Raising children is tough work. As I say all the time, the intersection of motherhood and life is messy and we need all the help we can get.
In the fourteen years I’ve been raising daughters, I’ve needed a lot of help. Even though I am a girl, I don’t claim to understand them. I have relied heavily on books, podcasts, ministers, friends, and doctors for advice and counsel over the years. Some of those resources are shared in other posts on this site, and the following books have been helpful, as well.
May they help you on your journey of parenthood like they did for me!
When my daughters were much younger, these books were incredibly helpful. *Note: some of the following links are part of an affiliate program and I may receive a portion of proceeds from their sales.*
On Becoming BabyWise and On Becoming BabyWise Book Two – very helpful when you are a new parent trying to get your child to sleep so you can, too!
On Becoming ToddlerWise – you’ve mastered diapers and bottles. Now what? Covers discipline, daily routines, and much more.
Baby Sign Language Made Easy – great for that span of time when they understand you, but you can’t understand them, yet.
The Wonder Weeks – excellent insight into the leaps and bounds of brain growth and development.
The Middle Years
Once you have an elementary aged child, you may feel like you’ve got the hang of this parenting job. But reality soon hits that you’re just getting started. Friendships get complicated, school isn’t as much fun as it once was, and they start to assert their ever-present opinions.
Raising Worry-Free Girls – the world tells our daughters to worry about everything (and I’m guilty of it, too, at times). This helps moms (and dads!) know how to help.
On Becoming Child Wise & On Becoming Pre-Teen Wise – continues the “On Becoming” book series for ages 3-7 and 8-12, respectively.
Raising Girls – great age-by-age breakdown of how to guide your daughter through each phase of her growth and development.
Bringing Up Girls – the companion book to the very popular Bringing Up Boys.
Raising Body-Confident Daughters – includes activities to do with your tween and conversation starters. To be honest, some of this was a bit cheesy, but it guided me in the types of conversations to have with my daughters. I tweaked the activities to better suit my style.
The Care and Keeping of You – Excellent gift for your daughter to read and refer back to on her own about a variety of self-care topics.
The Older Years
In my opinion, everything changes right around seventh grade. Puberty is in full swing. Boys are usually in the picture and dating is becoming a topic of conversation. Friendships, school, and sibling relationships are more complicated. Many parents want to turn on autopilot by this point, but I’d encourage you to lean into building a connection with your teen daughter.
Look ahead a few years for a moment. I’m willing to bet that you want to be the one she turns to for advice, help, a shoulder to lean on in the late high school/college years. She will turn to you if she feels that you can be trusted. But trust is only built over hours of building connection.
Refer back to some of the books above. Most of them cover the later years of adolescence. Apply their principles to this phase of her development. I’m in the thick of this phase at the moment so I don’t have as much experience here to share.
I will say that my daughter openly tells her friends that I’m her best friend. She tells me more than she shares with her sister. This relationship is the result of countless hours listening and giving good advice when she was in 5th-7th grade.
A few other books to add to your reading list follow:
On Becoming TeenWise.- Finish out the series of the “On Becoming” books with this one.
The 5 Love Languages for Children – the companion book to The 5 Love Languages for adults. If you’re new to this concept of love languages, it’s a must read for your marriage and your parenting.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens – great gift for your teen who wants to be different from everyone else. Set them up for success in this world of being average with this great book.
How To Raise An Adult – help raise a child who wants to go out on their own and do their own thing after high school.
Lastly, remember that you are the parent. You can make wise choices for your child. Use these books as helpful guides, but also trust your mom instincts. If your gut is saying something, pay attention to it. If a piece of advice doesn’t seem useful or appropriate for you, then let it go. You got this, Mama.