noble

  • For the Mom Who Just Needs to Laugh




    The book: Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

    One mom summed it best when she said, "Sometimes you just need to laugh at parenthood."

    Where to get it: Amazon

  • For the Mom Who'd Rather Read a Novel


    The book: Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott

    This book certainly isn't all sunshine and roses, but if you're looking for an honest look at motherhood, Operating Instructions is a beautiful read. One mom said, "It's real and Lamott, through her own experience, tells us what motherhood's really like. A swirling heavy sack of love and tough days and heart stopping and heart bursting."

    Where to get it: Book Byte

being a mom

More Slideshows