There are so many great parenting books out there - so how do you find what is right for you? You can be inundated with lists of "the best" or "top" books. Find what is good for you so you can learn and grow in your parenting.

This is something that I have been asked about several times recently. What parenting books do you recommend?… Which is the best parenting book I should read?… What parenting books did you read? The truth is that I didn’t really read many of them. Oh, I did a lot of research online, but I didn’t sit down and read a lot of books until my girls were a little older and then most of the books were more about educating them rather than parenting them. My parenting style has largely been a lot of making it up as I go along as I learn more about my girls and what they need. 

I have some posts on that, as I share some of my out-of-the-box parenting techniques I used for my girls, especially in the area of emotional communication. Part of me is a little sad that we no longer use them, because they were fun. 

Pregnant woman reading book about pregnancy and maternity in living room


Parenting books are popular. There are so many out there and it can be hard to know what it is you are looking for. I always start with recommendations from friends. Unless you want an anecdotal book (that will often make you laugh) you want a book that will have studies and research as part of it which will include citations, sources and names. 

Knowing what style of parenting you feel you best align with is also helpful. (Yes, of course it is totally fine to change your mind later.) Are you more authoritative? Do you like gentle or peaceful parenting? Are you a parent who likes structure and discipline? Are you more free range? There are books on all of these! (Remember, there is no ONE way to parent. What you do will be unique for you and your family. You can learn from others and tweak to what best suits you. I know I do!)

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when looking at parenting books:

  • Who wrote it and why?
  • Is it based on science?
  • Will it bring me hope and motivate me?
  • Is it going to hold my interest?
  • Is it going to give realistic outcomes?

BUT my one big note in all of this is – read parenting books with an open mind. You are not going to agree with everything! Glean from the book what is useful for you!

Man relaxing on sofa, reading book


I know that this is going to be subjective. It always is. You can google and find lists of “Top Parenting Books” or “Best Parenting Books”. That is a great place to start. Read reviews and narrow down your search. Check out what is available at your local library – it is always helpful to not spend money on a book you are not really sure about. 

These recommendations are mine, or my friend’s (see Gentle Parenting below). I am sure that I am missing a lot of great books but there are honestly too many for me to spend time reading. I encourage you to ask your friends, do some online looking, and ask yourself the questions above when looking at books. 

Child Development:

This is actually my favorite “parenting” book. It really helped me to see how my girls think, regulate emotions, etc. I wish it had been available when I started teaching.

  • The Whole Brain Child by Seigel and Bryson

Faith Based Parenting Books:

These are books that were very helpful for me. I actually read Boundaries with Kids while I was at university and used the principals in my classrooms and it was extremely helpful, well before I had children of my own.

  • Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk
  • Boundaries with Kids by Cloud and Townsend

Best Gentle Parenting Books:

These are recommended by my friend who follows this parenting style.

  • ​​Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids by Hunter Clarke-Fields
  • Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Dr Laura Markham
toddler sitting on toilet

Potty/Toilet Training:

I read both of these books as they were highly recommended by friends who had “been there, done that”. I ultimately went with Potty Training 1-2-3 and it was amazing for us.

My latest read I recommend:

This book title isn’t going to be for everyone. Personally, the title is what drew me to it. I appreciate the science-based strategies she presents. Do I agree with everything? No, but I don’t have to. I have learned a lot though and I have found it enjoyable to read.

  • How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes: Science-Based Strategies for Better Parenting–from Tots to Teens by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Michayla Best

For over 30 years I have worked with children in a variety of capacities, whether as a teacher or tutor, a babysitter, a camp leader, or family advocate. I have always found a way to connect with children, to help them understand themselves and the world around.

I am Mummy to trinational twincesses who keep me on my toes with their questions, their commentaries, their shenanigans and acts of spontenudity.

Wife, world traveler, musician, crafting queen and self-proclaimed nerd; I love to take what I see, glean, know and help families to find their groove and be successful.

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