Saturday, April 12, 2008

Parenting, Inc. Review

I wrote about Pamela Paul's eye-opening new book, "Parenting, Inc." on ParentingSquad.

In the context of what I've written about here, there's something I want to add: The book contains professional reinforcement of several things I have come to believe about childrearing:

  • That "we don't actually need to promote (baby) skills; they just happen." (I left a local dance studio never to return when the instructor decided to show me how to exercise and stroke my baby to encourage her to start crawling. Why??) That means we can go to baby classes if it helps us fill the day and we have fun, but for god sake, we don't have to, any more than we have to "stimulate" the baby every second of the ding-dang day.
  • Trying to teach tots academics too soon distracts them from the very important things they're quietly doing, like figuring out who they are and how to solve big problems like getting a cookie out from between the couch cushions.
  • Baby Einstein is stoopid.
  • If you hire an expert to sleep train, potty train and debippy your child, obviously you lose something there.

Anyway, it's a good book. Buy it on Amazon, why don't ya?


Sara said...

Hey Carrie-

Interesting stuff--I read your post here as well as your other post on ParentingSquad and your insight made me want to go out and buy that book and read it myself.

Certainly as parents of young children, we are bombarded by experts and ads and books and magazine articles and tips telling us that we MUST enroll our kids in this and that and advising us to start early with EVERYTHING. It's nice to know that there is someone out there arguing the other side.

I think that Baby Einstein does have some value, though. I think it's fine if parents let their children watch it every now and then. It's certainly not ok to plunk your kid down for hours at a crack to watch it, but I definitely think it's way better than some of the crap out there for kids.

Gotta jet. Screaming child alert.

Anonymous said...

That book sounds interesting. It's sad that structured play is replacing unstructured play in kids' lives. Unstrutured playtime is so important for kids' cognitive, social, and physical development.

There's a workshop on that subject coming to Chicago soon that looks interesting: It's called the Workshop Entirely on Play and it's being held May 16 at the Marriott Chicago at Medical District/UIC. More info is available at

Notta Wallflower said...

It's funny that you bring this up. I have a real-life proof of not needing to promote baby skills. When K was a baby, I was quite young myself and not well-read re: parenting and child development. I didn't spend x amount of hours on activities and stimulation. Now, Jellybean is receiving much more stimulation than K did (not that I neglected K, because neglect is a totally separate issue). What is the difference? None. K and Jellybean are pretty similar in meeting their milestones. What's even more funny is that, now that K is a teenager, we have more pressing issues, like driving, first jobs, and having the talk about sex. I guess my point is that, when kids get older, you can't look at two kids and know which was the "late bloomer" and which one was the "early bloomer", or which one received more/less stimulation (unless you're talking about little babies with obvious developmental delays).