I've just finished reading a book I wish I'd had when my first child was born. It's Tom Sturges' book, Parking Lot Rules & 75 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing Children. This book is a set of pragmatic "rules" to help provide a safe, nurturing environment for kids as they grow up. Some of these techniques would have saved me some stress if I'd known about them 15 years ago when I first became a father!
To get a flavor for the excellent advice in this book, check out the rule the book was named for, Parking Lot Rules:
"In a world inhabited by cars the size of small houses, the parking lot can be an incredibly dangerous place. The drivers of these SUV's are in another world: watching their own children, talking on their cell phones, listening to the radio. The last they they are looking for is your brood. Teach your children that they need to be right next to you whenever you are in a parking lot. There is to be no trailing behind and no racing ahead. The moment you near a parking lot, call out "Parking lot rules," and your children will know that they absolutely must be by your side. This rule can also apply to any time you perceive a danger that your children have missed: perhaps raised voices or the sound of broken glass or a stranger acting erratically. It beats yelling, "Look out for the crazy guy!"
And this is only one example - just about every rule hit the mark for me, and they're very practical (I love the Bon Jovi Rule, the Truth Reduces Punishment by 90% rule, and The Power of Forgiveness).
This book is ideal for parents of young children, but most of the rules still apply for older kids and teens. I think Parking Lot Rules will become one of my default gifts for new dads. It's a beautiful collection of advice.