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Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  83 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Abandon your insecurities. Trust your instincts. Enjoy raising a happy, considerate child.


What's the right way to parent? Any playground or online message board will supply as many opinions as there are adults. Every subject--from sleep training to time-outs to pacifiers--has its supporters and detract
ebook, 288 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Gallery Books (first published February 22nd 2010)
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Aubrey Denton
Apr 24, 2014 Aubrey Denton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was truly disappointed in this book - maybe my hopes were too high? It started out with the lovely premise that parenting is unique, that we shouldn't judge one another's parenting choices as long as kids are being given the basics of food, shelter, and love in whatever ways parents find works for them, and in an effort to raise decent human beings. She then proceeds to hypocritically tear down this premise by either defending or mocking a variety of parenting choices. On page 154-155, she is ...more
May 15, 2010 Courtney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is the poster child for why I dislike pop psychology. Hypocritical, opinionated nonsense for the most part. The author says she hates "self proclaimed experts," (but what about the real experts out there?"
So far I am loving this! It is entertaining, easy to get through, and I totally agree with the author's minimalistic attitude.

Ok, now that I'm finished with it, I still like it. There are parts I agree with, parts I don't. But I absolutely LOVED reading a parenting book that at least wasn't BORING! I actually looked forward to reading a short chapter or 2 while eating lunch, etc. And invariably I learned something interesting or at least entertaining that I would want to remember to tell my husb
Oct 07, 2011 Genny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This isn't exactly a "parenting" book in the sense that it tells you how to handle different situations. This books if full of real life experiences of the author as a step-mom/first time mom to her own child.

I enjoyed the personal stories and experiences she shared, observations she has made, and articles/books she has read, parents she has talked with about child rearing. But I think the most important message that came through this book was that there is not one right way to raise our childr
I enjoyed reading this book. I bought this book over the weekend, read it within two days and will read this book again soon!

Ada Calhoun's Instinctive Parenting is a well-written, interesting, funny and intelligent look at parenting in the 00s. It's not necessarily a how-to guide but mostly a memoir on how this NYC mom parents her son Oliver and is part of a progressive and interesting community of moms and dads. The book provides a thoughtful discussion on what being a parent means in these hyp
If I wrote a parenting book, it would probably be a lot like this one. So I mostly agree with Calhoun and have given her several silent mental high fives. (For example: It's fine if your kid doesn't feel like sharing, or feels angry, or whatever. Not fine: not sharing, hitting, etc. Children have a right to their feelings, but not necessarily the right to act on them or have them validated all the time.) On the other hand, what the heck do I know about anything? My kid is still in diapers (and s ...more
Sally Tsang
Jan 12, 2016 Sally Tsang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funny, commonsense and laid-back look at parenting and all the issues that plague first time parents. A good call to not sweat the small stuff (a lot of the stuff that seems big is actually small stuff) and trust that with love and the right priorities, our kids will turn out alright. An easy read full of humorous anecdotes of her own life as a parent.
Jul 13, 2014 Julie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Doesn't seem to have much to say other than, do what ever you think is probably fine, and your kids will be fine. That's what I've done,and so far so good. (Her son is all of 2 years old.) Not worth reading, IMHO.
Sep 26, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read. If you are looking for a list of parenting tips-look elsewhere. This isn't what this book is. If you are looking to learn something, you can probably get the gist within the first couple of chapters. Trust yourself, don't worry what the rest of the world is doing. However, it was well-written and I feel like she is a friend now. Even though some of her take was a little more worldly than my views are, I liked her down-to-earth common sense style. I think all first time mothers ...more
Unit of Raine
Easy, fast read. Probably because she's a blogger/editor and we have similar view points. So ... yeah. Kinda of a mirror and not informative.
Oct 08, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the parenting advice applies more to older babies and toddlers, I still had a great time reading this book. Ada Calhoun's stories made me laugh, especially the antecdotes about the parents who just go overboard trying to make everything "perfect." While I didn't agree with every single thing she said, I liked how her main message was something along the lines of; Relax. There are a million different parenting styles, so don't worry about being sucked into various camps. Your job is to rais ...more
Aug 26, 2010 Taylor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is basically nothing more than the authors experience of being a first time mother. Since I already have 2 kids of my own and have been through many of the same experiences I didn't really gain much from reading this. However, as I was reading this book there were many times that I was nodding my head in agreement with her. It made me feel like I wasn't alone in the world because many of her views on parenting were the same as my own.

I think this book would be a good read for someone
Aug 24, 2011 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not love this book more if I had given birth to it myself. There were so many quotes that I wanted to paste onto my facebook status or blog that I would have violated major copyright laws. I want to send copies of this to all my friends with young kids.

The only flaw I saw was that in a book where she is advocating parents being okay with whatever choices they make, she does judge some choices as "wacky" ("elimination communication" and "anti-vaccine" parents, most notably). I don't disag
I do recognize the irony in someone writing--and me reading--a book on parenting by instinct, but the book is really more a loose collection of short anecdotal essays, rather than a tome on How To Raise Your Child. It's an entertaining read in a way that parenting books usually aren't (this is the first one I haven't skipped all around in), and the main point is "you don't have to listen to so-called experts on everything; do what's right for YOUR family and YOUR kid," which is pretty refreshing ...more
Aug 30, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Pretty interesting book, although it felt more like a bunch of blogposts put in book form, which is fine. There were a few sections I greatly disagreed with, and a few that I very much enjoyed.

This isn't so much a parenting advice book as in "things you should do when your child does x,y or z" but more a parenting advice book filled with tidbits about how we should trust our own instincts as parents because, basically, as long as we're doing the best we can for our kids, we're doing it right.
Jessica L
This was an enjoyable quick read. The title is a tiny bit misleading, as it suggests this is an advice book. It really is more a collection of parenting-related essays tied together with a common theme: Don't stress out over all the conflicting advice out there. Instead, trust yourself and do what works for your family. I enjoy reading the submissions on (the website the author edits). This book takes the same tone as many of the Babble articles.
This book changed my life, it is like kryptonite for mommy guilt! I wrote to the author to let her know how much the book helped me and she responded with a very kind message. All you mommies out there, treat yourself to this one, Grandma's treat your daughters to this book, OBGYN's insist your post partum patients read it, pediatricians, insist your new sleep deprived mommies read this!!!
Nov 23, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I certainly did not agree with all of the positions that the author took, I felt respected by her words and cheered when she attempted to place some responsibility on the culture/society as far as helping family's raise kids. Also, a lot of what she says about the basics being most important make sense. In short: relax, everything will be okay.
Jun 08, 2011 Casey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is great. I really only agree with 70% of how she raises her kids, but that's ok. Her point is that we will all do it differently and the kid will mostly turn out how they are going to turn out anyway. This is a great read for parents and parents-to-be because it is simply about doing the best you can.
Sep 09, 2012 Terri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baby
This was okay but started getting repetitive quickly, and sometimes more judgmental than I liked. Being interested in what "experts" say doesn't make one a bad parent any more than not caring does. I did like some of the essays, though, and the overall message -- though I also skipped a lot of it as I got further in.
Dec 10, 2010 Kaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book isn't really prescriptive (as in, how to parent), but it offers some levity to all the intense theories out there and injects some common sense to the job of being a parent. As someone who is expecting twins in a matter of weeks, I found the middle ground tone reassuring.
Nicole Buhler
May 06, 2011 Nicole Buhler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
hilarious and so true! Takeaway: it doesn't matter how you raise your kids as long as you give them all of your love. Even if you have to work and put them in front of the TV with cheetos and french fries - if you love them they will turn out just fine.
More memoir than parenting advice. Entertaining and I had a few - yeah I did that - moments, but otherwise not worthy of my few spare reading moments. Although it was a good counterbalance to all the "Mommy Wars" articles spinning around lately.
Aug 08, 2010 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick read - I really enjoyed. It was like having a conversation with your best friend. I had fallen into the trap of worrying about every decision about well... everything regarding parenting. This helped me put things into perspective!
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
short, funny chapters with parenting insight and anecdotes. nothing earth-shattering, but amusing and spot-on. easy for parents to actually read since the chapters are short enough for reading during potty breaks. ;)
Jun 29, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My mom picked this up for me. The author has a fantastic sense of humor and a super laid back approach to parenting. It's contains lots of completely non-judgmental parenting 'advice' and I loved it.
Delina Soumis-roehm
Part of my wished I had read this book before having a baby. She makes some good points. I'd recommend it to a new mother or father to be that isn't set on a specific type of parenting.
Entertaining book filled with the author's personal stories and viewpoints on most of the current "hot" button parenting issues. Numerous laugh-out-loud moments - easy and fun read!
Jul 09, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book, would recommend it for any parent. The author takes a funny, sarcastic and realistic approach to all the parenting advice we get."
Ashly Nelson
Mar 25, 2015 Ashly Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny and very informative. I love the way she wrote it.
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Journalist Ada Calhoun is the author of St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street (W.W. Norton & Co., November 2015), one of “the most compelling nonfiction titles set to arrive in bookstores between now and December.” In a starred review, Kirkus calls it “An illuminating stroll through the decades of one of the most culturally significant streets in America…engagingly pers ...more
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