Are parenting books helpful….or useless?

parenting books helpful

It has to be said….over my four years thus far of being a parent I can probably only name a handful of parenting books that I’ve read to date which I have really learnt something from, or that have really helped me with the challenges of being a parent… (if you’re interested they have been Steve Biddulph’s Raising Girls, Dr Harvey Karp’s Happiest Toddler on The Block, Lawrence Cohen’s Playful Parenting, Dr Holan Liang’s Inside Out Parenting  and Dr Lea Water’s Strength Switch- yup you can pretty much forget about all the baby ones!!!).

But recently having read the hilarious Dummy by the author of Man Vs Baby, Matt Coyney, where he basically poo poos basically all parenting books it did make me reflect….come on now, how useful ARE most parenting books? I know I have my views, but what do others think? I called upon other parenting bloggers to share whether they think they are worth a space on the shelf, or should all be burned.

Take them with a pinch of salt

I think it’s important to take a lot of these books with a large pinch of salt. Take what works for you as a family but leave what doesn’t. Following any of the “guides” to the letter can be more stressful than it’s worth. – The Incidental Parent 

Use with care

They can be useful, especially for first-time parents. I had this one  and it was great to have something to read each week. But you need to be careful. Don’t take anything to the letter! Each baby is different and might not meet the milestones as said in the book. – The Frenchie Mummy 

Forget the books – it’s all online

I haven’t read any. I haven’t felt the need all the info I want is online. I do love an actual good book though and if I found one that I felt related to me I may be more inclined to read it. – The Mum Diaries 

Trust your instincts instead!

I think they can be useful for those who are after specific advice on a certain type of parenting, but for the most part I say throw away the books and trust your instincts! – Five Little Doves 

They only work if the babies read them!

The best advice I received was that I could read as many books as I liked but had to remember that the baby wouldn’t be reading them as well. – Mummy in A Tutu 

You learn more from actually being a parent

First time I bought tonnes. The Wonder Weeks was hugely popular, I remember. Second time I did not open one. I think they can be useful and have a place, but ultimately you learn more from just doing as a parent! – Someone’s Mum  

Be wary of the prescriptives!

I did read a lot of books the first time around. They were really interesting, informative but I really didn’t like the prescriptive ones. The ones where you had to stick to a schedule they just weren’t for me. However, I did like finding and reading different opinions on things and overall they gave a lot of reassurance that everything was as to be expected. – My Boys Club 

They are good for Jenga

I have a huge pile of them, mostly given to me from other mums who haven’t touched them. Sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of guidance, especially when talking about development or illnesses. That said, they’re all in pretty much new condition which tells you something! – Devon Mama  

They can be hideous!

I was given a Gina Ford one on twins and getting them into a routine. It read more like an a strict army regimental routine where YOU MUST WAKE THEM BOTH and put the lights on. They’re babies, not robots. It was hideous and something that personally I felt was misleading as every child is an individual – even genetically identical ones!  – Twinderelmo 

They have a LOT to answer for

I think parenting books have A LOT to answer for. Gina Ford was my bible with baby number one but I ended up so stressed & anxious that my baby wasn’t doing what she was ‘supposed’ to be doing that I haven’t touched a parenting book since. I’m now a mum of three & they’ve all turned out fine! – Crummy Mummy 

They are worse than useless!

I found the Gentle Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley really helpful when my daughter was little. Aside from that, I feel alot of parenting advice books are useless, or worse than useless to be honest! They are so prescriptive that they make you second guess yourself and baby, rather than go with your gut! – Living Life Our Way 

Ask your mum instead

I never opened one. As a parent you know what is best for your child. Anything I needed to know I asked my mother! – OMG It’s a Girl 

They make you feel like a terrible parent!

I’m not a fan, for me parenting books seem to do nothing except make me feel like a terrible mother! The only book I can relate to is The Wonder Weeks, which made me feel like I wasn’t just going insane every time Erin went through a developmental leap or fussy period. – Real Mum Review  

No book can teach parenting

I think they are not worth the paper they are written on parenting is pure instinct and you make it up as you go along – no book can teach that. We learn to know our children’s needs ourselves. – DIY Daddy 

Are parenting books helpful....or useless

What are your opinions on parenting books? Do any of the above resonate with you? Or are you currently wondering if you should buy a particular parenting book and considering the options? Do share in a comment below.

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