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Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids Hardcover – March 16, 2010

3.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"With Instinctive Parenting, Ada Calhoun has captured the zeitgeist of the postmodern American family in the uniquely compelling voice that has made her the brightest star in the new generation of parenting writers. I loved this book and can't wait to hand it out to all of my pregnant friends." -- Katie Allison Granju, author of Attachment Parenting

"Why did I ever worry about motherhood? I read this book and was instantly cured!" -- Lisa Crystal Carver, author of Dancing Queen

"Thank you, Ada Calhoun! Instinctive Parenting injects sensitivity, smarts, and a welcome dose of sanity into the often-overwrought process of raising kids. Prospective parents: Never mind What to Expect -- this is What You Need." -- Pamela Paul, author of Parenting, Inc.

"This book is light and funny and also very wise and wonderful." -- Tara McKelvey, author of Monstering

"From the delivery room to the playground and beyond, Ada Calhoun bravely defies the cult of perfection today's new parents must endure. No bossy, patronizing advice given here, Instinctive Parenting simply encourages parents to rely on their own good judgment and trust themselves (and each other) to raise their children -- not perfectly -- but perfectly well." -- Kathryn J. Alexander, coauthor of Easy Labor: Every Woman's Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth

"I love this book. It's smart, funny, and easy to read. More importantly, it's an advice book that 1) won't stress you out, and 2) is worth its weight in gold." -- Kathleen Hanna

"The book I've been desperate for has arrived -- a common sense and compassionate approach to helping parents navigate the task of raising a child. Most importantly, it reminds us we are not alone and that we can trust ourselves." -- Lili Taylor

About the Author

Ada Calhoun was the founding editor-in-chief of the award-winning parenting site Babble.com. She is the co-author of Tim Gunn's book Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making it Work, and has written for the New York Times, New York magazine, the New York Post, Salon.com and TIME magazine. She lives in New York City with her husband and young son.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439157294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439157299
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,667,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Salinger, Holistic Nurse Practitioner TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm surprised this book has such mediocre reviews. Perhaps folks were expecting parenting advice, despite the pretty overt title "Instinctive Parenting"? (If you are seeking specific guidance on how to parent in a manner that seems more natural and instinctive, consider the books I recommend below)

the whole point of the book is to demonstrate that you need to trust your own instincts on what is best for your baby & child. Society, media, neighbors, friends, family will all be more than happy to try and convince you that THIS or THAT needs to be done in order to be a good parent. This is especially so in our consumer driven society.

The author touches on the pressures in our culture around parenting - from buying the "in" baby equipment, to parenting in a particular style. Essentially, we're all individuals who have differing needs and styles and there are no one size fits all. Follow your instincts - our species has survived thousands of years without Dr. Spock, Baby sleep trainers, High-end strollers, seperate rooms for babies, etc. Most of the needs we associate with babies today are purely the constructs of our culture or society. Go to a different culture and things are done differently.

Two great parenting books that discuss an instinctive parenting style in more detail, including how it's been done across the globe both currently and in the past are:

Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent - an absolutely amazing book comparing the way babies are viewed and cared for in various societies from the perspective of an anthropologist who became a mom herself and was curious.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ada Calhoun's book on parenting is mostly an account of her experiences, observations, and lessons while raising her first child, Oliver. Calhoun's book is witty, thought-provoking, and just plain honest. Her book is divided into three categories: shelter, food, and love.

The premise behind Calhoun's book is basically what the title implies: instinctive child-raising. Rather than focusing too much on others' advice or trying to be the perfect parent, Calhoun recounts her parenting as natural, trial and error. Calhoun does not instruct on how to be the perfect parent; instead, she focuses on trusting herself first as a parent, which is essential in any situation, particularly while raising a child. She rejects the notion that parenting should be stressful and negative, and instead highlights that parenting should be joyful and fun, while also challenging. Calhoun often adds personal anecdotes, not only to add relatable parent experiences, but also to add humor. Calhoun also effectively addresses the importance of nurturing, loving, and teaching your child how to be little civil servants, which all contribute to creating a happy, independent, and loving child, and a good adult.

In sum, Calhoun encourages parents to remind themselves that whatever they are doing to raise their child is RIGHT, and no blog or magazine article should dictate how parents should do their job. As mentioned previously, she reinforces this idea by describing her personal stories to make parenting experiences applicable to all parents. I recommend this book to a self-conscious parent such as myself, the mother who needs a little motivation in her parenting ability to feel successful and peaceful with what she does each day to raise her child.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really enjoyed reading about Ada Calhouns parenting experience as it pertains to her time with her young son. She seems like someone who I would genuinely like hanging out with and someone who seems to be laid back about life and it's foibles. The last thing one needs in this stressful world is someone who just adds stress to their life and stupid restrictions but surprisingly we are surrounded at all sides by such people. Lucky for us, Ada Calhoun is there for us and is ready to stand bastion against such foes. Or at least point them out to us so we can laugh at the, and her funny, biting wit.

Miz Calhoun is not giving parenting advice, per se, she is regaling us with stories about her experiences on the playground and the schoolyard with her young son. Her experiences as a full-time working mother with her stay at home husband. Her experience as an editor with a humorous yet helpful website for parents.

Some of her stories (chapters) seem to raise other people's hackles. Especially the one where she regales stories of certain movies she watches with her son, while the two of them enjoy take-out. Predictably, the horror stories of how takeout and Disney movies rot children's brains have been splattered all over some other reviews for this book but seriously. Some people aren't cooks. Or (gasp!) some people work too hard to then come home and cook for a two year old who is only going to pick at his food anyway. And the Disney watching? Please. Please people. Let's keep it in perspective. Watching an hour and a half movie will not warp your child's brain into thinking we are all 2 dimensional animated characters and now cannot be bothered to learn how to read and write. This is reality. Not a science experiment.
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