The Parent Trap

Got kids? Wonderful little angels, aren't they, except when they're not! Whether it's a trip to the grocery store or a special night out, there's no occasion when a bit of childish stubbornness or an outright tantrum fest can't take the shine off of any golden parenting moment.

How parents discipline their children has long-term consequences for every member of the family. New parents can lack the experience to feel confident about their decisions. The children, sensing weakness yet craving structure, exploit the situation fully, but this doesn't make them happy. In another scenario, mom and dad do nothing while the children ratchet up their misbehavior until finally the parents explode. The result in either case is a family run by emotional outbursts where tension is the daily watchword.

Family life doesn't have to be like that. These books and Web sites provide guidance on how to avoid the pitfalls of parenting while giving a good dose of compassion and common sense.

In the Library

See something you'd like to check out? Click on a title to go to our catalog and place a request.


"I Never Get Anything!" How to Keep Your Kids from Running Your Life by Thomas W. Phelan.
Testing, testing! Popular author Thomas Phelan has narrowed down the kinds of tests your kids give YOU to six categories. Do any of these tactics sound familiar: badgering, tantrums, threats, martyrdom, butter up, and physical tactics? How parents react to these daily workouts will influence how their children deal with frustration later in life. Dr. Phelan is a clinical psychologist and expert in child behavior whose best-selling book, 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 is also available at the library.


Don't Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide for the College Years by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller.
Your kids are out the door and off to college, but they still need their parents! This book prepares parents for the difficult send-off and covers the difficult topics which should be addressed before the good-byes are said and throughout the college years.


Food Fights & Bedtime Battles: A Working Parent's Guide to Negotiating Daily Power Struggles by Tim Jordan.
Behavioral and developmental pediatrician Dr. Tim Jordan addresses the classic kids' last stands, from taking a bath to refusing dinner, with wisdom and grace. Dr. Jordan interviewed 500 working parents to collect tried and true solutions for today's busy parents.


How to Behave So Your Children Will, Too! by Sal Severe.
This much honored book gives more commonsense advice for parents whose children's misbehavior is becoming a problem. Parents can change their own behaviors to make discipline more effective.


How to Mother a Successful Daughter: A Practical Guide to Empowering Girls from Birth to Eighteen by Nicky Marone.
Practical advice for helping your little girl grow into an amazing and confident young woman.


The Launching Years: Smart Parenting from Senior Year to College Life by Laura S. Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt.
In the two years between high school and college, teens will travel the distance from childhood to independence. The authors explore ways to survive the rising tensions and avoid inappropriate reactions as families face college application craziness, senioritis, and freshman freak-outs together.


The New Mom's Manual: Over 800 Tips and Advice from Hundreds of Moms for Baby's First Year edited by Mary Jeanne Menna.
If you can't have your own mother on speed-dial, this book is probably the next best thing. First-time mothers can get hard won insight and support about the mysteries of diapers, colic, postpartum adjustment and more.


Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children Through Early Adolescence by Laura Sessions Stepp.
As adolescence gets underway, your child begins to question authority and may act out in unpredictable ways. The author looks at these changes with compassion, stressing the need for continued communication. Stepp, a writer for the Washington Post, has collected the personal stories of 10- to 14-year-olds around the country for a fascinating examination of the lives of early adolescents.


Parents Magazine's The Best Advice I Ever Got: 1,023 Fast Fixes, Simple Solutions, and Wise Ideas for Raising Kids edited by Sally Lee.
First-time parents will enjoy this hefty collection of solutions to the challenges of parenting. Targeted to parents of newborns to 8-year-olds, the book has helpful advice on toilet training, separation anxiety, babysitters, and self-esteem. Special appendices give contact information for organizations concerned with adoption, disability, single parenting, and other issues.


Playful Parenting: A Bold New Way to Nurture Close Connections, Solve Behavior Problems, and Encourage Children's Confidence by Lawrence J. Cohen.
Having fun with your kids is a great way to parent; it encourages their self-esteem, helps them break through their anger or shyness, and teaches them to play and cooperate with one another rather than constantly fight and compete. Cohen's book has been enthusiastically received by critics and parents alike who see it as an avenue to a gentler and more natural way of connecting with children.


Read It Aloud! A Parent's Guide to Sharing Books with Young Children by Monty Haas & Laurie Joy Haas.
A guide for parents who want to teach their children to love books. Creative word games give early readers and listeners a big boost in their skills.


Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child: Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries by Robert J. MacKenzie.
Tired of trying discipline strategies that don't work on your strong-willed child? When the same stubborn behaviors that will one day make her CEO of her own company are driving you insane, take a lesson from Dr. MacKenzie to teach your child to listen without fighting back through the use of clear limits and natural consequences.


So Glad We Waited! A Hand-Holding Guide for Over-35 Parents by Lois Nachamie.
For some couples, the right time to have a child is in their mid-thirties-- or later! The joy is just as rich for older first-time mothers, but there are some concerns that ordinary parenting books do not address. This book works to bridge that gap while giving support to older parents.


Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy! Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind by Michael J. Bradley.
Once there was a sweet, easy-going child who, in the process of becoming an adult, went absolutely nuts and drove his parents to distraction. Dr. Bradley, winner of the William Penn Humanitarian Award, has worked for years counseling families in trouble. Here he shares stories and distills his wisdom about getting through the years when your teen's brain is going haywire. He has very specific suggestions for what to do when those inevitable confrontations happen.

On the Web


Baby Center
New parents and parents-to-be can satisfy their curiosity about fetal development, duke it out over the baby names database, and gain knowledge of the ups and downs of pregnancy and parenting. Part of a commercial site.


The Parent Report
The Parent Report is a nationally syndicated radio show that addresses parents' needs. The corresponding Web site has feature articles on many aspects of parenting, from newborns to teens.


Parent Soup
A rich site filled with articles on popular parenting topics. Part of


Parenting Adolescents
"Here parents get free, extended responses to questions about parenting teens and preteens. Teens and preteens can also get information to help them understand parents!"


ParentsTalk, A Parents' Magazine
This warm and supportive site has advice from experts, message board discussions, recipes, family fun, and games.