Parenting: 3 Essential Books to Help You from Pregnancy through the Teen Years

As a leading psychotherapist and founder of Thrive for Life Counseling, Wendy Galyen has curated a list of essential books on parenting that cater to various stages from pregnancy to the teenage years. Each book offers valuable insights and practical advice that can benefit both clients and fellow clinicians alike.

1. And Baby Makes Three by Drs. John & Julie Gottman

John Gottman, renowned for his work on marital stability and parenting, delves into the dynamics of maintaining a strong relationship between partners after the arrival of a baby. He explores how the quality of the couple's relationship directly impacts the child's development and well-being. Gottman provides practical strategies for fostering intimacy, managing conflicts effectively, and navigating the transition to parenthood as a unified team.

For clients: This book is invaluable for expectant parents or those with young children, offering insights into how to strengthen their relationship amidst the challenges of parenting. It encourages a proactive approach to preserving and enhancing the couple's bond, which is crucial for the child's emotional security. For clinicians: It equips therapists with evidence-based interventions and communication techniques that can be incorporated into couples therapy sessions. It also serves as a resource for understanding the systemic impact of parenting on relationships.

2. Good Inside by Dr. Becky Kennedy

Dr. Becky Kennedy, a clinical psychologist specializing in child development, provides a comprehensive guide for parents on nurturing emotional intelligence in children. From infancy through adolescence, Kennedy emphasizes the importance of fostering a child's self-awareness, empathy, and resilience. She offers practical strategies for parents to support their child's emotional growth, navigate challenging behaviors, and build a strong parent-child relationship based on trust and understanding.

For clients: This book is ideal for parents seeking to understand and support their child's emotional development effectively. It offers practical tools and insights that empower parents to cultivate a positive emotional environment at home and navigate the complexities of parenting with empathy. For clinicians: It provides evidence-based practices and developmental frameworks that can enhance therapeutic interventions with families. It promotes a holistic approach to child psychology and equips therapists with strategies for addressing emotional challenges in children and adolescents.

3. Hold On to Your Kids by Gabor Maté MD

Gabor Maté, a physician and psychologist, explores the crucial role of attachment in parenting and its impact on children's development. He argues that in today's digital age, maintaining strong parent-child attachments is increasingly challenging but essential for children's emotional and social well-being. Maté discusses how peer-oriented cultures can undermine parental influence and offers insights into reconnecting with children and fostering secure attachments that promote resilience and emotional health.

For clients: This book is invaluable for parents navigating the complexities of raising children in a peer-dominated world. It encourages parents to prioritize their relationship with their child and offers practical strategies for building and maintaining strong attachments that support healthy development. For clinicians: It provides a deeper understanding of attachment theory and its application in clinical practice. Maté's insights can inform therapeutic approaches to addressing attachment issues, supporting families in strengthening parent-child bonds, and promoting secure attachments that are foundational to emotional resilience.


Whether preparing for the arrival of a baby, navigating the challenges of emotional development, or fostering secure attachments during adolescence, these books offer valuable perspectives and practical strategies. For both clients and fellow clinicians, these resources serve as invaluable tools in understanding the complexities of parenting and nurturing healthy family dynamics. Need extra support? The team at Thrive for Life Counseling is ready to help!