Parenting Books for Adults

Attachment Parenting
by William and Martha Sears

A common-sense guide to understanding and nurturing your baby, encouraging early, strong, and sustained attention to the new baby’s needs, this book outlines the steps that will create the most lasting bonds between parents and their children. The heart of the Sears’ parenting creed is one every new parent should consider, particularly adoptive families.

Pact says: A great resource for parents, although the tone is occasionally prescriptive.

becoming-the-parent-you-want-to-be.jpg Becoming the Parent You Want to Be
A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years
By Laura Davis & Janis Keyser

A sourcebook of strategies for the first five years, this book offers a developmental approach for both children and parents. Provides parents with energy to explore, experiment and grow along with their kids. The authors examine both the needs of children and the feelings of parents. Dealing particularly well with the topic of kids who push limits, the authors suggest practical means for responding calmly and effectively.

Pact says: Thought-provoking, challenging and enriching, a great resource for every new and not-so-new parent's shelf.

Breastfeeding-Without-Birthing.jpg Breastfeeding Without Birthing
by Alyssa Schnell

An incisive and graceful book specifically for adoptive mothers, mothers whose babies are born via surrogacy, and foster mothers, as well as for mothers who have had to terminate breastfeeding and now want to resume, and mothers who use a breast pump instead of feeding directly from the breast.

Whether you are an adoptive parent with a young child, or are waiting to be matched with a young child—even if you have no intention of breastfeeding—her chapters on attaching and promoting connection offer critical insights and are definitely worth reading.

different.gif Different and Wonderful: Raising Black Children in a Race-Conscious Society
by Darlene & Derek Hopson

Written by African American psychologists, this book offers practical guidance for raising black children in a race-conscious society. Chapters focus on modeling, racial identification, sexuality, day-care and family relations. A great parenting book that approaches the process from an Afrocentric life view.

Pact says: This direct and clear book offers a positive and realistic approach toward preparing African American children to become positive, productive and self-respecting.

Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is
by Abigail Garner

The author, who was herself raised by her gay dad and his partner interviewed over fifty adults in their 20's and 30's who had gay or lesbian parents. She offers an insiders' perspective on what it is like to grow up in an LGBT family, covering topics like coming out, how kids talk about (or hide) their LGBT parents, kids' experiences at school, how the children develop their own sexual identity, HIV/AIDS, and family breakup.

Pact says: This book is a must read for LGBT parents. he refreshingly acknowledges the challenges as well as the joys faced by kids and gives their parents and others who work with them some invaluable information.

FlightofStork.gif Flight of the Stork
by Anne Bernstein

Bernstein examines how children think differently from adults concerning sex and birth. Page after page of enlightening interviews take us deep into the minds of children three to 12 years old. The interviews demonstrate how a child's thinking changes with age. This understanding of child development will help adults communicate better with children about the origin of families as well as the origin of babies.

Pact says: Our favorite book about how children understand sex and family creation (including adoption).

Heart of Parenting, The: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child
by John Gottman

This book is a guide to teaching children to understand and regulate their emotions, a skill the author calls “emotional intelligence.” On the basis of two ten-year studies of more than 120 families, the author argues that children who learn to acknowledge and master their emotions are more self-confident, physically healthier, do better in school and are more likely grow into emotionally healthy adults.

Pact says: In adoptive families, being able to express and deal with difficult emotions is extremely important, for both parents and kids. The book’s guide for how to empathize with your kids and how to talk with them about hard feelings like fear, sadness and anger is a tremendously helpful tool. Be aware that the book’s chapter titled “The Father’s Crucial Role” is dated and weak.

how-to-talk.jpg How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

An excellent communication tool kit based on a series of workshops developed by the authors. Faber and Mazlish provide a step-by-step approach to improving relationships with your child. The “Reminder” pages, helpful cartoon illustrations, and excellent exercises will improve your ability as a parent to talk and problem-solve with your children. The book can be used alone or in parenting groups, and the solid tools provided are appropriate for kids of all ages.

Pact says: This book has great practical suggestions and models conversations and scenarios for practice.

Identity-trap.jpg Identity Trap: Saving Our Teens from Themselves
By Joseph Nowinski

Violent behavior, eating disorders., drug use and drinking; these are just some of the scary behaviors that are explored in this book. What is particularly relevant to adopted teens is the author’s premise that the solution to problematic behavior in children lies in their quest for identity. Dr. Nowinski offers solutions for parents seeking to help their children get to the root of their search and stop harmful behavior

Pact says: This book is highly relevant to adoptive families of teens and pre-teens because it focuses on one of the core issues of adoption: identity.

Is-That-Me-Yelling.jpg Is That Me Yelling? A Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Kids to Cooperate Without Losing Your Cool
Rona Renner, RN

Unlike other parenting books on the topic written by psychologists and doctors, this one is written by a registered nurse who includes her personal experience alongside her professional experience, making it more useful to the busy lay person who may not have the patience or inclination to wade through clinical jargon. Part one focuses on understanding why parents yell and we think is the most interesting to me, while part two offers strategies to reduce yelling.

Pact says: Renner writes, “Calming your own state of mind is at the core of communicating with your children with love and respect.” All in all, this is a very good and helpful book that offers a nice view of mindfulness as it relates to discipline and family life.

Kids, Parents & Power Struggles
by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Drawing on her clinical experience with families, Kurcinka builds up an image of the parent as an “emotion coach,” whose role is to build a strong, connected “team” by understanding the players’ strengths and weaknesses and showing by instruction and example how best to play the game.

Pact says: Kurcinka’s book gives a practical and often humorous account of how to achieve family harmony. Kurcinka doesn’t promise miracle cures, but offers creative techniques for using power struggles as pathways to family connection.

listen-image.jpg Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges
By Patty Wipfler & Tosha Schore

Behavior is the language of children, and Wipfler and Schore echo this in their terrific parenting book. This book is a fantastic tool that helps illuminate how parents can act skillfully in the face of this truth and remind us that our children are completely precious and good and—get ready for this one—so are mothers and fathers. Listen includes a short review in an early chapter of what we know about how the brain works and heals from hurts. This neurological outline draws from and overlaps nicely with what has been popularized by authors and speakers that may be familiar to a Pact audience. This chapter is followed by a longer section that names, explains and illustrates the five tools promised in the book title.

Pact says: Overall, this book is an incredible resource for any parent, and can be cherry-picked as needed by Pact families. Definitely recommended.

mamarock.jpg Mama Rock's Rules
by Rose Rock

Although she’s finished raising her 10 kids (including her son Chris Rock) and caring for 17 foster children, this mom has never stopped giving advice. Divided into chapters like “I Am Your Mama, Not Your Friend,” “No Child Really Wants to be Left Alone,” and “Feed Them and They Will Tell You Everything,” Rose’s rules are sensible and well illustrated, embracing traditional values like discipline, everyday spirituality and togetherness.

Pact says: Practical and fun, Rose Rock shares her no-nonsense approach to parenting.

No-Biking-in-the-house-without-a-helmet.jpeg No Biking In The House Without A Helmet
by Melissa Fay Greene

This book was a light, funny read that appeals to a broad audience. Anyone raising children can appreciate Greene’s description of her family life. She writes about all of her children with a lot of love and genuine appreciation for them as people. The book is definitely about adoption – specifically international adoption of older children – but it is also about life in a big family. She talks about good (and not so good) reasons to adopt and the importance of open adoption as well as the importance of cultural connections.

Pact says: Where the book deals specifically with adoption-related issues, Greene hits the right notes.

Parenting From the Inside Out
by Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell

The authors explore the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way that we parent. Drawing upon stunning new findings in neuro-biology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories that will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.

Pact says: Highly relevant to adoptive families, because it guides parents through creating the necessary foundations for a loving and secure relationship with their children.

raising.gif Raising Nuestros Niños
by Gloria Rodriguez

Focusing on the needs and issues of children ages birth to 12, this book offers a wide range of information ranging from basic parenting issues to an overview of Latino [Hispanic] culture. The cultural section includes information from recipes to outlines for a Quinciñera.

Pact says: Singles and gays be prepared, there is a long section on the importance of marriage to children. But access to the Latino perspective and approach to family and children counterbalance this challenge.

Raising Your Spirited Child webstore.jpg Raising Your Spirited Child
by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Children who are more intense, perceptive and persistent may also be less adaptable, have more energy, and exhibit more difficult behavior. This optimistic book offers support and practical advice to parents raising spirited children. The author advises “progress, not perfection”.

Pact says: The engaging writing clearly presents practical skills for parenting. Highly recommended to parents of adopted children, many of whom act out their feelings about their core experiences by having difficulty with transitions, testing authority, fighting bedtime, and other challenging behaviors.

Setting-Limits-with-your-Strong-Willed-Child.jpg Setting Limits WIth Your Strong Willed Child
by Robert J. Mackenzie

A well-written and helpful guide to raising strong-willed children that is centered around clear and respectful communication between parents and children. The first half of the book examines temperamental traits that are commonly found in children who will repeatedly test the rules; the second half details several strategies parents can use that are firm and will short circuit power struggles, while staying respectful of children’s feelings.

Pact says: This book encourages parents to take a look at the messages we may inadvertently be sending our children with our words and actions. A book many parents will want to read keep by their bedside table..

Sticks and Stones: (7 ways Your Child Can Deal with Teasing)
by Scott Cooper

This book gives parents tips on how to teach their children basic communication skills to deflect or diffuse conflict. It is the best we have found for teaching positive communication and conflict resolution.

Pact says: These very simple communication techniques are presented through a confusing metaphor, as the author labels the techniques using habits of particular birds—thus, assertive self expression is taught as “The Way of the Blue Jay.” Nonetheless, it does a good job of letting parents know what will be helpful to kids.

Temperament Tools
Working With Your Child's Inborn Traits
By Helen Nelville & Diane Clark Johnson, Illustrated by Dave Garbot

Working with your child’s inborn traits can be challenging. Research shows that temperament is something we are born with. When you understand what makes your adopted child tick, you can adapt your parenting style to your child’s individual needs, making your job much easier.

Pact says: This book is a very hands-on practical approach to understanding children’s temperament and how it influences their behavior, giving parents really helpful tools for understanding and responding to what often feels like challenging behavior.

Wisdom-of-Parenthood.jpg The Wisdom Of Parenthood
by Michael Eskin

This tiny volume packs a punch. It’s not meant to be read without getting involved. It’s filled with long, complex sentences that ask us to engage in active thought processes; it is intricate but also compelling. That being said, The Wisdom of Parenthood is short, sweet, and really worth the effort.

Pact Says: The author’s premise is that real parenthood—regardless of genetic connection—is based not on biology, but rather on an individual’s voluntary commitment to parent. This book is a true validation of families of every type, and an unexpected breath of fresh air.

yes-yout-teen.jpg Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind
by Michael Bradley

A funny, blunt, and reassuring book. psychologist Bradley uses current brain research, he points out that the most sophisticated parts of the mind are not developed until the end of adolescence and that parents are still the most influential force in their kids' lives. Overall, the message is that kids can become fine people even if they screw up a lot,Using crisp, believable anecdotes that are alternately poignant and hysterically funny, Bradley homes in on real-life scenarios, showing parents, for instance, how to respond when their teen is "raging," and how to set curfews and limits.

Pact says: Bradley draws a vivid picture of what the teen is going through, and gives parents the tools to be effective parents.

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