Back to school audiobooks for parents.

SHARPEN YOUR FOCUS

Audiobooks to help recalibrate your approach to parenting
As the saying goes, unlike cars or other fun gadgets, babies and kids don’t come with a user’s manual. Fortunately for us, though, there are plenty of experts, journalists, writers, and humorists to help provide perspective and guidance on this thing we call parenting. Here is a collection that I recommend for a gentle foray into parenting self-care. This is not a bigger-better-faster, be-the-best-parent-on-the-block listening regimen; it’s more of a temperature check to help us stay balanced in our approach to childrearing. I’m definitely not the kind of person who would suggest you helicopter parent your own methods of being a mom or dad, but I have found comfort in admitting I don’t have all of the answers when it comes to raising children—and that some of the best ones are found in audio. —Courtney, Audible Editor
    • A Less-Is-More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible, and Resilient Kids
    • By: Vicki Hoefle, Alex Kajitani (foreword)
    • Narrated by: Vicki Hoefle
    • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
    • Release date: 02-26-13
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 97 ratings
    • The irony isn’t lost on me that a collection of parenting listens includes more than one about how to parent less, but such is the pervasiveness of helicopter parenting that we need a well-researched, clear message on why the overparenting is the “fertilizer” on the “weeds” of misbehavior (one of the many pitch-perfect analogies writer and narrator Vicki Hoefle submits in this essential tome). The titular “duct tape” refers to the willpower parents need to stop themselves from following their kids around, protecting them from experiencing any of life on their own.
    • A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy
    • By: Angela Garbes
    • Narrated by: Roxana Ortega, Angela Garbes
    • Length: 7 hrs
    • Release date: 06-26-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 346 ratings
    • So many books geared toward new mothers are admonishing in tone, and carry an air of insistence that a new mom’s job is to drop everything and put their children’s needs first, at all costs – even when (or especially when) those needs are at odds with those of the mother. Angela Garbes confronts these tenets in a listen that’s part memoir, part counterpoint to conventional parenting wisdom, part call-to-arms against the patriarchal assumptions about motherhood. It’s the perfect antidote to the black-and-white do’s and don’t’s new moms are confronted with in quick web searches about how to raise a newborn.
    • It's Not Your Fault
    • By: Bunmi Laditan
    • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
    • Length: 3 hrs and 24 mins
    • Release date: 06-02-15
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 424 ratings
    • If it weren’t for humor like Bunmi Laditan’s, I might not have made it this far into parenthood with my sanity (mostly) intact. I remember when I first encountered Laditan’s wit and wisdom, in the form of her “Honest Toddler” blog, and it was like a balm to my “everyone is doing this better and I have no idea how I’m going to survive motherhood” panic. While not an advice-y listen, this book provides the vital reassurance that most of us have no idea what we’re doing – and sometimes we may even hate our kids. Solidarity!
    • A Revolution in Parenting
    • By: Shefali Tsabary Ph.D.
    • Narrated by: Shefali Tsabary Ph.D.
    • Length: 14 hrs and 5 mins
    • Release date: 05-31-16
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 765 ratings
    • “Conscious parenting” sounds like a buzzy philosophy that might be espoused by Gwyneth Paltrow – and it may very well be (Oprah is among the endorsers of this listen), but it’s more than that. It’s being aware of all of our strengths, weaknesses, biases, and baggage – and how they affect our ability to be healthily present for our children. While it offers actionable tools for confronting some of your less productive (I hesitate to say bad) habits when it comes to parenting, The Awakened Family actively discourages feeling guilty about them, and instead offers opportunities to be courageous in making changes.
    • And Other Adventures in Parenting
    • By: Mei-Ling Hopgood
    • Narrated by: Barbara Hayman
    • Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
    • Release date: 02-24-13
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 59 ratings
    • As they fumble around trying to find the best course forward, many parents instinctively emulate their neighbors (or their own parents). All the more reason why books like this are so important. They provide not just a non-next-door perspective, but a non-American one. Bedtimes, meals, and means of getting baby from one place to the next vary wildly from Buenos Aires to Kenya, and for the most part, those children are thriving. The takeaway? There’s no one way to do this parenting thing right, so stop judging yourself – and other parents – for deviating from the so-called norm.
    • By: Stephen Marche
    • Narrated by: Stephen Marche
    • Length: 5 hrs and 4 mins
    • Release date: 05-31-18
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 156 ratings
    • It’s inevitable that we’ll make mistakes. Starting with that as an underlying assumption of parenting, Stephen Marche trotted the globe to unearth discoveries about how to mitigate our imperfections. The findings, related here via experts and experiential reporting, address everything from how to manage phones for our youth, to social media (and attendant online bullying and bragging), to how to handle your kids’ inevitable discovery of porn. A gentle guidebook for flawed parents (a.k.a. all of us).
    • What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children
    • By: Alison Gopnik
    • Narrated by: Erin Bennett
    • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
    • Release date: 08-09-16
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 247 ratings
    • Alison Gopnik takes issue with the verb “parenting,” and with good reason: we don’t “child” or “sister,” and that’s because we just are those other things. The Gardener and The Carpenter looks at research to make cogent arguments for letting go some of our control over shaping the lives of our children and instead tending to a healthy environment that allows them to grow and bloom in the direction that most helps them thrive.
    • Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute
    • By: KJ Dell'Antonia
    • Narrated by: KJ Dell'Antonia
    • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
    • Release date: 08-21-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 107 ratings
    • This title had me at “happier parent,” and KJ Dell’Antonia, longtime parenting editor at The New York Times, spoke to dozens of moms and dads to glean wisdom on how to maintain a smattering of happiness even when everything seems to be going haywire. Loaded with easily digestible and repeatable “mantras” such as “you don’t have to get it right every time,” the book actually succeeds at achieving its seemingly lofty value proposition. Especially when you realize “happiness” isn’t always synonymous with “happiest.”
    • How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life
    • By: Anya Kamenetz
    • Narrated by: Anya Kamenetz
    • Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
    • Release date: 01-30-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 64 ratings
    • Anya Kamenetz’ realistic take on how to manage the glowing boxes in our lives has become the primary book I’ve recommended to parents on social media (not-so-ironically). That’s because it’s the only one I’ve come across that acknowledges the reality of screen time, and arms parents with tools to use TV and tablets productively with their kids – yes, there’s a way – instead of banishing them altogether.
    • How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed
    • By: Jessica Lahey
    • Narrated by: Jessica Lahey
    • Length: 7 hrs and 46 mins
    • Release date: 08-11-15
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 567 ratings
    • Here at Audible, we refer to some of our less-successful experiments not as failures but as “glorious learnings.” Jessica Lahey would applaud this perspective, because setbacks provide opportunities to grow into more resilient, resourceful, generous citizens of the world. She argues that even more than success, failures are what build strength and character in our children – and, somewhat paradoxically, help them “pave the way to success that is truly of their own making.”