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What to Expect When Writing a Parenting Book

“Children are a blessing,” they say.

“Children are our future.”

And what they say is right on both counts. But they could also easily add that children are a serious source of stress. Like the kind of stress that leads to sleepless nights, lost hair and lost minds.

That’s not entirely children’s fault, though they certainly have wills of their own that can be stressful. It’s also a matter that parenting is an enormous responsibility. Mothers and fathers are entrusted with safeguarding very specific lives.

Even scarier is how, unless they’re utter sociopaths or narcissists, those mothers and fathers care for the well-being of those very specific lives. Intensely and terrifyingly so.

If you’re a parent yourself – which you probably are if you’re thinking about writing a parenting book – you understand this already. Very, very well.

You care that you’re eating the right nutrients when you’re pregnant. That you’re holding their little heads just so when they’re newborns. That you’re giving them the right developmental toys and tools when they’re toddlers, and the right educational opportunities once they hit kindergarten and beyond.

Then there’s making sure they don’t hurt themselves doing dumb stuff, believing dumb things, dating dumb people, etc., etc., etc.

Summed up, parenting takes up a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of sanity, hence the reason why this week’s genre of discussion exists in the first place.

Parenting Books

Only the most delusional individuals ever (or very small children) will say that parenting is easy. It’s not easy. It pays lousy, starts out with nausea and back pain, and only ever allows for partial retirement. Full retirement comes when a parent’s dead.

That’s why parenting books exist: to give moms and dads friendly reminders that they’re not alone. That other parents have survived before them. And that they too can succeed in not killing their kids, accidentally… or on purpose.

Not every parent needs a parenting book, of course. There are some kids who are just easier than others. Or maybe more predictable. In other cases, the children come complete with stellar support systems (i.e., caring and capable grandparents).

In addition, not every parent who does need a parenting book is going to need yours specifically. As we’ll discuss further on Friday, you need to know your market.

Thursday’s post, meanwhile, will be less of a Writing Challenge and more of a “Writing Caution” – an advisement not to put the cart before the horsey.

For now, if you’re writing a parenting book, your best move is to figure out what kind you want to write. Because there are a whole lot of sub-topics to choose from, as evidenced by these few self-explanatory titles below:

  • 1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting by Thomas Phelan

  • The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

  • What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

  • Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in a Hyper-Connected World by Mike Brooks and Jon Lasser

Anyone writing a parenting book instantly has a very wide range of angles to choose from.

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