Books that Every Parent Should Read

The list below is certainly not meant to be all-inclusive. These are books that Kathleen and I have stumbled on, one way or another, over the years, and have found them to be incredibly logical, enlightening, and seriously helpful in raising three kids who are, at this writing, 11, 11, and 14. Carolyn, my first wife, died in 1997, and we have two sons, coming up on 34 and 44... so I'm having a second chance at raising a family, and I can tell you it keeps me young while, at the same time, grows me old. These are different times. The struggles are more difficult. The time consumption of everyday life seems enormous, putting parents in a box that, in all too many cases, causes them to make decisions that are selfishly motivated and not in their children's best interest. Many of you won't like this, but if you are seriously and sincerely interested in raising your kids to be the best they can be, please click on The Risks of TV before you even look at the list of books below. If you can read that essay and still leave the television on in your home, then you probably needn't bother with these books (except those by Michael Gurian, which are terrific and have very little to do with television). The reason? Most of the books on the list below are written to convince you that allowing the media to raise your kids borders on child abuse and is tantamount to saying the tobacco executives who hid the facts about tobacco were really good guys after all. Sorry to climb on a soap box, but I've read and studied this subject enough to be horrified at what the media, especially television, is doing to the physiological structure and formation of our young people's brains, never mind what the content is doing to their emotional and intellectual development. It's truly scary, and time for parents to shuck the excuses and become parents in the truest sense. The kids are the ones at heavy risk here. Serious risk. The inordinate amount of time that the average child in this country is spending in front of a television (and computers and video games) is changing the way the brain is connecting itself, which, in turn, is diminishing the ability to learn, to conceptualize, and to communicate. We have not watched television in our house (at all!) in over five years and it's working out magnificently! The books below are much of the reason why, and it's amazing how many of the other issues they talk about take care of themselves when the set is turned off. So these books come to you highly recommended. I would suggest that you begin with The Epidemic.

Oh... and this link to the University of Michigan is a deep resource for all the research that has been done relating to your children and television. But beware, it's scary. Click on:

--- Joe

Click on any title and read more about the book on

Failure to Connect by Jane Healy, PhD

The Epidemic by Robert Shaw, M.D.

The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander

The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian

The Wonder of Girls by Michael Gurian

Abandoned in the Wasteland