Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Kids: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Raise Young Children” as Want to Read:
Kids: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Raise Young Children
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Kids: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Raise Young Children

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  96 ratings  ·  18 reviews
To what extent do our parenting practices help or hinder our children? As parents, how much influence do we have over what kind of people our children will grow up to be? In the follow-up to her critically acclaimed Our Babies, Ourselves, Cornell anthropologist Meredith Small now takes on these and other crucial questions about the development of preschool children aged on ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 8th 2002 by Anchor (first published 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Kids, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Kids

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 189)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
As a parent in America I sometimes feel like I'm part of some suspicious cult. I have to give up my lifestyle, adhere to a dogma that goes unquestioned among its followers and live in a compound away from the rest of society. This book raises questions about our beliefs regarding childhood. It uses comparative anthropology to show that these beliefs are recent in a social, economic and biological sense. So if you've been downright confused and displaced as a parent, this book is like a little "s ...more
Not as good as Our babies, Ourselves.
I read this and Small's other book, Our Babies Ourselves, in the same year, and I have the exact same problem with both of them. This problem is crystalized in this quote Small uses in the last (and worst) chapter in Kids:

"We in western culture treat our children how we'd like them to become, not how they are."

Meredith, THAT'S THE PREMISE OF YOUR DAMN BOOK. It's right there in the subhead. That's how cultures work. You can't simultaneously be an anthropologist (trained to be objective) and th
A book that explores what it means to grow up in the US vs other cultures. compares roles of children, speech, knowledge, abuse

Most of the information was what I have generally heard over the years, but she quotes many studies and includes great detail and comparisons.

the best chapter and what made this book worth the read is the last chapter "childhood's end".

"We in western culture treat our children how we'd like them to become, not how they are."

Anthropologist James McKenna

well stated and I w

This book was a quick overview of a lot of sociology and ethnography, and it was a bit dry in the beginning, but I did really enjoy it for shining a light parenting in the US. We assume we are doing the best, but we are doing what we are doing for a lot of complex reasons. On the one hand, our kids do have to grow up in our culture so we should give some deference to cultural cues of how we raise our kids. But we can at least look critically at a lot of the mainstream ideas of childhood, becaus
Hmmm... well, the thought was good, but I could not make it through this book. The premise is that we often (in "the West") think that there is only one way to raise children, and we are blind to the flexibility and differences other cultures offer. This book shows us the variety of ways children can be raised successfully to function within their culture. I find I am tired of reading that if I just was more like the whoevers my child would always do what I asked and help me clean the house. It ...more
This book gave me a lot to think about, but it was not as strong as the book that preceded it "Our Babies, Ourselves". It seemed that this time, Dr. Small had fewer concrete comparisons, or perhaps fewer strong arguments. However, throughout the course of the book, she is persuasive at getting the reader to think about differences in child rearing based upon culture, but also based upon Westernization, class, and values.

What I took from this book is that it would probably benefit my son to have
Jemma Z
Oddly, I didn't think that this book was very well written. There were many sections that were just clunky and I had to overlook the writing in order to focus on the facts. The subject matter itself was quite compelling and I had been searching for a book that said something like this for a while. When you is deep in early parenthood some many people offer advice or suggest books that essentially make you feel inadequate. It's not that this book is feel-good or anything like that, but it does of ...more
Recently reread this. Still good. I found it less helpful for making decisions in my own parenting as Babies was (or rather less confirming) but still very helpful in perspective. Some of my favorite parts: perspectives on the institution of schooling, boys vs girls, "socialization" and the wide variety of attitudes towards this, the concept of children being economic assets (along the lines of the impact of marriage on partnerships, not slavery).
Thomas S
The summary I got from the book is: put your kids to work early, have lots of kin, let your child interact with those of a variety of ages, and question whether or not preschool is any better than growing up like the rest of the world. I appreciated all the references, but all in all, the book was a good read, but perhaps a bit too fluffy for me.
Not nearly as much fun as her book about babies, and far too few examples from other countries. But, I learned a few useful things (like how parents approach discipline) and considered reading some of the other books that were recommended because of this one.
Jul 04, 2008 Kris marked it as to-read
I just started this - if it's as good as her other books, it ought to be amazing!
Great book! All parents and future parents should read this book.
Interesting and a quick read. A bit heavy on the evolution side.
Very interesting cross-cultural parenting insights.
I use this book in my child development class.
Oct 15, 2007 Tara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all parents
Again, brilliant insight on cultural parenting behaviour.
Melissa marked it as to-read
Jan 21, 2015
Gail added it
Jan 17, 2015
Eva Hurtova
Eva Hurtova is currently reading it
Jan 14, 2015
Amanda Harrison
Amanda Harrison marked it as to-read
Dec 06, 2014
Kody marked it as to-read
Nov 15, 2014
Laura marked it as to-read
Oct 26, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Meredith F. Small is a science journalist, anthropologist, and professor at Cornell University. Although well known from her award winning magazine writing, she is also the author os several trade books that take a anthropological look at parenting, sexuality, and mental illness. Her book Our Babies, Ourselves as been called a "cult classic" for parents, health professionals, and anyone interested ...more
More about Meredith Small...
Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent What's Love Got to Do with It? Naše děti, naše světy Fall Creek (Grace McCloud Mysteries) Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology & Culture Shape the Way We Parent

Share This Book