Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Several parenting books that might be worth looking at.

One thing that we learned when we found out we were going to be parents is that advice is cheap and mostly wrong. It is like the island of Laputa in Gulliver's Travels, where they have a device, the Engine, that records permutations of every sentence possible and then claim they have the sum total of human knowledge. Problem is that they don't know which of the statements are true and which are false. So it is with parenting books.

Much of the advice seems to follow fashion, and what was right a few years ago is wrong now, thus you can find books that contradict each other. We tend to follow a common-sensical approach (Wrong, I know.) The books we liked so far are:

New Parent (a year or two now) Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing and authorial fame has recommended a few good books along our parenting style. His latest recommendation is If Your Kid Eats This Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay. I haven't gone to get it yet, so caveat emptor.

I myself like the The Baby Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance. It is a no nonsense, almost engineer;s approach to knowing all of the things you need to know if you are not familiar with taking care of babies and children, which as a youngest child who never babysat, describes me. It also has some gentle humor describing your "model", baby, and good diagrams.

Another book we liked is Free Range Kids, by the author of the Free Range Kids blog. They subscribe to the general "don't freak out" parenting philosophy that lets kids explore and learn. It is a good antidote to the wrap Linus in foam panic that sometimes threatens to overwhelm my good sense and knowledge of statistics.

I also liked, My Mother Wears Combat Boots: A Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us, which is more of a counter culture approach to raising children and is the interesting story and experience of a woman who was trying to go against the ingrained culture and establishment of child bearing and rearing to bring a little creativity and openness to the process. Ironically she seems a little close-minded to the good parts of the mainstream, which sometimes generates its own problems, bu the view point is welcome and she has good advice to offer and good experiences to learn from.

I am still reading, Future Generation: The Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends and Others, a collection of parenting advice and stories from the one punk zine subculture.

I like to read the counter-culture books on child rearing because the culture books and view point is pretty well covered in the media and by books that were gifts or hand me downs from friends. I am either developing a balanced view of child rearing or a split personality one.

It is like I often advise people, "After this sentence, my advice is to take no advice from me."

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