Do parents matter? : why Japanese babies sleep soundly, Mexican siblings don't fight, and American families should just relax

ISBN: 
9781610397230
Author: 
LeVine, Robert A. (Robert Alan), 1932- author
Publisher: 
PublicAffairs
Physical description: 
xxiii, 238 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Publishing date: 
September 6, 2016
Book Description: 

"In some parts of northwestern Nigeria, mothers studiously avoid making eye contact with their babies. Some Chinese parents go out of their way to seek confrontation with their toddlers. Japanese parents almost universally co-sleep with their infants, sometimes continuing to share a bed with them until age ten. Yet all these parents are as likely as Americans to have loving relationships with happy children. If these practices seem bizarre, or their results seem counterintuitive, it's not necessarily because other cultures have discovered the keys to understanding children. It might be more appropriate to say there are no keys-but Americans are driving themselves crazy trying to find them. When we're immersed in news articles and scientific findings proclaiming the importance of some factor or other, we often miss the bigger picture: that parents can only affect their children so much. Robert and Sarah LeVine, married anthropologists at Harvard University, have spent their lives researching parenting across the globe-starting with a trip to visit the Hausa people of Nigeria as newlyweds in 1969. Their decades of original research provide a new window onto the challenges of parenting and the ways that it is shaped by economic, cultural, and familial traditions. Their ability to put our modern struggles into global and historical perspective should calm many a nervous mother or father's nerves. It has become a truism to say that American parents are exhausted and overstressed about the health, intelligence, happiness, and success of their children. But as Robert and Sarah LeVine show, this is all part of our culture. And a look around the world may be just the thing to remind us that there are plenty of other choices to make"-- Provided by publisher.

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