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July 7, 2011

Parenting Books

I don’t consider myself a big connoisseur of parenting books. If these kiddos came with a manual, I’d be all about it…but the vast array of books available is pretty overwhelming. Everyone has an opinion. And at the end of the day, I think a parent’s instinct is a pretty good gauge.

Nonetheless, I’ve read three great books over the past year or so. I’m not sure if they would fall into the “parenting book” camp, or if they’d be better classified as human psychology, but they’ve been really insightful as I think about my growing girlies.

“One and the Same” by Abigail Pogrebin. I would recommend this book to any parent of multiples. The book presents a lot of really interesting research on twin relationships. The author offers great perspective as an identical twin herself. And her interviews with numerous sets of twins in various stages of life are really poignant.

My biggest takeaway from this book is not to over-romanticize our girls’ twinship. Certainly it’s magical to think about the twin bond, but I don’t want to set my girls up with unrealistic expectations…that if one doesn’t feel a stabbing pain when the other has a hangnail, they’ve somehow failed each other as sisters.

“Cinderella Ate My Daughter” by Peggy Orenstein. Having spent my career to date in the field of marketing, and now as the mother of young girls, this was such an interesting read. It talks about our culture with respect to a lot of toys and television programming, and even clothing design. I just want my little girls to be little girls as long as they can be…and to know that they can be anything they want to be as they grow up.

This book made me think about how marketing campaigns are targeted to children, and I hope I can eventually help my girls recognize the motivations and sort through what they truly want and need themselves.

“Einstein Never Used Flashcards” by Roberta Golinkoff, et al. This book presents a lot of research about how children learn, from birth through preschool. The authors speak to many of the types of “educational aids” on the market today, some they say have merit, others they discredit. The authors maintain that a mix of structured and free play – along with lots of reading – is the best way to promote children’s healthy emotional and “academic” development.

This book helped me get a sense for how children build skill sets in terms of language acquisition, mathematics, and social skills. It offers some great suggestions for age-appropriate play, and in general makes me feel good about the 10,000 picnics we stage every day in the den.


None of these books would I consider “how-to” guides for anything…but I love reading about different perspectives to consider on this great journey through parenthood.

Have you read any “parenting” books you’d recommend?

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Deanna said...

Great recommendations! I have read Pogrebin's book, and I enjoyed the glimpse into the minds of twins. I don't read a lot of nonfiction at all, but I do have one called "Indivisible by Two" that I picked up secondhand somewhere. It's interesting topics related to multiples (almost all identical, I believe), including some stories of multiples separated at birth. I am fascinated by stories like that.

I will have to check out the last book you sounds helpful!

Just Another Mom of Twins said...

Like you, I parent with my instincts but the book reviews sound like great reads. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

so glad you mentioned a few of these! i read the what to expect book every month...but mostly just to give myself an idea of what developmental milestones to be on the lookout for. i totally agree that parenting instinct is a good guide.....but then i look across the desk at my 21 year old MA who's eating a can of sardines with frank's red hot for lunch. and i think about her little 3 year old who she says ate a whole orange at 5 months. uhm....maybe it's not the best guage for everyone? ;)

yettie said...

I'm big on reading books and building a little library of the most useful parenting books I can lay my hands on so thanks for the review. I'll look out for these in my next library thing. I feel you on the marketing; my last trip to TRU was really an eyeopener

Holly G said...

That last book I haven't read, but sounds spot on. I feel so fortunate to have degrees in Early Childhood Education now that I have three little ones of my own. I hate those "Your Baby Can Read" infomercials. I want to make a spoof on them to put it into perspective. I'd call it, "Your Baby Can Play (And Learn Too!)" :)

Cheryl Lage said...

Like you, I REALLY liked Pogrebin's book...she was GREAT a couple of years ago when her book came out, and actually fielded some questions from my blog readers. Here's a link:

And Holly Ann, I SOOO agree about the "Your Baby Can Read" infomercials! My daughter actually asked me, "Why would you WANT your baby to read? That's what the moms should do FOR the babies!" :)

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

Many, I'm literally in the middle of the Peggy Orenstein book right now. I'm enjoying it as much as a mother of daughters can.

You might also be interested in Buy Buy Baby by Susan Gregory Thomas. It predates the Cinderella book but goes into the marketing to children in depth. It's pretty insidious.

The 'Ssippi Scoop said...

Because I'm from the "early childhood" camp, I will have to put my stamp on your 10,000 staged picnics vs. flash cards any ole day!!! Thanks for the info. I can't say that I've read anything other than blogs.

Unknown said...

I have the "One and the Same" book on my dresser but haven't read it yet. I've heard about the Cinderella book but hadn't heard any reviews. Thanks for sharing!

I never bought into the Baby Einstein stuff - glad there's some reassurance that my kids WILL survive without it! ha!

Cuz I'm the mama! said...

Hi!!!!!!!! It's been TOO long. With our move...I've been MIA. Finally back online...breathing again. These are great ideas...hoping to get some reading in THIS year. haha! My girls are really starting the love/hate relationship. It's taking every ounce of patience I have!! I love checking in with your blog as it gives me hope! :)

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I haven't read any of those. I'm not a huge fan of non-fiction except for my beloved time management and organising books :)

That said, if YOU think I should get one of those, tell me... (no pressure)

My favourite parenting book to date is STILL Motherstyles! (do you know the other day I got an email from a random person saying the author sent her to me? I was tickled pink! there's one benefit to being obsessive about something :))

reanbean said...

I haven't read it yet, but I've got Bringing Up Geeks: How to Protect Your Kid's Childhood in a Grow-Up-Too-Fast World on my nightstand. I heard the author on NPR and thought she really spoke to the way I wish to parent. If I get through it anytime soon, I'll let you know what I think.

As for your recommendations, I've read the first and would love to check out the last two. Finding time to read books is always a challenge, though. How do you do it?