March 31, 2006

Question: How Many Parenting Books Do You Have/Use?

You'd think after two years of being a dad, I'd get used to surprises. I wake up thinking I have something figured out, and then I get blindsided by people's experiences which are diametrically opposite to my own.

I just did a takedown on the Babywise series of parenting advice books, which seemed to me like a clear-cut case of bad, unscientific advice that was being latched onto by well-meaning, desperate parents who wanted to find out how they can raise their kids right. [I'll be the first to grant that "right" has a variety of definitions, but from age 0-2, I'd think there's gotta be a lot of general agreement about a baby's health, developmental milestones, happiness and well-being.]

Anyway, the question: Do you have parenting advice books? More importantly, do you use them? How? Have you found one "right" one? Or is it a combination? Or a phase thing, one's right at one stage, but not later on, for example? Do you, dads, use them differently than your wife/baby mama/husband/parenting counterpart?

Us, we have Brazelton's Touchpoints books, plus the What To Expect and Spock, but those two are really just reference books. Our general usage method was to find ourselves in a recurring sleeping/screaming/eating problem, then we'd go read Brazelton and learn that what we were seeing was common to kids that age. Happens over and over. My wife is better about reading ahead a bit, and then encouraging me to do the same. [Which I do about 60% of the time, and about 1-2 weeks after her. I'm slack that way.]


I tried to keep afloat in the rising tide of baby books in our house, but eventually gave up. Now I go with baby street smarts.

I found too much in the books that A) I didn't agree with, or B)conflicted with one of the myriad of other books. You're my only source of parenting information now. I got the Bugaboo; I have a pimped out R Class on order; I have an entire room full of disposable diapers from amazon; and I know every public restroom in NYC. If one of those gems doesn't solve a problem, I'm hosed.

I shopped for Trans Ams for almost 2 hours last night. The red velour interiors are awesome, or would me if they weren't moldy. Isn't that the way.

[dude, you are obviously beyond the help of any book. -ed.]

We have found "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and Brazelton to be extremely useful. And I echo your comment about going through some horrible phase thinking something is desperately wrong, then reading a bit and finding out its totally normal. The best parenting advice I've rec'd yet was from a SAHD friend whose wife is a very uptight pediatrician who continually thinks her daughter has some horrible affliction: "Assume everything is perfectly normal until faced with actual evidence to the contrary..."

The What To Expect books are very useful on a day-to-day basis.

Penelope Leach's Your Baby And Child is worth sitting down and reading all the way through before the baby comes. Very anti-hysterical.

What to expect's about it, unless financial books count.

the happiest baby book worked well for us in the 4th trimester (the 1st 3 months, as the author calls them) and after that, we incorporated the common denominators from the no-cry sleep solution and the jodi mindell book (can't recall the title). the combo seems to have worked because our peanut has been a 12 hr. sleeper since she was 4 mos. old. she's 9 mos. now. i read the books, put the words into action, and then showed my husband what to do. i guess you can take the teacher out of first grade but...

my husband did turn me on to daddytypes and now i find myself reading it daily.

Apparently even the "What to expect" series have their detractors. I can't remember where I saw it now, but I remember reading an article that talked about how basically the book served to bring up all the worst case scenarios and terrify new or expecting parents, to the point where eventually one of the main features of the revised editions became toning down the fear-mongering. I never more than glanced at the book myself after I found the first few pages basically assumed that dad would be nonexistent and/or unneccesary, but there you go.

[Nail, head. Here you go. linked to that NYT article last fall. -ed.]

I love the Dr. Sears books. We have the Baby Book, the Breastfeeding Book and the Sleep Book. We also have Spock, the Weissbluth sleep book, the Happiest Baby on the Block book and some random others.

A friend of ours with teenaged kids gave us a collection of books from the Gesell Institute of Child Development (Ames, Ilg & Haber). Each book focuses on a different age and has chapters on things like "accomplishments and abilities", "Routines", "Individuality", etc. The books are great at pointing out what is great about each age and also what can be a struggle.
It can be a bit dated in parts but the over all focus of child individuality is great. It is the only book I've found where the focus is almost exclusively on the child. No mention of how to make your baby sleep through the night in 2 days or read by three or get into Harvard at 12.
Oh, and the pictures are great! You'll see toys you remember from your own childhood.

I took a class for expecting fathers at our delivery hospital. Armin Brott was the instructor and also the author of the book used in the class, "The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year." It quickly became the only parenting book we use out of a huge stack given to us by friends and family. It gives a heads-up month by month and gives advice on different ways to deal with specific issues. My wife now asks me, "What does the daddy book say about that?," whenever the boy does something new or unexpected.

[wow, it's like you're living in Bizarro universe. -ed.]

Your Baby and Child : From Birth to Age Five (Revised Edition) (Paperback)
by Penelope Leach

already posted above. i had to ask my friends mother (she is a professional midwife) what books to buy. she said any by the author. this book is level headed - very useful to read before having a little one. i got the book 6 months into things and it still helped. i highly recommend it.

We are in the fortunate position that mom's a pedi. Nurse Practitioner and has read every book (mostly) mentioned. But we both have many stories as I'm sure we all do where common sense and intuitive knowldege form most of our decisions. Bad daddy here, I've never cracked a single book but I have asked "What's the deal with this?" about a thousand times.

I really liked Michel Cohen's New Basics: A to Z Baby to Childcare for the Modern Parent.

While not entirely comprehensive, it did talk me down of the ledge that Dr. Sears put me on and left me for dead.

We have one of the Dr Sears books that is not out of date (the boy is older than the oldest age group in the book) and we had a couple of small, single topic books produced by Hopital Ste-Justine and another produced by the Quebec Government (the last two groups you get when you leave the hospital).

Honestly I find that we use most of them when there is a problem, or he is sick.

For the most part I wind up going to the Dr. Sears website or a variation on that theme.

We have the What To Expect books and refer to them periodically just to be prepared for what's likely to be coming next with our 6 month old infant. Really, babies aren't that challenging. But we've got a 10 year old in the house too and I've got a whole library devoted to him.

Mostly I like the John Rosemond books Ending the Homework Hassle, Six Point Plan For Raising Happy Healthy Children and Parent Power. Rosemond doesn't engage in psycho-babble and he doesn't automatically assume that you, as a parent, ought to give up your whole life and center your world around your children's whims.

My other half isn't much into books in general. She lets me read them and then summarize for her.

I would have never picked it up off the shelf (since the title is so "Oprah-esque," but my friend who already had a baby sent me her copy of The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg (I know, I was rolling my eyes too when I got it). But, I swear, it's a great book. Her approach is very common sense, very level headed. The main points behind her strategies are respect; respect for your baby as an individual person (not a malleable blob), respect for your family as a whole and respect for yourself and your spouse/partner (if applicable). She stresses simple routines (i.e. Eat, Activity, Sleep), demanding time for yourself and accepting your baby for who she/he really is (not who you wish they were). We put all of her techniques into practice (we really did go by the book a lot), and it worked.
She's got a Toddler Whisperer book out now that focuses on discipline, potty training, etc. but I really haven't gotten into it yet (once we got our groove going, I kind of quit reading . . . .)

[yeah, as someone mentioned, there are similarities to some Babywise advice. I didn't realize it until seeing TBW mentioned on the Ezzo criticism site. But hey, Hogg hasn't turned out to be a cult leader yet, so... -ed.]

I'm going to go with Tex here. We have a 6 month old and a 7 year old. Dealing with the 6month old is common sensed based with an occassional look in the WTE series for a refresher in developmental issues. We have the older edition from our 7 year old.

Dealing with the 7 year old definitely requires parenting and lots of it. While, on the whole, we agree with Rosemond and read his column weekly, we are more flexible. Our 7 year old is special needs and you really learn to be adaptable, but I like Rosemonds main philosophy.

"the wonder weeks" is a great book and i also really really like "child psychology a contemporary viewpoint" by hetherington and parke. i know, a *real* text book - how geeky... :)

I second "Your Baby and Child" and "the new father" (and the pregnancy book he wrote too!) as essential. I love the dad books. I read them over and over. You also need one very matter of fact book, mine are Dr. Sears the baby book, for things like "what to do if they have a fever". I ignore it for most other things.

I tried every sleep training book in the world, I think. sadly. a sort of modified Ferber worked for my daughter and my psyche.

Baby 411 has had great advice about illnesses. It's in a dummies-style short question/answer format that is kind of off-putting for some. It was most useful for the first year, 'specially when daycare had us dealing with a variety of bugs for a couple months.

Libby Purves - How Not To Be A Perfect Mother

bit dated in places (strapping a carrycot into the back of the car, anyone?) but generally real-world common-sense advice, and no medical jargon. The kind of advice you wish your mother would give, but she won't because she's your mother...

We use Spock, mostly, when we refer to anything. And for feeding we've used "Child of Mine" by Ellyn Satter (-terrific- book on developing good eating habits). Have borrowed Healthy Sleep Habits and Ferber from the library a couple of times, but really all of the above are covered, albeit more concisely, in Spock. Go Spock. He's the fount of common sense.

Tracey Hogg won't be a cult leader b/c she is dead, she died last year of cancer.
Depending on what camp you are in, you will like he books or not.

The American Academy of Pediatrics' "Caring for Your Baby and Young Child" is very helpful. Even though we have several MDs in the extended family, this is a great resource.

The best "baby" book that has served us well through three kids is John Rosemond's Making the 'Terrible Two's" Terrific. Just ordered a second copy as the first one is falling apart. We also ordered Family Building and Six Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children.

To be honest, I read the books for the guy's humor, my wife reads them for the parenting. We saw him speak a few months back and I thought I'd hate every minute of it, but he is a truly funny and nice guy. I asked him when he was going to do a talk just for dad's and he said that he'd consider it if there was enough interest. Check out his cool website [deleted]

{that is so funny, because his website doesn't betray an ounce of humor at all. In fact, neither do his interviews, or any descriptions of his speeches. It's just wall-to-wall recitation of classic religious talk radio boilerplate that all our nation's woes are caused by the psychological revolution of the 1960's and 1970's, and if only we spanked our kids more, like in the good old Eisenhower days, America'd return to favor in God's sight. -ed.]

I like that Rosemond guy, too. Heard him speak here in NC a couple of times. That would be nice if he did a talk just for males.

My wife kept saying "do't ask him anything stupid," and hovered around when I did try to talk to him. He talked about how the male is often relegated to a 'parenting aide' while the mothr does all of the 'real parenting.' My wife didn't like it when I pointed that out! He's an okay guy, and as a fw other said, very humorous.

Wife is expecting baby number 2 now so I know that it means more books. Rosemond's are the only ones that I read...most are too technical or too syrupy. I just checked out his website and it has a bookstore, so that's where I'll order some new books....Family Building and Six Point Plan...says that the books are autographed so wife will love that. Rosemond has a Rosemond Parents Group on his site, check that out.

[wow, it's almost like a miracle that two comments appear within just hours of each other on a fairly old post--and they're nearly identical, right down to the IP address. This Rosemond guy must be really great. It's odd, though, that almost the only mentions I find about him are from his own press releases. And the only media mention on his site is an interview with his own publisher. And why, I wonder, does no one mention that Rosemond preaches a "Biblically based," conservative evangelical parenting philosophy? Light under a bushel? Or worried about casting your pearls before swine? I'm a churchgoing, scripture-loving Christian, and while I can respect people's different religious and parenting choices just fine, I have very little tolerance for dishonest attempts to mislead people about religion or business--or in this case, religio-business. Especially when it happens on my website. So if you have a pitch or a complaint, email me, but quit loading up my site with phony Rosemond witnessing. -ed.]

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