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Top 5 Parenting Books on how to raise confident, strong and happy girls and boys

img_0218Being a mother of three girls and two boys, it was obvious for me to see throughout the years  the cliche that women are from Venus and men are from Mars.So from an early stage , I realised that my approach and parenting to these two different sexes must also be tailored to their needs.

With World Book Day tomorrow , I wanted to share my Top 5 parenting books on raising strong , confident and happy girls and boys , how to adapt your parenting and the different challenges that they face in the 21st century. Please note that this is only a very brief summary of the books. They deserve a blog post on its own.

img_0213-1 Raising girls ( Helping your daughter to grow up wise, warm and strong) by Steve Biddulph – Steve Biddulph is a world renowned family therapist and parenting author. I love his style of writing  and have found  his books extremely easy to read .  His books  always give you food for thought  and most importantly they really uplift you and give you practical advice. This one did not disappoint one bit. I really enjoyed the fact that he looks in detail at the five stages of childhood – stage 1 Security( birth -2 years), Stage 2 Exploring (2-5 years), Stage 3 People skills ( 5-10 years), Stage 4 Finding her soul (10-14 years), Stage 5 Stepping into adulthood (14-18 years).  He goes into a lot of details for each stage and at the end gives a little summary , which I found extremely useful.  Biddulph also tackles a wide range of issues including bullying, eating disorders, body image, depression, managing social media , friendships and much more. The book lays out very clearly what to expect from each age and how to connect and help your daughters, both for mothers and fathers. Full of helpful tips and advice.As the Express says ” Biddulph… has a built in feel good factor. Parenting books too often make one feel inadequate, but Biddulph’s left me refreshed and optimistic.”  This book is definitely one, which I see myself coming back to as my girls grow and reach adolescence.

img_021221st Century Girls : How the modern world is damaging our daughters and what we can do about it by Sue Palmer–   If you have not read anything from this amazing author , where have you been ? Sue Palmer is a writer, broadcaster and consultant on the education of young children. She used to be a former headteacher and literacy expert.  Her best seller “Toxic Childhood” was one of the first parenting books that I read when my eldest was a baby,  so that is  nearly 9 years ago and since then I have read every single book of hers.   What I absolutely love about her books is that they are all based on years of research and needless to say the bibliography section at the end of the book is huge. In this brilliant book, Sue shows parents how ” female minds develop and how screen based culture exploits their weaknesses; what parents need to know about diet, sleep , play and education in today’s world; how to deal with the “pink princess and perfect girl;how to develop a balanced, age appropriate approach to techno play and internet safety  and much more. I found her various timelines for the different ages of development (0-3;3-6;6-11 and 11 plus) which she uses for education, media , friendship, fashion, play, sleep, food  at the end of each section extremely useful . You definitely need to take your time with this book , as it can feel heavy at times. However, by the end  you will feel so much more aware of the challenges faced by our girls  and how to deal with them. Thoroughly recommend this book for any parents, grandparents , carers and educators.

img_0211By Steve Biddulph Raising Boys: Why Boys are Different – and How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-Balanced Men– As a mum of two boys and having read Biddulph’s book on “Raising Girls”, I really wanted to read this one too.  Biddulph looks at the three stages of boyhood – 0-6;6-14 and 14-adult. The book is full of practical help – how fathers can be involved in their boys’ lives, how hormones such as testosterone influences boys’ behaviour and what to do about it.  I found this section extremely helpful. He briefly touches as well on the differences between girls’ and boys’s brains and dedicates an entire chapter on the five essentials that fathers provide and what to do if you are a single mother .  I really enjoyed reading his view on  boys starting school  at least one year later than girls when their fine motor skills  are ready for pencil and paper work. For anyone who has children with ADHD, Biddulph has an entire chapter on this and how it may be caused by stress in the first years of life. Overall, this book is very informative and easy to read . It is not too heavy on theory and academics, but full of insightful stories and anecdotes. It is an excellent  guide  for how boys think ,why they may behave the way they do , how to understand them better and ultimately how to have a better relationship with them.

img_0210-121st Century Boys: How Modern life is driving them off the rails and how we can get them back on track –  This is an excellent book  that looks at the boys’ development from birth to adolescence “considering how we can help the next generation of young men to grow up balanced, happy and able to contribute to society.  Needless to say, in typical Palmer’s style, this book is extremely well researched with tonnes of evidence and very informative. It is jam packed with tips and advice on how to help boys live less toxic lives, so that they do not fall victim to depression, violence, apathy and solitude. Sue Palmer also gives an incredible insight into how big businesses undermine parents’ authority and confidence and the effect on boys’ health and well being along with an insight into the dangers of television and computer addiction  and the devastating effects they can have on boys. Her book truly is an eye opener  about the toxic effects of our modern society and the devastating impact on our children, boys in particular. It is a must read book not just for parents, but all teachers , educators and politicians.


img_0214Calmer, Easier, Happier Boys: The revolutionary programme that transforms family life–  Noel Janis-Norton is a learning and behaviour specialist with more than 40 years of experience, helping parents and teachers learn effective  techniques  that result in more confident and motivated children both at home and in the classroom. This book is full of practical advice and various techniques which can be, in my opinion , used both for boys and girls.  Norton looks at the main concerns usually associated with boys , such as too much energy, including restlessness, short attention span, immature impulse control/social skills/fine motor skills etc and gives strategies ( one of which is the Descriptive praise) on how to improve co operation, politeness, self reliance, ways to reduce physical aggression, complaining and arguing. I have myself been using her Descriptive Praise and I can honestly say that it has improved the way I parent my children, not just only my boys , but also my girls. Norton gives as well an incredible insight  into the importance of special time, ideas as well on what to do during that time and how to use special time to teach and train important values, habits and skills.  The book also looks at how to make homework and home learning more enjoyable and productive and ways to improve literacy and thinking skills.  It is a must read for any parent, both mums and dads.

I would love to know some of your top parenting books on raising confident and happy children and how the books have helped you to improve your relationship with your them.

My blog post is part of the ‘Top Books’ blog hop. So make sure you check out the other amazing bloggers who are participating :

Multicultural Motherhood

Jeddah Mom

Alizeh my soul

Our Amanahs Our Futures







Published by ivushka1985

I am a Bulgarian Muslim Home schooling Mama of 5, married to a a British Bangladeshi , residing in the South West of England. I blog about our home schooling adventures, travels, the ups and downs of motherhood , parenting books and children's book reviews.

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