I did a talk last month on parent-child dynamics, and of course we talked a great deal about Amy Chua’s view that “Chinese mothers are superior” because they set high standards, don’t coddle, and don’t allow their kids to waste time on valueless pursuits such as school plays and sleep-over parties.

So I guess I was a Teddy Bear Mother, but I did all of the above and still produced two extremely successful, multi-talented, now-grown kids. And here are my favorite parenting books:

Between Parent and Child and Between Parent and Teenager

-by Haim Ginott

These were the books that showed me that good-quality self-help books (written by credible people) really can help…so long as you actually follow their advice!

Dr. Ginott was a well-respected psychologist at NYU, and although these books were published in the 1970s, their advice is timeless.

I sought them out because of the horrible relationship my mom and I had throughout my life and until her death. My heart would not have survived the same devastating experiences with my own children, so I went searching for how to do things different…and it was Haim Ginott’s books that taught me the skills I needed.

The Nurture Assumption

-by Judith Rich Harris

You’ll either be appalled or relieved to find out that most of the parenting research and advice out there is worthless.

Harris picks apart even the most famous of studies, and explains how to tell the good from the bad (it’s mostly bad, which I think  is good! Parenting felt WAY simpler and I felt WAY less guilty and flawed when I was done reading The Nurture Assumption).

So balance your bookshelf and put these books right next to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother!

[photo of the rare books library at Yale]