Recommended Book List


Former desparate mom
Recommended Book List *
The following books are just a few of the most recommended by members of our board.

Back in Control
by Gregory Bodenhamer
"Back in Control is based on a highly successful program that has helped thousands of parents regain control over their children. Without compromising your values away or kicking the kids out of the house, it offers you the simplest, most effective method of childhood discipline to date. It presents a three-step formula that is perfect for virtually any adult wanting to control children's misbehavior. Instead of getting caught up in children's arguments and manipulations, Back in Control shows parents how to reestablish their rightful place as bosses of the family." Gregory Bodenhamer worked as a juvenile probation officer for more than eight years and supervised some of southern California's worst behaved children. Along with his associate Darlyne Pettinicchio, he created the Back in Control Program to teach parents, teachers, school administrators, probation officers, social workers, and others how to control children's misbehavior. He is also the author of Parent in Control.

Before It's Too Late by Stanton E. Samenow, Ph.D.
"While typical children go through a phase with occasional flashes of misconduct, it's imperative that parents recognize as early as possible the special behavior of the habitually secretive and antisocial child. Dr. Samenow identifies the seven common traits of antisocial children and refutes the common belief that they don't know right from wrong. In fact, says Dr. Samenow, they know the difference very well, but choose to believe that rules don't apply to them. Parents must learn how to help these kids accept responsibility for their actions." Dr. Samenow is also the author of Inside the Criminal Mind and collaborated with Dr. Samuel Yochelson on the three-volume work The Criminal Personality. He has served on three presidential task forces on crime and drug issues and has a private practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Bipolar Child by Demitri Papolos, M.D., and Janice Papolos
"Bipolar disorder-manic depression-was once thought to be rare in children. Now researchers are discovering that not only can bipolar disorder begin very early in life, but also that it is much more common than ever imagined. Yet the illness is often misdiagnosed or overlooked. Why? Bipolar disorder manifests itself differently in children than in adults, and in children there is an overlap of symptoms with other childhood psychiatric disorders. As a result, these kids may be given any number of psychaitric labels: 'ADHD, Depressed, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or Separation Anxiety Disorder.' Too often they are treated with stimulants or antidepressants-medications that can actually worsen the bipolar condition. Included in these pages is the first Individual Education Plan-IEP-ever published for a bipolar child." Demitri Papolos, M.D., is an associate professor of psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He is the medical advisor for Parents of Bipolar Children, an on-line support group, and the chair of the professional advisory board of the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation. Dr. Papolos and Janice Papolos have also written the book Overcoming Depression.

The Defiant Child by Douglas A. Riley
"As children explore the world around them, nearly all will occasionally test boundaries and challenge authority. But some children and teenagers continually defy attempts to control their behavior, seemingly rejecting authority altogether. Consistently disrputive in school and chronically in trouble at home, these kids leave countless parents feeling frustrated and hopeless. By explaining how oppositional children and adolescents view the world, Dr, Riley first helps parents make sense of their child's often upsetting behavior and then teaches them proven methods for modifying it. Whether your child is simply going through a 'rebellious phase' or has been diagnosed with full blown O.D.D., The Defiant Child can help you take control of the chaos and restore peace to your family." Dr. Riley specializes in child and adolescent psychology and operates a private outpatient clinic in Newport News, Virginia. Dr. Riley teaches parenting classes, gives presentations to school groups, and conducts workshops for court workers who deal with oppositional children. He is also the author of The Depressed Child.

The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.
"Dr. Ross Greene makes a compassionate argument that the difficulties of these children stem form developmental deficits in two critical skills: flexibility and frustration tolerance. He asserts that if such children could do well, they would. Dr. Greene describes the factors that contribute to 'inflexible-explosive' behavior in children and why the strategies that work for most children aren't as effective for inflexible-explosive children." Dr. Greene is Director of Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology at the Clinical and Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusettes General Hospital where he specializes in the treatment of inflexible, easily frustrated, explosive children and adolescents, and their families. He is also Assistant Professor of Pychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Greene presents Explosive Child Workshops based on his book throughout the country.

1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan Ph.D.
"1-2-3 Magic addresses the difficult task of child discipline with humor, keen insight and proven experience. This time-tested program provides easy-to-follow steps for disciplining children aged 2-12 without yelling, arguing or spanking. You'll also learn when--and how--your silence can speak louder than you think." Dr, Phelan is a registered Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist who founded the Illinois Association for Hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder. He is also the author of Surviving Your Adolescents and All About Attention Deficit Disorder.

Straight Talk About Psychiatric Medications for Kids by Timothy E. Wilens, M.D.
"As a parent, deciding whether to allow your child to take medication for an emotional or behavioral problem may be one of the toughest choices you will ever face. This essential book provides the up-to-date information that will enable you to fully understand what your doctor is recommending and what your options are." Dr. Wilens is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical Scool and specializes in pediatric and aduly psychopharmacology in his clinical work at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Your Defiant Child by Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D.
"Every child has 'ornery' moments, but more than 1 in 20 American children exhibit behavioral problems that are out of control. Drawing on Dr. Russell A. Barkley's many years of work with parents and children, the book clearly explains what causes defiance, when it becomes a problem, and how it can be resolved. Its comprehensive eight-step program emphasizes consistency and cooperation, promoting changes through a system of praise, rewards, and mild punishemnt." Dr. Barkley is Director of Psychology and Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worchester, Massachusetts. He has also written the book Taking Charge of ADHD.

*All quotes were taken directly from the book jackets of their respective books.

by Nancy


Please note that this is a draft version, still have more books to add.

The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz

The Out-of-Sync Child broke new ground by identifying Sensory Processing Disorder, a common but frequently misdiagnosed problem in which the central nervous system misinterprets messages from the senses. This newly revised edition features additional information from recent research on vision and hearing deficits, motor skill problems, nutrition and picky eaters, ADHA, autism, and other related disorders.

The Out of Sync Child Has Fun by Carol Stock Kranowitz

This companion volume to The Out-of-Sync Child presents activities that parents of kids with Sensory Integration Dysfunction can do at home with their child to strengthen their child's abilities-and have some fun together along the way.

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder
by by Paul T. Mason , Randi Kreger

Do you feel manipulated, controlled, or lied to? Are you the focus of intense, violent, and irrational rages? Do you feel you are 'walking on eggshells' to avoid the next confrontation?

If the answer is 'yes,' someone you care about may have borderline personality disorder (Borderline (BPD)). Stop Walking on Eggshells has already helped nearly half a million people with friends and family members suffering from Borderline (BPD) understand this destructive disorder, set boundaries, and help their loved ones stop relying on dangerous Borderline (BPD) behaviors. This fully revised edition has been updated with the very latest Borderline (BPD) research and includes coping and communication skills you can use to stabilize your relationship with the Borderline (BPD) sufferer in your life.
  • This compassionate guide will enable you to:
  • Make sense out of the chaos
  • Stand up for yourself and assert your needs
  • Defuse arguments and conflicts
  • Protect yourself and others from violent behavior
Parenting With Love And Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay
Psychiatrist Cline and educator Fay's "Love and Logic" parenting method advocates raising responsible children through practice. "Helicopter" parents hover around their children while "drill sergeant" parents give orders to theirs, they claim. Neither of these styles permits children to learn how to make choices and learn from the consequences. The result is that as early as adolescence these children too often make bad decisions. In the context of a healthy, loving relationship, "Love and Logic" parents teach their children responsibility and the logic of life by solving their own problems, providing skills for coping in the real world. After laying out the principles of "Love and Logic," the authors provide "parenting pearls," which are strategies for applying the method to actual situations such as back-seat battles in the car, homework, and keeping bedrooms clean.

Parenting Teens With Love And Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay

Parents need help to teach their teens how to make decisions responsibly--and do so without going crazy or damaging the relationship.

Parenting Teens with Love and Logic, from the duo who wrote Parenting with Love and Logic, empowers parents with the skills necessary to set limits, teach important skills, and encourage decision-making in their teenagers.

Covering a wide range of real-life issues teens face--including divorce, ADD, addiction, and sex--this book gives you the tools to help your teens find their identity and grow in maturity.

Indexed for easy reference.

When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us: Letting Go of Their Problems, Loving Them Anyway, and Getting on with Our Lives by Jane Adams

How do today's parents cope when the dreams we had for our children clash with reality? What can we do for our twenty- and even thirty-somethings who can't seem to grow up? How can we help our depressed, dependent, or addicted adult children, the ones who can't get their lives started, who are just marking time or even doing it? What's the right strategy when our smart, capable "adultolescents" won't leave home or come boomeranging back? Who can we turn to when the kids aren't all right and we, their parents, are frightened, frustrated, resentful, embarrassed, and especially, disappointed?

In this groundbreaking book, a social psychologist who's been chronicling the lives of American families for over two decades confronts our deepest concerns, including our silence and self-imposed sense of isolation, when our grown kids have failed to thrive. She listens to a generation that "did everything right" and expected its children to grow into happy, healthy, successful adults. But they haven't, at least, not yet -- and meanwhile, we're letting their problems threaten our health, marriages, security, freedom, careers or retirement, and other family relationships.

With warmth, empathy, and perspective, Dr. Adams offers a positive, life-affirming message to parents who are still trying to "fix" their adult children -- Stop! She shows us how to separate from their problems without separating from them, and how to be a positive force in their lives while getting on with our own. As we navigate this critical passage in our second adulthood and their first, the bestselling author of I'm Still Your Mother reminds us that the pleasures and possibilities of postparenthood should not depend on how our kids turn out, but on how we do!

Yes, Your Teen is Crazy!: Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind - by Michael J. Bradley

For parents who have tried everything but still have teens who are out of control, Bradley's Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy! is a funny, blunt, and reassuring book. Philadelphia psychologist Bradley approaches the subject from the viewpoint that teens are, well, a little nuts; using current brain research, he points out that the most sophisticated parts of the mind are not developed until the end of adolescence ergo, the acting out, mood swings, ADHD, depression, suicide, anorexia, etc. The basic premise is that parents are still the most influential force in their kids' lives and that the old rules of parenting are not only unhelpful but destructive. Adults must take the blame for ignoring rampant alcohol addictions among teens, allowing sex to saturate culture so much that kids don't even know what intimacy and commitment are, and believing that raising children in 2001 can be easy. Rejecting peer pressure as an excuse for unacceptable behaviors, Bradley distinguishes between "normal" and "insane." One chapter describes negotiation, decision-making, and the enforcement of rules; another deals with the new phenomenon of teen rage and how to survive it. Overall, the message is that kids can become fine people even if they screw up a lot, and you need to play the parent, not the cool confidante.

Setting Boundaries(TM) with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents by Allison Bottke

This important and compassionate new book from the creator of the successful God Allows U-Turns series will help parents and grandparents of the many adult children who continue to make life painful for their loved ones.

Writing from firsthand experience, Allison identifies the lies that kept her, and ultimately her son in bondage—and how she overcame them. Additional real life stories from other parents are woven through the text.

A tough–love book to help readers cope with dysfunctional adult children, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children will empower families by offering hope and healing through S.A.N.I.T.Y.—a six–step program to help parents regain control in their homes and in their lives.

S = STOP Enabling, STOP Blaming Yourself, and STOP the Flow of Money
A = Assemble a Support Group
N = Nip Excuses in the Bud
I = Implement Rules/Boundaries
T = Trust Your Instincts
Y = Yield Everything to God

Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them by Ross Greene

Psychiatrist and Harvard professor Greene follows up The Explosive Child with an in-depth approach to aid parents and teachers to work together with behaviorally challenging students. Greene's philosophy is driven by the recognition that "kids who haven't responded to natural consequences don't need more consequences, they need adults who are knowledgeable about how challenging kids come to be challenging." Greene's "Plan B" system, which is fully and clearly explained in the course of the book, emphasizes identifying challenging behaviors-acting out, hitting, swearing, poor performance in class-and then working with students to find actual, practical ways to avoid them. Helpfully, Greene uses a fictional school for examples, devoting several pages to illustrative anecdotes in each chapter, greatly increasing the material's accessibility. Greene's technique is not fail-proof, principally because it requires the good will and hard work of all participants; a section on implementing Plan B in the face of real disagreement or apathy would have been helpful. However, Plan B has all the qualities of accessibility, logic and compassion to make it a solid strategy for parents and educators.


Well-Known Member
There's also "Raising your Spirited Child" - don't know the author off-hand, but it's perspective is one of understanding "intense" kids - not necessarily diagnosis kids, but outside the norm - and ideas of how to work with areas of intensity... pretty useful info even for diagnosis kids! Practical advice.


New Member
These are some books that my child's therapist gave me to read and I have found helpful:

The Over-Indulged Child: A Parent's Guide to Mentoring
by James A. Fogarty -I found this book enlightening and it had some good ideas in it. Especially deciphering 'wants' versus 'needs'.

Setting Limits by Robert J. Mackenzie - This book has been extremely helpful with my difficult child. I have been able to identify my parenting style and revise it so that it works a bit better. I recommend reading them in this order after you've read The Explosive Child. Combined it seems to be working great for me.

I have a few more books she's given me that I am still getting through, and will post them if I find anything good in them.


When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along by Dr. Joshua Coleman .
offers insight, empathy, and perspective to those who have lost the opportunity to be the parent they desperately wanted to be and who are mourning the loss of a harmonious relationship with their child. Through case examples and healing exercises, Dr. Coleman helps parents:
Reduce anger, guilt, and shame, Learn how temperament, the teen years, their own or a partner's mistakes, and divorce can strain the parent-child bond, Come to terms with their own and their child's imperfections, Develop strategies for rebuilding the relationship or move toward acceptance of what can't be changed, By helping parents recognize what they can do and let go of what they cannot, Dr. Coleman helps families develop more positive ways of healing

Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent: Building Relationships, Buying Breakfasts, and Other Secrets for Connecting with Your Teenager
by Jonathan McKee

Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy: Confronting Motherhood, Womanhood & Selfhood in a Household of Boys by Karin Kasdin

The B itch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage by Cathi Hanauer Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate, provocative, funny, searingly honest collection of original essays in which twenty-six women writers invite readers into their lives, minds, and bedrooms to talk about the choices they've made, what's working, and what's not.

The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling by Jeanne Safer, PhD : In the first book of its kind, renowned psychotherapist Jeanne Safer examines the hidden trauma of growing up with an emotionally troubled or physically disabled sibling, and helps adult "normal" siblings resolve their childhood pain. So many of us have difficult child siblings - or worry about the effects our own difficult child is having on his/her siblings. Great insights.