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Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans

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When Dr. Michaeleen Doucleff becomes a mother, she examines the studies behind modern parenting guidance and finds the evidence frustratingly limited and the conclusions often ineffective. Curious to learn about more effective parenting approaches, she visits a Maya village in the Yucatán Peninsula. There she encounters moms and dads who parent in a totally different way t When Dr. Michaeleen Doucleff becomes a mother, she examines the studies behind modern parenting guidance and finds the evidence frustratingly limited and the conclusions often ineffective. Curious to learn about more effective parenting approaches, she visits a Maya village in the Yucatán Peninsula. There she encounters moms and dads who parent in a totally different way than we do—and raise extraordinarily kind, generous, and helpful children without yelling, nagging, or issuing timeouts. What else, Doucleff wonders, are Western parents missing out on? In Hunt, Gather, Parent, Doucleff sets out with her three-year-old daughter in tow to learn and practice parenting strategies from families in three of the world’s most venerable communities: Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania. She sees that these cultures don’t have the same problems with children that Western parents do. Most strikingly, parents build a relationship with young children that is vastly different from the one many Western parents develop—it’s built on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones. Maya parents are masters at raising cooperative children. Without resorting to bribes, threats, or chore charts, Maya parents rear loyal helpers by including kids in household tasks from the time they can walk. Inuit parents have developed a remarkably effective approach for teaching children emotional intelligence. When kids cry, hit, or act out, Inuit parents respond with a calm, gentle demeanor that teaches children how to settle themselves down and think before acting. Hadzabe parents are world experts on raising confident, self-driven kids with a simple tool that protects children from stress and anxiety, so common now among American kids. Not only does Doucleff live with families and observe their techniques firsthand, she also applies them with her own daughter, with striking results. She learns to discipline without yelling. She talks to psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, and sociologists and explains how these strategies can impact children’s mental health and development. Filled with practical takeaways that parents can implement immediately, Hunt, Gather, Parent helps us rethink the ways we relate to our children, and reveals a universal parenting paradigm adapted for American families.


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When Dr. Michaeleen Doucleff becomes a mother, she examines the studies behind modern parenting guidance and finds the evidence frustratingly limited and the conclusions often ineffective. Curious to learn about more effective parenting approaches, she visits a Maya village in the Yucatán Peninsula. There she encounters moms and dads who parent in a totally different way t When Dr. Michaeleen Doucleff becomes a mother, she examines the studies behind modern parenting guidance and finds the evidence frustratingly limited and the conclusions often ineffective. Curious to learn about more effective parenting approaches, she visits a Maya village in the Yucatán Peninsula. There she encounters moms and dads who parent in a totally different way than we do—and raise extraordinarily kind, generous, and helpful children without yelling, nagging, or issuing timeouts. What else, Doucleff wonders, are Western parents missing out on? In Hunt, Gather, Parent, Doucleff sets out with her three-year-old daughter in tow to learn and practice parenting strategies from families in three of the world’s most venerable communities: Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania. She sees that these cultures don’t have the same problems with children that Western parents do. Most strikingly, parents build a relationship with young children that is vastly different from the one many Western parents develop—it’s built on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones. Maya parents are masters at raising cooperative children. Without resorting to bribes, threats, or chore charts, Maya parents rear loyal helpers by including kids in household tasks from the time they can walk. Inuit parents have developed a remarkably effective approach for teaching children emotional intelligence. When kids cry, hit, or act out, Inuit parents respond with a calm, gentle demeanor that teaches children how to settle themselves down and think before acting. Hadzabe parents are world experts on raising confident, self-driven kids with a simple tool that protects children from stress and anxiety, so common now among American kids. Not only does Doucleff live with families and observe their techniques firsthand, she also applies them with her own daughter, with striking results. She learns to discipline without yelling. She talks to psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, and sociologists and explains how these strategies can impact children’s mental health and development. Filled with practical takeaways that parents can implement immediately, Hunt, Gather, Parent helps us rethink the ways we relate to our children, and reveals a universal parenting paradigm adapted for American families.

30 review for Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I resent all parenting books, just like I hate every article that tells me I’m washing my face wrong or eating Tic Tacs wrong or making my grocery list wrong. Like, I’ve made it to age 36 and everything’s pretty much fine so I think I’ve got it under control? I also resented my husband for buying this book because he liked an interview he heard with the author on NPR. Uhhh, our kid is 3? AND A HALF! So I think I’m good, dude. But I read it anyway and the book called me out every time I was dubio I resent all parenting books, just like I hate every article that tells me I’m washing my face wrong or eating Tic Tacs wrong or making my grocery list wrong. Like, I’ve made it to age 36 and everything’s pretty much fine so I think I’ve got it under control? I also resented my husband for buying this book because he liked an interview he heard with the author on NPR. Uhhh, our kid is 3? AND A HALF! So I think I’m good, dude. But I read it anyway and the book called me out every time I was dubious and NO WAYing. The author is all like, “I was skeptical, I have a PhD in chemistry, I’m not dumb- I thought, ‘No way!’”. And if there’s one thing I have to respect, it’s a chemistry witch with mind-reading capabilities. This book is surprisingly helpful and only kind of gimmicky! It’s weird how revolutionary the concept of just doing your chores and hobbies around your kid, instead of doing them when your kid is asleep or away at school, feels. I have more free time later, my kid is learning how to take care of stuff and also entertain themselves without me, and they’re also more chill. Like, day one of barely attempting this and they woke up from their nap telling me helping is their favorite??? Day two and they put on their own shoes???? What???? Ok, sure, I’ll take it. Thanks, stupid helpful well-researched book!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Phillip

    Giving 3.5 stars. Here’s my hot take in a few points: 1) if you get it in your head from the outset that this book is not academic but personal, autobiographical, and pragmatic with some confirmation from academia you’ll enjoy it more. 2) I really loved how practical it was. Strewn with action items and recommendations throughout and illustrates good examples of applications from her own parenting and those she learned from. I’m very interested to implement some of them and see how it turns out 3) Giving 3.5 stars. Here’s my hot take in a few points: 1) if you get it in your head from the outset that this book is not academic but personal, autobiographical, and pragmatic with some confirmation from academia you’ll enjoy it more. 2) I really loved how practical it was. Strewn with action items and recommendations throughout and illustrates good examples of applications from her own parenting and those she learned from. I’m very interested to implement some of them and see how it turns out 3) I think the scope of the book doesn’t match the ambitions of its title. While there are good snippets where she supports her experiences with three particular cultures more broadly with research from others, it’s still full of so many over-generalizations that could have been avoided if the work were reduced and compiled into a series of essays instead. 4) some things that kind of bugged me were the use of the term “Western Parenting” (think there needs to be more nuance there because that’s got a lot of assumptions baked into it), and a little too much fetishization (in some instances I thought it led to reductive thinking about entire peoples) 5) lastly, something that really bugged me was a stark absence of commentary on fathers and sons until the last chapters (which still left me underwhelmed). Up until her trip to Tanzania the men seem to be either gone or portrayed as pretty dopey, and those ones that are seen positively are not the actual fathers of the children. Also, I might’ve counted wrong but I’m pretty sure there is literally one example in the entire book of a parent implementing one of her principles with a boy. I’m a dad and I have two boys, so definitely a bit of head scratching for me there. Not to be all woe is me privileged white boy dad but in a book that professes to be about universal parenting principles I would’ve loved to see more representative ratios of examples. All that said I think it’s clear the author put her heart and soul into the book and I really appreciate that she is thoughtfully bringing a broader perspective on family relationships to the attention of us stressed out American parents. We truly need it, and I really hope some of these tips work for us when we try them!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Adria

    SUMMARY OF REVIEW: DEAR PUBLISHER, WHY NOT PUBLISH BOOKS BY THE EXCELLENT HUNTER/GATHERER PARENTS instead of making a best seller out of Doucleff? The parenting tips seem good -- especially the ones that are nearly exact quotes from the different women she interviewed. But the overall book is problematic in its simplistic and rosy depiction of people's lives and the texts and documentaries they hearken back to - hunter/gatherer or not, everyone faces complications. Making the lives of these vario SUMMARY OF REVIEW: DEAR PUBLISHER, WHY NOT PUBLISH BOOKS BY THE EXCELLENT HUNTER/GATHERER PARENTS instead of making a best seller out of Doucleff? The parenting tips seem good -- especially the ones that are nearly exact quotes from the different women she interviewed. But the overall book is problematic in its simplistic and rosy depiction of people's lives and the texts and documentaries they hearken back to - hunter/gatherer or not, everyone faces complications. Making the lives of these various peoples seem "simple" downplays the humanity and reality of their lives. I also got much less out of the stories about the author's application of what she was learning to her own daughter, than I did from the women themselves. My kids are older, I have five, what she was learning and how she applied it is different than what I was learning from them. Which is fine -- but then WHY NOT PUBLISH BOOKS BY THOSE EXCELLENT PARENTS instead of making a best seller out of Doucleff? **edit** Doucleff has pledged 35% of proceeds to the various people/towns she worked with. I applaud this and am glad to hear it. But -- why is that on the author to be a good person? Why isn't the publisher held accountable to that instead of her? I believe Doucleff truly connected with them and that she means well, but I don't understand why in 2021 a publisher wouldn't see the problem with publishing a white woman's writing the words of a whole lot of families of color. Much less problematic - but I wonder what she would have observed had she spent more time watching the boy children and their sense of responsibility towards the house and the kids. The parenting and implications of gender roles was a huge piece of this story that was never discussed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Traci Thomas

    I really appreciated the advice and suggestions in this book. Lots of helpful ideas and tips. The ways were encouraged to change our approach to parenting made lots of sense. The author is a white woman and there seems to be a fetishization of other cultures that felt a little off. Also way too much personal interest from the author. This book could’ve easily been 100 pages shorter had it focused on the parenting and less on scene setting.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Cole

    I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I picked up a handful of tips that have really worked for us On the other hand, the author’s “better parenting”involves saying things like “oh, you can’t do it because you’re a whiney baby?” Um... what?! I couldn’t help feeling like the author still didn’t fully grasp all of the concepts that people were trying to explain. The author is still very focused on controlling her child at the end, she just now does it differently. Better proba I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I picked up a handful of tips that have really worked for us On the other hand, the author’s “better parenting”involves saying things like “oh, you can’t do it because you’re a whiney baby?” Um... what?! I couldn’t help feeling like the author still didn’t fully grasp all of the concepts that people were trying to explain. The author is still very focused on controlling her child at the end, she just now does it differently. Better probably overall... but she keeps using the word “train” which makes me cringe. They aren’t puppies. What I mostly got from this book is: - parents talk too much. No wonder they tune us out. - we expect too much from our kids. - do it with them rather than asking them to do things alone. - there are lots of ways to say “no” other than saying “no” -call attention to their behavior and allow them to draw their own conclusions. -don’t be so obsessed about your kid listening to every single thing you say. -take the emotion out of it. Good lessons over all. But I’m still not sure I recommend the book unless you are really able to throw out of stuff and just take a few small gems.

  6. 4 out of 5

    C

    Let me save you some time 1. Give small children helpful household tasks even if they aren't good at them yet. 2. Don't get into power struggles with your children, instead cooperate with them. Stay calm. Talk or play act through the situation later when emotions are under control. I hated this book. I think it was made worse by the author's insistence on narrating the audiobooks. Her tone was weirdly upbeat and grating. Her perspective was cringe worthy. A PhD reporter living in San Francisco is Let me save you some time 1. Give small children helpful household tasks even if they aren't good at them yet. 2. Don't get into power struggles with your children, instead cooperate with them. Stay calm. Talk or play act through the situation later when emotions are under control. I hated this book. I think it was made worse by the author's insistence on narrating the audiobooks. Her tone was weirdly upbeat and grating. Her perspective was cringe worthy. A PhD reporter living in San Francisco is not the definitive voice on western parenting. What does western even mean? Does she have any background in child psychology? Western anthropology? No. She repeatedly says western in the book, but really she means her household. She seems to have never spent time with an American working class family. The three groups she visits don't seem to be very different from working-class or agricultural families in the US, and neither do many of their dynamics. She came off as tone deaf (look at these magical, primitive people) and extremely biased by her own experience with her own child. I got so tired of hearing about her child Rosie. Rosie is not every child. The author barely acknowledges the stages of childhood development or the needs of particular children. Rosie is also an only child so there is no mention of other family dynamics that come into play. Also, this book seems sexist (“Thinking of childcare as a one woman show”). Her husband seems to have almost no involvement in parenting other than giving knowing looks. When she is visiting the three groups, I don't think any of her anecdotes involved older brothers taking on any familial responsibilities. Has she never heard that raising a child takes a village? Did she really need to visit three villages to understand the truth of that statement? I have other complaints, I don't like how she keeps calling her kid a baby (like that's for babies, you're not a baby are you?). I don't like that she didn't address the different adulthoods that a child in San Francisco would have versus a child from the three locations referenced. Would children raised in hunter-gatherer societies be able to thrive in the culture her daughter will live in? I thought the book was best when sharing broad evolutionary or anthropological overviews. There was a huge decline in quality when she shifted back to the first person and kept talking about her singular experience as a middle/upper class US coastal mom who thought she was supposed to do all child raising on her own. I had heard her on NPR so now that I am about to become a parent I have been tearing through recent popular parenting books. I should've left it at the short form NPR segment instead of dragging myself through this vanity project. This is one you can definitely skip.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Some issues with this book: • The advice is not supported by research. The author relies on her limited observations of other families, and on the results of applying techniques to a one person sample, her own daughter. • The author assumes that child-rearing methods from other cultures are ideal for producing children that are well-prepared to contend with western culture. • The author presents an over-simplified picture of the cultures she visits and never moves past the surface-level observati Some issues with this book: • The advice is not supported by research. The author relies on her limited observations of other families, and on the results of applying techniques to a one person sample, her own daughter. • The author assumes that child-rearing methods from other cultures are ideal for producing children that are well-prepared to contend with western culture. • The author presents an over-simplified picture of the cultures she visits and never moves past the surface-level observations of the one or two childcare tips she adopts from each. • The advice is sometimes contradictory. On the one hand, the author advocates for raising a child that has an intrinsic motivation to help and do the right thing, while on the other hand, she thinks it’s a good idea to scare your child into believing that they will be abducted by a monster if they don’t do what you tell them. The ‘scare them into compliance’ advice is especially disturbing because it’s most strongly advocated for use on children under age 6, who aren’t yet able to fully discern between fiction and nonfiction. Parenting through fear is an antiquated and unacceptable approach in 2021. How can a parent build trust when they are actively misrepresenting the world to manipulate their children? • The advice in many cases seems to ignore the developmental stages of childhood and sometimes advocates belittling children who are behaving in ways that are expected. For example, toddlers and young children often have strong emotional responses because they can’t yet regulate emotions or express themselves verbally as well as they’d like. The author advises that you either ignore your child when they’re upset or call them a baby. Shaming your child into behaving the way you want them to is not a kind approach. • In some cases the advice is more about what’s convenient for the parents than what will enrich the child. For example, the author argues that children don’t need toys; children can get everything they need by just following their parents around and watching them do chores. The author also says that there’s no reason to spend time doing kid-centered activities, and they should just do what the parents want to do. This means no enrichment trips to children’s museums, less social interaction with other kids, etc. The author doesn’t give any reason why the interests of parents are more important than the interests of kids. • Where are the males in this book? Overall, it seems that the author goes too far with her advice, picking up a nugget of wisdom, and turning it into something extreme. She takes what could be reasonable advice (let your child help you do chores, even if it makes things more difficult in the moment) to something ridiculous (don’t buy your child toys; don’t take your child to do things that are child-centered activities; let them get ALL of their enrichment from watching you do chores); it's unfortunate, because there are good ideas here but they are sort of warped by the author's interpretation and application.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maria McGrath

    I think that if this book had been around sooner, my teens and young adult would be even happier and more self-actualized. I've been reading parenting and child development books for about twenty years now (my oldest is 20), and some have been real standouts, but this is the first that really steps back from scientific studies to take a longer and wider view. Rather than contrasting Western parenting styles with what the rest of the world does, Doucleff looks at the practices of more rural socie I think that if this book had been around sooner, my teens and young adult would be even happier and more self-actualized. I've been reading parenting and child development books for about twenty years now (my oldest is 20), and some have been real standouts, but this is the first that really steps back from scientific studies to take a longer and wider view. Rather than contrasting Western parenting styles with what the rest of the world does, Doucleff looks at the practices of more rural societies in Mexico, Tanzania, and Canada, who live more communally and traditionally and, seemingly consequently, have much calmer children and much less fraught parent-child relations. Doucleff bravely cites all the mistakes she makes in her own parenting journey and the baffled but kind reactions she receives from her hosts while at the same time laying out helpful action steps for parents who are interested in adopting her newly learned techniques ("Dip Your Toe"). I'm lucky that I stumbled onto The Idle Parent: Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids years ago, as well as the excellent The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives, which eloquently and repeatedly argues that kids will make reasonable decisions if given the chance and the right information--we really don't have to manipulate kids for their own good, and if we do, it will always (eventually) backfire. As a children's librarian, the most interesting and novel aspect of the book was the argument, which makes a lot of sense when I look back at the development of my own children, that almost all toys, especially learning toys, are unnecessary and can even hinder development, because they raise a barrier between kids and the real adult world that they are desperate to enter. Fake phones, fake food, and setting kids off to one side while the real work of the household gets done gives them a sense that they are incapable of contributing and dampens their strong drive to help. It's much better to let the child into the kitchen, office, or workroom and give them a small task--pull leaves off herbs, staple papers, etc. As a parent, though, the biggest takeaway is to cut down on wasted words. I was lucky enough to get ahold of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk when my oldest was three, and that book made a convincing argument against ever trying to use logic to compel cooperation, but Doucleff really doubles down on that concept. As long as a child is not in imminent physical danger, use as few words as possible and watch as things unfold. It's lovely to watch her own journey from being constantly hyped up and stressed, a state her daughter mirrors, to regaining a sense of calm, which is then passed straight along to her child.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Numidica

    It's a bit like a textbook, but that's not entirely a bad thing. Michaeleen Doucleff has researched the ways in which traditional societies raise children to be responsible, happy members of their families and communities, and she has arrived at an interesting and not surprising conclusion: helicopter parenting is the opposite of what is called for to raise good children. In the Mayan communities of Mexico, the hunter-gatherer peoples of Tanzania, and the traditionally-living Inuit of the Arctic It's a bit like a textbook, but that's not entirely a bad thing. Michaeleen Doucleff has researched the ways in which traditional societies raise children to be responsible, happy members of their families and communities, and she has arrived at an interesting and not surprising conclusion: helicopter parenting is the opposite of what is called for to raise good children. In the Mayan communities of Mexico, the hunter-gatherer peoples of Tanzania, and the traditionally-living Inuit of the Arctic, she has found practical methods of raising children effectively, without drama, without ordering kids around from one activity to the next, while naturally growing the independence and autonomy they must have to be good adults. One of the biggest takeaways from the the child-rearing techniques of those peoples is that western parents talk too much. We give our kids instructions, tell them "don't touch that!", tell them "get ready for school!", etc ad infinitum. Doucleff's experience tells her this is the opposite of the way to get children to do what is needed. The right way involves a lesson in leadership, which dictates that parents show, not tell, and understand that their children are trying to help, even when it seems they are not. High energy from parents usually backfires, whereas low energy, or at least low energy directed at children, yields real results. The anecdotes from Tanzania, the Arctic, and the Yucatan are fascinating and illustrative of her points. In each chapter, Doucleff outlines concrete approaches to teaching children to be the helpers they really want to be, and that you want them to be. Is it work? Yes, but her point is that time invested early pays off in children who become autonomous, but tightly integrated to the family, like a team member, earlier by far than that happens (if it happens) in western culture. I have a year-old grandson, so I read this with more than casual interest, and it made me reflect on the approach my parents took, which was more directive (and less successful) with my sister, as opposed to the more laid back approach they took with me. Perhaps they were just exhausted from dealing with my sister..... Highly recommended for parents or any childcare provider.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maya Kukudzhanova

    ... my, this book is a bad joke. Having a PhD in chemistry and education in the wine fermenting space, the author feels presumptuous enough to advise in the area she neither has experience nor any qualifications. Verily, you can pick up better advice by visiting the playground and chatting with moms/nanas/carers, let alone professional child psychologists and pediatricians. Maybe the author did an excellent job covering the Ebola outbreak, but her "ability to perform research" does not translate to ... my, this book is a bad joke. Having a PhD in chemistry and education in the wine fermenting space, the author feels presumptuous enough to advise in the area she neither has experience nor any qualifications. Verily, you can pick up better advice by visiting the playground and chatting with moms/nanas/carers, let alone professional child psychologists and pediatricians. Maybe the author did an excellent job covering the Ebola outbreak, but her "ability to perform research" does not translate to her ability to interpret the research adequately. Still, the "research" she did for this book is very controversial. The cherry on top - the author advises to scare children with the monsters, having each one for each problematic situation. This book is the worst parenting book I've read so far.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I mean.. it’s a white woman teaching brown culture. It made me deeply uncomfortable, even if she donates 30% of her profit, it isn’t her culture. It’s like cultural tourism voyeurism and more than a little cringey Where are the men and boys? All the examples of helpful children are girls helping with chores while boys play in the yard. And where are the dads? The absolutes are so click baity. No toys! But okay some toys, and give away toys every month. No praise! But okay some praise but have no p I mean.. it’s a white woman teaching brown culture. It made me deeply uncomfortable, even if she donates 30% of her profit, it isn’t her culture. It’s like cultural tourism voyeurism and more than a little cringey Where are the men and boys? All the examples of helpful children are girls helping with chores while boys play in the yard. And where are the dads? The absolutes are so click baity. No toys! But okay some toys, and give away toys every month. No praise! But okay some praise but have no praise days. Children raising children is a no from me. Shaming children by labeling them with negative character traits is a helllll no from me. I do like all the independent “let kids be helpful” part of the family stuff. But all that’s in Montessori toddler.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    TL;DR - Instead of this book, I recommend The Montessori Toddler, The Whole Brain Child, and The Absorbent Mind (by Maria Montessori). At first, this book seemed promising and interesting, but I’ve read a lot of parenting books, follow a lot of parents on Instagram and YouTube, and I listen to Dr. Becky Good Inside and Janet Lansbury via podcasts. This author seemingly has never heard of Montessori as a philosophy, yet it has been around for at least a hundred years. She makes absolutely no menti TL;DR - Instead of this book, I recommend The Montessori Toddler, The Whole Brain Child, and The Absorbent Mind (by Maria Montessori). At first, this book seemed promising and interesting, but I’ve read a lot of parenting books, follow a lot of parents on Instagram and YouTube, and I listen to Dr. Becky Good Inside and Janet Lansbury via podcasts. This author seemingly has never heard of Montessori as a philosophy, yet it has been around for at least a hundred years. She makes absolutely no mention of it in the book, and that worried me. I mostly disliked this book because I feel the author generalizes too much - about what American parents are like, what non “Western” parents are like, and what you “should” do with your kids. However, she has no real qualifications and her book mostly uses her experiences shadowing and interviewing different families. She has a pretty extreme perspective, in my opinion. She yelled at her toddler over many things, scheduled tons of activities for her toddler to do that she disliked being a part of, hates playing on the playground with her toddler, and felt pressured to buy tons of toys and things for her daughter because that’s what she saw around her, I guess. Even when I was pregnant, I knew I didn’t want to buy way too many toys, totally babify our living room, constantly yell at my kid, or push them away when they wanted to help out around the house. So I read a lot of books and found lots of parents who share their experiences and Montessori is where I align most. There are lots of resources for those who’d like to learn about Montessori and the way it allows children to learn through doing, allows them to make mistakes, emphasizes a prepared environment to eliminate too many struggles for the child or parent/guardian, etc. Positive discipline/gentle parenting examples are also abundant these days with social media, so I was shocked that this author had never come across any of those until she visited other countries for work. I disagreed with many of her conclusions, including: a) it’s necessary and useful sometimes to pretend that monsters exist in order to scare your child into not doing something (wearing the same dress all day, opening the fridge too much, etc.) b) you should shame your child into not doing something by asking “would a baby do that?” and c) that you should get rid of all your child’s toys and activities and only do what the family would already do (obviously excess is not good, but play is the work of the child and we can provide learning opportunities to our children through open-ended and specific toys designed for them to use and learn through). Many things in this book are great, but the author touts them as things that “only non-Americans do” or things that no American parent would ever even think to do unless they read this book. There are SO many resources for parents, now, and I think for this author to claim that all of the parenting books she read to center around (what she calls) WEIRD parenting and not include anything about toddlers being naturally helpful, babies being able to learn on their own, etc. is bizarre. She also keeps using the word “train” and it makes me cringe after reading The Absorbent Mind. The Babies documentary on Netflix also highlights “Western” research and how much we know about babies and toddlers now that we have thinks like brain scans, etc. I’d give this book a pass, or recommend you skim it for the good details, but ignore the talk about how other cultures are superior, etc. because that comes off as ignorant in my opinion.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Declan Moulden

    When I showed up to the bookstore, I thought this was a sort of anthropological study - serious, academic, and a totally normal purchase for a childless, single, somewhat directionless 24-year-old. (I'd read the Atlantic article and thought it sounded interesting: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/ar...). I did not walk in prepared to buy a parenting book, still less prepared to ask the cute staff person for directions to the parenting section. But I steeled myself for a bit of discomfort (and When I showed up to the bookstore, I thought this was a sort of anthropological study - serious, academic, and a totally normal purchase for a childless, single, somewhat directionless 24-year-old. (I'd read the Atlantic article and thought it sounded interesting: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/ar...). I did not walk in prepared to buy a parenting book, still less prepared to ask the cute staff person for directions to the parenting section. But I steeled myself for a bit of discomfort (and I'm sure glad I did). While obviously useful for parents, I think this book illustrates why so many people of my generation seem to struggle with anxiety, depression, making decisions, etc. Large degrees of control, over-explaining things, telling kids what to do constantly (but oh so nicely), not giving much leeway to take risks or make mistakes - these are common tools in the helicopter/snowplow parenting toolbox, and they produce kids who do not know how to respect their own capacity to make decisions and lack the confidence (born of experience) to do much of anything. This book is obviously helpful for parents with young children, but I think it also provides a valuable perspective for adults seeking to understand why they are the way they are. (I also think it has some great insights into building a real team or esprit du corps.) I have no kids and none coming for a long while. This is still my favourite book I've read this year.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    tl;dr this book is good for people who are interested in how moms in non-American cultures approach challenges of raising little kids, or if you are similar to the author in being at your wits end with your little kid but learning best from observing a whole integrated approach (cultural practices vs. pick and choose from different popular books). I think this is one of those books that's not been set up for success by its marketing. I think learning about how other cultures do things is an incre tl;dr this book is good for people who are interested in how moms in non-American cultures approach challenges of raising little kids, or if you are similar to the author in being at your wits end with your little kid but learning best from observing a whole integrated approach (cultural practices vs. pick and choose from different popular books). I think this is one of those books that's not been set up for success by its marketing. I think learning about how other cultures do things is an incredibly fascinating topic, but I also can't help but roll my eyes at yet another parenting book positioning itself as saying non-Americans do it better than Americans. And this is with me agreeing with so many of the proposed alternative strategies too! You never see a more thorough reflection about who benefits in the American system: * kids and young adults can pursue their own interests if they aren't contributing to collective care for younger children * adults who don't like kids can be away from kids * I expect there's a lot more diversity of approaches that American families take, as compared to cultures that strongly emphasize The One Right Way We Do Things * increasing (at least, I hope) expectation that boys and fathers will also develop their emotional resiliency and caregiving skills (there are a handful of involved dads included, but no older boys helping out the family in the way that the older girls do) etc. Everything's a tradeoff but there are still benefits to an individualistic society that a lot of people happily partake in, until they have babies, at which point you realize that we are definitely not meant to raise kids in such an isolated way. This should have been positioned as like, memoir of a mom who took her toddler on trips to remote areas and improved her parenting skills in an immersion environment--with helpful, realistic takeaways to bring back to the U.S. The summaries of tips are really well done actually, with the reasoning laid out and practical examples given. It's just that despite the author trying not to fetishize non-(white) American cultures (and walking the walk by giving 35% of her advance to the families and communities she stayed with), I feel like plenty of these ideas are derivable from the right American parenting books just fine. Extensive international travel was not necessary at all. Examples: The Whole Brain Child (directly referenced), How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Free-Range Parenting, Montessori and RIE books, etc. I'm not happy about it but I definitely judged the author's research skills (via books) a lot until she shared more of her background in growing up in a "viciously angry home" and how isolated she was postpartum. Good on her for being as vulnerable and honest as she was about her approach prior to taking these trips. ============================ A bit of history on American parenting: * by diving up powerful families and clans, the church likely set off a chain reaction that shifted the way people think and what they value...the longer a community had been exposed to the Catholic Church's marriage restrictions, the more likely people in that community thought like Westerners do--that is, they valued individualism, nonconformity, and other psychological traits unique to the West. * the advice books we have today, which are 'swollen descendants of terse little booklets written by eighteenth-century doctors for the use of nurse in the foundling hospitals' * In the 1960s, parenting experts used guilt, shame, and fear to charge American parents with a new task: stimulate, instruct, and teach children, at every moment. This high-energy, high-talking approach stuck like superglue in American culture. We take the practice for granted. Western culture is likely the only place where the concept of 'self-esteem' exists--and we are definitely the only culture that requires parents to maintain and cultivate it in their children...the approach requires that parents spend a great deal of time and energy monitoring their children's behavior * you see this same pattern repeating again and again in key aspects of Western parenting. A practice comes along at the right time in history; it becomes overhyped by the media, psychologists, pediatricians, public health experts, or all four combined; and then its importance is amplified by a product you must buy or a scary self-help book you must read. * Why do I feel the need to control Rosy's behavior so much? To guide and narrow her path through the world? ...I reach a simple conclusion: I think this is what a good parent does. I believe that the more I say to Rosy--and the more I instruct her--the better parent I am. I believe that all these commands will keep Rosy safe and teach her to be a respectful, kind person. Ideas I learned: * acomedido: it's not just doing a chore or task because someone told you to; it's knowing which kind of help is appropriate at a particular moment because you're paying attention * When you invite the child to help, remember the invitation is always to work together. You're not asking the child to perform the task alone. Praise...can cause strife among siblings, because praise breeds competition. * Psychologists have found that when young children grow up hearing frequent praise, they learn, from an early age, to compete with siblings for approval and attention from their parents. * When a child breaks rules, acts demanding, or seems "willful," their parents need to put them to work. The child is saying, "Hey, Mom, I'm underemployed over here and it doesn't feel good." Ideas I already agreed with: * Children don't see a difference between adult work and play...Parents don't need to know how to play with kids. If we get kids involved in adult activities, that's play for kids. * parents and other caretakers don't constantly give instructions, commands, and warnings * Every time you stop yourself from acting in anger, your child sees a calm way to deal with frustrations. They learn to stay composed when anger arises. So to help a child learn emotional regulation, the number one thing parents can do is learn to regulate their own emotions. * Instead of characterizing young children as manipulative button-pushers trying to make us angry, what if we think of them as illogical, newbie citizens trying to figure out the proper behavior? * See tantrums as a chance for the child to practice calming themselves down, and for you to model calmness--not the time for you, as their parent, to prove a point. * American parents tend to rely on verbal instruction and explanations to change children's behavior. But words are often the least effective way to communicate with children, especially young children. * they believe that children know best how to learn and grow. Anything a parent says--the vast majority of the time--will only get in the child's way. * the formula: practice, model, and acknowledge * multiage playgroups not only give parents extra time to themselves, they also give children a physical and mental boost [like mixed age Montessori classrooms] * the ideas are described as a "universal parenting approach" which sounds grandiose at first but I think it does generally track, in that brain development in kids is pretty consistent across history and the world; nonetheless, Magda Gerber and Maria Montessori were already way on top of many of these aspects thanks to observing a lot of children. Phrasings I identified with: * I didn't know how to be a good mother. Never before had I been so bad at something that I wanted to be good at. Never before had the gap between my actual skill and the skill level I desired been so crushingly wide. * In Western culture, we tend to think of motherhood as 'an instinct that comes as naturally to women as the sex drive does to men'...But in reality, parenting is a learned skill. (imo this is true, Americans are really into the idea of "listening to your gut") * Here in the U.S., we overestimate children's emotional abilities. We expect children at a very young age--even eighteen months to two years old--to have well-developed executive function and to understand sophisticated emotional concepts such as respect, generosity, and self-control. And when they don't demonstrate these qualities, we become frustrated and lose patience with them. Many Inuit parents view children from an opposing perspective. They *expect* children to have poor executive function and poor emotional control, and they see it as their job to teach children these skills. Basically, when a child doesn't listen or behave, the reason is simple: The child hasn't learned that particular skill yet. And perhaps, they aren't quite ready to learn it. So there's no reason for a parent to get upset or angry. Ideas I disagree with: * The questions aren't accusatory or denigrating [ex: "Who made this mess?" "Who's ignoring me?" "What am I, a trash can?". They aren't meant to make a child defensive. [can be effective if playful, but generally seem very easy to be accusatory/passive-aggressive and escalate a frustration] * parents can teach children which emotions aren't valued in the home by not responding to those emotions. [this is done by ignoring/looking past the child] * She accepted her discomfort. She learned to control her emotions, and she did it all by herself. [I'm skeptical, I think it's more learning to withhold expression of feelings] * the author does a thing of putting helicopter parenting and free-range parenting at opposite ends of a spectrum about controlling kids, which is a misunderstanding

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

    OKAY. So I have a lot to say about this book and not a lot of battery left. It was fabulous, it truly felt like Doucleff knew the ins and outs of my relationship with my toddler, and her parenting advice from non western cultures felt so relevant and eye opening, I have not been able to stop talking about it. Seriously, I won't shut up. I knew about the inuit ways of viewing children as emotionally 'dumb' so that section was not new, but the Mayan way of building helpful children, and giving the OKAY. So I have a lot to say about this book and not a lot of battery left. It was fabulous, it truly felt like Doucleff knew the ins and outs of my relationship with my toddler, and her parenting advice from non western cultures felt so relevant and eye opening, I have not been able to stop talking about it. Seriously, I won't shut up. I knew about the inuit ways of viewing children as emotionally 'dumb' so that section was not new, but the Mayan way of building helpful children, and giving them their membership card just awed me. It made PERFECT sense. I frequently try to get my daughter to play (currently almost two) anytime I get going on chores because she always tries to undo the chore, no matter what. If it is laundry you can beet your bottom dollar she will rip folder clothes out of the basket. Dinner time? She's going for that knife. You get the picture. TEAM parenting makes so much sense, Doucleff took the time to introduce us to the families who helped her, not just writing a how to manual, and often her visual language was cheesy, but effective. but hey, she's a scientist. I marked up my copy heavily, and immediately gave it to my MIL under the guise of "OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!" (but really that woman just undoes any strides we make with my daughter because #grandma. So the nitty gritty, yes I gave it five stars but it still had some problems. First off, I'd like to acknowledge some of the reviews I have seen that she "fetishizes" the non western culture. I thought long and hard, but I honest to god think that is inaccurate. She is clearly very excited about them, and in awe of their knowledge but it just seems like the appropriate response to the fact that western parenting is bananas and we are constantly told that western-ism is more advanced and better but then she got to see the truth, we suck (I Know this is pretty obvious to me already, but I never realized how bad we sucked with kids). Now the real problem. This book was so clearly written by a wealthy woman I just could NOT handle it. It was not overly frequent, and I believe once or twice she mentioned her obvious socioeconomic privilege, but at least 5 times she mentioned thing that were presumptuous because we are westerners we obviously have. The example that first comes to mind is that, in our western culture out 'alloparents' the nannys, baby sitters, and daycare workers who watch our kids deserve the best possible compensation etc.. OKAY. Girl we do not all have nannys, and we can not all afford daycare and babysitters. When she talked about how her postpartum depression got so bad that after a few months her therapist told her to get a nanny I just sighed. In many ways she is NOT relatable. She also acts like all westerners parent in this exact way, and ignores the facts that many low income families have multi-generational households, as well as many non white people, regardless of income. (There might be white people out there that chose this route but I am not familiar, but I also didn't try to write a book on this topic so I am fine with my current ignorance). So that being said, the parenting advice was EXCELLENT, her depiction of her time spent with those cultures was really interesting, her daughter reminds me greatly of my own, and I really did enjoy reading this book, and will recommend it to anyone with children at any age. But when I do choose to push this book, I will tell them "hey it was very obviously written by a wealthy woman and that is pretty annoying".

  16. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I don't really recommend reading this book unless you want to be rolling your eyes 75% of the time. It can make reading it difficult! Before getting this book from the library I read her article in the Atlantic (my family members without kids forwarded it to me! How nice!) and it was pretty much more of the same, although the author is even more obnoxious in the longer format. Before I launch into more complaints, I will say that there were some good parts. Some good points mixed in with all of t I don't really recommend reading this book unless you want to be rolling your eyes 75% of the time. It can make reading it difficult! Before getting this book from the library I read her article in the Atlantic (my family members without kids forwarded it to me! How nice!) and it was pretty much more of the same, although the author is even more obnoxious in the longer format. Before I launch into more complaints, I will say that there were some good parts. Some good points mixed in with all of the useless parenting advice that ranges from the complete obvious (don't yell at your kids at bedtime) to the utterly stupid (take your kids to work! They'll learn to adapt to the work environment!). Sorry, the good stuff. Yes, it did make me think a little bit. New perspectives are always appreciated. I feel like I should win an award for reading this book, she paints herself as a genuinely terrible caregiver who do has no idea how deal with a child then visits a bunch of "primitive" villages and waxes on forever about how great the way they handle their kids is without even a pinch of skepticism. The "supermoms" (barf at that term) of the Maya village literally wake up at 5am to start pounding corn to make tortillas while their husbands are off who knows where and all Doucleff can think about is how great it is that the oldest of the 6 children help take care of the younger ones. So innovative! Nevermind that is always how it works when you have 6 kids - try talking to someone outside of your upper class bubble every once in a while. Anyway, if you already think that modern = bad and primitive = good and you want a book to reinforce your beliefs while giving you 80% crap parenting advice then this book is for you. I honestly don't know why I read it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    As a mom of six, with a degree in Child Development, I’ve read A LOT of parenting books over the years. This is probably my favorite- definitely in the top 2! I wish this book existed YEARS ago when my oldest was a baby! As I read, I recognized ways that I parented like the “superparents” and ways that I did the OPPOSITE and am experiencing the consequences. 😂 There is so much to learn from this book that I will likely read it again! I’ve already begun implementing elements of TEAM and have seen As a mom of six, with a degree in Child Development, I’ve read A LOT of parenting books over the years. This is probably my favorite- definitely in the top 2! I wish this book existed YEARS ago when my oldest was a baby! As I read, I recognized ways that I parented like the “superparents” and ways that I did the OPPOSITE and am experiencing the consequences. 😂 There is so much to learn from this book that I will likely read it again! I’ve already begun implementing elements of TEAM and have seen improvements already! Hunt, Gather, Parent is friendly, encouraging, and down to earth. The author is not only a gifted story teller and teacher, she seemed so authentic in sharing her struggles and successes, that I found myself wishing we could be friends. I was fascinated by how so many practices in the ancient cultures lined up with the findings shared by modern child psychologists. appreciated the application and summaries at the end of each chapter. Highly recommend!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    I read the first section, lightly skimmed the next couple, and scanned through the last. Two stars because it refreshed a couple very basic parenting truths I needed to rehear, namely that (1) teaching kids to help is messy, but worth it, and (2) staying calm helps kids calm down. But otherwise, this book is not worth it, for too many reasons. I started to write them all and didn’t want to think about it anymore. 😅 ADDENDUM: A few months later, I can still remember the things that bothered me most I read the first section, lightly skimmed the next couple, and scanned through the last. Two stars because it refreshed a couple very basic parenting truths I needed to rehear, namely that (1) teaching kids to help is messy, but worth it, and (2) staying calm helps kids calm down. But otherwise, this book is not worth it, for too many reasons. I started to write them all and didn’t want to think about it anymore. 😅 ADDENDUM: A few months later, I can still remember the things that bothered me most about this book. 1. The absence of fathers, especially her own husband. 2. The generalization of all “western parenting.” If the author had visited a Montessori school (100% sure that San Francisco has a few) or a homeschooling large family, she would have discovered at least half of the things she found by traveling the world. (And I say that as neither a homeschooler nor a Montessori advocate!)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anya Bird

    To be fair, I didn’t realise this was a parenting book and thought it was more a history of how parenting practices developed. But it was awful. The author seems like she’s really lacking in any kind of normal parenting skills and is then absolutely amazed when other people are able to parent their children without shouting and crying. She gives ridiculous tips such as letting your child try things for themselves, wait until they are tired before putting them to bed and treat people you pay to l To be fair, I didn’t realise this was a parenting book and thought it was more a history of how parenting practices developed. But it was awful. The author seems like she’s really lacking in any kind of normal parenting skills and is then absolutely amazed when other people are able to parent their children without shouting and crying. She gives ridiculous tips such as letting your child try things for themselves, wait until they are tired before putting them to bed and treat people you pay to look after your child with respect. She acts as if the whole western world use her former awful parenting approach and like basically raising children in a normal way is revolutionary. Not to mention the sexist and heteronormative language and ideas throughout the book. This really was the worst thing I’ve read in a long time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Jerome

    Not worth the read. Author uses personal experiences as scientific evidence. She has a PhD in chemistry, not child development. I'm sure visiting other cultures and witnessing their lifestyles is very life changing, and made her parenting journey different, but the book makes her out to be a parenting expert. I'm not being mean, but honestly she's a mother of a toddler, she's surviving, just like all parents of toddlers. Lol Not worth the read. Author uses personal experiences as scientific evidence. She has a PhD in chemistry, not child development. I'm sure visiting other cultures and witnessing their lifestyles is very life changing, and made her parenting journey different, but the book makes her out to be a parenting expert. I'm not being mean, but honestly she's a mother of a toddler, she's surviving, just like all parents of toddlers. Lol

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

    Hmm. I do think some of Doucleff's conclusions are wrong because she ignored one huge glaring fact: all human beings, including children, have an inherent sin nature. Some of her conclusions also contradicted each other (for instance, that children should learn to control their emotions versus children should be free to express any emotions). But other ideas, while not original, were good and true. Yes, interacting with a wide variety of different ages is good for kids. Yes, responsibility is go Hmm. I do think some of Doucleff's conclusions are wrong because she ignored one huge glaring fact: all human beings, including children, have an inherent sin nature. Some of her conclusions also contradicted each other (for instance, that children should learn to control their emotions versus children should be free to express any emotions). But other ideas, while not original, were good and true. Yes, interacting with a wide variety of different ages is good for kids. Yes, responsibility is good for kids too! Mildly interesting audiobook.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Hansen

    When it comes to parenting books, this one takes the cake. It’s extraordinarily written with humor, fact, research, and stories from the author’s own family. She (author) values the wisdom and heritage of the families and cultures she learns from. The result is a truly encouraging, practical, and valuable guide for how to raise kiddos who will thrive; contribute to the family unit, become aware and act upon others’ needs, learn emotional regulation, and, above all, practice calmness and together When it comes to parenting books, this one takes the cake. It’s extraordinarily written with humor, fact, research, and stories from the author’s own family. She (author) values the wisdom and heritage of the families and cultures she learns from. The result is a truly encouraging, practical, and valuable guide for how to raise kiddos who will thrive; contribute to the family unit, become aware and act upon others’ needs, learn emotional regulation, and, above all, practice calmness and togetherness in a crazy world. Could not more highly recommend for parents of kids of all ages - wish I had read this sooner.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Huh: i think this has some good information, especially for new parents who may have had poor parents themselves. I think a lot of what she says, though, hasn't been lost? (Or, at least, how I feel I was raised?) So much of our contemporary problems -- including the isolation of parenting -- seem to stem from postwar attitudes towards suburbanization. Truly, it led to the isolation of families, the articulation of nuclear families instead of large extended families piled on top of one another to Huh: i think this has some good information, especially for new parents who may have had poor parents themselves. I think a lot of what she says, though, hasn't been lost? (Or, at least, how I feel I was raised?) So much of our contemporary problems -- including the isolation of parenting -- seem to stem from postwar attitudes towards suburbanization. Truly, it led to the isolation of families, the articulation of nuclear families instead of large extended families piled on top of one another to form a community where identity first cane from membership in the community (although she says that among some indigenous groups, alloparents are often not blood relatives), the articulation of childhood as something that needs to be extended/given/experienced, the decline of mom-n-pop shops where a child could be part of the family economy (obvs not all of this is squarely the fault of suburbs).... to name a few reasons why parenting is so difficult today. I think this book shone in some of the specific suggestions (ie, match the energy you want to model, which was astounding in the Inuit communities she visited). Modeling the behavior you wish to promote. Giving children purpose and community. Waiting, and letting the child take the initiative. All of which I think we as a society know, but somehow people keep telling us differently in order to make money. This book didn't really say much when it came to why we behave the way we do, nor was it unique in the claims. There was a very interesting piece in Time magazine about the cost of childcare (https://time.com/child-care-crisis/) and how it used to "take a village to raise a child," but now we have to "hire the village to raise a child." Yes, I know, Elizabeth Warren has a plan for childcare. And we should also pay teachers better salaries. Eh, sure, read it if you're having trouble getting your kid to bed. I can only comment so much, only being an "alloparent" very slightly and for short amounts of time. A note on the text: I thought it was decent of the author, to put 1/3 of her advance for the book to the communities she visited. It still smacks of some sort of tokenism. I also didn't care for her voice, having listened to the audiobook.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I'm no child psychology expert, but I have some experience teaching and working with young children. I was also once a child, and I remember what it was like to have parents who were often struggling for control over me and my sibling. So I suppose there are parents out there who need to hear the message within this book, but for me, there was little I gleaned as terribly useful. Its sometimes hard to tell whether the author is really this naive in parenting, or if she is emphasizing &/or exaggera I'm no child psychology expert, but I have some experience teaching and working with young children. I was also once a child, and I remember what it was like to have parents who were often struggling for control over me and my sibling. So I suppose there are parents out there who need to hear the message within this book, but for me, there was little I gleaned as terribly useful. Its sometimes hard to tell whether the author is really this naive in parenting, or if she is emphasizing &/or exaggerating her lamest moments and tendencies for 'marketing' purposes. She claims her style of parenting is the most prevalent in Western society (EuroAmerican), but I can't-- and just won't-- believe that to be true. Perhaps it is true of the metropolitan, and thereby privileged class of white Americans who tend to hire others to raise their children for them, though the author makes clear in the beginning that she had a rough childhood with abuse, fighting, and a constant need by her parents to execute control and power. I can definitely understand how those tendencies get handed down the line to our children, even when we try to break the cycle and offer a different upbringing. I did learn one very useful tactic that has worked with my child, that I thought he might be too young for at not-yet two years old: suggesting behaviors that Big Boys do, vs. babies. Although it doesn't work every time, it has influenced his potty training, his trail walks, his crying and tantrums, and his eating habits. But many of the other suggestions in this book (give the child a task in helping, stop dictating their every move, speaking over them, etc) does not seem like anything Western society discourages... even if many modern day parents don't understand this. But then again, I taught preschool, at least for a while, and I spent time getting to know child behavior, in addition to classroom management. But rather than read a book with some examples that give full credit to "Hunter/Gatherer" communities, parents can just ask a child therapist or their child's preschool teacher for some tips.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Em Stevens

    I would say that 75% of this book is interesting and exciting, 50% I feel emotionally capable of trying out at home, and if my family sees 20% improvement then I will race from mountain tops about it. **Edit. I want to say after sitting on this some time I still love the advice we've put in place. But this book was written from a STRONG white lady POV. And there were times, I realize, that I was skimming as I listened and missed some of the fetishistic wrting of other cultures that happened. So, I would say that 75% of this book is interesting and exciting, 50% I feel emotionally capable of trying out at home, and if my family sees 20% improvement then I will race from mountain tops about it. **Edit. I want to say after sitting on this some time I still love the advice we've put in place. But this book was written from a STRONG white lady POV. And there were times, I realize, that I was skimming as I listened and missed some of the fetishistic wrting of other cultures that happened. So, you know, be aware of that.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Wilson

    This read is definitely more personal than academic. Didn’t agree with some of the advice which goes against early language and communication development research (which is western culture based-yes). Child led play and getting on a child’s level is critical for children with language disorders/delays. Trying to get a child to engage in what you want and are doing is an end goal for children who are not attending or responding to others. I did enjoy the different perspectives from other cultures This read is definitely more personal than academic. Didn’t agree with some of the advice which goes against early language and communication development research (which is western culture based-yes). Child led play and getting on a child’s level is critical for children with language disorders/delays. Trying to get a child to engage in what you want and are doing is an end goal for children who are not attending or responding to others. I did enjoy the different perspectives from other cultures but it was all a little over generalized.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I like the feel of most of the advice in this book, but it feels cherry picked and anecdotal the way it's presented. If I'm being generous I can take away the spirit of it and be good with it, but at the end of the day, I'm just not sure entire systems of culture are really grab bags for parenting "tips". I'll just be generous and leave it be. Heaven knows it's a good idea to step outside your own framework and look back critically and this book definitely facilitates that. I like the feel of most of the advice in this book, but it feels cherry picked and anecdotal the way it's presented. If I'm being generous I can take away the spirit of it and be good with it, but at the end of the day, I'm just not sure entire systems of culture are really grab bags for parenting "tips". I'll just be generous and leave it be. Heaven knows it's a good idea to step outside your own framework and look back critically and this book definitely facilitates that.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jquick99

    This could have been a third of its length if there was a good editor. I don’t care about what people are wearing, what they look like... of the many, many people she talks to. It takes til nearly halfway to get to the knowledge part of the book. I suggest to get this in book form (I listened to the audiobook) so one can skim over the fluff.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Megan Roberts

    There were so many things in this book that I really loved but it was also extremely problematic. Would recommend with a large grain of salt.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Shelton

    I usually just delete books that I DNF but this one warrants somewhat of a review. I got about halfway through this one before I realized that I didn't care to finish (even though it's a book club pick, yikes. Sorry Sandra!!). My initial thoughts are that this is a privileged white woman teaching cultural parenting that she is not a part of. I'm happy that she is donating some proceeds, but it still just didn't sit right with me. Especially because it seemed like the author still missed the mark I usually just delete books that I DNF but this one warrants somewhat of a review. I got about halfway through this one before I realized that I didn't care to finish (even though it's a book club pick, yikes. Sorry Sandra!!). My initial thoughts are that this is a privileged white woman teaching cultural parenting that she is not a part of. I'm happy that she is donating some proceeds, but it still just didn't sit right with me. Especially because it seemed like the author still missed the mark in explaining some of the teachings. The narration was AWFUL, I did not enjoy her voice or inflections at all. As far as the (good) parenting advice goes, it seemed really in line with what I already do. For example, natural consequences, letting kids help no matter their abilities, teaching kids to help, involving kids in adult activities and outings instead of letting kids rule the schedule. What I don't condone is the sarcasm and shame that she attached to her parenting. There was a definite disconnect between listening to the stories from the indigenous families and then listening to how the author implemented them. For example, the author uses sarcasm to ask for help like "Don't help too much!" That kind of passive-aggressive communication is everything that we're trying to avoid in our household. She also implements shame into her communication. For example: "So and so didn't help. We could have finished faster if they did." "You need to try harder." "Oh, you didn't help because you're a baby?" It really grossed me out, to be honest. She also advocates not giving praise or thank yous for helping because it just becomes expected. I'm an adult who grew up with those strategies and I can say that all I ever wanted was a thank you and my perfectionist tendencies absolutely come from wanting to be recognized for the hard work I do that I never got as a child. A simple thank you to anyone can go a long way. Overall this book was a big no for me, and I don't think it would have changed if I had finished it according to a few other reviews that I read.

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