The 7 Best Parenting Books

Get tips for all stages of parenthood

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Our Top Picks
Blend of proven science and ancient wisdom to guide parents... how to best care for their babies.
Best for Toddlers:
How Toddlers Thrive at Amazon
How to harness the power of the toddler mind during a time that’s crucial to their brain development.
Best Christian:
Parenting at Amazon
The big-picture view of God’s plan for parents and outlining 14 gospel-centered foundational principles.
Clinically proven program provides the tools to successfully manage children’s disruptive behavior.
Best Potty Training:
Oh Crap! Potty Training at Amazon
Easy-to-digest morsels of information about potty-training that parents can follow.
Best for Nervous Parents:
How to Raise an Adult at Amazon
Research, conversations with experts... highlighting problems with helicopter-parenting.
Best for Teaching Character:
How Children Succeed at Amazon
Best seller on character and skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.

Best for New Parents: The Happiest Baby on the Block


As a parent-to-be, you’ve likely heard of Dr. Harvey Karp before, but if not, you’re about to fall in love with him. 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 in 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” (a combination of swaddling, putting the baby on his side or stomach, making shushing noises, swinging the baby and giving him a mechanism to suck), parents have been safely and effectively calming their crying babies for years and years. With a 4.4 out of 5-star rating based on more than 2,300 reviews, this book is a solid must for any soon-to-be parent.

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

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

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

Dr. Rex Forehand and Dr. Nicholas Long used 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 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

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

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

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 raving reviews.

Parenting is, arguably, one of the hardest things that we have to do as adults, but no matter what stage of the game you’re currently in, the above books have been tested by hundreds of parents and have proven helpful when it comes to babies, toddlers, potty training, and everything that comes in between and after.

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