Best Parenting Books – 12 Great Books

Best Parenting Books - 12 Great Books

Looking for the best parenting books you can find? BellyBelly highly recommends these reads for parents.

The way we parent our children has such a massive impact on the person they become.

The way they experience the world in their earlier years will form and shape their beliefs about how life is, what to expect and how to behave.

If you’re interested in learning some really interesting and helpful parenting concepts based on research and studies on other cultures, you’ll love this list of must read, best parenting books. They all have something wonderful to offer.

I believe the best way to form our own style is to read and learn different ideas and approaches, then picking the bits that work the best for our family. What works and feels right for one family, wont necessarily for the other.

All that matters is everyone is happy.

12 Best Parenting Books

Without any further delay, here are some of the very best parenting books available for parents:

#1: What Every Parent Needs To Know by Margot Sunderland

This fabulous, practical parenting book will give you the facts, not fiction on the best way to bring up your child. It is an essential for any parent and is based on over 700 scientific studies into children’s development. Award-winning author and child psychotherapist Dr. Margot Sunderland explains how to develop your child’s potential to the full.

This book will give you the know-how to understand and influence your child’s development whilst providing practical solutions to everyday challenges.

Backed by solid evidence from the latest studies into the impact of parenting on children’s brain development, and the experiences of real families, Margot Sunderland explains the science without losing sight of the day-to-day realities all parents and children face. If you are tired of parenting gurus telling you what to do without telling you why, this book is the answer.

#2: The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff

The Continuum Concept introduces the idea that in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings – especially babies – require the kind of instinctive nurturing as practiced by our ancient relatives.

It is a true ‘back to basics’ approach to parenting. Author, Jean Liedloff, spent two and-a-half years in the jungle deep in the heart of South America living with indigenous tribes and was astounded at how differently children are raised outside the Western world.

She came to the realisation that essential child-rearing techniques such as touch, trust and community have been undermined in modern times, and in this book suggests practical ways to regain our natural well-being, for our children and ourselves.

#3: Toddler Tactics by Pinky McKay

Do you automatically cut toast into fingers? Appreciate finger painting as much as fine art? Hear ‘no’ a million times a day? If the answer is yes, then Toddler Tactics is for you.

Being the parent of a toddler can be exciting, inspiring and exhausting – all at once! Your adorable little baby has now become a moving, grooving tot with attitude, and it will take all your patience and skill to deal with these changes.

Parenting expert Pinky McKay explains what to do at each stage of development and offers fuss-free advice on:

  • Communicating with your toddler
  • Discipline and good manners
  • Good eating habits
  • Routines for play and sleep
  • Toilet training
  • and more!

Toddler Tactics is bursting with practical strategies for making the toddler years the exhilarating experience they should be.

#4: Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph

A friendly and practical guide to the stages and issues in boys development from birth to manhood. From award-winning psychologist Steve Biddulph comes an expanded and updated edition of Raising Boys, his international best seller published in 14 countries.

His complete guide for parents, educators, and relatives includes chapters on testosterone, sports, and how boys’ and girls’ brains differ. With gentle humour and proven wisdom, Raising Boys focuses on boys’ unique developmental needs to help them be happy and healthy at every stage of life.

Steve Biddulph is also the author of Manhood, which I highly recommend women and their partner’s both read. I saw Steve Biddulph talk on this topic some years ago, and it profoundly moved me in a way in which I felt so much more understanding of what it is like to be a man, a father and provider. It speaks of how the role of man has evolved, from before the industrial age to today.

#5: Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph

Steve Biddulph’s Raising Boys was a global phenomenon. The first book in a generation to look at boys’ specific needs, parents loved its clarity and warm insights into their sons’ inner world. But today, things have changed. It’s girls that are in trouble. There has been a sudden and universal deterioration in girls’ mental health, starting in primary school and devastating the teen years.

Steve Biddulph’s Raising Girls is both a guidebook and a call-to-arms for parents. The five key stages of girlhood are laid out so that you know exactly what matters at which age, and how to build strength and connectedness into your daughter from infancy onwards. Raising Girls is both fierce and tender in its mission to help girls more at every age. It’s a book for parents who love their daughters deeply, whether they are newborns, teenagers, young women – or anywhere in between.

Feeling secure, becoming an explorer, getting along with others, finding her soul, and becoming a woman – at last, there is a clear map of girls’ minds that accepts no limitations, narrow roles or selling-out of your daughter’s potential or uniqueness. All the hazards are signposted – bullying, eating disorders, body image and depression, social media harms and helps – as are concrete and simple measures for both mums and dads to help prevent their daughters from becoming victims.

Parenthood is restored to an exciting journey, not one worry after another, as it’s so often portrayed. Steve talks to the world’s leading voices on girls’ needs and makes their ideas clear and simple, adding his own humour and experience through stories that you will never forget. Along with his fellow psychologists worldwide, Steve is angry at the exploitation and harm being done to girls today. With Raising Girls he strives to spark a movement to end the trashing of girlhood; equipping parents to deal with the modern world, and getting the media off the backs of our daughters.

Raising Girls is powerful, practical and positive. Your heart, head and hands will be strengthened by its message.

#6: Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) by Thomas Gordon

Having attended a P.E.T. workshop years ago, I can thoroughly recommend the Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) book. At a time when I felt at a loss and in desperate need of tools while going through the really tough post-divorce stages with my children, it was PET that gave me confidence and a life line to help deal with my children’s strong and difficult emotions and behaviours.

P.E.T., or Parent Effectiveness Training, began almost forty years ago as the first national parent-training program to teach parents how to communicate more effectively with kids and offer step-by-step advice to resolving family conflicts so everybody wins. This beloved classic is the most studied, highly praised, and proven parenting program in the world – and it will work for you. Now revised for the first time since its initial publication, this groundbreaking guide will show you:

  • How to avoid being a permissive parent
  • How to listen so kids will talk to you and talk so kids will listen to you
  • How to teach your children to own their problems and to solve them
  • How to use the No-Lose method to resolve conflicts
  • Using the timeless methods of P.E.T. will have immediate results: less fighting, fewer tantrums and lies, no need for punishment.

Whether you have a toddler striking out for independence or a teenager who has already started rebelling, you’ll find P.E.T. a compassionate, effective way to instill responsibility and create a nurturing family environment in which your child will thrive.

#7: The Complete Secrets of Happy Children by Steve Biddulph

From the author of the worldwide bestseller Raising Boys, this book is a bind-up of the parenting classics The Secret of Happy Children and More Secrets of Happy Children. Parenting expert and child psychologist Steve Biddulph, tells parents everything they need to know about raising happy, healthy, confident children from babyhood to teens. It brings all of Steve’s parenting tips and secrets together for the first time.

This book shows parents how to be true to themselves while also bringing up secure children who feel loved and respected, with self esteem and responsibility. The book is aimed at a wide age group “ from babies and toddlers to older children and teenagers. Authoritative yet accessible, the book is full of case histories and familiar conversations and scenarios, as well as cartoons, that help parents relate to Steve’s message. The book covers all the key issues in parenting, including:

  • How and why negative language affects children
  • Stopping tantrums before they start
  • Curing shyness
  • ‘Soft love’ “ why touch, praise and time are vital
  • ‘Firm love’ “ disciplining through teaching and being involved, rather than punishment
  • Childcare issues- finding a balance between work and your children’s needs
  • Raising sons and raising daughters- their different needs

#8: Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn

From a nationally respected educator, the author of Punished By Rewards and The Homework Myth comes a provocative challenge to the conventional wisdom about raising children.

Most parenting guides begin with the question How can we get kids to do what they’re told? and then proceed to offer various techniques for controlling them. In this truly groundbreaking book, nationally respected educator Alfie Kohn begins instead by asking, What do kids need – and how can we meet those needs?

What follows from that question are ideas for working with children rather than doing things to them. One basic need all children have, Kohn argues, is to be loved unconditionally, to know that they will be accepted even if they screw up or fall short. Yet conventional approaches to parenting such as punishments (including time-outs), rewards (including positive reinforcement), and other forms of control teach children that they are loved only when they please us or impress us.

Kohn cites a body of powerful, and largely unknown, research detailing the damage caused by leading children to believe they must earn our approval. That’s precisely the message children derive from common discipline techniques, even though it’s not the message most parents intend to send.

More than just another book about discipline, though, Unconditional Parenting addresses the ways parents think about, feel about, and act with their children. It invites them to question their most basic assumptions about raising kids while offering a wealth of practical strategies for shifting from doing to to working with parenting – including how to replace praise with the unconditional support that children need to grow into healthy, caring, responsible people.

This is an eye-opening, paradigm-shattering book that will reconnect readers to their own best instincts and inspire them to become better parents.

#9: Raising Drug Free Kids – 100 Tips For Parents by Aletha Solter

In this book, a developmental psychologist gives parents tips for keeping children of all ages away from drugs and alcohol.

In a country where an estimated 25 percent of teenagers use illegal substances on a monthly basis, parents are right to be concerned about setting their children on a drug-free course. While much advice handed out these days focuses on teen behaviour and what to do once drugs have become a problem in the home, Raising Drug Free Kids takes an innovative approach and focuses instead on preventative measures that can be developed early on in a child’s life.

Developmental psychologist and parent educator Aletha Solter provides parents with simple, easy-to-use tools to build a solid foundation for children to say no to drugs. Organised by age group, from preschool through young adulthood, the 100 handy tips will show parents how to help their children to: feel good about themselves without an artificial high; cope with stress so they won’t turn to drugs to relax; respect their bodies so they will reject harmful substances; have close family connections so they won’t feel desperate to belong to a group; and, take healthy risks (like outdoor adventures) so they won’t need to take dangerous ones.

Aletha Solter is also the author of The Aware Baby, Tears and Tantrums and Helping Young Children Flourish.

#10: The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr William & Martha Sears

If you’ve not heard of attachment parenting before or not sure if it’s for you, then this is a great book to read to help you make an educated and informed decision on attachment parenting.

Attachment parenting is a highly intuitive, high-touch style of parenting that encourages a strong early attachment, and advocates consistent parental responsiveness to babies’ dependency needs. Rather than give parents a strict set of rules about when to breastfeed or when to respond to a cry, The Sears’ approach encourages parents to learn and work with their baby’s particular cues.

In The Attachment Parenting Book the Sears’ focus on the benefits of attachment parenting for both parent and child, and explains how attachment parenting improves development, makes discipline easier, and even promotes independence. There is further information on attachment parenting for working parents and on weaning your child from attachment parenting, as well as scientific research that explains why attachment parenting works.

#11: Heart To Heart Parenting by Robin Grille

An essential book for parents, Heart To Heart Parenting is more than just a how-to book about raising happy and resilient children. Its focus is to create a joyous connection with your baby and toddler. Using techniques that are based on bonding rather than shaming, manipulation or punishment, Robin Grille introduces you to insightful and practical ways to benefit your child’s emotional wellbeing and social development, including how to:

  • Build a quality relationship with your child
  • Trust your in-built parenting wisdom to understand your child’s emotional needs
  • Look beneath the surface to support your child as they explore their world from conception to school age
  • Help them develop self esteem, their sense of autonomy or independence
  • Encourage them to take risks
  • Learn the benefits of meaningful attachment to parents and the social impact of wounds

Robin Grille is also the author of Parenting For A Peaceful World.

#12: Siblings Without Rivalry by by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Already best-selling authors with How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish turned their minds to the battle of the siblings. Parents themselves, they were determined to figure out how to help their children get along. The result was Siblings Without Rivalry. This wise, groundbreaking book gives parents the practical tools they need to cope with conflict, encourage cooperation, reduce competition, and make it possible for children to experience the joys of their special relationship.

With humour and understanding much gained from raising their own children Faber and Mazlish explain how and when to intervene in fights, provide suggestions on how to help children channel their hostility into creative outlets, and demonstrate how to treat children unequally and still be fair. Updated to incorporate fresh thoughts after years of conducting workshops for parents and professionals, this edition also includes a new afterword.

Where To Buy These Great Parenting Books?

Check out The Book Depository which offers free shipping worldwide and awesome prices. In the US, check out AmazonBest Parenting Books - 12 Great Books.


Last Updated: May 21, 2016


Kelly Winder is the creator of, a writer, doula (trained in 2005), and a mother of three awesome children. She's passionate about informing and educating fellow thinking parents and parents-to-be, especially about all the things she wishes she knew before she had her firstborn. Kelly is also passionate about travel, tea, travel, and animal rights and welfare. And travel.

One comment

  1. I’m looking for a book by a male writer with 5 daughters. He proposes 5 important elements-nurture/understanding/guidance/traditions/fun. I heard an interview but missed author’s name & book title. Can you help me at all please.

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