11 Best Parenting Books, According to Charlie Health Providers
Charlie Health providers on the parenting books they always recommend to caregivers—including books about intergenerational trauma, adolescent development, and more.
Clinically Reviewed By: Don Gasparini Ph.D., M.A., CASAC
August 15, 2023
Table of Contents
Parenting doesn’t come with a guidebook, but these titles may be the next best thing. Below, we’ve assembled a list of 11 parenting books most recommended by Charlie Health providers. These are the titles our family therapists and group facilitators reference in sessions, turn to for guidance, and hand out to clients again and again. If you want to learn more about adolescent brain development, develop tools for mediating family conflict, or talk to your child about substance use disorder, these books are for you.
Best skills-based parenting book: “The Parental Tool Box: For Parents and Clinicians,” by Jim Guido and Dayna Guido
Best parenting book about adolescent development: “Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain,” by Dr. Daniel Siegel
Best parenting books about trauma: “We All Have Parts: An Illustrated Guide to Healing Trauma with Internal Family Systems,” by Colleen West and “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma,” by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk
Best parenting books about intergenerational trauma: “Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through,” by Iyanla Vanzant and “Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others,” by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk
Best parenting book about queerness: “Beyond Magenta: Transgender and Nonbinary Teens Speak Out,” by Susan Kuklin
Best parenting book about boundaries: “The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation,” by Melody Beattie
Best parenting books about substance use disorder: “Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction,” by David Sheff, and “Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines” and “We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction,” by Nic Sheff
Best skills-based parenting book
“The Parental Tool Box: For Parents and Clinicians,” by Jim Guido and Dayna Guido
As its name suggests, this book is chock full of practical strategies and skills that families can use to create a respectful family environment and address problematic behavior effectively. “I’ve used this resource to help discouraged parents feel like a team and have shared language to build skills together,” said Dane Gomez, a Charlie Health Integrative Facilitator who recommended the book and described it as “immensely practical.”
Best parenting book about adolescent development
“Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain,” by Dr. Daniel Siegel
A blend of neuroscience and self-help, this book highlights the brain’s role in shaping adolescents’ behavior and emotions and explains how caregivers can harness this knowledge to connect with their children. One Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who works with adolescents at Charlie Health appreciates that the book offers concrete exercises for parents and guardians to build connections with their children.
Best parenting books about trauma
“We All Have Parts: An Illustrated Guide to Healing Trauma with Internal Family Systems,” by Colleen West; illustrated by Steven Gong
This book uses illustrations to explain Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, a method that involves healing trauma by working with family members’ inner “parts” — different aspects of themselves that hold emotions and experiences. Charlie Health’s Associate Primary Therapist, Roberto Noperi, MSCC, NCC, LAC, says the book presents “healing from trauma in a friendly and easy-to-understand manner for adolescents and parents alike.”
“The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma,” by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk
Now ubiquitous with the concept of trauma, this book can also teach parents and guardians a lot about the mind-body connection, according to Charlie Health Associate Primary Therapist Jenn Fraga, MSW. “Families can learn more about why their body responds to certain situations the way it does, which can increase empathy for one another,” she said. Fraga also recommends the book for its insights into the effects of trauma and trauma management.
Best parenting books about intergenerational trauma
“Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through,” by Iyanla Vanzant
As part of its broader exploration of author Iyanla Vazant’s healing journey, this memoir delves into the impact of generational patterns, family dynamics, and ancestral wounds on a person’s emotional and psychological well-being—concepts that Julia Hoffman, MA, Charlie Health Contemplative Practitioner, and Group Facilitator, said parents and guardians can benefit from. “This book can help explore, contemplate, and break the intergenerational patterns of harm we pass down collectively,” she said. In Hoffman’s experience, understanding intergenerational trauma better can “help us heal and grow into the people we want to be.”
“Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others,” by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk
Written by a longtime trauma worker, this book provides a mix of techniques—influenced by spirituality and modern psychology—for recognizing and addressing trauma. Charlie Health Care Coach, Cierra Perea, recommends the book for caregivers who have dealt with intergenerational trauma and are now caring for children with mental health issues. “This book gives ideas for how to deal with overwhelm and have a mindful presence,” she said, adding that it outlines techniques for parents to “take care of themselves so they can be better for their children.”
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Best parenting book about queerness
“Beyond Magenta: Transgender and Nonbinary Teens Speak Out,” by Susan Kuklin
“This is a great look into the lives of others and shares important voices that are often silenced by society,” said Fraga of this book, which showcases a series of interviews with transgender and nonbinary young people. “Parents can learn how to better listen to their kids who may identify as trans or nonbinary, and youth can be reminded that they aren’t alone and that their stories and lives matter.”
Best parenting book about boundaries
“The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation,” by Melody Beattie
A follow-up to self-help author Melody Beattie’s best-selling book on codependence, this book evaluates how codependency has changed in recent years and explores how readers can set healthier boundaries—a practice that Sara Tippey, MSW, LSW, Charlie Health Lead Group Facilitator, said is particularly important for parents and guardians. “This book is especially helpful for parents who want to talk to kids about setting boundaries with their friends. It is also helpful in setting boundaries between the parents and kids,” they said.
Tippey makes two caveats about the book’s author. One, Beattie is not a doctor, yet she provides strong opinions about medication therapy toward the end of the book. Two, Beattie’s work is informed by her Christian faith, but, as Tippey puts it, “she doesn’t assume anyone reading the book agrees and doesn’t try to push those ideas on anyone else.”
Best parenting books about substance use disorder
“Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction,” by David Sheff, and “Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines” and “We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction,” by Nic Sheff
All three of these titles detail Nic Sheff’s battle with addiction to methamphetamines and other substances—written both from his perspective and his father David’s perspective. Tippey, who has given out multiple copies of these books to clients over the years, said the titles “give a really good picture of what it’s like to deal with substance use disorder, from both a caregiver’s standpoint as well as from the person who struggles with the disorder.”
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