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Every child deserves more than a “one size fits all” approach. There are no rigid rules for parenting and none of us get it right all the time. These five books have their own unique and varied recommendations. One thing that they all agree on, is that we’re all trying to do our best.

  1. Kate Silverton - There’s No Such Thing as ‘Naughty’: The groundbreaking guide for parents with children aged 0-5

Journalist, psychology graduate and mother of two, Kate Silverton, advocates simple strategies to make parenting easier. She breaks down psychological concepts with simple metaphors; the different roles of the brain become lizard, baboon and owl. Her explanation of their interaction and importance makes for riveting reading. This No. 1 Sunday Times best seller is a warm, engaging instruction manual for understanding your babies and toddlers and strongly encourages parents to be kind to themselves.

Silverton says “There is not a bad or naughty child. Our children are expressing their feelings. There’s always a reason.”

  1. Phillipa Perry - The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

This inimitable British psychotherapist, author and mother encourages parents to praise effort and hard work. Make children feel secure and safe, so they can be free to be curious. Perry’s recommendations include arguing in a healthy way, supporting feelings rather than punishing them and is adamant that avoiding conflict does not help children learn to manage it. She acknowledges that giving a child too many toys is something many modern parents struggle with, explaining that this makes it very challenging for a child to focus on one thing. She believes all behaviour is communication and it is ‘co-created’ with yours. 

Perry says “It’s important to spend time with our children whatever their age… we need to make sure we connect with them as well as live with them.”

  1. Jessica Alexander- The Danish Way of Parenting 

Jessica Alexander is a Danish parenting expert, columnist, cultural researcher and mother. She believes the reason Danes are voted the happiest nation, time and time again, is due to their upbringing. Danish children from ages 6-10 finish their school day at 2pm and have the rest of the day to do what they do best… play. “Hygge” is not just a trendy buzzword in this book. It’s a safe time and space for the whole family to enjoy peace and togetherness. She encourages parents to focus on the positives and gently reminds us that being firm rarely involves shouting.

Alexander says “Emotional honesty, not perfection, is what children truly need from their parents.”

  1. Emily Oster -Crib Sheet

Emily Oster is a professor of Economics at Brown University. Professor Oster’s advice is in stark contrast to many other parenting bibles but is instead a remarkably honest and funny discussion with the reader. She shares opposing views on otherwise accepted wisdoms regarding breastfeeding, sleep and toilet training. Her data driven findings are a refreshing take on parenting, focusing on what will work alongside your life choices and for your family.

Oster says “‘This is the lifestyle I prefer’ or ‘This is what works for my family’ are both okay reasons to make choices!

  1.  Dr Holan Liang - Inside Out Parenting

Dr Holan Liang, is a Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Great Ormond Street. This Taiwanese-British mother of two, focuses on the importance of developing a child’s self-esteem before the age of seven. She rebels against the traditional Chinese stereotype of ‘tiger parents’ and believes that academic success will bloom if self-confidence is given priority. She advocates praise and support but not over-the-top flattery. Building your child’s confidence unrealistically makes for a rude awakening when they enter the world outside of the home. Essentially, she believes that love is the most valuable parenting asset.

Liang says “I think that those three words: ‘I love you’ also matter immensely.”


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