An excellent exploration of how parents push--and push back against--gender norms for th...more(There's a more detailed review at my website, First the Egg.)
An excellent exploration of how parents push--and push back against--gender norms for their children. I would give it four stars, but the bibliography is so thorough and bursting with stuff I want to read that it requires five.(less)
This book is a wide-ranging exploration--both personal and journalistic--of a well-defin...more(There's a more detailed review at my website, First the Egg.)
This book is a wide-ranging exploration--both personal and journalistic--of a well-defined core idea. Peskowitz looks at the problem often called "the mommy wars," which is generally understood in psychological terms of interpersonal conflict and "identity issues." But throughout the book, she insists: these are fundamentally structural issues at the societal level, not psychological issues at the individual level. I totally agree and enjoyed reading her particular development of this claim. While sometimes a bit repetitive, The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars is a strong, accessible, and refreshingly nonsexist treatment of a big cultural conversation.(less)
A very quick read--both because it's quite brief and because of its accessible, friendly...more(There's a more detailed review at my website, First the Egg.)
A very quick read--both because it's quite brief and because of its accessible, friendly, but still thoughtful tone--The Radical Doula Guide would be an important supplement to any doula training. The length of this guide means it doesn't achieve much depth, but--as Perez establishes clearly--its aim is to raise questions and put a thought process into motion.
The takeaway is that doulas should be aware of and educated about the inequalities and histories that affect pregnant/birthing individuals: race, nationality and citizenship, dis/ability, sexuality, gender, and so forth. Perez also introduces the idea of "full-spectrum" doula work, which encompasses abortion and miscarriage support as well as birth support. Even a person who would not choose to attend an abortion procedure would do well to think compassionately about the full range of pregnancy outcomes and be prepared for the reality that not every client's pregnancy ends in birth.(less)
This anthology is, like so many anthologies, a mixed bag.
It's great to hear a range of voices, including those of young parents, which are often left...moreThis anthology is, like so many anthologies, a mixed bag.
It's great to hear a range of voices, including those of young parents, which are often left out of parenting conversations. (I mean, our culture loves to talk about 'teen moms,' but not so much with them.) This collection is intended as a counterpoint to mainstream 'mom' memoirs, and it works pretty well in that capacity.
Some of the essays are just poorly-written and/or boring, though, and could have used more assertive editing. And some of the voices feel stilted and annoying to me--which probably is to say, I just flat-out disliked some of the narrators, who sounded like they thought they were extremely cool (perhaps a veneer over defensiveness?). On the other hand, some of the selections are beautiful, thoughtful, thought-provoking, funny, incisive.
A friendly warning: over halfway through a fairly cheerful book, there's a stretch of maybe five extremely depressing and triggery essays, which I happened to read while trying to get to sleep through insomnia born of a family tragedy. Didn't work super-well. There are enough emotionally intense bits to make me suggest not reading this book during a vulnerable period, like say the postpartum period.
I largely agree with this book's argument--that punishments (including time out and subtler "love-withdrawal" reactions) and even rewards (including a...moreI largely agree with this book's argument--that punishments (including time out and subtler "love-withdrawal" reactions) and even rewards (including a constant stream of "good job!" used to push children into doing/being/wanting what you want them to do/be/want or what is convenient for the adults around them) are really problematic and probably not even effective in gaining compliance ... if you really, in your heart, want "compliance." I don't like the whole concept of discipline and have been trying, for years, to move further and further away from it in our home and our relationships with our children. It's helpful to hear about studies exploring various aspects of this topic and to read Kohn's examples of various parenting techniques. I absolutely agree that parents would do well to be more aware of the power dynamics in our relationships with our children, and to be more respectful of them than the world around us is willing to be to young people.
However, the book feel repetitive and slow to me. I wish I could read the article version! Perhaps because I accept his premises (a lot of it felt obvious to me), and perhaps because I'm coming from a scholarly background (I want more data and analysis packed in more tightly), it just feels like 21 pages of information have been stretched to 221 pages. So I skimmed and skipped around and considering stopping and kept going and set it aside for weeks at a time and came back to it and so forth. I haven't actually read the whole book (thus my lack of a star rating here).(less)
I read this book as part of my research process for a writing project, and I started out mocking it--I mean, the self-help-y title invites mocking, ri...moreI read this book as part of my research process for a writing project, and I started out mocking it--I mean, the self-help-y title invites mocking, right?, the cover and photos feel really dated, and the introductory sections are titled "The Parenting Journey" (ralph) and "Developing a Vision for Your Family" (eyeroll). But this is actually a really good book.
The authors assume very little about the reader's family structure. Its examples do not draw solely upon straight, married parenting couples whose children have stereotypically white-upper-middle-class-American names. It feels genuinely inclusive without making a big deal about it.
The book tends to offer multiple approaches to each challenge or task and often explicitly states that very different families' approaches can be healthy and fine. It's trying to give people options, though they're pretty much all options from a gentle-parenting-while-respecting-the-child sort of approach. (I absolutely agree with its strong dismissal of spanking and its generally anti-authoritarian approach to discipline; I'm just saying that it's not doing a totally everything-to-everyone, values-free thing.)
Perhaps most amazingly, it's not sexist. It doesn't assume that mothers and fathers are, like, different species--or that "parent" is code for "mother." One chapter is titled "'But Girls Can't Do That': Helping Children Move Beyond Limiting Gender Roles": and it's quite good!
Disclaimer: I didn't read the whole book (thus the lack of a star rating); I just skimmed, paused for bits of interest to me, and read the gender chapter. So maybe some part of it is terrible, but not a part I encountered in my wanderings.(less)