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Best Parenting Books of 2012

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Whenever I got down about parenting this year–i.e. when my 5-year-old only wanted Daddy to put him to bed and my 7-year-olds started painting their own nails (and the dog’s)–I turned to advice books for advice and wisdom.

Luckily, there were so many authors with witty, strong and fun opinions. The following parenting titles made me sure of a few things. First, I’m not a bad parent–and neither are you, Jenny Lawson. Second, it’s super easy to do better without stressing out–thank you Heather Shumaker. Plus, who doesn’t want to have a whole lot more fun? Below, see my picks for the best parenting books of 2012.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
by Jenny Lawson
Whatever problems your family has, author Jenny Lawson can probably top them. Her hilarious memoir takes you from her raucous, offbeat and bloody childhood to her attached-by-a-marriage-document relationship with her long-suffering husband named Victor. She overcomes a life-threatening pregnancy, a fight over a metal chicken and the zombie apocalypse with messed up insight that totally and completely enlightened me.
Favorite line: “When Hailey was born my first thought was that I needed a drink and that hospitals should have bars in them.”

It’s Okay Not to Share
by Heather Shumaker
This book makes it okay–even preferable–to invite my friends with kids over for dinner and totally ignore the munchkins. So what if they argue over a toy? As long as no one is getting hurt, they’ll work it out more efficiently on their own. And what if my daughter doesn’t like the girl who keeps asking her for a playdate? That’s okay. Adults don’t like everyone we meet, so why should little kids? All we really have to do is be polite, nice and compassionate. I love the no-nonsense advice for parenting in today’s overprotective, helicopter world. Shumaker untangles tightwad adult rules and makes perfect sense.
Favorite idea: Kids don’t have to say, ‘Sorry.’ Overuse of the word is a cop-out and has no meaning. Instead, children should take action to set things right.

by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen
This book makes a great case for saving yourself some serious money and not buying your kid a Wii. Even if you, like me, already caved on that one, you’ll still love Unbored. It’s filled with activities that you’ll really want to do with your kids. For my little kids, I liked making the no-sew stuffed animal and becoming a yarn bomber. But this book is great for tweens, too. It even has a section on how to “Train Your Grownup to Let You Go Solo.”
Favorite chapter: “Train Your Grownup to Curse without Cursing”

What were your favorite parenting books this year?

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