Recommended Reading

Check out some of our favorite parenting and childhood development books*. We have categorized them to help guide you to what you need now. If there is a topic, title or category that you would like to see or think is missing, please contact us. We love the contributions from our community!

Book Categories

General Parenting

Parenting with Courage and Uncommon Sense By Linda E. Jessup & Emory Luce Baldwin

The evidence-based, results-oriented approach to parenting with kindness, firmness and respect. “An excellent book about good parenting. The book provides a wealth of useful examples and crucial skills. The “take-away” points make these ideas highly usable for today’s families. Since 1982, this practical, time tested philosophy has set the right course for over 20,000 parents and their families.” – Marguerite Kelly, Washington Post columnist

The Self-Driven Child: the science and sense of giving your kids more control over their lives by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson




Life in the Family Zoo by John M. Platt, Ed.D.

A humorous, anecdotal guide to surviving parenthood and producing responsible, happy children along the way. Easy, practical step-by-step techniques that take you beyond the birth process and into the next 18 years with positive and encouraging methods dealing with children’s misbehavior.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

“Will bring about more cooperation from children than all the yelling and pleading in the world.” – Christian Science Monitor

Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D.

The classic guide to helping children develop self-discipline, responsibility, cooperation, and problem-solving skills.

The Six Essential Pieces of the Parenting Puzzle by Betty Lou Bettner

A wonderful, clear guide to parenting and understanding the wisdom of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs.

A Parent’s Guide to Understanding and Motivating Children, By Amy Lew, Ph.D. and Betty Lou Bettner, Ph.D.

Raising Kids Who Can Series; A very clear, practical  and concise guide to parenting all kinds of children!

On Raising Children With Emotional And Academic Skills

The Learning Habit by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, Rebecca Jackson, Dr. Robert M. Pressman

A groundbreaking approach to homework and parenting that helps our children succeed in school and life.

Teach Your Children Well by Madeline Levine, Ph.D.

Why values and coping skills matter more than grades, trophies, or “fat envelopes.”

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, Ph.D.

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.

12 revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind.

Raising Resilient Children by Robert Brooks, Ph.D. and Same Goldstein, Ph.D.

Fostering strength, hope and optimism in your child.

On Family Meetings

Raising Kids Who Can: Become Responsible, Self-Reliant, Resilient, Contributing Adults and How to Use Family Meetings to Make It Happen by Betty Lou Bettner, Ph.D. and Amy Lew, Ph.D.

This is a very easy to read and helpful book for showing families how to lead family meetings and raise strong, caring families.

Chores Without Wars by Lynn Lott & Riki Intner

Chores have recently come up in the press again as one of the key indicators of success in life. How do we set them up and make sure they happen? This book helps to set your family on a path of family togetherness through sharing the family work.

On Personality Development and Temperament

The “Creative Force”: How children create their personalities by Betty Lou Bettner, Ph.D

A very easy book to read that will give you insight into your child’s personality development.

Ages & Stages by Karen Miller

Developmental descriptions and activities suited to each stage, birth through eight years.

Redirecting Children’s Behavior by Kathryn Kvols

This book is full of good parenting ideas. My favorite part is in the appendix in the back. Kvols lists sometimes annoying and perfectly normal behaviors of children, by age. It is a wonderful spot to discover that some of the challenges we worry about are actually perfectly developmentally normal.

Yardsticks by Chip Wood

This is a teacher tool that many parents have found to be a useful reference, too.

Temperament Tools: working with your child’s inborn traits by Helen Neville and Diane Clark Johnson

This is a wonderful source to learn what’s normal for your child and learn how to manage challenging behavior. You will also learn how to teach your child to cope with his or her temperament.

On Parenting Preschoolers

Positive Discipline for Preschoolers by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D., Cheryl Erwin, M.A., and Roslyn Ann Duffy

For their early years – raising children who are responsible, respectful, and resourceful


Simple Steps by Karen Miller

Developmental activities for infants, toddlers, and two-year-olds

Listening to the Littlest by Ruth Reardon

This is a gem of a little book of poems, written in the voice of a young child, reminds us to slow down and listen

On Parenting Teens

Crazy-Stressed: Saving Today’s Overwhelmed Teens with Love, Laughter, and the Science of Resilience by Dr. Michael Bradley


Get Out of My Life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall? by Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D.

A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager


Brainstorm: the power and purpose of the teenage brain by Daniel Siegel, MD

An inside-out guide to the emerging adolescent mind, ages 12-24. Dan Siegel provides teens with wonderful “Mind-Sight” tools. This is a terrific book to read with your teen.

Parenting a Teen Girl: A Crash Course on Conflict, Communication & Connection with Your Teenage Daughter by Lucie Hemmen, Ph.D.

Includes: interventions, scripts and conversation starters


Positive Discipline for Teenagers by Jane Nelsen Ed.D. and Lynn Lott M.A. MFT

This book is a wonderful guide that will help you transition “out of the driver’s seat” while remaining “in the car” with your teen.

On Talking With Kids (at all ages) About Sex

From Diapers to Dating by Debra Haffner

A parent’s guide to raising sexually healthy children from infancy to middle school.

30 Days of Sex Talks (Ages 12+) by Educate Empower Kids

30 Days of Sex Talks (Ages 3-7) by Educate Empower Kids

How To Talk To Your Kids About Pornography (For 8-18 year olds) by Educate Empower Kids

30 Days of Sex Talks (Ages 8-11) by Educate Empower Kids

So Sexy So Soon: The new sexualized childhood  and what parents can do to protect their kids by Diane E. Levin Ph.D. and Jean Kilbourne Ed.D.

On Your Personal Development

Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel, M.D. and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed.

How a deeper self-understanding can help you raise children who thrive.

Whole Child / Whole Parent by Polly Berrien Berends

M. Scott Peck says of this book: “The best book I know on the psychology of child raising… because it reveals the essence of what human beings are all about.”

On Marriage

Time For A Better Marriage by Jon Carlson, Psy.D. and Don Dinkmeyer, Sr., Ph.D.

This wonderful guide book is sprinkled with humor, helpful worksheets and activities. It is a worth much more than it will cost to buy it and spend an hour a week with your spouse working through it.

*We use affiliate links for each of the books on this recommended reading list. Thank you for supporting the Family Leadership Center, a qualified 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

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