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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. 4 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. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Fernberg

    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

    Traci at The Stacks

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 4 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.

  6. 5 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.

  7. 4 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This book was full of good insights and gave me a lot of things to think about. The author really poured her heart and soul into it and I admire her drive to figure out how to be a better parent to her little girl. That being said, this book was incredibly long winded. It really could’ve been half the length. And by the end I just felt really “meh” about it all. I do have lots of highlights that I’ll go back and look into. But overall, 3 stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I never write reviews for books on Goodreads but I have so many thoughts about this one! Overall I think it is great but am taking off a star for a few reasons. First, the good: I love her ideas about encouraging children's innate desire to be helpful, and to bring them into our "adult world" instead of keeping adult world and kid world separate. I love the stuff about intrinsic motivation. Having taught elementary school for five years I feel like this is something educators talk about constant I never write reviews for books on Goodreads but I have so many thoughts about this one! Overall I think it is great but am taking off a star for a few reasons. First, the good: I love her ideas about encouraging children's innate desire to be helpful, and to bring them into our "adult world" instead of keeping adult world and kid world separate. I love the stuff about intrinsic motivation. Having taught elementary school for five years I feel like this is something educators talk about constantly and the frustrating part is for all the experts telling us how crucial it is no one seems to have cracked the code on how to actually tap into it. I love that the author clearly outlines why external influences like sticker charts, rewards, and punishments are often ineffective and can actually weaken intrinsic motivation. I also really connected with her passages about praise- how we as parents can really overdo it with praise and how it often does more harm than good. I loved all of the passages about frustration and anger (one quote about this that I love and think about a lot: "The maintenance of equanimity under trying circumstances is the essential sign of maturity, of adulthood"). There is a passage in the book where she talks about living in an Inuit community and observing parents who are experts at being calm with their toddlers. These passages were my favorite parts and are the ones I think about most when reflecting on this book. The not-so-good: I came away from this book wondering, "Is play important?" It sort of feels like the author implies at several points (especially at the beginning when she is living in a Mayan community) that play is unimportant or at least overrated and not as important as teaching kids how to contribute and be in adult world. This is counter to everything I've ever learned in terms of early childhood education; I was taught that play is super important if not the most important thing young kids do. The author also recommends throwing away most of your kids' toys and not going on "child-centered activities" (ex: visits to the zoo, children's museums, etc) which seems extreme? The author states several times throughout the book that she finds most child-centered activities soul-crushing and awful and I think assumes all parents feel this way too. I couldn't help but think several times when she would moan about eating overpriced pizza at a theme park, "What if parents genuinely enjoy doing those things with their kids?" She seems to suggest it's to kids' detriment when we center our lives around them, which is something that I think happens naturally when you have children, and isn't necessarily a bad thing. I also felt at times that she was vague about what realistic expectations are for children in terms of behavior. There's a lot of parenting books out there (many of which are filled with conflicting advice) and sometimes the wealth of the information you get as a parent can be overwhelming, and frankly paralyzing! Overall I would recommend this book to new parents (especially parents of toddlers or very young kids), it's a fascinating read and full of good ideas.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

    Parenting is hard. If it weren’t there would not be thousands of parenting books. Parenting books can provide useful tools and procedures and having a game plan and a set of tools is essential. Some parents inherit these tools and procedures from their own families. Some parents take classes and/or read books. There are lots of helpful ideas about parenting here. I do feel like the author was a little naive in her complete disdain of western culture. It’s not all homogeneous and not all bad. Si Parenting is hard. If it weren’t there would not be thousands of parenting books. Parenting books can provide useful tools and procedures and having a game plan and a set of tools is essential. Some parents inherit these tools and procedures from their own families. Some parents take classes and/or read books. There are lots of helpful ideas about parenting here. I do feel like the author was a little naive in her complete disdain of western culture. It’s not all homogeneous and not all bad. Similarly, indigenous cultures were not all ideal. Remember human sacrifice? Some of the many good ideas here include working together with your children, creating an “on the same team” attitude, and being calm. “Never discipline in anger” is also an attitude I share. Cautions: The parent in this book is still in the early stages of parenting, and there were some approaches that may be problematic for the long term. The author frequently promotes the concept of the village and extended family helping raise children, but seems to have disregarded extended families in western culture. There are so many parenting styles among families in the U.S. that it’s hardly fair to lump them all together. And yet, one of the assets that people in indigenous cultures have is that everyone in a community is pretty much on the same page. It is far more difficult to use a parenting style that is unusual in your community, as other adults the child encounters will not share the same values or procedures. And yes, that’s both the beauty and the curse of diversity. It’s hard to find consistency but also it’s possible to learn to appreciate people with different values. All parents want to be better parents. I would say that it’s best to learn to pick and choose the most natural and effective tools for managing behavior, and continue to evolve your tools as your children grow and change.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    Geat book, I saw immediate results because I was prompted to first change my own attitude and perspective. Once I realised I needed to change my own expectations of my children first then I started applying some of the techniques on my kids. Already my oldest is helping more around the house, my youngest is more calm. I borrowed this book from the library but have purchased my own copy now. I love that this book didn't just preach at me about how I should behave, it also gave me tools on how to Geat book, I saw immediate results because I was prompted to first change my own attitude and perspective. Once I realised I needed to change my own expectations of my children first then I started applying some of the techniques on my kids. Already my oldest is helping more around the house, my youngest is more calm. I borrowed this book from the library but have purchased my own copy now. I love that this book didn't just preach at me about how I should behave, it also gave me tools on how to put things into practice. I'm talking step-by-step guidelines and a number of different techniques I can implement. This was something I have often found lacking in other parenting books. They have always told me what to do but not how to do it. I found the book just the right balance of practical tips and personal insight with the author reflecting on her journey with her own child. I found I could really relate to a lot of behaviour described in the book, from both her and her daughter. Thank you for writing this book!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amandanoel

    At times it definitely suffered from the “this should have been an article not a book” feeling of being a bit stretched/Repetitive HOWEVER that doesn’t take away from some really great ideas in the book and really interesting stories. Absolutely more soft science/examples and stories as opposed to studies so just a heads up about that. Also- not sure if I am relieved or even more frustrated that many of the examples cited in the book deal with societal/structural attitudes and practices around c At times it definitely suffered from the “this should have been an article not a book” feeling of being a bit stretched/Repetitive HOWEVER that doesn’t take away from some really great ideas in the book and really interesting stories. Absolutely more soft science/examples and stories as opposed to studies so just a heads up about that. Also- not sure if I am relieved or even more frustrated that many of the examples cited in the book deal with societal/structural attitudes and practices around children and childcare...

  14. 4 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.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    On the fence between 3 and 4 stars. Really interesting look at parenting in cultures other than the US upper middle class. This is an anecdotal book in consultation with some anthropologists and social scientists. It's not a rigorous scientific study, but that's okay as long as you read it knowing what it is. It feels like the author didn't acknowledge just how wealthy (and white) the version of parenting is that she presents as "American" or "Western." Still, I enjoyed reading this book and espe On the fence between 3 and 4 stars. Really interesting look at parenting in cultures other than the US upper middle class. This is an anecdotal book in consultation with some anthropologists and social scientists. It's not a rigorous scientific study, but that's okay as long as you read it knowing what it is. It feels like the author didn't acknowledge just how wealthy (and white) the version of parenting is that she presents as "American" or "Western." Still, I enjoyed reading this book and especially appreciated the tools and tips for implementing these values into our own parenting. Having read some articles on NPR as they came out that feature the insights in this book, I felt like I'd read a cliffs notes version of two of the three sections. But the build-out around bringing those observations back home was good.

  16. 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zibby Owens

    While the author was on assignment for NPR, he went to a small Maya village in the Yucatán. While he was there, he realized how skilled mothers were as parents and the relationship they had with their children with very little resistance— no yelling or screaming or negotiating. He noticed that Westerners are the exception. The conflict-ridden existence between parents and children is not universal or common. The author said, "So while I raised Rosy with essentially a single tool, a really loud h While the author was on assignment for NPR, he went to a small Maya village in the Yucatán. While he was there, he realized how skilled mothers were as parents and the relationship they had with their children with very little resistance— no yelling or screaming or negotiating. He noticed that Westerners are the exception. The conflict-ridden existence between parents and children is not universal or common. The author said, "So while I raised Rosy with essentially a single tool, a really loud hammer, many parents around the world wield a whole suite of precision instruments such as screwdrivers, pulleys, and levels that they can bring out as needed. In this book, we'll learn as much as possible about these super tools, including how to use them in your own home." In America, we tend to swing between two sides, strict micromanaging and free-range parenting, but most of the world sits in the middle. To listen to my interview with the author, go to my podcast at: https://zibbyowens.com/transcript/mic...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Felix

    I loved the insight into other parenting models, and how those practices help them avoid the pitfalls of Western parenting. I see the value in having diverse parenting styles at your disposal to pull from as needed, but I don’t like the notion that any one style of parenting is the best. Every kid/family needs a custom job to suit their needs.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    It was not as mind blowing as it was made out to be, but there was some good takeaways like the storytelling and alloparenting/community importance. The book reiterated basic parenting skills, so it was a nice reminder to read: "less talk, more walk" versus "do as I say not as I do." However, it was kind of annoying to read about the constant comparisons with the different cultures or her daughter to the other children, felt more like shaming. Like children and adults, cultures are different for It was not as mind blowing as it was made out to be, but there was some good takeaways like the storytelling and alloparenting/community importance. The book reiterated basic parenting skills, so it was a nice reminder to read: "less talk, more walk" versus "do as I say not as I do." However, it was kind of annoying to read about the constant comparisons with the different cultures or her daughter to the other children, felt more like shaming. Like children and adults, cultures are different for a reason; all have their upsides and downfalls. It'd be interesting to see how this would have played out had it been Michaeleen and a son or the father and Rosy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Good insights. Long journey. Put me to sleep every time I listened to it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Joy

    Maybe I enjoyed this because it reinforced a lot of things I actually do as a parent and reminded me to lean into those things (like using nonverbal communication, scaffolding tasks, considering developmental age of the child, focusing on connection). The section on developing autonomy definitely is my weak point as a parent, but it also was a weak point in the book as the author didn't really dig into practical applications in the same way as she did with other sections. Two things about the bo Maybe I enjoyed this because it reinforced a lot of things I actually do as a parent and reminded me to lean into those things (like using nonverbal communication, scaffolding tasks, considering developmental age of the child, focusing on connection). The section on developing autonomy definitely is my weak point as a parent, but it also was a weak point in the book as the author didn't really dig into practical applications in the same way as she did with other sections. Two things about the book itself: (1) the whole thing would have probably been better if she waited 10 years to publish it, given she references her own parenting experience constantly, and her daughter is only a preschool. TBH every preschooler seems magically improved in behavior between the ages of three and five. (2) she seems to assume whatever the small scale society parents do is good, not really unpacking the pieces. Every culture has it's goods and harms and it would have been better to examine those things more evenly. The fact that she calls these parents "super parents" is telling. (3) I did feel there was a helpful bridge here between "attachment parenting" and what comes next, something that other parenting books from an attachment perspective often fail to bridge. On a personal level it felt sad to read about all the benefits of alloparents, intergenerational relationships and community in March 2021 after a year of loneliness and disconnection. Overall, despite some flaws this was and enjoyable and highly practical parenting read. Would definitely recommend to others.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Akhil Jain

    My fav quotes (not a review): -Page 68 | "“Go upstairs to get toilet paper.” “Go to the other room to grab a pillow.” “Go outside to pick some mint.” Even simply walking across the room to get your shoes is a great task for a toddler. Go, go, go. Young kids love to go. Harness that energy while also teaching them to pay attention to the needs of others. “Hold the plate while we take the pancakes out of the pan.” “Hold the door while we take the garbage out.”" -Page 71 | "Instead of “Put away your pl My fav quotes (not a review): -Page 68 | "“Go upstairs to get toilet paper.” “Go to the other room to grab a pillow.” “Go outside to pick some mint.” Even simply walking across the room to get your shoes is a great task for a toddler. Go, go, go. Young kids love to go. Harness that energy while also teaching them to pay attention to the needs of others. “Hold the plate while we take the pancakes out of the pan.” “Hold the door while we take the garbage out.”" -Page 71 | "Instead of “Put away your plate after dinner” or “Fold your laundry,” you’re framing the tasks as a communal activity, such as “Let’s all work together to clean up the kitchen after dinner” or “Let’s all help fold the laundry as a family.”" -Page 93 | "I also really love playgrounds, if you can believe it. I love watching the birds, reading a book, or writing in a notebook. I love that playgrounds bring together kids of all ages. But I don’t like playing on a playground. That turns the activity from family-centered to child-centered, in my mind. So Rosy and I go to the playground often, but I work while she plays." -Page 166 "In this way, physicality is a bit like a Swiss Army pocketknife. It offers several tools in one. You can gently touch a child’s arm or rub her back to curtail a rising tantrum, or you can pick her up and bounce her on your knee when you see an outburst gathering. Physicality can also land somewhere between the two ends of the spectrum. You can give a child a bunch of Inuit kisses or kuniks (e.g., sniffs with your nose) on the cheek, a little tickle under the arm, or a raspberry on the belly. Either way, the physicality tool is a way of showing a child that they’re safe and loved, and that there’s a calmer—and stronger—person taking care of them. “Physical touch breaks the tension between a child and parent. When you calmly hug a screaming two-year-old or softly touch the shoulder of a crying eight-year-old, you speak directly to the most accessible part of their brain, and in doing so, you communicate more effectively with the child." -Page 181 "Every time Rosy said something nasty, or screamed that she wanted two cookies instead of one, or just acted bratty, I said in that same matter-of-fact way, “Who’s being disrespectful?” I couldn’t tell how much she had absorbed. But ten days into this experiment, I finally receive a clue. While the two of us lie next to each other in bed, chatting about the day at school, she suddenly asks, “Mama, what does disrespectful mean?” Aha! She is listening—and she’s thinking." -Page 195 "Awe. Help the child replace their anger with the emotion of awe. Look around and find something beautiful. Tell the child, in the calmest, most gentle voice, “Oh wow, the moon is so beautiful tonight. Do you see it?” Outside. If the child still won’t calm down, take them outside for some fresh air. Gently lead them outside or pick them up." -Page 195 "Consequence puzzle. Calmly state the consequences of the child’s actions, then walk away (e.g., “You’re going to fall off and hurt yourself”). Question. Instead of issuing a command or instruction, ask the child a question (e.g., “Who’s being mean to Freddie?” when a child hits a sibling, or “Who’s being disrespectful?”" -Page 218 "Larry says, wait for a calm, peaceful moment during the day (not at bedtime) and say something like this to the child: “Hey, Rosy, I’ve noticed there’s been a lot of arguing around bedtime. Let’s play a game about that. You can simply ask, “Who do you want to be in the play? Do you want to be the mom and I’ll be Rosy?”" -Page 218 "“Don’t be afraid to be outrageous and really exaggerate the bad behavior and its repercussions,” Larry says. “The goal is to laugh, have fun, and release tension that’s built up around the problem. So the more outrageous the better.”" -Page 218 "Bring the problem to the play zone. Some parents may worry about modeling the wrong behavior. But children can tell the difference between play and real life, Larry says. “During this type of play, the child isn’t going to remember the ‘modeling.’ But instead, she will remember the human connection, the creativity, and tension release.”" -Page 222 "Bring an inanimate object to life. Have a stuffed animal, piece of clothing, or other inanimate object help you coax a child to complete a task." -Page 264 "Stop being a ventriloquist. Make it a goal to stop speaking for your child or telling them what to say. Let them answer questions directed at them, order at restaurants, decide when to say “Please” and “Thank you.”"

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    In popular press books, and especially in parenting books, there's always the figure of the editor and the publisher lurking behind the author. Did Doucleff really want to research, write and publish about "What Ancient Cultures can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Humans" or does this tag and concept nicely dovetail into a cultural obsession with how anyone thousands of years ago and/or in another country does things better than we do here and now? Does this book bridge the In popular press books, and especially in parenting books, there's always the figure of the editor and the publisher lurking behind the author. Did Doucleff really want to research, write and publish about "What Ancient Cultures can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Humans" or does this tag and concept nicely dovetail into a cultural obsession with how anyone thousands of years ago and/or in another country does things better than we do here and now? Does this book bridge the divide between Bringing up Bebe and the paleo diet? The introduction to the whole book, as well as the bucolic introductions to each of the "ancient cultures," suggest so. Doucleff comes across as surprisingly anti-scientific for a PhD in chemistry as she expresses her frustration with modern research-based child-rearing, including--weirdly enough, because it's pretty well established--precautions against SIDS. I'm sure she would be mortified to hear it, but, sister, you are just one intuitive leap from anti-vax rhetoric. It's true that child development has, like every social science, suffered from a lot of garbage studies that never got replicated. And it's true that a lot of disproven or impractical parenting advice outstays its welcome. But it's also true that "what has worked for thousands of years" in other cultures might be a really bad idea, too. For example, footbinding in China persisted for more than 1,000 years; I'm not interested in bringing it back. Female infanticide in some Polynesian cultures. Genital mutilation. (In fact, all kinds of abuse and disfigurement of women children.) But there's also the more benign stuff that's bad, like not letting women breastfeed their babies and keeping kids wrapped up in stinky rags for days on end, as Rousseau describes in Emile . There's a lot of persistent bad ideas that contributed to high infant (and maternal) mortality rates through those thousands of years. So if I'm so opposed to the primary philosophy behind this book, why am I giving it four stars? Because of the particulars. The advice from this book, the takeaways, are fantastic. It's absolutely true that the modern (read: the 21st century, upper-middle class, college-educated, coastal) way of parenting is bonkers bananas. Constantly indulging kids is bad for them and bad for parents. It creates a series of battles and resentment and perceptual ill-will, and, indeed, it doesn't "raise" the kids--they don't become adults. Instead, say Mayan and Inuit and hunter-gatherer tribes in South America and East Africa, bring the kids into the adult world. * Have kids participate in family activities and work that matters, whether that work is gathering fruit for the whole tribe or doing laundry together. I especially like the "together" aspect--instead of sending the kid off to clean their room and then being mad they do a bad job, work together as a family to clean the house, seeing yourself as a mentor of "how to clean" for your kid. * Emphasize that losing one's temper, hitting and screaming are behaviors of small children. Don't be surprised if kids do them, and certain you don't engage in them, and also teach children that they want to grow up and leave this childish outbursts behind. * Engage a wide "alloparent" network to bring kids into the adult world, give yourself a break, and demonstrate the wide variety of acceptable adult lifestyles in your community. Alloparents can also include other kids, even just slightly older kids. (See "have the kids participate in family work" above.) These are important antidotes to a kid-centered parenting philosophy that brings the adult into the kid world without bringing the kid into the adult world. They aren't, though, exclusive to the exotic locales where Doucleff dreamily recounts the sun over the Serengeti or the pink of a 19th-century Spanish church. She mentions off-hand that her husband's father had a similar upbringing as a child of immigrants working in the family bakery, and I think many families of all nationalities and cultures who live on farms and ranches, or run a family business, or even just have large numbers of children, will probably see a lot of familiar parenting in these pages.

  24. 4 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".

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marshiela

    I'm glad someone straighten this parenting thing out because I was beginning to be anxious just thinking about how crazy frantic panic I will become if I get to be a parent myself. Everywhere I see the metamorphosis of meek girls into helicopter mothers - evidence that parenting must be one sacrificial transformation. Yikes. Additionally, I picked up this book because the neighbours' kids were getting on our nerves day in and out and I was not ready to accept that that was just how kids are. Lol I'm glad someone straighten this parenting thing out because I was beginning to be anxious just thinking about how crazy frantic panic I will become if I get to be a parent myself. Everywhere I see the metamorphosis of meek girls into helicopter mothers - evidence that parenting must be one sacrificial transformation. Yikes. Additionally, I picked up this book because the neighbours' kids were getting on our nerves day in and out and I was not ready to accept that that was just how kids are. Lol. In America and modern societies where we take our cue from Euro-American culture, this parenting frenzy is becoming so worryingly common, dysfunctional and non-sustainable. It is almost as if we as a species forgot how to parent! What is told in this book is parenting from another counter-intuitive point of view, and it offers an explanation of how we got here, how parenting got to be this way today, and how parenting is supposed to be. If we just take a look at non-modern/non-western societies, parents and children actually evolve to co-exist together where both sides thrive and this is also part of how our species sustain ourselves. To over-control the children just makes them anxious, misbehaving and produce exhausted parents. No one is happy and all worse as a result. :( What struck me was within the first few pages was how the author highlighted the massive bias we have in the field of Psychology - whereby theories and conclusions examined in this field mostly use WEIRD sample. i.e. "White, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic." - which only accounts for 12% of world population. Since I have a degree in Psychology as well, this was a splash of cold water to the face and a great reminder that whatever I learned must be taken with a big dose of humility and most likely - not universally applicable. Relatably, parenting books which are written largely by and for Euro-American audience are providing advice that is not applicable universally. WEIRD societies are the exceptions. They are doing this parenting thing differently than the rest of the world - good intentions, but not with the results everyone wants. So what can we learn about non-WEIRD societies? The author + her toddler travelled to 3 far-flung societies: Maya, Hadzabe (Africa), and Inuit to immerse first hand how this parenting thing function which resulted from generations after generations of that society, having gone through trials and errors to now be practicing the best methods which all sides: parents, families, and children thrive together. The way she practice it first hand on her toddler is much appreciated, because the methods then are tried and tested. You can read everything for yourself and like me, have your huge lightbulb moment.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marya

    Micaheleen Doucleff (the PhD is in Chemistry, not the social sciences, so she is acting as journalist rather than a researcher here) is a new parent who is already fed up with the entire experience. She's read the parenting manuals and they just aren't helping. Setting her sites more globally, Doucleff visits three non-Western cultures to see what parenting advice she can glean from those cultures' "ancient wisdom". The book is a compilation of ideas she discovered that worked out for her when d Micaheleen Doucleff (the PhD is in Chemistry, not the social sciences, so she is acting as journalist rather than a researcher here) is a new parent who is already fed up with the entire experience. She's read the parenting manuals and they just aren't helping. Setting her sites more globally, Doucleff visits three non-Western cultures to see what parenting advice she can glean from those cultures' "ancient wisdom". The book is a compilation of ideas she discovered that worked out for her when dealing with her own toddler/preschool aged daughter. For example, she visits the Maya to learn the art of "togetherness". In the Mayan households she enters, there are no kiddie toys, no kiddie events like bouncy castle parties, and a child's play is helping Mom make dinner. This creates "helpful" children who contribute without complaint in the running of the household. It's a nice observation, especially when compared to the "Western" household where there are too many toys, too many 3 year old birthday parties with bouncy castles, and kids never help out in running the household with being paid for it. Doucleff quickly adapts her parenting style to more closely match the Mayans to save herself and her daughter from such a fate. But then, why do "Westerners" (scare quotes reflect a very specific privileged Westerner) parent this way if it's such a nightmare? Maybe it's because they are transmitting a different set of cultural values. Like the idea of private property. Like the idea of the individual's needs separate from their family's. Like the idea that all labor has monetary value. The point here is that parenting is a cultural practice that cannot be ripped out of the cultural context it occurs in. Even if one were to shun those values, merely living in that culture would make it impossible to ignore them altogether. Doucleff's book is amazing in that it lays these cultural ideas bare and raises so many questions about what it is we value enough to pass down to the next generation.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mirele Kessous

    It’s pretty rare to stumble upon a book that changes your life, but I was lucky enough to discover this gem. Doucleffe asks: What if we threw our Western notions of parenting out the window and examined how ancient cultures have been raising happy, helpful, respectful and confident young people for generations? So much of what we are taught about parenting is false. Doucleffe applies her journalistic chops to solve the question of how to get her young daughter to behave. Together, they travel to It’s pretty rare to stumble upon a book that changes your life, but I was lucky enough to discover this gem. Doucleffe asks: What if we threw our Western notions of parenting out the window and examined how ancient cultures have been raising happy, helpful, respectful and confident young people for generations? So much of what we are taught about parenting is false. Doucleffe applies her journalistic chops to solve the question of how to get her young daughter to behave. Together, they travel to far-flung places and live in multiple different non-Western communities to learn alternative methods of parenting. So if you’re like me, with 3 young children and working full-time and feeling as though your home life is a constant tornado, do yourself a favor and read this book. It is not without faults, of course. I think that some of the advice and practices Doucleffe touts are more difficult to swing with more than one child (and especially with multiple children under 6). Doucleffe has the luxury of being able to try her methods on just one child with a husband at hand to help out. So if you are a single parent or a parent of multiple young kids, you will find some of the exercises impractical. The vast majority of the book, however, is useful not just for parents but also for teachers or anyone else who works with children ages 0-10. I also admire Doucleffe’s honesty about how challenging it is to parent a young child and her feelings towards Rosie during those moments. I wish I had read this before I had children, but as Doucleffe points out, it’s never too late to make a change. Children are so adaptable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katie Marquette

    I really enjoyed this book. A healthy dose of common sense really... So much of modern, specifically Western parenting is so bizarre. I'm already experiencing the gap between the stated advice and the lived reality of life with a newborn. Much of this book is aimed more toward toddlers and young children but I'm happy to be reading it now with a 3-week-old. Maybe I'll remember some of this advice in a few years. But essentially the main takeaways are that children like to be treated like people. I really enjoyed this book. A healthy dose of common sense really... So much of modern, specifically Western parenting is so bizarre. I'm already experiencing the gap between the stated advice and the lived reality of life with a newborn. Much of this book is aimed more toward toddlers and young children but I'm happy to be reading it now with a 3-week-old. Maybe I'll remember some of this advice in a few years. But essentially the main takeaways are that children like to be treated like people. They like to be independent and autonomous. They like to be given responsibility. They don't like to be micromanaged. And while I suppressed some inner rage reading about the unlimitable patience of the Inuit tribe and the fact that apparently many women there are silent while they give birth... There's so much wisdom to be gained from cultures that have not been distracted and exhausted by our technological consumerist culture. some of the advice will be taken with acan grain of salt of course. I don't live in a hunter gatherer society and as much as I would love t o have a tribe of women living with me while we prepare to go gather water (No joke this actually sounds great) That's not my life. My daughter's going to be spending a lot more one-on-one time with me than in a different society. This will have its ups and downs. We also probably won't be foraging for our food. It is what it is. But there are many universal lessons to be learned that can be applied across cultures: kindness, respect, patience. I also loved hearing about the author's young daughter Rosy and how all this advice panned out in real life. Spoiler, it works!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    I do want to read it again, as I'm very sure I glazed over parts of it. I did enjoy most of this advice and can see how it would work. Some of it I recognize as things I learned from my own family, which shouldn't be too surprising bc my grandma is Inupiaq, which is a close tribe to the Inuit. I do not agree with some of it, such as calling young kids babies when they don't behave. Also the whole portion on older siblings taking care of younger siblings... I was that eldest daughter and I had to I do want to read it again, as I'm very sure I glazed over parts of it. I did enjoy most of this advice and can see how it would work. Some of it I recognize as things I learned from my own family, which shouldn't be too surprising bc my grandma is Inupiaq, which is a close tribe to the Inuit. I do not agree with some of it, such as calling young kids babies when they don't behave. Also the whole portion on older siblings taking care of younger siblings... I was that eldest daughter and I had to unravel a lot of baggage around being in that role as I got older. (I love my sisters very much, and am proud of our relationships, but it could have gone a different way easily.) Your oldest children do not get a say when you have more kids, so that responsibility should not be on them. I was worried before reading this book bc of the implication that "ancient" is indeed ancient. The author did an okay job highlighting that these tips come from cultures that are very much alive and relevant today, but I wish that part wasn't in the title. Theres some typical "white gaze" stuff that goes on too, but I think the author does try... she just misses the mark sometimes and it made me wince. I also have to wonder what parts she is misinterpreting or not fully grasping bc of the cultural difference. No matter what there are things her host families would take for granted that "everyone knows" that she would not know, wouldn't know to ask, and they wouldn't think to explain. Would love to see a book like this from one of the families that helped her write hers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peyton Parra

    This was a super intriguing & insightful book that juxtaposes western (specifically, American) parenting methods with those of traditional hunter-gatherers. The author is a young & exhausted mother to her 3-year-old “Rosy.” She & Rosy travel around the world to learn from other cultures how to work smarter - not harder - in their mother/daughter relationship and entire family dynamic. Filled with many entertaining stories from her travels to villages in Mexico, the Arctic Circle, & Tanzania, Dou This was a super intriguing & insightful book that juxtaposes western (specifically, American) parenting methods with those of traditional hunter-gatherers. The author is a young & exhausted mother to her 3-year-old “Rosy.” She & Rosy travel around the world to learn from other cultures how to work smarter - not harder - in their mother/daughter relationship and entire family dynamic. Filled with many entertaining stories from her travels to villages in Mexico, the Arctic Circle, & Tanzania, Doucleff offers her readers practical parenting tips for a “team” approach to parenting (as opposed to the common helicopter or free-range parenting methods). “Team” stands for togetherness, encouragement, autonomy, & minimal interference. America certainly isn’t a remote village, but I believe many of these tips can translate easily into Western homes with a bit of intentionality & practice...such as - allowing kiddos to entertain themselves and cultivate imagination, harnessing their intrinsic motivation to help others (although it will make a mess or hinder the efficiency of the task), fluid collaboration, non-verbal communication, & connectedness within a family. “Western individualism goes against our innately human desire - and need - to be together and collaborate. Also forcing independence doesn’t allow kids to develop at their own pace.” “Rosy’s life seems confined, even imprisoned, by contrast...she lives constantly under the watchful eyes and through it all, she receives a constant stream of instructions.”

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