For every parenting philosophy, there’s a book out there to support it or to point out its perceived shortcomings. While the majority of parenting books can be read in a manner that allows parents and childcare providers to use the advice that works for their situation and discard the rest, there are some on the market that are strange or downright dangerous. These nine books are among the craziest on the market, with ideas of questionable effectiveness and safety.
- Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves – Naomi Aldort – While it may be the handbook for permissive parenting adherents, Naomi Aldort’s assertion that telling a child “no” or allowing any sort of negative natural consequences as a result of poor behavior is tantamount to child abuse virtually eliminates any boundaries or structure from the child’s life.
- On Becoming Baby Wise – Gary Ezzo – Touted as a solution for putting infants on a sleep schedule, Gary Ezzo’s book and the advice it contains has actually been specifically named by the American Academy of Pediatrics as dangerous. Linked to failure to thrive and dehydration, the intensely regulated schedule of Ezzo’s parenting method can actively harm a growing infant’s health.
- To Train Up a Child – Michael Pearl – While the advice in Michael and Debi Pearl’s book is reportedly based in Christian doctrine, it’s filled with misquotes and text taken out of context from the Bible to support the dangerous method prescribed within. Recommending whippings on bare skin for infants who can’t sleep or for those who are crying or seeking affection, the Pearls also suggest that parents whip a three-year-old until he’s “totally broken.”
- The Indigo Children – Lee Carroll – Rather than accepting that some children suffer from attention deficit disorder or have conditions that place them on the autism spectrum, author Lee Carroll insists that these “Indigo Children” are superior beings intended to usher in world peace and global prosperity.
- Radical Unschooling – Danya Martin – The concept of “unschooling” is gaining traction amongst homeschooling parents who feel a more natural, organic approach to learning is more effective than a rigid academic environment. When the concept is presented by an author who asserts that it’s better for a twelve-year-old to be illiterate than unhappy, however, it makes the practice seem a bit more questionable.
- Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay: And Other Things I Had to Learn as a New Mom - Stefanie Wilder-Taylor – Part memoir and part boozy parenting manifesto, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor’s meandering look at parenting makes raising children seem like something akin to torture. Actively bashing mothers who choose to breastfeed, making frank references to drug use and complaining about every aspect of parenting, Wilder-Taylor attempts to be humorous, but falls somewhere between “depressing” and “outrageous.”
- Creative Correction – Lisa Whelchel – There’s a reason why Lisa Whelchel is more famous for her stint on the 80′s sitcom staple The Facts of Life than offering parenting advice. While Creative Corrections does attempt to set boundaries and provide disciplinary alternatives to spanking, it reads as more of a how-to manual on humiliation and manipulation.
- Shepherding a Child’s Heart – Dr. Ted Tripp – The fact that this book was ostensibly written by a doctor seems to lend credence to the contents. Dr. Ted Tripp, however, is not a medical professional or a developmental specialist; he has an undergraduate in history and a doctorate from an Episcopal Seminary. Choice quote from the book: “If you are going to rescue your children from death, if you are going to root out the folly that is bound up in their hearts, if you are going to impart wisdom, you must use the rod.”
- Child Training Tips – Reb Bradley – Reb Bradley’s philosophy that all children are inherently evil and must be brought “up to maturity by twisting them against their nature” instills the idea into parents and their children that everyone is born bad and must be corrected, even if it means using physical violence.
In the end, the way that you parent is up to you. As long as you’re not actively harming your child or putting him in danger, you have the right so ascribe to any childrearing beliefs you please. While these books aren’t always accepted by parenting experts, developmental specialists or medical professionals as particularly effective, the way that you choose to parent is your prerogative.
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