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Dr. Sam Himelstein

Dr. Sam Himelstein

Co-Founder and CEO, Family Spring, Inc.

Four Books Every Parent Should Read

I’d like to share with you four books that I find particularly helpful as a parent myself, and that I most often recommend to parents in my family therapy practice.

Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child

by Ross W. Green, PhD

In Raising Human Beings, Dr. Ross Green emphasizes the importance of kids feeling heard and validated. He offers a model of communicating clearly and solving problems collaboratively: first, parents and children share their concerns with each other, then they work together to come up with a solution. This not only improves relationships between parents and their children, it also helps kids grow up to be independent and make healthy choices.

The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired

by Daniel Siegel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD

“Showing up” is about the quality of presence rather than necessarily spending more hours of the day together. This is the most essential factor in building a trusting relationship and meaningful bond between parents and kids.

Siegel and Bryson draw on brain research and research on what creates healthy attachment between parents and children. They refer to the four ‘building blocks’ of a child’s development as the four S’s: safe, seen, soothed, and secure. The four S’s are important during both children’s successes and struggles, as well as when they may need to be comforted or disciplined.

Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers 

by Michael Riera, Ph.D.

Uncommon Sense helps parents of teens: 

  • build effective communication skills with their kids;
  • understand adolescence as an important developmental stage; 
  • set realistic expectations and not take undesirable behavior or attitudes personally; and 
  • navigate different types of challenges, including:
  • single parenting and blended families;
  • balancing academics and extracurricular activities;
  • friendships and dating (including sexual activity); and
  • drug and alcohol use.

Throughout the book, Dr. Riera emphasizes the importance of shifting the relationship “from manager to consultant” as children grow into their teen years, guiding them as they make the transition to becoming independent adults.

Raising Lions

by Joe Newman

Raising Lions focuses on how to deal compassionately and effectively with kids who keep pushing limits and testing adults’ boundaries. Joe Newman looks at challenging behavior from a unique lens, as he was labeled a ‘bad child’ when he was growing up. He recognizes that some kids need help learning to self-regulate and control their impulses, and parents’ reactions may unwittingly reinforce defiant behavior: some children need to be shown that the adults are competent and in charge, so being too gentle and accommodating can actually backfire with this type of child. The book shows parents how to maintain their authority without being punitive or excessively authoritarian. 

I hope you find one or more of these books useful in your challenging but rewarding job as a parent. For more parenting advice, see the following posts:

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