Parenting Book Reviews

Author interviews and book reviews of my recommendations for useful books for parents

These parenting books are not specifically for parents of special needs children, but they cover topics that you are likely to run into.

123 Magic 1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting
by Thomas W. Phelan
The underlying idea behind 123 Magic is simple. When your child misbehaves you count each infraction or the time till you get to 3, at 3 they receive a time-out or other consequence. Something about counting works marvelously at helping your child focus and regroup, giving them time to control themselves, once (and this is the important part) you establish that you are willing to consistently follow through. If you find your discipline getting harsher and/or feel helpless in getting the success you need in improving your child's behavior, then this is the book to get. It is fair and ultimately leads to increased self esteem. Used properly, it really can be "magic."
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How Children Thrive How Children Thrive: The Practical Science of Raising Independent, Resilient, and Happy Kids
by Mark Bertin

The positive title caught my eye and I am glad it did. This is an easy to read, practical book on parenting. The focus is on parents remaining cognizant of the impact of their own behavior, with a view to providing the boundaries, support and teaching that children need. Its a great book with some basic parenting approaches that reflects modern thinking but don't parrot every other parent book out there. In sum, it provides ideas that will save parents a lot of frustration.
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Your defiant child Your Defiant Child : 8 Steps to Better Behavior
by Russell A. Barkley, Christine M. Benton

A chatty but informed approach for parents who wish to find a way to improve the behavior of their hard to handle child. He explains how to use praise, attention, time out and other interventions to improve your relationship with your child as well as their behavior. Dr. Barkley specializes in helping children wih ADHD.
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Your Defiant Teen Your Defiant Teen, Second Edition: 10 Steps to Resolve Conflict and Rebuild Your Relationship
by Russell A. Barkley and Arthur L. Robin
The premise of this book is that you have to alter your behavior to change your child's behavior. The idea is to keep your child from unwittingly playing you. Your Defiant Teen takes you through the steps of how to do this, the main tool being an enforceable contract between the parents and the child. The book provides some good parenting nuggets along the way; for example, they point out that your child's time horizon is more immediate than yours. It provides some common sense advice, including that your child's time horizon is more immediate than yours and to pick your battles wisely. They also discuss misfits between parent styles and goals and those of their children and how to address this.
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Raising your Spirited Child Raising Your Spirited Child : A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic
by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
A very popular book for parents of over-sensitive and energetic children. This book is aimed at parents of "normal" children but it is also helpful for children with mild special needs, such as mild sensory integration issues or mild psychological difficulties. A compassionate and well thought out description and advice for parents of children who fit her 'model' and over-react to their environment. However, parents of children with behavior, attention, learning disabilities, and other issues are likely to find that specifically targeted books are more applicable.
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Parenting Book: Siblings Without Rivalry Siblings Without Rivalry : How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish
This book is full of good strategies to help your kids get along together. A time-tested classic with good advice for new and experienced parents.
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Good Kids Bad Behavior Good Kids Difficult Behavior
By Joyce Divinyi
Guidance for parents and teachers coping with difficult behaviors. Discusses body language, working with impulsive children, diffusing situations, conflict prevention, ADHD, and the encouragement of positive behavior.
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Sleep Solution

The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns: Amazing Sleep from Day One For Baby and You
By Elizabeth Pantley

A detailed methodology to help babies sleep through the night, something every parent can use! It is full of parenting tips, advice and practical suggestions. Real life stories and quotes flesh out each situation. This is an impressive array of factors that can interfere with getting a full night's sleep, plus suggestions for coping with every one.
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Parenting Book: Sleeping Through the Night Sleeping Through the Night : How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep
by Jodi A. Mindell
The information and advice in this book will equip you with a good foundation for establishing good sleep patterns for your whole family. If this sounds like a dream, this book is for you.
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Parent Coach The Parent Coach
By Dr. Steven Richfield
A child psychologist in Plymouth Meeting, PA, Dr. Steven Richfield has developed a child-friendly self-control/social skills building program called Parent Coaching Cards. His book, provides an new approach to parenting and social skills.
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Don't Swear Don't Swear with Your Mouth Full
By Cary Chugh
A self-published book on behavior management by a child psychologist in private practice in New York State. He explains that 10-15% of children have disruptive behavior disorders and make up almost 75% of the referrals to mental health clinics. In his view, behavior problems can occur in three circumstances: the child doesn't know the rules, the child can not handle his emotions, and/or the child wants control. His book focuses on using the child's desire for control, teaching the rules and enforcing more appropriate behavior, including proper expression of emotions and carry-through. He says that," You know a punishment is effective if you don't have to keep using it."
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The New Basics The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent
By Dr. Michael Cohen
A parenting book with an emphasis on positive parenting. Covers a variety of topics for young children and babies.
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