A cross between Bringing Up Bébé and The Smartest Kids in the World, NPR superstar Dr. Michaeleen Doucleff’s Hunt, Gather, Parent introduces a highly appealing idea for a world where frantic overparenting has become the norm, proposing that our ancestors may hold the answers to how to naturally master parenting where our modern theories have failed.
When Dr. Michaeleen Doucleff became a mother, she examined the studies behind modern parenting guidance and found that the evidence was frustratingly limited and the conclusions often ineffective. If all the might of contemporary Western psychology couldn’t supply the answers to her parenting questions, she began to wonder if an opposite approach was needed—one founded on traditional wisdom, like the knowledge and experience passed down over hundreds, even thousands, of years within ancient cultures. With her young daughter in tow, she traveled across the world to observe and practice parenting strategies alongside 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.
Dr. Doucleff soon learned 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.
In Hunt, Gather, Parent, Dr. Doucleff introduces us to families in the Maya, Inuit, and Hadzabe communities, where parents help little ones learn to control their emotions and reduce tantrums by the parents themselves controlling their own frustrations; foster self-sufficiency by safely giving kids the autonomy to manage risks and explore their limits; and motivate children to help with chores without using bribes or threats. Dr. Doucleff also talks to psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, and sociologists and explains how the tools and tips can impact children’s mental health and development. Packed with practical takeaways, Hunt, Gather, Parent helps us rethink the ways we relate to our children, and reveals a universal parenting paradigm adapted for modern American families.
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“THIS IS THE PARENTING BOOK I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!!! Frustrated by the challenges of being a new parent, investigative journalist Michaeleen Doucleff straps her kid on her back and travels thousands of miles to learn why and how indigenous cultures seem to raise kids to be far more skilled, confident, and content than the kids back at home. Armed with respect and curiosity, Doucleff realizes that incessant communication with her child while attempting to control every small thing leads her child to feel anxiety and act out. And that giving a child autonomy while building a loving connection yields highly skilled kids who cooperate, regulate their emotions, and pitch in without waiting to be asked. Smart, humbling, and revealing, Hunt, Gather, Parent should force a re-set of modern American parenting and return a healthier and happier childhood to both parents and children.”
Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author