How to Raise Kids Right

Before you praise your child for doing something only moderately well, you should read these books. In his research for The Parents We Mean to Be, Richard Weissbourd gathered telling details about parenthood through surveys of three Boston-area high schools, and made “informal observations” about families around the country. And he took note of a growing epidemic: the “praise craze,” in which parents over-flatter their often undeserving children, which results, more often than not, in a kid's skewed sense of self. "[W]ell-intentioned adults undermine children's moral and emotional development,” he writes. Lenore Skenazy–who wrote a famous column about how she let her 9-year-old son ride the subway by himself–adds to the parenting canon in Free-Range Kids, in which she argues that parents shouldn’t try to protect their children from failure. Parents should give “our children the freedom we had without going nuts with worry," she writes.