Are There Research/Data-Driven Parenting Books (that are readable)?
May 14, 2013 10:27 AM   Subscribe

We are expecting (twins) and we are devouring parenting books. We're not overly beholden to these books - we trust our own instincts. But it seems like a lot of these books are anecdotal, or old-fashioned. We'd love to find a book that is modern, research/data-driven, and at least a little enjoyable to read. The kind of book that someone who enjoys Lifehacker, RadioLab, BoingBoing, etc. would respond to. Any suggestions?
posted by Anonymousness to Human Relations (13 answers total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
What specific concerns do you have about parenting? My sister recently had a kid, and the best advice she got was to be real, and be in the moment.

But since you like to read:
1. A book on psychological development
2. The best parent/child communication book
3. A book on toddler development and their emotional world
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:36 AM on May 14, 2013

Best answer: This one's kind of obvious but NurtureShock is one that I'm reading right now. I think it fits the bill perfectly.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:39 AM on May 14, 2013

Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
by Ellen Galinsky

This book goes over a lot of research on child development. I think the writing is a bit ponderous, but the experiments are interesting.

I also like Magda Gerber's stuff, but I don't remember it being as research-focused.
posted by pizzazz at 10:48 AM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Lise Eliot has written a couple of good research-based books abouit kids' development: What's Going On In There? and Pink Brain, Blue Brain.

Also, seconding NurtureShock.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:52 AM on May 14, 2013

If you're game for going back to the actual source material you should read Carol Dweck's Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (Essays in Social Psychology).

This is the original research that shows the value of praising effort rather than praising success, and the importance of attitudes towards failure in growth. The essays are quite accessible, and much better than the stuff Dweck wrote for the mass market.

This research is not about infants and toddlers per se, but I found it invaluable as soon as I became a parent.
posted by alms at 11:19 AM on May 14, 2013

The Scientist in the Crib is written by top academics but is still quite engaging. In fact, coauthor Alison Gopnik has been on Radiolab several times. But it's doesn't have much how-to, but instead explains why following your instincts generally works.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:51 AM on May 14, 2013

Coming here to call thirds for Nurture Shock. It's the one book I feel I actually learned really useful ideas.
posted by mamabear at 12:01 PM on May 14, 2013

Best answer: I've found the Love and Logic books helpful, and have heard the same from other parents of twins. As I'm sure you can imagine, they're going to interact with each other a lot more often than non-twins, and not all of those interactions will be positive; you're also going to have your hands very full no matter how wonderful they are... Those books (I've linked only to the birth-six years) will have a bunch of "hack" type suggestions for parenting in a positive way that you don't get from most other books.

In terms of the nuts and bolts Dr. Sears' The Baby Book and the La Leche League's Mothering Multiples were the only two that saw a lot of use in our house. If you have a "What to expect ..." book do yourself a favor and burn it now. Seriously.
posted by togdon at 12:02 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is not a specific book, but the Evidence-Based Parenting blog (mostly defunct) and twitter (still active) contain links to some useful resources.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:10 PM on May 14, 2013

I enjoyed the How Babies Work series at Slate by Nicholas Day. I could definitely see some of those vignettes being on Radiolab. He has a new book out - I've not read it, but it looks very interesting.
posted by raxast at 7:12 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure how much it fits your criteria, but The Happiest Baby on the Block helped me immensely. It is based on lots of research into different groups and tribes around the world and in history.

(It saved my life, and I am ordering another one as soon as I hit Post Answer so my husband can read it before the new baby is born.)
posted by checkitnice at 5:50 AM on May 15, 2013

Queen Bees and Wannabes is a great book on raising girls.
posted by spunweb at 8:37 AM on May 16, 2013

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