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15 books for new parents

We list out resources that will help you raise an emotionally well-rounded and empathetic child

There are some basic principles that one can and must follow for guilt-free and successful parenting
There are some basic principles that one can and must follow for guilt-free and successful parenting (Pexels)

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Most parents get overwhelmed and anxious when they find out they will be responsible for a child. While most parts of parenting are intuitive, there are some basic principles that one can and must follow for guilt-free and successful parenting. Experts and parenting coaches dish out resources and books that can help. 

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Dr Meghna Singhal, Clinical Psychologist, Parenting Coach, and YouTuber @The Therapist Mommy

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Dr Laura Markham
Dr Laura Markham wrote this book based on the latest research on brain development and extensive clinical experience. It gives the message of fostering an emotional connection with the child as it creates real and lasting change. And through this connection, the parents will not have to threaten, bribe, nag or punish. This book tries to provide the right consequences for various behaviours by giving practical tools to turn the parenting journey positively. Additionally, it will help better understand parents' own emotions so that they can parent with healthy limits, empathy, and clear communication. 

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This book is the know-how you need to be effective with children. It makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding. It is updated with fresh insights and suggestions and has practical, innovative ways to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships.
This book will help you deal with your child's feelings, encourage autonomy, engage your child's cooperation and use better ways of praise, i.e., being descriptive rather than general. 

The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary
Shefali Tsabary provides an innovative parenting style to recognize the child's potential to spark a deep soul-searching to bring transformation in parents. It highlights children functioning as guides to the parent's development. It mentions that parents are learning alongside their children, and power, dominance etc., is quite an old way to parent. Instead, it focuses on mutual kinship and spiritual partnership as the focus of the parent-child journey. This book will keep you wondering, pondering, and questioning on each page. 

Keep Calm And Mommy On by Tanu Shree Singh
Dr Tanu Shree Singh combines her academic training with her practical experience to discuss today's parents' challenges and delights. This book will answer your questions of "how do I get my kid to be polite or stop fighting?" etc. The book has handy lists and practical solutions to the dilemmas of the parents. This book will help parents while their kids reach and cross that challenging teenage and enter into the adult world. 

The Bottom Line for Baby: From Sleep Training to Screen, Thumb Sucking to Tummy Time – What the Science Says by Tina Payne Bryson
Dr Tina Payne Bryson, in this book, will help parents make a manageable molehill out of the mountain of information and answer common concerns and dilemmas. She boils things down with authority, demystifying the issues and guiding you to assess and consistently apply the knowledge with your family's principles to meet your child's unique needs. 

 Dr Debmita Dutta MBBS, Doctor, Parenting Consultant, Author, and the founder of WPA

What To Expect When You Are Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

 This book for expecting parents prepares them for what they are likely to encounter through every month of pregnancy. However, it is essential to remember that the book is not written by a doctor and is only a casual read to supplement what the doctor says.

Dr Spock's Baby And Childcare by Dr Benjamin Spock and Dr Robert Needlman
The book, meant for parents of infants, is a detailed guide to everything you need to do in the first year of your baby's life. Breastfeeding, diaper changes, sleep, weaning, and toilet training--it shows you the easiest and most practical ways to get it all done. When a decision is to be made almost every minute – this serves as an excellent manual.

55 Parenting Tips For Every Age And Every Stage by Dr Debmita Dutta MD
This book is meant for parents of newborns, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Most parents don't realize how frequently they need to change their parenting techniques in the first five years of life. This book serves as a great guide for that. As our babies grow, we need to change the way we engage with them, teach them, and discipline them. This book shows parents what behaviour to expect at each age and how to respond with empathy so that they don't run into parenting problems.

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Thirty Million Words by Dr Dana Suskind MD
This book, meant for parents of toddlers, shows busy parents how they can build their baby's brains by using the power of words. Parents are often so busy during the toddler years that they miss out on the golden opportunity to prepare the baby's brain for lifelong learning. Reading this book can help parents learn how to help their children thrive.

 The Toddler Brain by Dr Laura A Jana MD

The book, meant for parents of toddlers and preschoolers, shows parents how with everyday parenting techniques, they can build skills that their children will require to thrive in the new world.

Deepti Divya, Psychotherapist, Postpartum Support International India Coordinator, 

The Heart of Parenting: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, Joan Declaire

It is so easy for parents to get on with this book and feel glued to it as it talks about things that most of us can relate to from our childhood, and then it flows into the reality of today. An excellent resource to reflect upon the parenting style, explore the nuances of that style and accordingly make changes that are needed to be able to relate to the child's emotion. Of the four parenting styles – dismissive parent, disapproving parent, laissez-faire parent and the emotional coach parent, The Heart of Parenting gives a crisp five-step method to become your child's emotional coach. And this would mean not just working on and with your child's emotions but also getting to know your own emotions and learning to manage those for yourself. This book also highlights the impact of your emotional health and life situations on your child and highlights the crucial role a father plays in the entire gamut of emotional coaching. 

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman 

Though popularly targeting "American parents", given the fact that the East-West cultural gap is narrowing with each passing moment, this warm and charming book comes in handy for quick parenting hacks. Easy and fun to read, it is based on the author's observation of French parenting and her curiosity to find out what's behind the relatively calm French parents and well-behaved kids who are creative and intelligent. If you are a new parent or an aspiring parent, this read covers details about sleep training, feeding cycles, eating habits and patterns, etc. So knowing that it all starts in childhood, best to pick up the most suitable parenting tips and be good to go.

Mom Brain: Proven Strategies to Fight the Anxiety, Guilt, and Overwhelming Emotions of Motherhood--And Relax Into Your New Self by Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco 

This is a must-have read for all new and would-be moms (and dads, too, so they are more aware of what goes on with moms). Having a baby is a life-changing experience, and we need to adapt to this new change. With conception starts a whole new phase of life, and the couple must be aware of what comes with the perinatal phase. This book beautifully captures the emotions and the challenges faced by a mom (and dad; and couple together) as they adapt to this new life with a kid! Mom Brain works as a compassionate guide and also a good heads-up to the possible anxieties, fears, guilt, pressures, and situations one might face as a new mom. Reading through this book in itself is healing, and the compassion it offers creates a much needed "my" space for all new moms. 

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Proven Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Tina Payne Bryson, Daniel Siegel

We often wonder why our children behave in a specific way, and even more often, we do not know how to address their emotions or behaviours. The Whole-Brain Child offers a smooth read and uncovers the layers of a child's development, how the brain develops, age-specific development stages, stage-specific behaviour patterns, etc. This gives an important insight into how the child feels or behaves and helps parents build appropriate parenting tools for raising emotionally healthy kids. In addition, it offers age-appropriate strategies that can come in handy to deal with daily situations. It is a good, must-read for parents with kids of 2 years and up.

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Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves and Our Society Thrive by Marc Brackett

It is an easy and interesting read and a pick that focuses on bringing up emotionally balanced children. Getting in touch with your emotions and feelings is extremely important in the early years. This can only happen if parents steer the children towards connecting with their feelings. Permission to Feel is an exhaustive guide on reading, identifying, expressing, and regulating emotions. 

Divya Naik is a Mumbai-based psychotherapist





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