Parenting: self-help books

Positive Parenting
Author John Sharry, 2008

'Very concise and written in a bullet point fashion. Covers aspects of discipline very well'.

Review: This book is very clear and concise. The author clearly outlines problems and actions parents can take to combat them. While he describes the importance of building up a positive relationship with your child a large part of the book is devoted to discipline. He gives simple and practical suggestions about how to use different techniques. He also clearly describes the pitfalls parents might enter e.g. running out of sanctions because the biggest sanction is used too soon.

Parent Power – Bringing Up Responsible Children and Teenagers
Author John Sharry, 2002

'Good general guide covering key principles of parenting 4–18 year olds. Easy to read'.

Review: This book is a very good general guide to parenting, addressing key aspects of parenting young children and teenagers (aged 4-18 years). It is well laid out and includes ‘Tips for going forward’ at the end of each chapter. It gives clear advice about providing positive attention, setting rules and helping children keep them, handling misbehaviour, connecting with teenagers, negotiating and managing conflict.

Parenting: Infants

What Every Parent Needs to Know: The Incredible Effects of Love, Nurture and Play on your Child's Development 
Author Margot Sunderland, 2007

'Clearly written book on a child’s development, why they behave the way they do and how to engage with them'.

Review: This book is largely about the psychology of your child’s development, their actions, why they happen and how to deal with them. The book is a thorough and informing read. It provides some very insightful advice about why children behave the way they do. It is clearly written, easy to read with anecdotes, tips and key points. It is extensively indexed and referenced for further reading. The author writes in a supportive style and the book is suitable for anyone involved with children, whether in a parental role or not.

Parenting: Young Children
STEP: Parenting Young Children (0-5 yrs)
Authors D. Dinkmeyer, G.D. McKay et al., 1997

'Very simple, attractive book. Holds parents by the hand providing systematic training. Parenting 0-5 year olds'.

Review: STEP stands for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting. The STEP series has a very simple and attractive layout with plenty of space, photos and basic tables. Parents can dip in and out of the book. It really hold parents by the hand, systematically describing how to respond to their young child. The book provides specific responses that can be used to encourage and discipline young children. It offers information on how young children think, feel and act as well as skills to develop self-esteem, co-operation and discipline.

Parenting: Children 

The Incredible Years - A Troubleshooting Guide for Parents of Children aged 2-8 years
Author Carolyn Webster-Stratton, 2006

'Comprehensive but manageable. Useful for 2 up to 10 year olds. Particularly good where the parent-child relationship may have suffered'.

Review: While this book is very comprehensive, the layout is very clear and the sub-headings and chapter summaries make it very manageable. Early chapters are devoted to promoting responsive and sensitive parenting and improving the relationship between parent and child, a crucial starting point where parents think that their relationship with their child has suffered. It covers the subjects of positive attention, rewards, limit-setting, ignoring misbehaviour, time out, teaching problem-solving, emotional regulation and friendship skills. Part two of the book addresses the matter of how parents manage their own feelings and stresses and effectively communicating with children and other adults involved in the child's life. Part 3 addresses common behaviour problems like dawdling, sibling rivalry etc.

Parenting is Child's Play
Author David Coleman, 2007

'Excellent book and practical suggestions. A style that is encouraging and helpful to parents who may doubt themselves at times'.

Review: The book is readable with both practical suggestions and a discussion of the child's psychological development. The real value of this book is that the author constantly reminds us of the doubts parents have about their abilities and the difficulties everyone has with trying to be a good parent. He illustrates to us how it is not possible to be perfect by telling us many stories of when he failed to do as he suggests e.g. when he shouted at the kids when he should have had a ten second cooling-off period or when he expects the kids to share but won't let them help him wash the car. The chapter about eating is very good. It was so practical and commonsense that it would be very helpful to anyone who is having issues with their kids not eating.

STEP: Parent Handbook (6-12 yrs)
Authors D. Dinkmeyer, G.D. McKay et al., 1997

'Very simple, attractive book. Holds parents by the hand providing systematic training. Parenting 6-12 year olds'.

Review: STEP stands for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting. The STEP series has a very simple and attractive layout with plenty of space, photos and basic tables. Parents can dip in and out of the book. The book really holds parents by the hand, systematically describing how to respond to their child. The book provides specific responses that can be used to encourage and discipline children. The series helps parents figure out the goal of children's misbehaviour so that the parent can respond most effectively to guide the child.

Parenting: Teenagers

Parenting is Child's Play: The Teenage Years
Author David Coleman, 2010

'Great book outlining that when your child is too old for timeouts and sticker charts all that is left is communication'. 

Review: A great book that does not shy away from difficult problems teenagers may encounter such as sex, drugs, alcohol and self-harm. It continuously hammers home points about how to be open with your child, how to be honest with him or her and shows how this can keep channels of communication open. The author describes how teenagers' brains are not mature enough to handle certain situations and that sometimes our job as parents is to say no and hold the line.

STEP: Parenting Teenagers
Authors D. Dinkmeyer, G.D. McKay et al., 1998

'Very simple, attractive book. Holds parents by the hand providing systematic training. Parenting teenagers'.

Review: STEP stands for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting. The STEP series has a very simple and attractive layout with plenty of space, photos and basic tables. The parent can dip in and out of the book. The book really hold parents by the hand, systematically describing how to respond to their teen. It shows parents how to build responsibility, respect and problem-solving ability. It addresses misbehaviour and helps parents decide how to respond to problem behaviours like smoking, lying, bad eating habits and playing violent computer games. The series helps parents figure out the goal of children's misbehaviour so that the parent can respond most effectively to guide the teen.