I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of making New Year's resolutions. Resolutions are so lofty and grand. It's like standing at the base of Yosemite's Half Dome and looking straight up the vertical side - breathtaking, but intimidating! I'd much rather make New Year's goals, which may suggest that I could take smaller steps towards the finish line, perhaps even admiring the vistas along the way!
One day, I may venture out with my family and hike up Half Dome (check out the Earth Trekker's step-by-step guide), but one mountain that I'm currently facing is parenting - a formidable challenge in and of itself. With my own children being 11 and 8 years of age, I may be half-way to parenting them into adulthood...but then again, the pre-teen years loom just ahead! Fortunately, I've received many helpful parenting books from those wiser and more experienced than myself. My own dog-eared, highlighted, and tabbed copies of these books have directed me through many tough situations with my children and have proven to be trusty guides for my middle school students time and time again. Here are my favorite parenting books.
The Five Love Languages of Children
by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell
The Five Love Languages - Words of affirmation, Acts of service, Receiving gifts, Quality time, and Physical touch. I never considered the idea that I receive and communicate love in a particular "love language", while my children also have their own unique and distinct love language which may be different from mine. This insightful book helped me to identify how to communicate my love effectively to my children so I could connect with them. Chapman also has a Marriage and a Teen version of the book.
Loving Your Kids on Purpose
by Danny Silk
The goal of good parenting is to work yourself out of a job. While young children are dependent on parents for immediate needs, parents are simultaneously training children to be independent adults. Danny Silk clearly illustrates what this transition looks like and how to help your child adopt internal discipline, seek healthy relationships, and establish a clear purpose for their life.
How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk
by Adele Feber and Elaine Mazlish
There are so many times when I have felt like I've told my kids to do something, maybe for a gazillion-billion times and yet, they don't listen! This book gives many illustrations and scenarios where empathetic and non-judgmental phrases can help your child to articulate their feelings, invite them to cooperate, and guide them to find solutions to conflicts.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens
by Sean Covey
Sometimes, kids just need a little direction on how to develop good habits. The seven habits outlined by Covey are 1) Be proactive, 2) Begin with the end in mind, 3) Put first things first, 4) Think Win-Win, 5) Seek first to understand, then to be understood, 6) Synergize, and 7) Sharpen the Saw. Once adopted, these habits help form a framework which will guide kids to be happy and have a positive outlook in life. Covey also has a Kids version of the book.
What Teens Need to Succeed
by Peter Benson, Judy Galbraith, and Pamela Espeland
The Search Institute has identified 40 Developmental Assets which are skills, values and resources that kids need in order to be successful in life. To help identify which developmental assets to build up, use the checklist provided. Then, read relevant chapters to learn how to build assets which empower kids to self-reflect, identify problems, plan for their future, decide their direction, and make a difference in the world around them.
For all of you who made goals to be more aware of your parenting style and more proactive in meeting your child's needs, AND maybe you also made a goal to read more books this year, consider reading one of these books as a BONUS 2-for-1 towards accomplishing your New Year's goals!
Happy parenting and happy reading, Friends!
For inspiration and helpful tips on parenting, check out my other blogs on GenParenting.com!