Best science-based parenting books
October 7, 2020 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend the best research-based books about parenting young children. I'm particularly interested in research about temperament and "goodness of fit" between parents and children, but any books about very young children that are based on current psychological or neurodevelopmental science are welcome.
posted by epanalepsis to Human Relations (6 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Crib Sheet by Emily Oster
posted by caek at 1:05 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]

- Seconding Crib Sheets!
- Daniel Siegel's books (Parenting From the Inside Out, The Whole Brained Child) are excellent with a focus on brain development and what that means for parenting.
- The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource for Your Child's First Four Years focuses more on a few topics (feeding, sleep training, etc.) than an overall parenting philosophy, but what it covers is great.
- Brain Rules For Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five is similar to the Informed Parent, but covers more ground in less depth
- Louise Bates Ames's books (Your One Year Old: Fun Loving & Fussy, Your Two Year Old: Terrible or Tender, etc.) show their age in terms of the description of children's environment (e.g. "your one-year-old is likely destroying their environment now, move the ashtrays off the coffee table"), but the underlying observational data about children is still good, and honestly they're still the best books available in terms of understanding typical kid behavioral development by age.
- How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success is more of an overall philosophy book, but based on science. I'd say it's the best book that takes the sort of research that Daniel Siegel's books focus on, and narrows in on the toddler years.
- The Emotional Life of the Toddler is fantastic - less advice about how to parent/parenting philosophy and more a look at the inner workings of small children and what they need from adults in order to support their development

Finally, it's not as *directly* science-based as the others, so I'm a bit hesitant to suggest it, but if there was one book I could recommend for parents of kids 4 & under, it'd be The Montessori Toddler - in my mind, it takes all of the research that's been done recently on young child development, looks at it through the Montessori lens of setting up the environment so that toddlers can succeed, and wraps it all up into a lot of practical tips to make life better for both the toddler and the parents.
posted by Jaclyn at 1:37 PM on October 7 [7 favorites]

Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek are very well regarded developmental psychology researchers who have written a parenting book for general audiences.

Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children

Alison Gopnik is another psychology researcher who has written several books for general audiences that were highly regarded by other researchers
posted by forkisbetter at 4:42 PM on October 7

If you like the pragmatic and proven, check out Jane Nelsen's Positive Discipline series.
posted by dancing leaves at 5:35 PM on October 7

Absolutely came here to recommend all of Dr. Dan Siegel's and Tina Payne Bryson's books, most especially The Whole Brain Child, No Drama Discipline, Parenting From the Inside Out, and The Power of Showing Up. Source: am early childhood mental health therapist doing parent-child relational and attachment work.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 11:57 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]

N-thing anything by Daniel Siegel
posted by CrazyLemonade at 7:59 AM on October 8

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