Must Read Parenting Books

I don’t know about you, but in the recent weeks, I have become acutely aware of my failings as a parent. I see my children’s attitudes and know that they are partially a result of my inconsistencies in discipline and training. Maybe you have found yourself in the same boat and are looking for some resources to encourage you in this crazy journey of parenthood. So I’ve put together a short list of my favorite parenting books as well as a couple of other resources you might find very helpful.

First the Books

I am a visual learner. So having someone tell me some neat trick will only go so far. I need to see it, to have it explained in a visual way via graphics or written words. That’s why I find books so helpful.

  1. The Bible. In all honesty, this is the only parenting resource we need. It clearly lays out all of God’s instructions on how we are to bring up our children. But sometimes, it’s helpful to see how that looks in today’s world and have it explained in practical terms by people who maybe have studied a little more than we have.
  2. Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. Out of the 5 titles I have listed this is the meatiest. It has more information than I can sufficiently summarize in a short paragraph, but I’ll do my best. Tripp takes the topic of child raising and helps you understand the an often forgotten aspect of child-rearing: training. He explains that it isn’t enough to say “Don’t hit”. We must get to the why our child hit in the first place. We must get to the heart of the matter.
  3. On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D. This book is all practical. This book helps parents of newborns find a way to give their babies, and themselves the gift of a nighttime sleep. It walks you through every step, explains not only how to do it, but why it is important.
  4. Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic. If I could only recommend one book on parenting, this would be it. It’s not a how to book and I’m not really sure I’d go so far as to describe it as a theology book. But rather it’s a book written by a mom, for moms who feel like they are lost at sea and are about to drown. It’s a gentle reminder that what we are doing is hard, but it matters and it’s so much bigger than us. It’s a book that reminds us that this parenting thing is ultimately about God.
  5. Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman. If you need an “ouch” book, this is it. I recently read it and kicked myself all the way through it, not only because it was very convicting, but also because I wished I had read it sooner. It’s a book that stresses the importance of expecting full obedience from our kids, and what our failure to do so reveals in our own hearts.

Some other Resources

Sometimes, reading just isn’t an option. It’s hard to find time to do and honestly, a couple of these titles just aren’t as helpful as audiobooks. Maybe you need a resource you can just listen to as you go about your day.

Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to learn and grow. They are also a great way to find encouragement as you wash the dishes for the umpteenth time. That’s why I love podcasts. You can read a list of my favorite podcasts here. But I want to highlight the ones that I find particularly helpful when it comes to parenting advice and encouragement.

  1. Faithful Life Podcast with Matt and Lisa Jacobson. These parents of 8 (practically grown) children are full of biblical wisdom and advice when it comes to raising kids. And the beauty of it is, they’ve basically experienced it all first hand. They’ve had the strong-willed kid. They are working to raise up both Godly leaders in their boys and excellent women in their girls. They have had to cope and and learn to raise a child with special needs. So seriously, if anyone can walk you through your parenting struggles, they can.
  2. Risen Motherhood with Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler. This is a wonderfully encouraging podcast that, much like Rachel Jankovic’s book, this podcast really zeros in on the Gospel and how it applies to motherhood. Once again, between the two of them, they have faced many of the trials that mothers face: boys, girls, special needs, twins (I think), they have also seen it all.

The Ultimate Resource

I mentioned this in an earlier paragraph, but feel I must repeat myself. Not matter how good these other resources are, they are of man. If you want a perfectly infallible source of strength, wisdom, and encouragement. You must turn to the Creator of families and children. You must seek His guidance.

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