Ponudba knjig z nasveti o starševstvu menda presega celo ponudbo knjig o dietah in hujšanju. Da bi se starši čim lažje znašli v obilici najrazličnejših nasvetov, so pri reviji Scientific American Mind predstavili raziskavo, ki je analizirala v ZDA popularne pristope k starševstvu. Sestavili so listo desetih domnevno najpomembnejših lastnosti dobrega starša (What Makes a Good Parent?) in poskušali preverjati njihovo dejansko učinkovitost. Rezultat je zaporedje lastnosti, ki si sledijo od najpomembnejših k manj pomembnim. Pri tem je zanimivo, da za povsem pričakovano prvo lastnostjo (ljubeč odnos do otroka) takoj sledita dve, ki jih marsikdo ne bi uvrstil tako visoko, a sta se v raziskavi izkazali za zelo pomembni. Obe ti dve lastnosti (umirjanje stresa in zdrav partnerski odnos) celo ne zadevata neposredno samega odnosa staršev do otrok.
- Love and affection. You support and accept the child, are physically affectionate, and spend quality one-on-one time together.
- Stress management. You take steps to reduce stress for yourself and your child, practice relaxation techniques and promote positive interpretations of events.
- Relationship skills. You maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse, significant other or co-parent and model effective relationship skills with other people.
- Autonomy and independence. You treat your child with respect and encourage him or her to become self-sufficient and self-reliant.
- Education and learning. You promote and model learning and provide educational opportunities for your child.
- Life skills. You provide for your child, have a steady income and plan for the future.
- Behavior management. You make extensive use of positive reinforcement and punish only when other methods of managing behavior have failed.
- Health. You model a healthy lifestyle and good habits, such as regular exercise and proper nutrition, for your child.
- Religion. You support spiritual or religious development and participate in spiritual or religious activities.
- Safety. You take precautions to protect your child and maintain awareness of the child’s activities and friends.
"Study ... compared the effectiveness of 10 kinds of parenting practices that have gotten the thumbs-up in various scientific studies. It also showed how parenting experts rate those practices and looked at just how many parents actually use those practices. In other words, we compared three things: what experts advise, what really seems to work and what parents actually do."