Your Baby Doesn’t Come With Instructions

Do you find it rather unbelievable that we are asked to fill out nearly every detail of our existence to rent a movie from Blockbuster, that we are legally bound to take hunting and boating safety classes if we wish to pursue those hobbies, and that even ordering things online means creating accounts and passwords till the cows come home?

Thank you to Kamarah Sietsema for this lovely photo

It seems that so much of what we do–be it hobby or job or personal–requires jumping through some hoops. YET, what is arguably the most important job a parent will ever do [that’s right–actually RAISE their kid] requires little more than watching a dusty video on Shaken Baby Syndrome before leaving the hospital. You can be the biggest turd in the zip code, running a meth lab in your shed and letting goats sleep in your living room, and if you want to reproduce the only thing there to stop you is a rusty zipper and the old box of pizza you left on the mattress the night before.

Comforting, I know.

Now don’t misunderstand: I’m not advocating for governmental oversight into parenting or reproduction. at. all. Ever. Period. Fin.

However, I’m merely making the point that there is no manual, no instruction book, and generally no formal training on disciplining your children or raising them to love the Lord or be kind, loving members of society [except for the gentle input of your mother-in-law…wink, wink]

Am I the only one who sees this irony?

So I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that parents often feel overwhelmed and defeated as they deal with screaming toddlers feigning death in the supermarket or dramatic school-goers who are having “the worst day EVER!”

It’s hard, right?!

While we’ll all have trials with our kids–and while we acknowledge that at the end of the day, they’ll still make their own choices–I don’t believe we have to feel hopeless.

Of course as parents we have the Bible to guide us. Proverbs will quickly become your best friend if your looking for ways to remind your kids [and yourself!] about anger and foolishness. But if you’re looking for something a bit more concise [i.e, leaving out all the exciting stories of death and rebellion and plagues], here are a few resources to consider:

For New Parents

Baby Wise, by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam: INVALUABLE for newborns!!  A MUST!

Parenting Kids Who Can Speak 🙂

Shepherding a Child’s Heart, by Tedd Tripp: Fantastic resource for disciplining–even if you don’t agree with everything.

Bringing Up Boys / Bringing Up Girls, by James Dobson: I confess these are both in our home and on the nightstand, but I haven’t completed either yet. Friends who have read them highly recommend the insight gained.

General Resource

Words Kids Need To Hear [To Help Them Be Who God Made Them To Be], by David Staal: Tremendous book about how to love your kids better. Very quick read with great ideas; practical.


If you’re anything like me, you’ve got twenty-six other titles laying around that are half-read or in the “I really need to read this” pile. I can think of several off the top of my head that should be added above, but I’ll keep it brief for tonight.

What are your classic parenting books? Please leave a comment with your suggestions! Readers helping readers…

This entry was posted in Book Lists, Book Review, CRAZY kids, Discipline Issues, Faith, Following Jesus, God, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Uncategorized, writing/work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Your Baby Doesn’t Come With Instructions

  1. Val says:

    i actually have never read BabyWise – couldn’t get over the fact that it was written by a man. 😉 my invaluable newborn book was/is Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by a British woman named Tracy Hogg. love it, esp the parts about respecting your baby as a person and learning their personality and language.

    i have Love & Logic, Wild Things (about boys), Siblings without Rivalry, and the postmodern parenting book by Mary DeMuth on my “to read” pile currently….!

    i also remember Tim Kimmel being good.

  2. Meg says:

    I will ditto Val on the Baby Whisperer book; between that and the BabyWise, I read the latter for my first child and the second for my second child…the third, well, she’s just getting what she gets I guess. 😉 I cannot remember the name of the book, but it had to do with reading to your children, at all ages, even after they can read for themselves. My oldest will still sit on my lap and listen to a book, a simple book…so great. My baby, same thing except for the chewing on the book, which is fine too, gotta digest the information somehow.

  3. Jennifer Kamper says:

    Great post! I read everything I could (and still do) looking for help in this parenting journey. One I always recommend to my new Mommy friends is “Sleeping Through The Night” by Jodi Mindell. Also “Baby Signs” by Linda Acredolo. Since I have girls, “Bringing Up Girls” by Dobson was helpful and “Six Ways To Keep The ‘Little’ In Your Girl” by Dannah Gresh.
    I’m always looking for new stuff to read. 🙂

    • heartscape says:

      Jennifer, I like your Dannah Gresh recommendation. I’ve heard her on the radio several times and have always enjoyed her thoughts and ideas. Great one! Adding to the list…

  4. Jennifer Kroll says:

    I love “5 Signs of a Loving Family” by Gary Chapman. Anything by him is great with me. We are in sync!

    • heartscape says:

      Yes–Gary Chapman is terrific. The Five Love Languages is a classic with so many practical applications. I’ll have to check out your recommendation, too! Haven’t read that one yet. Thanks, Jennifer!

  5. Stacy Voisinet says:

    I agree that Babywise was a true winner in our house! Also enjoyed (and still use daily) the “Love and Logic” ideas. When it comes down to it, I think the people who search out ANY book to guide them have the desire to raise healthy, happy, respectful, etc. children. It never hurts to get more ideas, though! I’m sure you’re doing a fantastic job, Jane! I love your posts =)

  6. Lisa says:

    Impressive post. Thanks for sharing.

    Take the test Caring For Toddlers and find out how good are you at caring for toddlers.

  7. Janet Meares says:

    Bringing Up Girls was a definite eye opener and very helpful in multiple ways. Another book by Dr. Dobson I appreciated was Hide or Seek. Some of his thoughts were very insightful when it came to developing self esteem in your children. Probably, no FOR SURE, my top favorite parenting book is The Surprising Power of Family Meals by Miriam Weinstein. I cannot recommend this book enough!! She also has a website with loads of great information..

    • heartscape says:

      Janet- thanks for reminding me about the meals book! I’m going to look for it this weekend…now to actually start reading all this good stuff!! Glad you added the website, too. Thank you!

  8. Kelly says:

    “Don’t Make Me Count to Three”–fabulous read; similar philosophy to “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” but in a much more tangible way.

  9. My favorite resource for parenting is
    You may not agree with everything they say, but this ministry is the closest thing to Bible-based I’ve seen and gives you fabulous information when you just need some stamina or direction. And they’re specific! Which to me, is the best part.

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