The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children

Alison Gopnik. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-374-22970-2
What a relief to find a book that takes a stand against the practice of “helicopter parenting” so prevalent today. Developmental psychologist Gopnik (The Philosophical Baby) provides comfort for parents who want their children to experience a free-form childhood where they can spread their wings and grow up into well-rounded, responsible adults. Her book not only dispels the myth of a single best model for good parenting but also backs up its proposals with real-life examples and research studies. Gopnik argues that the modern notion of parenting as a kind of avocation or career is “fundamentally misguided, from a scientific, philosophical, and political point of view, as well as a personal one.” Employing the two titular professions as metaphors for opposing approaches to parenting, she maintains that parents should not try to shape their children like a carpenter, but rather provide them with room to grow, like a gardener, into creative thinkers and problem solvers. “Being a parent is simply about loving children,” Gopnik states, except that “love is never simple.” This book will provide helpful inspiration for parents and may prompt some to rethink their strategies. An extensive bibliography of further recommended reading is included. Agent: Katinka Matson, Brockman Inc. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 04/18/2016
Release date: 08/09/2016
MP3 CD - 978-1-5366-1783-2
Ebook - 978-1-4299-4433-5
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