If you’ve ever wanted a parenting road map, here you go!
It isn’t just kids who have separation anxiety this fall: What about all of us parents?! While we may be eager to push our lovable littles out the front door to finally reclaim time for ourselves (and our sanity!), we may panic at the thought of sending them out into the world after a year of pandemic life and a long summer at home. As we start fresh this September, it’s not just a time to order new backpacks and pens: Now’s also a good time to rethink our parenting strategies.
These recent books are packed with a wealth of parenting information. They offer tools and frameworks to make us better caretakers, and even suggest ideas for how to tackle our own anxiety. Read any of the below (or buy them for a friend or family member who’s dealing with some thorny parenting issues) and then discuss what you learned over coffee with your girlfriends — who, hopefully, you now have some time to see!
For Managing Separation Anxiety:
The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant, and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety by Dr. Harold Koplewicz
Head of the Child Mind Institute Dr. Harold Koplewicz suggests tips for managing anxiety for yourself and your kids in this clever approach to parenting. He also includes lots of charts that can help you assess whether your child might have ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and a range of other very common issues, especially post-pandemic. You’ll want to keep this by your bedside for actionable tips from a true expert psychiatrist.
For Kids Who Don’t Play So Well With Others:
How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t A**holes: Science-Based Strategies for Better Parenting — From Tots to Teens by Melinda Wenner Moyer
Why do we always worry about our kids being bullied, and not if our kids are the bullies? (I mean, someone’s have to be.) This relatable, personal story from Melinda Wenner Moyer outlines ways to raise kinder kids and how to help your child with those all-important social skills.
For Parents Who Need Help Making Decisions:
The Family Firm: A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years by Emily Oster, Ph.D.
Anyone else have decision fatigue? Making choices about the big and small parts of a child’s life is exhausting and emotional. Economist and Brown University professor Emily Oster, Ph.D., applies a rational decision-making framework for anything from joining the travel soccer team, to enrolling in private school. You’ll start using her tools for everything. So warn your spouses!
For Parents Who Want to Raise Independent Kids:
License to Parent: How My Career as a Spy Helped Me Raise Resourceful, Self-Sufficient Kids by Christina Hillsberg with Ryan Hillsberg
Former CIA operative Christina Hillsberg shares her secrets from the front lines in an easy-to-follow series of steps any parent can take to raise more independent kids. Pair this with a few episodes of Homeland and you’ll be on your way.
For Parents Who Need Help Staying Calm:
How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids: A Practical Guide to Booming a Calmer, Happier Parent by Carla Naumburg
One of my all-time favorite parenting books, this is a primer for parents on staying calm during the endless unpredictability that raising kids offers. Bonus? If you’re calmer, your kids will be, too!
For Parents Who Help with Homework:
Taking the Stress Out of Homework: Organization, Content-Specific, and Test-Prep Strategies to Help Your Children Help Themselves by Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer
Have you ever found yourself screaming at your child saying, “But the way I did math was easier!” If the thought of a year of being a homework helper has you gotten you down, take these tips from two expert teachers on how best to support your child without losing your mind.
For Parents Who Are Overwhelmed by Technology:
Baby, Unplugged: One Mother’s Search for Balance, Reason, and Sanity in the Digital Age by Sophie Brickman
Journalist Sophie Brickman faces off with her tech husband in this memoir-meets-reported-story as she investigates what all these ubiquitous tech gadgets do to us parents. Should an electronic bouncer really replace us parents rocking our kids to sleep? Pre-order this book to find out.
For Parents Who Want to Foster Creativity:
When You Wonder, You’re Learning: Mister Rogers’ Enduring Lessons for Raising Creative, Curious, Caring Kids by Gregg Behr
Don’t we all miss Mr. Rogers? Turns out his tools really helped with creativity and curiosity, things kids definitely need these days. Ultimately this book teaches kids how to be human — and parents how to raise them.
The Musical Child: Using the Power of Music to Raise Children Who Are Happy, Healthy and Whole by Joan Koenig
Music is free, accessible, and available to all — and the key to unlocking empathy and creativity in children. Find out why in music educator Joan Koenig’s new book.
For Parents Who Want a Guide Book:
My Everything: The Parent I Want to Be, The Child I Want to Raise by Einat Nathan
A #1 bestseller in Israel, this book shows parents how to be patient, and to raise each child as an individual in the insanity that is today’s world. You’ll laugh and cry as you realize that your connection to your children is more important than anything.
For the Parent of a Teen:
The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen’s Wellness and Academic Journey in Today’s Competitive World by Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick and Jenn Bowie Curtis
A reasonable, actionable bible for parents of teens, this book will give grit, guidance, and guideposts for raising kids who still speak to you during their high school years.