The 7 Best Parenting Books of 2022

From potty training to behavior issues, these books tackle a variety of topics

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Parenting is, arguably, one of the hardest (and most rewarding) things that we do as adults. We all know that kids don’t come with instructions—even though parents often wish they did. In place of a universal manual are parenting books that can help you every step of the way.

Reviewed & Approved

"The Happiest Baby on the Block" uses a blend of proven science and ancient wisdom to guide parents through some easy ways to get their babies to stop crying, among other things. For toddlers, we recommend "How Toddlers Thrive."

Whether you’re about to start potty training, are going through a big transition, or simply trying to understand a developmental phase, consider the author's tone, credentials, and relevance before purchasing. We carefully evaluated books for their subject matter, author credentials, voice and tone, relevance, and value when reviewing products.

Here are the parenting books we trust the most.

Our Top Picks
Best for Toddlers:
How Toddlers Thrive at Amazon
Best Christian:
Parenting at Amazon
Best Potty Training:
Oh Crap! Potty Training at Amazon
Best for Nervous Parents:
How to Raise an Adult at Amazon
Best for Teaching Character:
How Children Succeed at Amazon
In This Article

Best for New Parents: The Happiest Baby on the Block

happiest-baby

 Courtesy of Amazon

"The Happiest Baby on the Block" ranks high on our list because Dr. Karp has been dispensing advice to new parents for decades about how to best care for their babies (and maybe get a little shut-eye themselves, while they’re at it), and his techniques are still used today.

Dr. Karp uses a blend of proven science and ancient wisdom to guide parents through some easy ways to get their babies to stop crying, among other things. Using Dr. Karp’s famous 5 “S’s” (swaddling, putting the baby on their side or stomach, making shushing noises, swinging the baby, and giving them a way to suck), parents have been safely and effectively calming their crying babies for years and years.

Best for Toddlers: How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success

How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success

Amazon

While every new stage of parenting might seem like the most difficult, when your baby becomes a toddler, things really start to change. Suddenly your baby is walking and talking, and has plenty of opinions, to boot. Dr. Tovah Klein, the author of this toddler-parenting tome, uses the book to teach parents of children ages two to five how to harness the power of the toddler mind during a time that’s crucial to their brain development.

Pointing out research that indicates how the seeds for adult success are planted during the toddler years, Dr. Klein explains to readers what they can do today to install key qualities like resilience, self-reliance, self-regulation, and empathy in their kids​ so that they are ready to take on the world when they start school.

Best Christian: Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family

Amazon

Parents hoping to use their faith as a guiding light when it comes to parenting will find a great resource in this took by Paul David Tripp. Winner of the ECPA Book of the Year Award for Christian Living, Tripp confronts the pressure that most parents feel to do everything right and to raise good children, and talks about how this might lead parents to lose sight of their ultimate purpose as parents.

Pointing out the big-picture view of God’s plan for parents and outlining 14 foundational principles centered on the gospel, Tripp shows parents how their faith can provide them with the grace that has the power to shape what they do as parents if they let it.

Best for Behavior Issues: Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds

Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds

Amazon

Dr. Rex Forehand and Dr. Nicholas Long use their expertise to help parents achieve discipline through positive reinforcement. Their five-week program has been clinically proven to provide the tools parents need to successfully manage their children’s disruptive behavior and help develop a more positive atmosphere in the home.

The revised version includes new research-based information about child temperament, as well as a new section on how to collaborate on discipline with your child’s preschool teachers, among other things.

Best Potty Training: Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right

Oh Crap! Potty Training

Courtesy of Amazon

Just the idea of potty training often elicits groans of dread from parents—but it doesn’t have to. Jamie Glowacki’s book takes the task of potty training and breaks it down into easy-to-digest morsels of information that parents can follow to, as she puts it in her title, do it once and do it right. Her six-step process has already worked for tens of thousands of kids and their parents, and with a 4.3-star rating and over 800 reviews, the proof is in the potty.​

Best for Nervous Parents: How to Raise an Adult

How to Raise an Adult

Amazon

It’s one thing to help guide your child through life, and another to over-parent, as it were. Today there is a term for this type of parenting—helicopter parenting—and Julie Lythcott-Haims uses research, conversations with experts, and her own insights as a mom and student dean to highlight just how this type of parenting can actually do more harm than good.

The book is relevant to parents with kids of any age, really, although there may be something extra helpful in there for parents of teens. The book is a No. 1 best seller in the parenting teenagers category.

Best for Teaching Character: How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Amazon

All parents want their children to succeed, but perhaps the secret to helping them get there lies in more than just their math and science skills. At least that’s the argument that Paul Tough makes in this book, suggesting that the qualities that matter more in life have to do with character and skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control. This book is a best seller in the category of decision-making and problem solving and has hundreds of rave reviews.

What to Look for in Parenting Books

Author Credentials

Anyone can write a parenting book from first-time moms to PhDs, MDs, and everything in between. Make sure you’re getting reliable advice by flipping to the author bio on the back cover.


Voice 

Peruse the parenting aisle of your local bookshop and you’ll find books that range from comedic to cerebral. Before making your purchase, be sure to thumb through the first few pages to make sure you identify with the author’s voice and tone. 


Relevance

A book on breastfeeding won’t serve a parent who’s about to send their child to college. Look for books that speak to issues that are relevant to you based on your kids ages and life stages.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are some common parenting challenges?

    During periods of transition as major as moving to a new state or as routine as going back to school, it's normal to encounter some parenting challenges. Additionally, anticipating your child’s next developmental phase can pose difficulties for many parents. It's ever the more reason to invest in parenting books, which can bring an expert’s perspective to unchartered parenting territory.

  • What are the best ways to bond with your kids?

    Conversing with your kids can be one of the best ways to feel closer to them—and that means talking, yes, but also listening. Asking questions can help them open up as can initiating conversations while participating in activities they enjoy. In fact, anything you do with your kids—be it errands or a memorable outing—can help you bond with your kids, especially when you’re able to give them your full attention.

  • What are the most common discipline mistakes?

    Some experts believe that disciplining a child’s emotions—i.e., “stop being so dramatic!”—rather than their behavior is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. If your child throws a toy as a result of anger, you can discipline them for breaking the rules. But make it clear that you aren’t punishing them for being angry, and be sure to help them recognize their emotion and work on coping mechanisms to work through it.

  • What is the most important thing to know about parenting?

    The most important thing to know about parenting is that no matter what parenting books and peers tell you, there’s no one right way to raise a child. If you have good intentions and love your child unconditionally, you’re not likely to get it wrong.

Was this page helpful?