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Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids
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Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids

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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  28 reviews

Abandon your insecurities. Trust your instincts. Enjoy raising a happy, considerate child.

SMART CHILDREARING SENSE FROM THE FOUNDING EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF BABBLE.COM

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...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Gallery Books (first published February 22nd 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Aubrey Denton
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
Courtney
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?"
Jessica
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...more
Genny
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...more
Pamela
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...more
Hayden
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
Julie
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.
Julie
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
Sarah
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
Taylor
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...more
Holly
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...more
Brandy
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
Jessica
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 Babble.com (the website the author edits). This book takes the same tone as many of the Babble articles.
Jenn
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!!!
Sarah
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.
Casey
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.
Terri
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.
Kaye
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
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.
Nicole
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.
Heidi
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. ;)
Emily
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.
Emerald
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!
Lisa
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."
Jennifer
Practical advice that doesn't try to scare you. Thank you!
Quito Ferrer
Quito Ferrer marked it as to-read
Sep 04, 2014
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Ada Calhoun is a freelance journalist. She has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Time, Redbook, The New Republic, Glamour, and The Los Angeles Times. She has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review, founding editor-in-chief of the ASME-nominated Babble.com, a theater critic for New York magazine, and a New York Post city reporter.

She is the author o...more
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