Top 10 books that have taught me about parenting

Saturday January 09 2021

A father plays with his son in the living room. Playing is a great way to connect with children. PHOTO/file

By Michael Agaba

Last year was strange because of the disruption to life by Covid-19. While we were locked down in March last year, I got the opportunity to ponder on my parenting skills and sadly realised I was a mess.

Having done an 8am-10pm job for many years, I got to see my children when I woke up early, sometimes. But who said a mess cannot be turned into a message?

Well, the sad realisation got me to seek a parenting coach and class, where I could learn to parent the right way and I found one run by the affable Mr and Mrs Langa. I joined at the first invitation. I also started to look for books on parenting to read and here below I found good ones I would like to share with you

The Bible

 This book is about parenting more than about history, power, and miracles. It is the revelation of God to mankind as ultimately, The Father who loves us that He desires to have a relationship with each one of us. He does all things a good father does for His children. This book is the standard of my principles and practice because I am convinced of its uniqueness.

Unlike other books, it has 40 authors from diverse cultural and philosophical backgrounds. Some are shepherds, kings, doctors, scholars, fishermen, soldiers, businessmen, priests, farmers, and prophets. The perfect harmony of its message, with no errors whatsoever, testifies to its attribution to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20-21)) who superintended over its authorship. It is the source; the other books, resources. It is the world’s best-selling book of all time with invaluable stories and scriptures on parenting.


How Children Succeed: Confidence, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Touch.

It was the first book I read on parenting during last year’s lockdown. I borrowed it from a friend and I haven’t returned it. Augmented with scientific evidence and real life stories, this book emphasises that children’s success is not so much hinged on academic performance but character, inner resilience and confidence. It challenges parents to be deliberate about character in order to raise productive and successful children. 

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior

I picked this book from a bookshop as one of those which was so heavily discounted.  I couldn’t resist it.

It is as humorous as it is informative. Most of the books I have encountered have been about parents affecting their children’s lives.

This book is the reverse. It is about parenthood rather than parenting; how children affect their parent’s lives; their marriages, jobs, habits, friendships and who they are.

Homecoming: Reclaiming and championing your inner child by John Bradshaw.

Therapeutic in nature, this book helped me realise that challenges such as addictions, depression, troubled relationships, and chronic dissatisfaction are like leaves on a tree but the real causes are in the roots, which were in childhood.

It reminded me of a retreat I took many years ago, on the Father’s heart encounter, where we were encouraged to trace our childhood shenanigans. The author helps readers appreciate their inner woundedness and helps them reclaim their inner child and grow up again. 

Help your child cope with your divorce by Paula Hall

For various reasons, more than ever before, we are seeing divorce cases going up. Children of divorced parents are affected by divorce in different ways and parents do not know how to handle them. The book is timely, priceless and helps parents figure out what to do with the children in case of a divorce.  

You Can’t Make Me (But I can be persuaded): Strategies for Bringing out the best in your strong-willed child by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias.

When I first saw this book from a small, obscure corridor-like bookshop that also doubles as a shoe and stationery shop on Jinja road, I knew I wanted to have it.

I have a strong-willed child, who possesses firm convictions, a sense of adventure and high spirits. So, I wanted a better way to help him align his strengths in the right direction.

 These are not easy children to parent but this book has strategies on how to get the best out of them without being offended, frustrated or losing your mind.  

The Adoption Decision: 15 things you want to know before adopting by Laura Christianson.

I am aware of the growing number of childless couples. Some are my friends. After you have prayed and done all you can and can’t have a baby, you may want to consider adoption. This book, though set in the American context, gives you the right biblical perspective on how to go about adoption.

Parenting Tips To Raise Great Kids: Securing the safe where you are depositing your money by Angelah Oso.

Forget the large volume copies. This is a book that you may read in two days if you are a lazy reader. For those that are fast-paced, a 30-minute sitting is all you need.

I love the simplicity and it has no grand concepts or statistics. The simple parenting skills in this book will leave you enthralled. 

Raising Great Children: Secrets of successful parenting by Emilian Kayima.

This book is both in English and Luganda. Afande Kayima makes a passionate plea for intentional parenting to help children toward character development.

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: what the most effective people do differently by John Maxwell

World reknown leadership icon, John Maxwell shares the five principles and five practices that can help you connect better as a leader.



Therapeutic in nature, parenting books help people appreciate challenges such as addictions, depression, troubled relationships, and chronic is satisfaction are like leaves on a tree but the real causes are in the roots, which were in childhood. It reminded me of a retreat I took many years ago, on the Father’s heart encounter, where we were encouraged to trace our childhood shenanigans.