Whether you’re dealing with a cranky kindergartner or a teen with an attitude, parenting isn’t easy. We’ve gathered three parenting titles that provide fresh perspectives on family life.
When the World Feels Like a Scary Place
Abigail Gewirtz’s When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids couldn’t have come at a better moment. From social media drama and the pressure to succeed in school to global threats like COVID-19, kids today have plenty to be stressed about, and many parents feel inadequate when it comes to helping them make sense of it all. In her book, child psychologist and sought-after parenting consultant Gewirtz shows families how to handle difficult topics through upfront discussion and healthy dialogue.
Gewirtz identifies talking and listening as critical steps that “help kids understand and deal with their intense negative emotions.” Her book equips parents with concrete techniques for broaching sensitive subjects with children of all ages, from toddlers to teens. There are hands-on exercises, sample scripts and lists of talking points that can jump-start a family conversation, bring kids’ hidden concerns to the surface and defuse fear. She even offers advice on how to shield youngsters from harmful information and decide what—and how much—they should know.
Parents will appreciate the sample conversations on topics such as climate change, the digital world, social justice and violence. Because what parents say and do has a direct impact on other family members, Gewirtz continually emphasizes the importance of parental accountability in dealing with kids’ emotions and advises readers on how to manage their own responses. Her guide is essential reading for parents who want to prepare their families to face today’s challenges without fear.
You Can't F*ck Up Your Kids
The title says it all: You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids: A Judgment-Free Guide to Stress-Free Parenting by journalist Lindsay Powers is a frank, funny look at the challenges of child rearing that will give beleaguered moms and dads a boost. A mother of two, Powers wrote the book as a rebuff to the culture of judgment and one-upmanship that so often characterizes contemporary parenting. “In today’s hyper-connected world, parents’ worst fears and neuroses are manipulated by a promise of perfection that’s unreal and unattainable,” she writes. Powers encourages readers to ignore the buzz generated by childcare experts, trendsetters and other parents and simply focus on what feels right for their families.
Powers, who’s been featured on “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show,” is the former editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Parenting and the creator of #NoShameParenting, a viral social media movement that consoles anyone losing sleep over being a less-than-ideal caregiver. Her knack for connection shines through in this book, which is filled with unreserved, open advice on a wide range of domestic matters, including breastfeeding, understanding discipline techniques, making decisions about daycare, navigating mealtimes and compromising on screen usage. Throughout the book, Powers stresses that there is no single secret to raising happy, well-adjusted children. Her key piece of advice to parents is to do what works for you. Readers will be heartened by her unbridled approach to parenting as an imperfect process.
The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read
Psychotherapist and bestselling author Philippa Perry shares valuable recommendations for readers who are working to create satisfying connections with their kiddos in The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did). From the beginning of this accessible, compassionate book, Perry asks readers to examine their own personal stories. Coming to terms with past experiences and family memories, both painful and pleasurable, enables parents to better understand and nurture the next generation. By identifying inherited models of child rearing that are potentially damaging, parents can free themselves from patterns of dysfunction.
“I am interested in how we can relate to our children rather than how we can manipulate them,” Perry writes. Her book consists of six chapters filled with bite-size passages of wise advice. She addresses parent-child communication, behavior, feelings and ways to create a healthy family environment. She also tackles perennial parental challenges such as children’s sleeping habits, tantrums, lying and caring for a clingy youngster.
Throughout the book, Perry includes productive exercises related to parenting styles, emotional triggers and more. She also provides relatable anecdotes from clients and her own family’s experiences. Readers with tweens and teens will welcome her insights into how to set boundaries and resolve conflicts as kids mature. By taking stock of the past, Perry says, parents can navigate the present and move into the future with confidence. Her holistic style makes this a unique, constructive and inspiring guide.