Do Parents Matter? : Why Japanese Babies Sleep Soundly, Mexican Siblings Don't Fight, and American Families Should Just Relax
Overview - When it comes to parenting, more isn't always better-but it is always more tiring In Japan, a boy sleeps in his parents' bed until age ten, but still shows independence in all other areas of his life. In rural India, toilet training begins one month after infants are born and is accomplished with little fanfare. Read more...
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More About Do Parents Matter? by Robert A. Levine; Sarah Levine
When it comes to parenting, more isn't always better-but it is always more tiring
In Japan, a boy sleeps in his parents' bed until age ten, but still shows independence in all other areas of his life. In rural India, toilet training begins one month after infants are born and is accomplished with little fanfare. In Paris, parents limit the amount of agency they give their toddlers. In America, parents grant them ever more choices, independence, and attention.
Given our approach to parenting, is it any surprise that American parents are too frequently exhausted?
Over the course of nearly fifty years, Robert and Sarah LeVine have conducted a groundbreaking, worldwide study of how families work. They have consistently found that children can be happy and healthy in a wide variety of conditions, not just the effort-intensive, cautious environment so many American parents drive themselves crazy trying to create. While there is always another news article or scientific fad proclaiming the importance of some factor or other, it's easy to miss the bigger picture: that children are smarter, more resilient, and more independent than we give them credit for. Do Parents Matter?
is an eye-opening look at the world of human nurture, one with profound lessons for the way we think about our families.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Harvard anthropologists Robert and Sarah LeVine examine parenting practices around the world in this illuminating and incisive text that aims for a fresh view of parenting in a wider context. The couple asserts that if parents in the U.S. knew more about how children are raised in other lands, they might forgo some of the “burdens” imposed by American culture and so-called experts. In one telling example (among many) the authors note that although bed-sharing is deemed dangerous by the American Academy of Pediatrics, throughout the world co-sleeping is quite commonplace. In Japan, they point out, where co-sleeping is universal, the infant mortality rate is among the world’s lowest, and the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is roughly half that of the U.S. And, while American parents stress over toilet training, many other cultures have a relaxed but effective approach. The authors’ survey leads them to assert that there is no “single pattern of parenting provided by evolution or historical necessity.” American readers will find the variety fascinating, whether or not they’re inspired to discard their cribs and nappies. Agent: Erika Storella, Gernert Company. (Sept.)