Parenting Book Reviews

Table of Contents


Pre-pregnancy Books

Pregnancy Books

Nutrition in Pregnancy

Pregnancy for Fathers

Baby Name Books

Birth guidebooks

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

Infants & Toddlers


Sleep Problems

Child Rearing & Discipline

Preschool-aged children

Young school-aged children

Teenaged children

Learning disabilities and ADHD

Medical Information & Nutrition

Life Style Choices

Death and Children

Boys/Girls: "Gender" issues

Miscellaneous Books

Other Media

Sources & Acknowledgements

Paula Burch's Home Page

Preschool-aged children

David Elking: Miseducation - Preschoolers At Risk
[sources incl. amazon]
	His premise is that many of our children are being
	misappropriately educated  for their age level. In our zest
	for creating "superkids" we do so at the risk of subjecting
	our kids to both psychological and physical problems. 
 	He explains the different stages of how children learn and
	that early  "miseducation" can cause permanent damage to their
	self-esteem, loss of a positive attitude towards learning, and
	actual physical problems caused by starting children in
	certain excellerated sports programs before their bodies have
	fully developed. I would highly recommend this book 
	--Lynne Chantler [from a post]

	Yes, I not only read Elkind's book, but have lent my copy out to
	numerous friends.  I absolutely agree with his arguments, and like
	Lynne, highly recommend the book.  After reading _Miseducation_, I
	was more convinced than ever that finding a non-academic preschool was
	the way I wanted to go.  Elkind basically states that early
	childhood educators have taken studies that show how much children
	are capable of learning in their early years (from about 2-6) and
	have twisted that around to make the argument that *since* kids' brains 
	are so malleable, they can be taught all sorts of things, like reading
	and foreign languages.  This perversion (sorry for such a strong
	word) of the brain studies results in what Elkind terms
	"miseducation."  [...] (NOTE:  Elkind (and I) are stressing
	the "pushing" part here; if a child shows an interest in learning to
	read, write, or whatever on his or her own, that's a different matter
	As Lynne pointed out, Elkind makes the argument that by pushing
	children to learn academics at earlier ages when they are not
	interested in such things can do a lot of harm, and very little
	good.  Young children learn through playing, and by encouraging them
	to explore their world at their own pace, parents and childhood
	educators lay the foundation for "readiness" to learn academic
	subjects.  Allowed to learn at their own pace, with an "emergent
	curriculum" (i.e. learning that is self-directed and that emerges
	from the child's own interests), children are much more apt to soak
	up the academic stuff later on.   --Diane Lin [from a post]

Thomas Sowell: Late-Talking Children. 1997. [sources incl. amazon]
	Essential reading for parents worried about very slow speech
	development in apparently otherwise normal children. This is
	not a what-to-do book; it's a book about the experiences of a
	father whose son began talking extraordinarily late. I think
	the boy had something like ten words at age four; he's now,
	as an adult, a computer programmer. The father is an extremely
	interesting writer, a well-known economist. The book

	summarizes the results of his survey of other parents of 
	late-talking children that were neither autistic nor
	hearing-impaired. The author hypothesizes that the slow speech
	development in this particular subset of children is the cost
	of rapid math development. --Paula Burch

Bruno Bettleheim, A GOOD ENOUGH PARENT.  Vintage Books, 1987. 
ISBN 0-394-75776-9.  
[sources incl. amazon]
	The title tells all.  A very re-assuring
	book which makes room for the fact that we parents are
	people who make mistakes and don't have to perfect.  Some
	helpful arguments against some long-held beliefs, e.g.,
	spanking as punishment, etc.

If Only I Were a Better Mother
[sources incl. Chinaberry, amazon]
	If you think that any mother who ever, even for a minute, places her 
	own needs above those of her child, is a monster, then you need this 
	book. (Then again, if you think that, you'll be raising a
	self-centered  monster who will never respect any need of their
	mother's, and you  probably need to see a therapist!) It may be useful
	if you feel guilty when you choose to meet your own needs, however
	important, at the expense of your child's, however trivial. Contains
	lots of made-up conversations with  'Kali', the 'dark goddess', which

	strike a jarringly self-conscious note. - Paula Burch

Lawrence Balter: Child Sense
[OOP; try your library or amazon]
			...what are your favorite books on child
	development?  I have lots, but the one I always return to is _Child
	Sense_ by Lawrence Balter.  Anywone else have a favorite?  My LEAST
	favorite is Burton White, who seems to think that children spaced
	together closer than three years will be totally *ruined*.  Very

T. Berry Brazelton 
"On Becoming A Family" [sources incl. amazon]

"Infants and Mothers" [sources incl. amazon]

"Parents and Toddlers"[sources incl. amazon]

"Working and Caring" [sources incl. amazon]

"What Every Baby Knows" [sources incl. amazon]
	T. Berry Brazelton is the Dr. Spock of our generation and his books
	could well be considered required reading.  He also hosts a show on
	Lifetime called "What Every Baby Knows".  
	Infants and Mothers and Parents and Toddlers are both broken up into
	personal stories about "typical" people culled from his pediatric
	practice.  In the  Infants book, there are three infants, "quiet",
	"average", and "active" who are tracked in their development month by
	month.  In Toddlers, different  children are studied at each phase 
	of toddlerhood.  

	I bought a book by T. Berry Brazelton called something like "Working
	and  Caring" about integrating work and caring for an infant.  I think
	it is a great book.  I found it very reassuring to read when I was
	trying to dance the line between the people who thought my schedue for
	returning to work was bad for my child and the people who thought I
	was forever giving up my career if I took off the time I had planned.

	"Infants and Mothers" is a very interesting book, and gives a
	month-by-month  account of the lives of three babies:  average, quiet
	and active.  The great  virtue of this book is that it gives a very
	complete picture of the lives of  three very different infants, all of
	whom are completely "normal."   It gives the reader a greater
	appreciation for the developmental timetable that each baby follows,
	and thus, an appreciation for the uniqueness of each baby.  Highly
	recommended for nervous first parents--it's very reassuring.

	I found Brazleton's books fun to read, but not worth buying since I
	wasn't apt to re-read them. The public library is made for
	books like this!  -- Paula Burch

Louise Bates Ames, Ph.D., Frances L. Ilg, M.D.:"Your X Year Old"
(X = One, Two, Three, etc. - this is a series) Publisher: Gesell
Institute of Human Development 
Your One-Year-Old : The Fun-Loving, Fussy 12-To 24-Month-Old	[sources incl. amazon]
Your 2 Year Old : Terrible or Tender	[sources incl. amazon]
Your Three Year Old : Friend or Enemy	[sources incl. amazon]
Your Four-Year-Old : Wild and Wonderful	[sources incl. amazon]
Your 5 Year Old : Sunny and Serene	[sources incl. amazon]
	Ames and Ilg was used in my parenting class and, so far, my children
	have been 100% in line with their stages of development.  A wonderful
	book series for helping to decide, "have I ruined my child or is this
	normal development" and the subsequent "should I fight this or suffer through it".

	Lots of questions on this net are oth the type "My X yr old is doing
	this - is it normal?"  I've been enjoying "Your Three Year Old" by
	Ames & Ilg. There is a whole series of these, going up to the preteen
	years.  "your Two Year Old was really on target for me last year. 
	Your Three Year Old isn't quite as close as the other one, but still
	has given me a lot of useful insights into David's current behaviors. 
	These books aren't big with practical tips on how to deal with
	specific behaviors, but I find just identifying the behavior pattern
	to be very helpful.  I can then deal with it with my repertoire of
	skills from other sources.  Here's a quote I love from this book
	"Parents sometimes fear that their Three and a half year old is deaf 
	when he so often disregards what is being said to him."  How true!

Fraiberg: "The Magic Years: Understanding the problems of early childhood" 
[sources incl. amazon]
	A classic, and very good reading, too.  Covers birth to 5 years,
	though she  basically zips through 0-6 months in a flash.  The main
	virtue of this book,  IMHO, was that she explains the developmental
	stage that the child is going  through so that parents can better
	understand that the child is DRIVEN to do something, and that the 
	behavior is not part of a plan to drive the
	parents crazy.

Marge Kennedy: 50 ways to bring out the smarts in your kid: how to
	provide inspiration and guidance to enhance children's
	learning in every way. (children 3 and up)
[sources incl. amazon]

Disciplining younger children specifically--toddlers, preschoolers

Elizabet Crary: Without Spanking or Spoiling: A Practical Approach to Toddler and Preschool Guidance. Published by Parenting Press, 7750 Thirty-first Ave NE, Seattle Wa 98115. [sources incl. Chinaberry and amazon] This is not the best-written of discipline books--i.e., it's not a joy and a breeze to read--but it is an extremely helpful sourcebook for applying the Positive Discipline methods of Faber & Mazlish, Gordon, Nelson, etc. to young toddlers. It gives specifics, such as exactly what a child of 12 or 36 months may be expected to be able to accomplish, such as self-dressing, and on how exactly to apply respectful techniques of discipline to the very young. Highly recommended as a follow-up to some of the above books, if you find yourself with questions on just how to use those techniques with a very young child, toddler to pre-school. --Paula Burch Jane Nelsen: Positive Discipline for Pre-Schoolers [sources incl. amazon] Since I had already read the first book [Positive Discipline], I didn't find much new material, but it is slanted more towards younger children. If you can find this one, I'd recommend you read it first. --Lisa Chirlian [from a post] I liked Nelson's 'Positive Discipline' so much that I got this one, too. Unfortunately, I found it less helpful even for preschoolers. Some of her advice in this book just seems wrong-headed to me, such as trying to "push" pre-schoolers to become more grownup, when that was not the best way to encourage my own child. The book, like many others, is still useful if you ignore the parts that annoy you, of course. --Paula Burch Don Dinkmeyer, Ph.D.; Gary D. McKAy, Phd.; and James S. Dinkmeyer, M.A.: PARENTING YOUNG CHILDREN: HELPFUL SRATEGIES BASED ON SYSTEMATIC TRAINING FOR EFFECTIVE PARENTING (STEP) FOR CHILDREN UNDER SIX. Published by: American Guidance Service, Circle Pines, Minnesota, 55014-1796. Copyright: 1989. [sources incl. amazon] The best book I have found was given to my by my utter wonderful MIL. This work is mostly focused on behaviour, so while it is great on the emotional milestones, it is soemwhat lacking in the physical area. But it is terrific for what it does. Here are the seven chapters: 1. Understanding Young Children 2. Understanding Young Children's Behaviour 3. Building Self-Esteem in the Early Years 4. Communicating with Young Children 5. Helping Young Children learn to Cooperate 6. Effective Dscipline 7. Nurturing Emotional and Social Development. There is also additional information on resources to learn more about parenting. While this book is a companion to a parenting program, I have used on its own with wonderful results. (I am sorry to rave, but I love this book!!!). It has a lot of examples, and cartoons, and advice that is easy to look up and use during stressful moments..And it goes through transitions of children through infancy to toddlers to preschoolers (up to 6). --Ali Hendley

next page...

Last updated: March 2, 2003
Downloaded at: