Read Every Parenting Book You Can—Then Toss Them All in the Trash


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Photo: Sonal Patel-Saraiya

There’s a certain lure to self-help books. Especially if you’re anything like me. I’m always on the quest for more knowledge, always the perpetual student. 

I’m always either trying to constantly look for ways to better myself or I’m looking for ways to do things better, faster or quicker—in other words: shortcuts galore!

I am embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve read almost every popular parenting book out there. (Heck, I’ve even co-authored a surviving twins guide.) Even before I was a parent, I read many self-help books on dating, better communication how to improve my career and more.

(Well, by read, I don’t mean that I actually read all of the books from cover-to-cover. I usually skim through them or read only particular chapters of interest or those that I feel will be of benefit me.)

What I’ve come to realize is this: there’s no magic solution to parenting. There’s no hack. 

Parenting is a work in progress. It’s an evolution of ourselves and our children.

Some parenting techniques require both parents (and often grandparents) to consistently apply those techniques for them to be able to work. Some techniques are more rigorous than others. Some are too lax for my parenting st‌yle, some are to rigid. But I like picking up a few key ideas from each book. 

You have to know your own temperament—and your child’s  You have to constantly adjust. Needs change as situations change and as their development changes. Know your child and know yourself so that you can anticipate problems and set boundaries, but adjust them when you need to.

No one tells you how hard parenting is going to be! No single self-help book can help you hack parenting. It’s a work in progress for all of us.

(PS: My current favorite parenting book?  Weird Parenting Wins, by Hillary Frank of the parenting podcast, The Longest Shortest Time.)

Dr. Patel is an allergist in Pasadena California. She is board-certified in Allergy-Clinical Immunology and Pediatrics. She is the co-author of The Mommy MD guides to Twins Triplets and More! She understands that parenting is the hardest and most fulfilling job you can have. You can find her @TMommyMD.

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