A wonderful benefit to having children is making new friends. Most of my close friends today are parents of children with whom my children are friends. I have also had the fortunate opportunity to attend a parenting group led by a professional family counselor through my son’s school enrichment program. In addition to commiserating with others in the same boat, I learned about some great parenting books.
One evening I read aloud from Louise Bates Ames’ series, Your 6 Year Old, to my husband who immediately sprang into action and tried out one of the strategies on our son to get him to brush his teeth and go to bed. It worked like magic. Bruce and I felt like we had struck gold.
There are tons of parenting books out there and I have barely scratched the surface, but these are some of my favorites. In the interest of full disclosure, I can assure you that I have no relationship, financially or otherwise with the authors listed here. My sole motivation in recommending these books is to share the wisdom they contain with as many people as possible in the hopes of minimizing family discord and maximizing the love and appreciation all parents have for their children.
Teaching Your Children About God: A Modern Jewish Approach by David J. Wolpe
I discovered this book serendipitously while looking for another book. I have since become a huge David Wolpe fan and am building my David Wolpe collection with this book, and Why be Jewish? and Why Faith Matters. Teaching Your Children is a book I love for its wonderful insights and accessible strategies to talk with children about some of the most difficult yet important questions like Where does God come from? and What does God want from us?
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish Great especially if you have school-aged children. Helpful conversational scenarios are included. I’m keeping it handy for the tween years.
The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel
Excellent guide that walks you through the major parenting areas like respect for others, the pitfalls of over protecting your child, how to help your child deal with self control, food, chores, etc. Don’t let “Jewish Teachings” in the title throw you if you’re not Jewish. This book is a blessing to parents of any faith.
Your Six Year Old - Loving and Defiant by Louise Bates, Frances L. Ilg, and Betty David
This is one in a series, Your Four Year Old, Your Five Year Old, etc. Each book describes the stages for the age and includes strategies for behavior management and recommendations for gift ideas and books that are appropriate for the age.
The Modern Jewish Mom's Guide to Shabbat: Connect and Celebrate--Bring Your Family Together with the Friday Night Meal by Meredith L. Jacobs
This is a beautiful tribute to family and the importance, beauty, and benefits of celebrating Shabbat at home. Recipes (real food, not just challah recipes), instruction on how to braid challah, and a discussion guide on the weekly Torah readings are included.
Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World by Rafe Esquith
Bad news: children aren’t born extraordinary. Good news:you can make your children extraordinary. Esquith explains the essential tools children need in their “intellectual backpack” to navigate life in a productive, meaningful way and to help them maximize their potential.
Parenting is tough. Materialism, narcissism, and many more “isms” bombard our children every day. When you signed up to be a parent, you signed up to be their instruction manual. Arm yourself with these tools of the parenting trade and become a guerilla of grace. Enjoy your children.
The Claver family is a member of Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation. Daughter, Sarah, age 4 attends the Gan, and son, William, age 6 is a Gan graduate and attends Hebrew School on Saturdays.