For Parents

Here is a list of books compiled for parents  (specific comments by those submitting titles are included for your consideration).  It is not meant to be comprehensive but simply offers you recommendations and names of potential books that you can review and offer to parents.

General Parenting

1. For ordinary child rearing: All That She Can Be – a guide to help parents understand and cope with their adolescent girl’s development. By Carol Eagle. Simon & Schuster, 1993.  Available  on Amazon.

2. For parents of toddlers:  The Emotional Life of the Toddler by Alicia Lieberman.  Parents find it really helpful.

3. Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen (Ballantine Books, 2001).  A non-pathologizing approach, emphasizing the many benefits of play, and helping parents join kids “ in their world.”

4. The Armin Brott fathering series.  Best thing I have seen for fathers.  They are published under several age groupings. The first one is called, The expectant father, facts, tips and advice for dad’s to be.  There is one also for first year, toddlers and school age.

5. 1-2-3 Magic  by Thomas W. Phelan.

Comments: A book parents like a lot, for run-of-the-mill discipline issues with younger children.  Despite the fact that it offers more of a behavioral approach, it also offers lots of very practical advice about how to approach children of different ages. It is especially good for parents who are overly intellectual and given to endless explanations and negotiations.  It concentrates on the interaction between the child and the parent, not just the ways to shape the desired behavior.  For parents who keep trying to get their young children to agree with all their rules, and get involved in endless negotiations and attempts at persuasion, it can be quite liberating.

Some contributors spoke of the limitations of this book (due to its behavioral approach) and a philosophy of parenting that they disagree with but, even so, thought it could be useful, especially if kids are fighting or just won’t stop doing something, it can work. Phelan, unfortunately, just does not give enough attention to so many other important aspects of being a parent.

6. Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell, Penguin: New York 2004.

For parents who are able to reflect on how the deeper issues in their own life relate to their current parenting style. It is especially helpful to parents who are seeking parent guidance alongside their own treatment. It is a book intended to increase reflective functioning.  Chapters are followed by descriptions of very specific activities parents can do to this end.

7. The Self-Esteem Trap, by Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D.

8. Spoiling Childhood, by Diane Ehrensalt, Ph.D.

9. The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, by Edward Hallowell, Ph.D. – I like all of his books…mostly about ADHD.

10. Raising Resilient Children, by Robert Brooks, Ph.D.

11. Nurturing Good Children Now, by Ron Taffel, Ph.D.

12. Good Friends are Hard to Find: Help your Child Find, Make, and Keep Friends. Frankel & Wetmore

13. Between Parent and Child, by Ginott, H. (1965). New York: Three Rivers Press.

The standard for parenting advice was set, many years ago, by Haim Ginott’s classic, Between Parent and Child. It is still difficult to improve on Ginott’s wise recommendations.

14. The Magic of Encouragement: Nurturing Your Child’s Self Esteem, by Marston, S. (1990). New York: William Morrow and Company

Psychologist and family therapist Stephanie Marston published this very helpful book when my children were young. Some of Marston’s ideas, presented in a language of promoting children’s self-esteem and a child’s sense of “specialness,” might elicit a chorus of criticism from contemporary parent advisors. Marston’s recommendations, however, which transformed her own family life from one of conflict and exhaustion to one of pleasure and joy, are not overly permissive.  Her message of encouragement remains valid and important.

15. Playground Politics, by Greenspan, S. (1993).  Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley

16. The Challenging Child, by Greenspan, S.  (1995). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

17/18. Stanley Greenspan made many important contributions to child psychiatry and to helping parents raise happy and emotionally healthy children. These parenting books are based on Greenspan’s therapeutic program for children with autistic spectrum disorders and other developmental challenges. See also, Brazelton, T. B. and Greenspan, S. I. (2000) The Irreducible Needs of Children. Cambridge, MA. Da Capo Press.

19. The Growth of the Mind and the Endangered Origins of Intelligence, by Greenspan, S. (1997).  Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

In The Growth of the Mind, Greenspan describes insights gained from his work with autistic children, and he extends his ideas about child development to other social problems.

20. The Heart of Parenting, by Gottmann, J. M. (1997).  NY: Simon & Schuster.

In this book, John Gottman presents his important research on family communication and “emotion coaching.”

21. Wisdom of Our Fathers, by Russert, T. (2006). NY: Random House.

A moving collection of correspondence Russert received following the publication of his memoir of his own relationship with his father.

22. Parenting on Behalf of the Child, by Dix, T. (1992). In I. Siegel (Ed.) Parental Belief Systems: The Psychological Consequences for Children. Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.

This academic book chapter presents the most helpful framework I know of for understanding the dilemmas faced by parents in trying to balance empathy and firmness in our relationships with our children.


1. Teenagers with ADD and ADHD, A Guide for Parents and Professionals, by Chris A. Zeigler Dendy.

It’s readable, practical, and packed with lots of information and strategies, with a very positive approach. There’s so much in this one, a parent may need a little guidance so they don’t get overwhelmed.

2. You Mean I’m not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?, by Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo, Edward Hallowell.

Although it’s aimed at adults, it’s very helpful to teens and their parents for understanding and building strategies. Written by adults with ADHD, it’s a positive useful approach. I have yet to show this book to a teenager who does not respond with recognition and validation at the title! In addition, it’s not unusual for a child with ADHD to have a parent with the same issue so it ends up being useful for them as well.

3. My Brother’s a World Class Pain, by Michael Gordon.. GSI Publications, Dewitt, NY (ADHD)

4. For Parents to read to their child: Putting On The Brakes, by Patricia Quinn and Judity Stern.

5. For Parents to read to their child: Otto Learns About His Medicine, by Matthew Galvin.

6. Super-parenting for ADD, by Hallowell, E.M. and Jensen, P. (2010). New York: Ballantine Books.

Hallowell and Jensen write about the need to appreciate the “gifts,” not just the deficits and difficulties, of living with ADD and emphasize the importance of empathy and positive parenting. For essential information and recent research on ADD, see Hallowell, E. M. and Ratey, J. J. (2005) Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder. New York: Ballantine Books.

Child With Special Needs

1. The Child With Special Needs – Encouraging Intellectual and Emotional Growth, by Stanley Greenspan, Ph.D. and Serena Wieder, Ph.D.

2. A Parents’ Guide to Special Education in New York City and the Metropolitan Area, by Laurie Dubos and Jana Fromer.

Specific Issues

1. The Out-Of-Sync Child, by Carol Kranowitz (sensory integration disorder)

2. The Difficult Child, by Stanley Turecki (temperament difficulty)

3. Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems, by Richard Ferber

4. Freeing Your Child from Obsessional-Compulsive Disorder, by Tamar Chansky

5. The Kazdin Method for Parenting The Defiant Child, by Alan Kazdin

6. The Explosive Child, by Ross Greene

7. Sometimes I Feel Like I Don’t Have Any Friends (But Not So Much Anymore), by Tracy Zimmerman and Lawrence Shapiro. Center for Applied Psychology, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (social skills building)

8. Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, by Tony Attwood

Parentified Child

1. The Drama of the Gifted Child, by Alice Miller, is a classic.

Alice Miller’s Drama of the Gifted Child (originally published as Prisoners of Childhood) is a classic on how the the needs of the sensitive child are abnegated to meet the needs of a parent that cannot see or respond to the real emotional needs of the child.

2. A book called “The Normal One” about having a disabled sibling is a slightly different slant but useful.


1.  Two Little Boys, by Blow, C. (2009). New York Times, April 24, 2009.

A journalist’s report of research documenting an increase in suicidal thoughts among children who have been subjected to bullying – and a moving tribute to two young victims – that deserves to be read by all parents.

Anxiety and Depression

1. Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents, by Rapee, Spence, Cobham, Wignall

2. Worried No More: Help and Hope for Anxious Children, by Wagner

3. The Silence Within: A Teacher/Parent Guide to Woriking with Selectively Mute and Shy Children, by Kervatt

4. Monsters Under the Bed and Other Childhood Fears: Helping you Child Overcome Anxieties, Fears, and Phobias, by Garber, Garber, & Spizman

5. Living With a Black Dog, by Matthew Johnstone. Andrew McMeel Publishing, Kansas City, Missouri. (depression)

6. Freeing Your Child from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, by Chancy, T. (2000). New York: Random House.

7. Freeing Your Child from Anxiety, by Chansky, T. (2004). Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

8. Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking, by Chansky, T. (2008). Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

6/7/8. Helpful techniques, based on cognitive-behavioral research, for helping children with these problems

9. The Optimistic Child, by Seligman, M. (1995). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

In this book, Martin Seligman describes a successful program for reducing pessimism and strengthening psychological immunity in elementary school children.

Trauma, Grief and Loss

1. Information put out by the Dougy Center, which has a great website for impending parent loss.

2. Never the Same: Coming to Terms With the Death of a Parent, by Donna Schuurman is a great resource.

3. Losing a Parent to Death in the Early Years, by Alicia Lieberman (2003 Zero to Three Press). It’s focused on traumatic bereavement but has a useful resources and book session at the end that covers issues for children and parents.

4. Brave Bart, by Caroline Sheppard. Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children. Grosse Point, MI (trauma and grief).

5. Goodbye Chicken Little, by Betsy Byars. HarperTrophy (HarperCollins), NYC. (grief: for older children).

6. Rachel and the Upside Down Heart, by Eileen Douglas. Price Stern Sloan, Los Angeles (grief: for younger children).


1. Step-Families, by Emily B. Visher, Ph.D. and John S. Visher, M.D. (1979) Step-Families. Secaucus, NJ: The Citadel Press.

2. The Not-So-Wicket Stepmother, by Lizi Boyd. Puffin Books, NYC.

3. Keys to Parenting an Anxious Child. Manassis (for step-fathers).


1. Abby, by Jeannette Caines. Harper and Row, NY.

Defiant Behavior

1. The Kazdin Method For Parenting the Defiant Child, by Kazdin, A. (2008). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. The Kazdin Method is the state-of-the-art program for resolving problems of defiant behavior.

2. Minimizing Power Struggles: Understanding, Respecting, and Responding to Your Child’s Behavior, by Schreiber, J. (2011). Excellent tips on avoiding power struggles with young children from an experienced early childhood educator.

Self-esteem and Eating Issues

1. Real Kids Come In All Sizes: 10 Essential Lessons to Build Your Child’s Body Esteem, by Kathy Kater. New York: Broadway Books, 2004.

2. Book to read to children: Shapesville, by Andy Mills and Becky Osborn. Gurze Books, 2003 (an illustrated book about everyone coming in different sizes and shapes).

3. Book to read to children: Full Mouse Empty Mouse: A Tale of Food and Feelings, by Dina Zeckhausen, PhD.  Washington, D.C.: Magination Press, 2008.

Psychiatric Medicine

1.  Your Child in the Balance, by Kalikow, K. (2006). New York: CDS Books. A thoughtful discussion by an experienced child psychiatrist on whether and when to prescribe psychiatric medicine to children.


1. No More Meltdowns, by Baker, J. (2008). Arlington, Tx: Future Horizons.

2. The Explosive Child, by Greene, R. W. (1998). NY: Harper Collins.


1. Raising America, by Hulbert, A. (2003). New York: Vintage Books. A history of parenting advice (and the personalities of the advice-givers) over the course of the 20th century.

2. Mothers and Others, by Hrdy, S. B. (2009). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. An eminent anthropologist’s ideas on the role of communal child rearing in human evolution.


1. The Battle Over Homework (2nd Ed.), by Cooper, H. (2001). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.


1. Overcoming Dyslexia, by Shaywitz, S. (2003). New York: Knopf

2. A Mind at A Time, by Levine, M. (2002). New York: Simon and Shuster.

3. The Myth of Laziness, by Levine, M. (2003). New York: Simon and Shuster.

Media Violence

1. Imagination and Play in the Electronic Age, by Singer, D. G. and Singer, J. L. (2005). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Motivation and Purpose

1. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Dweck, C. (2006). New York: Random House. An important new idea for parents and teachers, based on extensive research.

2. The Path To Purpose, by Damon, W. (2008). New York: The Free Press. In this book, William Damon reports the results of his study of the development of a sense of purpose in adolescents and young adults.


1. Positive Sports Parenting, by Thompson, J. (2009). Portola Valley, CA: Balance Sports Publishing, LLC. Must-read advice for all parents of children involved in organized sports.

Children's Books

1. Sammy the Elephant and Mr. Camel, by Joyce Mills and Richard Crowley. From Magination Press (Brunner/Mazel, NY). (enuresis)

2. I Don’t Know Why.. I Guess I’m Shy, by Barbara Cain. (shyness). From Magination Press (Brunner/Mazel, NY).

3. Clouds and Clocks, by Matthew Galvin. (soiling). From Magination Press (Brunner/Mazel, NY).

4. You Can Call Me Willy, by Joan Verniero. (AIDS). From Magination Press (Brunner/Mazel, NY).

5. First Day Jitters. Danneberg.

6. Wemberly Worried. Henkes.

7. Scary Night Visitors: A Story for Children with Bedtime Fears. Marcus, Marcus, & Jesche.

8. Into the Great Forest: A Story for Children Away from Parents for the First Time. Marcus, Marcus, & Jesche.

9. Geraldine’s Blanket, by Keller, H. (1984). New York: Greenwillow Books.

10. Gone Fishing, by Long, E. R. (1987). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. A brief picture book that beautifully captures the feelings of a young boy in his relationship with his father.

12. My Grandmother’s Cookie Jar, by Miller, M. (1987). Los Angeles: Price, Stern, Sloan, Inc.