As we move quickly move through summer (it’s always too quick!) I found that certain parenting books have made my reading list. As Bean grows older, our concerns and the issues that we choose to address change, and so I compiled a (short) list of the books that I found most compelling regarding parenting. They are by no means meant to dictate a specific lifestyle to others, but were chosen due to their controversial nature (books that cause a stir are always interesting to read) or because they examine ideas that we consider worth exploring.
1. “Dirt is Good” by Jack Gilbert and Rob Knight
Focus: Germs and Hygiene
GERMS! EVERYWHERE! Dirt is Good explores the importance and necessity of exposure to different microbiomes in order for our littles (and big!) ones build a stronger immune system and resistance to full-blown infections. As someone who regularly reaches for hand sanitizer after using public bathrooms, Gilbert & Knight differentiate between situations where parents can rest easy, versus those where germs are not beneficial.
2. “What I Told My Daughter” by Nina Tassler
Focus : Inspirational Life Lessons
Whether you have a daughter or not, What I Told My Daughter is a compelling compilation of empowering and moving lessons female leaders – across all fields – have passed onto their female offspring. Whoopi Goldberg, Nancy Pelosi and Mia Hamm are amongst the story tellers in Tassler‘s book, sharing their experiences living as a woman in a “man’s” world, and how this helped them cultivate success and strength.
3. “Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue” by Christia Spears Brown
Focus: Gender and Parenting
“Boy or girl” is a question that almost all expecting mothers are asked. The “allocation” of gender begins even before, and is most visually represented by the stark division of boy “blue” and girl “pink”. However, as Brown discusses in her book, our preconceptions and expectations go beyond mere color-coding. From everyday gendered comments to career choices, this book addresses the need to give children – regardless of gender – the opportunity to explore all choices and opportunities, and see beyond the veil of gender.
4. “Glow Kids” by Nicholas Kardaras
Focus : Screen Time
Technology, and by extension, screens, are part of everyday life. Kardaras, a psychologist by profession, makes the case against excessive screen time and how it affects brain development amongst children and adolescents. Moderation and delayed exposure is important, he argues, and examines the troubling new phenomenon of “screen addiction”, spurred by video games and social media, particularly in teenagers.
5. “The Collapse of Parenting” by Leonard Sax
Focus: The Need for Boundaries
A highly controversial book – and therefore delightful read – Sax attempts to tackle the issue of the blurred lines between ‘parent’ and ‘friend’ that define more and more families today. Set against a predominantly American setting, each chapter is titled with a question, ranging from “Why are so many kids on medication?” and “why are so many kids fragile?” to discussing “the culture of disrespect” that can flourish when parents lack parental authority. A recommended read, if not just for the dramatic title.
(Images taken from amazon.de)