College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It, by Richard D. Kadison and Theresa Foy Di-Geronimo (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004). Sure, your kids may still be toddlers, but every parent should be aware of this book, and the sooner you read it the better. Written by the chief of the Mental Health Service at Harvard University Health Services, the book warns us of a mental health crisis in college students today. With the rising numbers of stressed-out, depressed, suicidal students who cannot cope with failure (that is, their first B grade), parents need to understand the crisis now to better prepare their kids for life later.
The Heart of Parenting: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, by John Gottman, with Joan deClaire (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997). A renowned psychologist teaches you the five steps of Emotion Coaching not only to help you tune in to your children's emotional needs but also to help kids become better at soothing themselves when they are upset.
"Help Me, I'm Sad," by David G. Fassler and Lynne S. Dumas (New York: Viking, 1997). This book is full of solid advice for parents on recognizing, treating, and preventing childhood and adolescent depression.
The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon, by David Elkind (New York: Perseus, 2001). The title says it all. Now in its third edition, this classic is still pertinent today.
KidStress, by Georgia Witkin (New York: Viking, 1999). This book talks about what causes kids' stress and offers practical ideas to alleviate it.
The Over-Scheduled Child, by Alvin Rosenfeld and Nicole Wise (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2001). The authors make a compelling argument against what they consider "hyperparent-ing" and the impact it has on kids. Put this book on your "must-read" list, Mom.
Parenting by Heart: How to Stay Connected to Your Child in a Disconnected World, by Ron Taffel, with Melinda Blau (Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus, 2002). In this book based around a long-standing series of parenting workshops, Taffel aims to debunk the most damaging myths of parenthood and replace them with a flexible set of solutions that can be easily adapted to different situations. This book presents a variety of innovative ideas that can boost our sensitivity to our children's needs. Taffel, as always, is practical and affirming.
Positive Pushing: How to Raise a Successful and Happy Child, by Jim Taylor (New York: Hyperion, 2005). Dr. Taylor shows that achievement and happiness can be mutually inclusive. By providing active guidance and positive support, parents free their children to seek out and pursue true success and happiness in life.
The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success in School and Life, by Michael Thompson, with Teresa Barker (New York: Ballantine, 2004). This book helps sensitize parents to the real pressures that new cultural norms impose on kids at school these days and offers advice to parents and educators on how to help children cope. It is based on interviews with children, parents, and teachers and—most revealing—shadowing students at school.
What Do You Really Want for Your Children? by Wayne W. Dyer (New York: Avon, 1985). This book offers straightforward advice about raising children and increasing their self-esteem.
Your Anxious Child: How Parents and Teachers Can Relieve Anxiety in Children, by John S. Dacey and Lisa B. Fiore (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000). This book describes proven ways to help kids handle stress and cope with difficulties more confidently.
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