The Gardener and the Carpenter by Alison Gopnik
What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children

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An internationally recognized leader in the field of childhood learning debunks the concept of “good parenting.”...A highly thoughtful and entertaining treatment of a subject that merits serious consideration.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

One of the world's leading child psychologists shatters the myth of "good parenting"

Caring deeply about our children is part of what makes us human. Yet the thing we call "parenting" is a surprisingly new invention. In the past thirty years, the concept of parenting and the multibillion dollar industry surrounding it have transformed child care into obsessive, controlling, and goal-oriented labor intended to create a particular kind of child and therefore a particular kind of adult. In The Gardener and the Carpenter, the pioneering developmental psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik argues that the familiar twenty-first-century picture of parents and children is profoundly wrong--it's not just based on bad science, it's bad for kids and parents, too.

Drawing on the study of human evolution and her own cutting-edge scientific research into how children learn, Gopnik shows that although caring for children is profoundly important, it is not a matter of shaping them to turn out a particular way. Children are designed to be messy and unpredictable, playful and imaginative, and to be very different both from their parents and from each other. The variability and flexibility of childhood lets them innovate, create, and survive in an unpredictable world. “Parenting" won't make children learn―but caring parents let children learn by creating a secure, loving environment.

 

About Alison Gopnik

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Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, is the author of The Scientist in the Crib.
 
Published August 9, 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 320 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Parenting & Relationships, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Gardener and the Carpenter
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on May 05 2016

An internationally recognized leader in the field of childhood learning debunks the concept of “good parenting.”...A highly thoughtful and entertaining treatment of a subject that merits serious consideration.

Read Full Review of The Gardener and the Carpente... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Lara Feigel on Aug 21 2016

Tired parents may feel free to leave Gopnik’s book out of their suitcase, but it should be required reading for anyone involved in educational reform.

Read Full Review of The Gardener and the Carpente... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Bee Wilson on Aug 17 2016

Gopnik is not the first to have argued for a less instrumental and more playful view of childhood, but her book is still a welcome corrective to the results-driven approach to parenting.

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