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Paranoid Parenting: Why Ignoring the Experts May Be Best for Your Child Paperback – September 28, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (September 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556524641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556524646
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,196,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A sociologist at the University of Kent, author (The Culture of Fear), and father of a six-year-old, Furedi doesn't tout his Ph.D. on his book jacket, perhaps to distance himself from the "experts" he hopes to topple here. Furedi argues that parents are not just worried but downright paranoid, due, in part, to a glut of much-publicized expert advice. In a well-constructed diatribe, Furedi outlines how parents have become victims of scare tactics about everything from breast vs. bottle to whether to let their kids play outside. Furedi first takes readers through a series of topics, ranging from pedophiles to co-sleeping, only to debunk that very climate of fear and anxiety that he accuses others of fueling. Lashing out at such venerable experts as Penelope Leach, Benjamin Spock and others, Furedi notes that experts often disagree, contradict themselves and shift their advice in reaction to the moral and cultural attitudes of the time. Claiming that society has become "child-obsessed rather than child-centered" Furedi calls for a return to reliance on parents' own instincts, and for the re-establishment of adult trust and collaboration in caring for children. Though prone to occasional bouts of exaggeration, Furedi's text is unsettling and insightful, and contemporary parents are sure to recognize themselves in these pages. Parents weary of glancing over their shoulders every time they fill a baby's bottle or head for the park will find this a welcome departure. "Parents are no more ignorant than the experts," Furedi concludes. His overriding message parents know best is one many will be happy to heed.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In a time of child-snatching, Megan's Law, and "Amber alerts," Furedi (sociology, Univ. of Kent, UK) bravely critiques contemporary standards of child rearing. He asserts that self-described "experts" and the media have disenfranchised parents with pseudoscientific principles and contradictory advice. By exposing those myths and paradoxes, Furedi seeks to reempower parents with his global perspective, which reiterates the theories in many books and articles (e.g., the author's own Culture of Fear: Risk-Taking and the Morality of Low Expectations). His discussion relies on published research and statistics, interviews with parents, personal anecdotes, and a review of the most popular child-care manuals, ranging from those by Dr. Spock to Penelope Leach. This book is provocative, well argued, and clearly written, though the rhetoric can be stinging. Recommended for large public libraries and professional parenting collections, where it would complement similarly thoughtful and countercultural works like Bruno Bettelheim's A Good Enough Parent.
Antoinette Brinkman, MLS, Evansville, IN
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Frank Furedi lectured to me at the University of Kent, using this book as the basis for a series of lectures about trust in contemporary society. His dynamic style of teaching prompted me to read this book and some of his other work, all of which I have been very impressed with. His style is very readable for people who do not have a sociological/psychological background, and the subjects that he chooses to investigate are very interesting.
If this is something that you are interested in, then I highly recommend it, but I also recommend it for anyone who has children/looks after children as it will open your eyes to the truths behind what the media tells us. An insight into how to keep your children safe in todays society, and when you have gone too far, this book is a good buy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cyber Gypsy on October 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
I first came across Frank Furedi from a radio interview. Since then I have been reading everything he writes. Paranoid Parenting is my favorite so far! It is like a voice of sanity admist a mass delusion and unsubstantiated panic that has gripped the collective unconscious of the US and UK, eventually leading to an end to adult authority and parental power, with only "therapists" in charge. Furedi debunks infant determinism that therapy culture clings so hard to, and people who like to blame their parents for their failures probably won't like this book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Grossman on January 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a much needed book in our society right now. Furedi begins by discussing parental fears and parental over-protectiveness, and I don't agree with all his points there. I'm still going to be terrified of stranger abduction even if the odds are one in a million. Where he is strongest is in his critique of experts for undermining parental wisdom, parental authority when the topic is discipline, and his critique of a media culture that never tires of depicting parents in film and television as idiots and children as little sages.

He makes interesting points about infant determinism (the notion that an imperfect babyhood/childhood may very well condemn one to an entire life of ruin and misery), about the politicization of spanking and punishment in general, and about the self-interest of "experts" in making parents dependent upon them for every decision in order to justify their existence.

One of the most important points he makes is that so-called scientific studies, which many of these experts claim to employ in order to give their opinions a patina of scientific credibility, present results that change with the shifting sands. What was "proven" to promote infant/mother bonding last month is now "proven" to cause crib death this month, and so on.

If you regard Penelope Leach as a moron, as I do, and if you've ever read dozens of highly recommended and very popular childrearing books and rolled your eyes the whole way through, if you've ever felt disgusted by the way family is portrayed in the media, if you've ever wondered how and why "discipline" and "punishment" became such bad words, if you've ever tired of hearing people blame their problems on something relatively minor that occurred in childhood, and if you've ever wondered whether crib bumper pads are really a common killer and how your own children managed to survive them - then this book is for you.
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3 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Skoob on November 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book explains very well the growing paranoia of modern parents. This is a resolute attack against parenting determinism. It is regrettable, however, that the author's references are not more "scientific" than those he reproaches to parenting determinism advocates of using. Moreover, he is not far from praising spanking, which is "proven" very bad for children.
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