Things to Read- Three Parenting Books for People Who Dislike Most Parenting Books

I have mixed feelings about parenting books. Sometimes I find they act as a wonderful light in the storm, so to speak. Other days, they force me to overthink and over-question everything I do. Thus, sometimes I need parenting books that emphasize the fun and wonder of life and that "let me be me" for lack of a better term. These are my favorites and I reference them often:

1. (The Tao) When I was pregnant with T my yoga teacher recommended The Parent's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents
to our prenatal class by saying that she kept a copy on her nightstand and read a few pages every night. At the time I remember thinking, "seriously? every night?" I now keep a copy on my desk and read it weekly if not daily. In today's environment of helicopter parenting I find comfort in a book that reminds me to look at the world and accept it and love it. The Parent's Tao Te Ching contains so many wonderful quotes, that I had a hard time choosing only a few to share:

*"Don't mistake your desire to talk for their readiness to listen. Far more important are the wordless truths they learn from you. If you take delight in the ordinary wonders of life, they will feel the depth of your pleasure and learn to experience joy. If you walk with them in the darkness of life's mysteries you will open the gate to understanding."

*"Stay at the center of your own soul. There is nothing else you can do."

*"Your children have important lessons to learn, but even more important ones to teach . . . . How to pay complete attention. How to play all day without tiring. How to let one thing go, and move on to another with no backward glances."

*"If you overly protect your children they will fear failure and avoid pain. But failure and pain are twin teachers of important lessons. Unless your children fully experience both how will they know they have nothing to fear?"

2. (Astrology) Like most pursuits that require an element of faith, I'm not exactly a believer in astrology. Nor am I a disbeliever. It interests me as do many other systems that attempt to explain why we are the way we are. When the kids were babies, however, I couldn't stop reading Your Starchild
(An Astrology Guide For You and Your Child), I was just so curious about who they were, what they would be like. Now days I enjoy rereading the book and see how my children's actual personalities line up with their "predicted" personalities (P is SUCH a scorpio). Dan thinks the whole book is crazy-talk (which makes sense, he is SUCH a Virgo). But, as crazy as it sounds, I really like the book's advice on how to parent children with horoscope signs that are different from your own. Even if the book's predictions turn out wrong, it serves as a good reminder that often my way of viewing the world will differ dramatically from how my children view it and that I can't always utilize a "one size fits all" approach to working with three completely different kids.

3. (Freethinking) As I've mentioned before, I'm not religious. I think most religions have a lot to offer, but the details stress me out (why no gay marriage? what's the problem with halloween? who is the holy ghost anyways? didn't any of the animals try to trample noah? why does god ask to have the whole town murdered just because a few people worship another god?). Anyways, I really want to expose my children to religion (the good and the bad) but I'm not always sure how to do that. In this pursuit, I've found Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief to be a really great resource. The book contains a lot of practical advice for raising children who aren't afraid to question everything. Regarding religion, the authors recommend providing unfiltered access to religious ideas and specifically inviting children to doubt and questions your own conclusions ("at every stage, in every way possible, underline the fact that she has the right to decide for herself."). Raising Freethinkers also deals with such tricky subjects as death, ethics, celebrating life, and community, with tons of resources - both suggested books and suggested community resources, such as the Unitarian Church.


  1. Wow, thanks so much for posting this list. I have been looking for something like the third book, and even reading the quotes you posted from the first book has helped my mindset this morning. Thank you!

  2. The quotes from the first book are nice and the last book sounds very interesting- I guess that exactly this bothered me when I was "more religious"- that you could not really ask too many questions and get to other conclusions than what was "right" to think... it's so important to ask and think and find answers yourself.
    Thanks for posting.



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