I am looking for a particular kind of parenting book.

The focus should be on newborn to pre-school. The book would offer parenting advice grounded in scientific studies.

For example, there is a study called the Marshmallow test citing how kids that are able to defer gratification achieve higher SAT scores. Granted the study is only tangentially related to parenting as I could not find a better study, but my goal is to find a book that ties long-term behavior, personality, or cognitive development to parenting strategies or childhood behavior.

To get specific, off the top of my head studies that help to answer: where the child sleeps and impact on personality, breast-milk or formula, how to improve language acquisition, discipline strategies and personality development, music exposure, etc. would be very interesting. (For what it's worth, I'm trying to find a book as a gift for a friend of mine that is scientifically minded and about to have her first child.)

This question may be better suited as a community wiki since there may not be a single right answer.


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    Community Wiki really isn't intended for questions where there isn't a single right answer (if that were the case, we'd have tons of CW questions on this site). Rather, they are for questions and/or answers that reflect a joint collaboration within the community. As this question stands now, I think it is a bit too broad. Is there any specific issue you are trying to address that might narrow the scope of this question? It generally is most helpful if you can tie the question to a practical, answerable situation based upon actual problems that you face. – user420 Sep 19 '11 at 19:45
  • Agreed on the CW point. However, if the question were broad wouldn't there be many such books? I cannot find any such book that meets these criteria – Ram Ahluwalia Sep 19 '11 at 22:39
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    It seems that you're looking for one or more specific books, i.e. a shopping recommendation. That's off-topic as per the faq though. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Sep 20 '11 at 13:01

You will be hard pressed to find scientific studies that answer these questions with any certainty. There are too many variables with child development and much of the constraints that would be necessary to come to conclusive answers have the potential of being harmful to members of the study. There are a number of books that delve into child development, some of the forerunners are Piaget, Pavlov, Skinner, Freud, and Erik Erikson. Many of these theories coexist so I caution reading just one.

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  • Perhaps there is a book that contains summaries of findings. For example, in economics the bestselling "Freakanomics" is not a collection of research articles but summaries of the findings by theme – Ram Ahluwalia Sep 20 '11 at 0:58
  • An anonymous user suggested: "Try What's Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life by Lise Eliot Written by a neurobiologist and mother. Doesn't address all of those questions specifically however is a facinating read and is well referenced". – nGinius Dec 4 '11 at 11:52

The topics you mention are very broad and not closely related in the scientific world. Research is usually not easy reading and outcomes vary depending on variables of the study. I suspect that there will be very few if any books with the information you seek.

Perhaps you could make your own collection of research results. We have some very good research reported on this site and I'm sure there is much more you could compile. Could you be the one to create the book that you seek?

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