Parenting Books – Contrasting the Old and the New

Parents looking for some direction and guidance for that most important of jobs, i.e. raising children, can find the plethora of parenting books out there rather confusing. We will compare and contrast two books below, one that has become something of a parenting classic over the past 30 years and one that is recently written book on the rather controversial subject of attachment parenting.

Book on attachment parenting by Mayim Bailik, PhD

Child TV actor and neuroscientist Mayim Bailik has just published a book on parenting, Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way, which is currently inviting some controversy and criticism.


Bailik advocates an instinctive approach to parenting – of doing what felt right emotionally and instinctually, rather than following a rigid parenting script. She recommends a child-led approach that draws on her scientific background as well as her personal experience as a mother of two.

Recommended controversial practices such as co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand, baby-led weaning, diaper less potty training, wearing the baby physically close in a sling and gentle discipline form the basis of the book, which is why it has invited criticism. This style of parenting has no yelling, spanking or timeouts.

Countering the outrage expressed by agencies and experts against co-sleeping, Bailik avers that she sleeps on a low surface with no extra pillows and blankets; also the possibility of rolling over the child in sleep is negated by no alcohol or heavy medications before bedtime.

She is of the view that if children need more cuddling, hugging and more breastfeeding, then parents should give it, rather than imposing their own views on a child as regards when he or she should become independent.

Parenting classic for 3 decades

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is a classic book on parent-child communication by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. The book is now in its 30th anniversary edition and updated with more recent insights but has long been lauded by critics and readers alike for it respectful, down to earth approach.

The aim of the book is to keep the channels of communication open between parents and children, so that parenting is less stressful and more rewarding. It tells parents how to deal with a child’s negative feelings, how to express anger without hurting the child, how to set limits but still maintain goodwill, resolve family conflicts peacefully and how to use alternative methods of punishment.

Both books undoubtedly have their merits but it depends upon the parent to decide which one has more merit!


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