Do Parents Matter? Why Japanese Babies Sleep Soundly, Mexican Siblings Don’t Fight, and American Families Should Just Relax

Robert A. and Sarah LeVine. PublicAffairs, $25.99 (372p) ISBN 978-1-61039-723-0
Harvard anthropologists Robert and Sarah LeVine examine parenting practices around the world in this illuminating and incisive text that aims for a fresh view of parenting in a wider context. The couple asserts that if parents in the U.S. knew more about how children are raised in other lands, they might forgo some of the “burdens” imposed by American culture and so-called experts. In one telling example (among many) the authors note that although bed-sharing is deemed dangerous by the American Academy of Pediatrics, throughout the world co-sleeping is quite commonplace. In Japan, they point out, where co-sleeping is universal, the infant mortality rate is among the world’s lowest, and the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is roughly half that of the U.S. And, while American parents stress over toilet training, many other cultures have a relaxed but effective approach. The authors’ survey leads them to assert that there is no “single pattern of parenting provided by evolution or historical necessity.” American readers will find the variety fascinating, whether or not they’re inspired to discard their cribs and nappies. Agent: Erika Storella, Gernert Company. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-61039-822-0
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