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

reviews of parenting books that do not fit easily into this site's other categories

Joan Solomon Weiss: Your Second Child. Summit Books. ISBN 0-671-25618-1; 0-671-25619-X (paperback). [sources incl. amazon]
This book covers a LOT of topics that don't seem to get discussed much in the usual file of parenting/pregnancy literature. This is an excellent book for those who posted asking about material that will help in the thought processes of 1) whether to have more than one child, 2) the issues involved if you do/don't, 3) the various benefits/drawbacks of spacing patterns (as above) and finally 4) tips on surviving the second if you're brave or crazy enough to do it again :). --Ann Helmers [from a post]

"The Bilingual Family, A Handbook for Parents" by Edith Harding and Philip Riley, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0 521 31194 2 (paper). [sources incl. amazon]
I especially liked the interviews with bi- and even trilingual families, and the calm attitude towards bilingualism. Too often, i think, especially in the States, multilingualism is treated as something difficult and unusual - in reality, multilingualism is more common than monolingualism, and most bilingual families haven't had any special training. -- Cynthia Kandolf [posted]

Berends, Polly: Whole Child/Whole Parent (1987, Harper & Row; 0-06-091427-0) [sources incl. amazon]
Whole Child/Whole Parent is by far my favorite book on parenting. This is a book that I like to keep around to browse when I have a few minutes to spare. It's a combination of a lot of good practical suggestions for raising children, as well as an exposition of a philosophy of child raising that really appeals to me. It comes from a "spiritual" point of view, but I'm non-religious and I get a lot out of it. (However, if you have no tolerance for "spirituality" then this book isn't for you.) I've found things here that I haven't seen anywhere else. Here's an example of a passage that runs counter to most child raising theories, but it makes perfect sense to me:
"Surprisingly, praise may be just as harmful as shame and blame. Personal praise suggests to the child that his personal worthiness rises and falls according to others' estimation of his accomplishments. In praising children we give them the idea that they are good because of what they do that pleases us. But when we don't praise them or when we praise others, they feel diminished and unworthy. "Praise also distracts the child from whatever he is doing by implying that the value of his activity is getting attention. It's a vicious circle. If a child has his eyes on his parents watching him learn to ski, he is more likely to fall or crash into a tree. This experience may at once injure, embarrass, and discourage him. His skiiing progress is impeded and his enthusiasm and self-confidence undermined. Whether it's manners or artwork, the law is the same. A child cannot have his mind on seeking approval and on what he's doing at the same time. If his mind is not on what he's doing, he is unlikely to enjoy it or do it well. Paradoxically, the more a child's ego is bolstered, the more insecure, discouraged, and even incompetent he's likely to become.
I recommend that you skip around in the book, rather than trying to read it linearly. When I started reading it I got bogged down in the early chapters. Most of the good stuff comes later. It also has an index so you can find passages that deal with particular aspects of raising children. A great book. --jaj and a dissenting viewpoint....

The book I found to be unhelpful was Whole Child, Whole Parent. This book contains some really wonderful ideas and insights. Unfortunately, they are so buried in a lot of metaphysical confusion that it becomes a waste of time to look for them. maybe someone more religious than I would understand what this book is talking about, but I finally gave up about halfway through. This book was highly recommended by a couple of sources and i actually bought it rather than took it out of the library. What a disappointment!

"Rise Up Singing" (A Sing Out Publication) Peter Blood-Patterson, Editor paperback with a ring binding, $15. [sources incl. Sing Out Publications, Chinaberry, Ladyslipper Music Catalogand amazon]
(Tapes may be purchased for learning the tunes, as well, for $35 a set. Each set covers one of the chapters, or you can get a set that covers all the kids' songs!)

This is the book that you need to get the words to those songs that you want to sing to your children. Chapters include: Lullabies, Funny Songs, Rounds, Love, Peace, and Golden Oldies. Your child may be the only audience that you ever feel confident enough to sing to, but you should for both of you. It has lyrics to 1200 songs.

I think that this should be on the list since there are so many times when a parent wants to sing a song to a child, but may not remember the words. I'm not certain if this is exactly "parenting", but it should be on some FAQ list, since I know that I've answered many questions directly from this book.

Randall Colton Rolfe: You Can Postpone Anything But Love. [OOP; try your public library or amazon]
those of us who are sensitive types do feel a little sad from time to time. Children grow so fast, there is a constant feeling of goodbye and hello. (Goodbye to the baby, hello to the toddler, etc etc.) While I think it's best to focus on the "hellos" for the most part, it's not so bad to acknowlege the "goodbyes" periodically. They are a part of parenting as well. There is a book I really like called _You Can Postpone Anything But Love_ by Randall Colton Rolfe. The author, a mom, thinks that these feelings can be lessened somewhat (paradoxically) by fully enjoying your child at every stage (meaning every day, I guess!) It's an inspirational book in many ways.

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Last updated: March 2, 2003
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