5 Books That Help Me When I Want to Over-Parent


My post on 8 things you should stop doing for your teen resonated with a lot of people.

The truth is, it is tough parenting resilient kids in today’s culture.

As a stay-at-home, work-from-home Mom, it’s easy to over-parent my kids because I adore them and want them to wholeheartedly know and feel that.

I have to really work at not over-functioning as a Mom.

Raising four not so-youngsters, I’m constantly fighting the urge to over parent. From the time my feet hit the floor each morning to the time I crawl into bed, I am trying to balance being there for my kids and showing up in my own life.

Why is parenting today so much more difficult than when we were growing up?

Or does it just seem that way because we are so heavily involved?

Today our children are so much busier than we ever were as kids. I played high school sports and thank goodness there was no such thing as “club teams” and rarely if ever, did we have hours of homework.

We do a lot of things for our kids that our parents never did for us. We feel bad for our busy kids, so we try and help them out, even when we shouldn’t.

Here are 5 Books that help me when I want to over-parent

1. How To Raise An Adult- Julie Lythcott-Haims

Parenting-Book-How to Raise an Adult- Stanford Dean- over parenting

THIS book. Everything about this is music to my ears. Break Free of the Over Parenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success.

The author is a former freshman dean at Stanford and was appalled at what she was seeing in today’s generation of college students. I will not raise my child to be someone that appalls any adult.

2. The Price of Privilege – Madeline Levine, Ph.D.

The Price of Privilege- parenting book- Madeline Levine

I own several of Levine’s books but this is my latest favorite. This book is about how parental pressure and material advantage are creating a generation of disconnected and unhappy kids. Levine is a lecturer and practicing psychologist in California.

If you’re concerned about how technology and materialism are affecting kids- get this one!

3. The Gift of Failure – Jessica Lahey

The Gift of Failure book- parenting- failure- Jessica Lahey

Why is it so hard to let our kids fail? This book is a great resource for those of us who find it tough to let go and let natural consequences run their course.

Teacher, journalist, and parent Jessica Lahey lays out a blueprint with targeted advice to help parents learn to step back and embrace their children’s setbacks along with their successes.

4. The Opposite of Spoiled – Ron Lieber

The Opposite of Spoiled Book - kids finances- Ron Lieber

Spoiled is nothing I want my children to be. This book has some great financial tips which helped us put together our family giving plan.

Ron Lieber is a personal finance column for the New York Times. This practical guidebook is rooted in timeless values and helps parents embrace the connection between money and values to help them raise young adults who are grounded, not materialistic and financially wise. Eventually, the children will need debit and credit cards of their own and being able to discuss how to get a credit card without credit history will play a huge role in their financially independent lives. Preparing them for adulthood is key, and setting a good example will help drastically. It’s often difficult to be on top of finances, especially with children who cost an absolute bomb! Luckily, when in a tight spot, there is always credit available to us. See here for the top free credit score providers.

5. 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid: Leading your Kids to Succeed in Life – Dr. Tim Elmore

12 Huge Mistakes Parents Make- Growing Leaders- Tim Elmore

I love reading Tim Elmore’s blog from his nonprofit organization Growing Leaders. His book has great tips and ideas and starts off with an over-functioning parent quiz so you can assess your parenting style and preferences.

The biggest thing we need to remember when parenting is to not only LOVE our kids but to LOVE ourselves through the journey as well!

Scottsdale Civic Center - Love sculpture

I love the grounds of the Scottsdale Civic Center, where I took all of these photos!

(If you purchase any of the books from the Amazon affiliate links, I might just make a few pennies. Know that I would never recommend anything that I didn’t already own and love myself!)

What are your favorite parenting books that you recommend to curb over-parenting?

4 replies
  1. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    May I add one more?
    Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. When reading your article I wondered if you had attended any of the Love & Logic Institutes’ courses or seminars or had read, watched, or listened to any of their material, as much of what you wrote is exactly what they teach right down to the “what a bummer”. I took a six week Love & Logic Parenting course at my children’s school when my oldest were 7 & 3. They are now 20 & 16 and I also have 11 year old twins, and I have to say it continues to serve us well. I can’t say that I was surprised at some of the negative feedback you received, as how we parent is a very sensitive issue, but I also couldn’t help but laugh as I pictured some of the parents I have met though the years penning some of those snarky comments. Your replies to their comments were respectful and classy. I just wish that no matter how we choose to parent, that we could be more supportive of each other. We all strive to be the best parent and will most likely fall short. How our children turn out may be more up to chance than our grand efforts. So, as mothers, let’s not tear each other down. I once saw a cow magnet ( yes, cow) that said “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. I found it to be very profound ….and tacky. Have a nice day and thanks for the article.

    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I have heard great things about Love and Logic. I used to be a parent educator for a course called Redirecting Your Children’s Behavior. I believe they teach similar tactics. I love what you said about finding what serves each parent and family well. I am trying to parent with zero expectation of how my kids are going to turn out. That isn’t my job to take on. My role is to teach them the best way I know how and hope for the best for them when they fly 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting Lisa!

      • Jenny
        Jenny says:

        I actually thought that book/ class was where you got some of the material for the post about “8 things your teen should be doing.” Haha too funny. Since I agree with with that style of parenting (agreeing and doing can be quite different sometimes thought,) I’ll definitely have to look those books up the next time I’m at the library.

    • Annie
      Annie says:

      I happened upon your website from one of your blogs that was shared on Facebook by a friend. As I was exploring your site, I happened upon this page. My husband is a former Army chaplain, now a lead pastor. We were both certified to teach Love and Logic, which the Army embraced for a few years to use with its families. Thankfully, a pushback within the chaplain community influenced them to review it and do their research, causing them to make the wise decision to stop using it. I would STRONGLY suggest you do some background checking on the authors before you endorse this book. Foster Cline has been the target of law suits and controversy and moved his practice from one state to another. Some of the methods of this book border on abuse. A good rule of thumb: always read and research before you publicly endorse on such a large venue as the internet.


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