Parenting Philosophy Books

Parenting is hard work. Before I became a parent, I could vocalize that parenting was going to be tough, but I failed to realize what was really tough about it. I assumed it was the late nights and lack of sleep. I mistakenly thought that once the baby slept through the night, it was fairly smooth sailing, barring a few bumps for the toddler and teen years.

This misguided interpretation of what parenting was like caused me to muddle through a few years before I could really figure out who I wanted to be as a parent and what that looked like. I had no philosophy or grounding in a parenting style. I didn’t even know that such a thing existed.

While I am not here to advocate for any particular style, what I do want to advocate for is that you read books and learn about some philosophies of parenting. What I found in reading many of these books, is that something in each resonated with me for my family. Read these books before your baby is born and keep reading the books as they come out after your baby is born. I always looked at it as my version of parenting therapy. It was helpful knowing that I wasn’t alone in this journey.

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogul

Blessing of a Skinned Knee
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This book is a great look at failure. This is not as harsh as it sounds, but it talks a lot about how letting our children experience failure is not a bad thing. It allows them to understand that they will make mistakes and that there are lessons to be learned from those mistakes. This mother of two talks about how failing while in the safety and comfort of your own home is the best time to fail and helps build children who know that hard work, and yes, failure, are as much a part of success as anything else. She has a second book called the Blessings of a B- (Amazon) that may also be interesting to you, though it is more about academics. 

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How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims

How to Raise an Adult
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 At first glance, this book seems to be directed at the parents of older children. The author is the parent of two and a former dean of freshman at Stanford University. She spends a lot of time talking about how parenting influences your child’s academic performance and mental state in college and even as a young adult in the job world. However, the solutions she proposes for the problems that she sees are grounded from the earliest days of childhood. Having read this when most of my children were older or already out of high school, I wish I would have had this information sooner. 

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Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children by Lenore Skenazy

Free Range Kids
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 This mother of two became well known when she let her nine year-old son ride the New York subway to school alone one day. She argued that she had prepared him for years by riding with him and that he was in no danger. Her experience led her to write a book detailed her ideas and how children today are not given any freedom to explore and move around without the helpful eyes of their parents. She argues that kids are actually safer today than in yesteryear using crime data, and then explains the ramifications of not letting our kids get out and explore their neighborhoods. 

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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
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 This mother of two discusses her parenting philosophy as an Asian parent. Her children are never allowed to have sleepovers or go to parties. They must play piano or violin. They have rigorous course loads in school. And she shows how their grades are good and they are in competitive colleges as proof that her method works.

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