Recommended Parenting Books

Here are Linda Anderson's favorite parenting books, in no particular order. Also included: A few favorites which wise young moms she knows are currently finding helpful. She may add new suggestions from time to time. 

Please note: A recommendation does not imply espousal of every single concept in any given book. Also, not all these authors profess to be Christian.  Ultimately, parents must prayerfully decide what works best for them and their children. It helps to have a few extra tools in our tool belts. But Linda always likes to pass every idea through the filter of God’s Word.  

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How to Really Love Your Child

By Ross Campbell, M.D. / David C. Cook
A short, common-sense classic that is possibly my all-time favorite if you can read only one book on parenting. Revised in 2015.

Grace-Based Parenting

By Tim Kimmel / Thomas Nelson
A grace-filled book that helps us see our kids through the eyes of grace with which God see us. It's all grace, sisters!


Shame-Free Parenting

By Sandra D. Wilson / Intervarsity Press
In order to be good parents, we must first be whole, healthy women. Crucial for all moms, but this book is particularly good in addressing moms who struggle with dysfunctional family backgrounds and don’t want to pass on a “broken baton” to their children.

Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls

By Gary L. Thomas / Zondervan
I often think of parenting as the "ultimate spiritual discipline." So I love Thomas' subtitle: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls.


The Five Love Languages of Children

By Gary Chapman, Ph.D. & Ross Campbell, M.D. / Northfield Publishing
Great help in "becoming a student of your child" and how he/she best receives love.

Family Building: The Five Fundamentals of Effective Parenting

By John Rosemond / Andrews McMeel Publishing
Good basic principles on common-sense parenting which establishes healthy boundaries on "who's the parent here."


Temper Your Child's Tantrums

By James C. Dobson / Tyndale House
Not really just a book about tantrums, this is a short, helpful distillation of a few basic Dobson principles.

Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours

By Dr. Kevin Leman / Baker Books
Don't you love the title? Typical Leman—funny (sometimes very funny) but very practical on "reality discipline" which helps consequences do the talking.



Boys Should Be Boys

By Meg Meeker / Ignatius Press
Very realistic but encouraging reminders of the really big difference YOU (yes, mothers, too!) can make in your child's life even amidst our cultural maelstrom.

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

By Meg Meeker / Ballantine Books
Another great book by Meg Meeker. I gave this book to my son and son-in-law who have daughters. Every father should read it.


How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

By Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish / Scribner
A secular book which was a great practical help to me in communicating with my kids—and my husband, extended family, and friends!

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

By Marc Weissbluth, M.D. / Ballantine Books
And happy mother, I might add! I wish I'd had this one with my babies! An indispensible help to all my kids in parenting their newborns—and toddlers and beyond.


Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches

By Rachel Jankovic / Canon Press
A wonderfully wise and practical perspective which will encourage you "in the trenches."

Going Public: Your Child Can thrive in Public School

By David and Kelli Pritchard / Baker Books
An excellent resource on raising "salt and light" kids—whether you choose public schooling or not.


Somewhere More Holy

By Tony Woodlief / Zondervan
Written from the deep places of the heart but also from the daily hilarity of parenting, this is a book that will make you laugh and cry—and resolve all the more to make your home "somewhere more holy." One of my favorites.

You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded)

By Cynthia Ulrich Tobias / Waterbrook
Don’t be put off by the title. This is a very practical, helpful book which will help you not only understand, motivate, and discipline your strong-willed child, but will also help you bring out the best in him or her.


Sticky Faith

By Dr. Kara E. Powell & Dr. Chap Clark / Zondervan
Drawing from a study by Fuller Youth Institute on what relationships and best practices (for both parents and churches) can help set kids on a trajectory of lifelong faith and service, the authors offer very practical help in how to encourage spiritual growth which will stick with kids into adulthood. No guilt trips or easy answers, but specific suggestions I like. Example: how to have “sticky faith conversations” with your kids. (Chapter 4)


Two Favorites for Moms with Older Kids . . .

Prodigals and Those Who Love Them: Words of Encouragement for Those Who Wait

By Ruth Bell Graham / Baker Books
A wonderful triumph of a book which pours encouragement into the hearts of those still waiting . . .

Parenting Is Your Highest Calling

By Leslie Leyland Fields / WaterBrook Press
A realistic and biblically grounded perspective (except for the omission of my favorite Deuteronomy 6 passage on parenting!) on our role—and God's—in raising our children. Their role, too. Good doses of reality, hope, truth and grace.


Some authors with multiple books that many parents find helpful:

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller
These authors offer many practical strategies for healthy parenting.

Jim Fay and Charles Fay
Multiple books on “Love and Logic” parenting with some very helpful parenting strategies. 

Sally Clarkson
Author of multiple “mom books” aimed at encouraging the Christian mom in basic Biblical parenting principles

"Desperate" is my personal favorite for its very “real” perspective, along with the fact that it is co-authored by an older mom and a younger mom.  One small caveat: I wish the authors had been a bit clearer in indicating the need for professional help for depression in some situations.

Paul and Virginia Friesen
Authors of numerous books written to inspire Christian families in both their parenting and their marriages.