Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Parenting Bookshelf--the Development Books

Honestly, I think that parental frustration could be reduced by at least 80% if more parents understood infant and child development. Especially if you have been exposed to the toxic blather about infant manipulation and other adversarial warnings, I would encourage you to spend some time reading. It really shows up the absurdity behind the writings of Ezzo and others who have no basis in reality.

I think we all want to be reassured that our child is on target. Even if it is a behavior that we don't like or enjoy, knowing that it is normal for that age helps us to put it into perspective. If we can understand why they are acting the way they do, it is much easier to ride out the tough times or to find better solutions.

The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderlund. This just might be my new favorite. Current and detailed, it provides a wealth of information about infant development, including topics such as breastfeeding, sleep, crying, separation and more. Unlike a lot of books that are primarily the author's opinion, this one is a presentation of research and neuroscience. I love the brain scans! This is easily one of the best parenting books you could ever read.

The Baby Book by Sears. I love this book. It was the first source to encourage me to follow my instincts and parent the way my heart was telling me. It is such a complete book--development, attachment parenting info, medical advice, etc. Still one of my go-to books.

Your Baby and Child: Birth to Age Five by Penelope Leach. Excellent. I loved the fact that this one went all the way to age 5, and found that the info on cognitive development was very helpful. If the tone of the Sears books is a little too sugary for you, this book might appeal a little more.

Your One Year Old, Your Two Year Old, Your Three Year Old, etc. by Ames and Ilg. Having an entire book devoted to each year means a wealth of detail. These books have been tremendously helpful with explanations of typical behavior and development, equilibrium/disequilibrium, and more. While I had studied a lot in the 0-5 range, I had not seen nearly as much material for ages 6 and up. Your Six Year Old was the most scarily accurate of any book I have ever read. It definitely helped save my sanity. While I appreciate the development side tremendously, I strongly disagree with much of the discipline advice in this series, which is often simply to have someone else take care of the child. The valuable info far outweighs the rest, though.

There are several other books I have read, many dealing more with psychological and cognitive development of older kids, that I will try to come back and add. Some of what people assume is common sense when it comes to children is actually common nonsense because so many lack understanding of how and when children reach certain milestones and develop life skills. Just as in other areas, knowing truth sets us free--free to enjoy, to be at peace, to trust and to teach, to genuinely like our children more and to see each phase in perspective and get the most out of it.

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