In a thought-provoking new book, anthropologists Robert and Sarah Levine, pose a delicate, if not controversial question:
Do Parents Matter?
Tackling an age-old question, or what has now become a widely held assumption, they inquire, “what role do parents really have in the success of their children’s lives”?
The subtitle of the book is quite revealing, “Why Japanese Babies Sleep Soundly, Mexican Siblings Don’t Fight, and American Families Should just Relax.”
With so much emphasis placed on the best practices of raising a child in contemporary American society, it can sometimes feel overwhelming.
We have a tendency to of asking ourselves all sorts of haunting questions:
Are we doing the right things? Should we be doing this, rather than that? Will my child grow up to be okay? Will I be responsible for their behaviors? Should we try this method rather than that one?
Well, after forty-seven years of collaboration, Robert and Sarah Levine make a pretty compelling case that should provide some basic level of reassurance.
One of the very first things they do is to lay out the landscape, highlighting where some of our anxieties around parenthood originate.
In America, for example, the source of many of our cultural assumptions around parenthood can be derived from psychiatrists and psychoanalysis. As they explain, “psychiatrists and psychoanalysis replaced pediatricians as advice-givers and captured public attention”, through books and other media.
We’re still trying to disentangle ourselves from this mindset, and Do Parents Matter goes a long way to helping us think about our role as parents, differently.
The take-away: There are many different ways to be a good parent.
Get the book here, and share your thoughts @guidepostparent.
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