There are a huge number of parenting books available in your local book store. Whatever style of parenting you aspire to, there is a book to help you out! Some parents favour routines and discipline, others choose a more laid back parenting style.
There are however a number of books that seem to cause controversy, either because they offer parenting suggestions that are contrary to what is currently fashionable, or because they seem to take an extreme or inflexible view of child rearing.
Some of the books listed here have ideas which may seem extreme, weird or just plain daft. Some of them seem like harder work for the parents than for the child. I personally don't believe in sticking rigidly to anyone else's parenting methods, however I do believe that there is always something that can be learnt from these books. Who knows, you might just find the answer that you're looking for!
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - Amy Chua
The most controversial parenting book of the last couple of years, in Battle Hymn Amy Chua explained how she subjected her children to a life of strictly enforced discipline including no sleepovers, no school plays, no TV and no computer games.
They did 2 hours of homework and 3 hours of music practise every day, along with extra lessons in Mandarin Chinese in spite of it not being Chua's own language.
The author explained her methods as the usual way Chinese children are raised. As Asian parents the world over rushed to distance themselves from this degree of discipline, Chua's daughter wrote a robust defence of her upbringing. Her husband has been conspicuously quiet on the subject.
French Children Don't Throw Food - Pamela Druckerman
Why is this book regarded as so controversial? The message is mainly one of setting reasonable boundaries and expectations.
However the French tendency to avoid breastfeeding and put their children in a creche at an early age so that mothers can go back to work has been widely portrayed as not child-centric enough for the anglophone world.
I suspect that the other reason for the level of controversy that this book aroused is that we simply don't like being told that maybe foreigners may be doing something better than us.
Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care - Dr. Benjamin Spock
Hard to believe that this venerated parenting manual was controversial in it's day, but it's message of responding to your baby's needs and moving away from strictly enforced schedules was shocking in 1946.
Nowadays his methods seem to us a calm and pragmatic middle way of bringing up a baby.
To a world where mothers were ordered by doctors to feed on a strict schedule and advised by their midwives to leave baby in the garden so that their crying wouldn't bother them while they got on with the housework, it was shockingly modern.
The Contented Little Baby Book - Gina Ford
As Dr. Spock advocated a move away from proscribed routines which shocked the mid-century English speaking world, Gina Ford's recommendation of returning to meticulously timed routines of feeding and sleeping inspired extremes of venom and praise in equal amounts.
Parents who claimed to be 'Doing Gina Ford' had to endure the derision of other mums, sniggered at by more liberal parents who knew that the first rule of surviving motherhood is that you Never Wake A Sleeping Baby.
Beyond the Sling - Mayim Bialik
The Big Bang Actress and PhD in neuroscience used both her experience as a mother and degree knowledge to write this book which both explains the biology of attachment parenting, and how she achieves it in her own life.
Controversy? Attachment parenting is hardly controversial these days, so maybe the fact that an intelligent, well-qualified, attractive woman who also happens to be a successful actress and mother wrote this book?
Free Range Kids - Lenore Skenazy
The controversy started when Lenore Skenazy blogged that she had let her then 9 year old son ride the NYC subway on his own.
The book debunks many of the myths about the level of danger that our kids are in and argues that by protecting kids from every danger they are being robbed of the chance to grow up.
The book makes the seemingly outrageous suggestion that giving our children a little trust and freedom will help them grow up into self-reliant adults who are used to looking after themselves.
The Heavy - Dara-Lynn Weiss
Subtitled A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet this book by Vogue writer Weiss caused controversy with it's frank portrayal of how she got her obese Seven year-old daughter to lose weight.
The book was regarded as controversial for two reasons. Firstly readers were appalled by her apparent 'fat shaming' of her daughter. Secondly parents are usually advised that children should not diet but should 'eat healthily and get more exercise' - surely unhelpful and frustrating if your child is diagnosed as clinically obese.
In fact Weiss worked alongside doctors to help her daughter lose weight and learn to eat sensibly.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.