Friday, June 10, 2011

All of you who told me to stop reading the parenting books may have been right...

Tonight, Linda and I watched some of a documentary called Freakonomics. A section on parenting had this to say:
New parents look at successful families and successful parents, and they just want to copy them. And so they try to do the things they think they did to get their families so smart and good and whatever, which is really…can really be a bad mistake of correlation/causality. So, you’re gonna take your kid to every mommy and me music class, and you’re gonna take ‘em to the museum, and start looking at all the Greek and Roman sculptures. You probably already were playing Mozart in the womb you think just to get the brain really stimulated. And it turns out, that as best as we can tell, from looking at data of actual parents and children along these dimensions, that none of that stuff really matters. It just doesn’t make your child better. It might make you happier–might even make them happier, it could also make them miserable–but it turns out those are not causal elements.

I’ve always said, you can teach at much at the grocery store as you can in a museum, maybe more…The data we’ve looked at suggests that by the time you actually have a kid, most of the choices you make that will make you a good parent, you’ve already made them.

So if you go to the store and buy ten parenting books, it’s probably not going to really…help the kid that much. But the fact that you’re the kind of person, who as a parent cares enough to buy ten books even if you don’t read them, that probably means you’re a pretty good parent. I just don’t think that the books are gonna have a magic effect. 
I never thought a book was going to be a magic bullet, but I will admit to thinking that copying what another parent has done might work for Violet - isn't that what advice from other parents is based on?

201 days old

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