A debut guide offers a wide-ranging philosophy of responsible and balanced parenting.
Moore’s book takes on a topic that’s much in the news in the modern era of helicopter and lawn-mower guardians: the nature, limits, and origins of the parenting bond. Like many people who watch the news (or observe modern adults), she’s familiar with the ways that parenting in the 21st century often devolves into a harried series of negotiations, with many well-meaning mothers and fathers lamenting that “I don’t want to impose rules, just guidelines.” These parents are facing more challenges than ever before, including the need to oversee the screen time that has become such an inevitable part of everyone’s lives. The bulk of the author’s manual is a passionate, empathetic reminder to parents that their power isn’t derived from mediations with their charges. Rather, it comes from what the author refers to as “the natural authority of parenthood,” which springs from adults’ responsibility for their children and does not depend on particular strategies. Instead, it’s a functioning relationship in which parents make consistent demands and set firm limits. The book’s gambit extends across the whole spectrum of parenting concerns, including “food, friends, or the Web,” and pays attention to the broader cultural forces that have always been a part of the job. “Culture,” Moore writes, “can be as big as a nationality and as small as a family, with lots of layers in between.” But for all of its topical comprehensiveness, the book never strays far from its central tenet, which is the bedrock relationship between parent and child that morphs throughout its life span. “Many parents worry too much about doing the right thing at any given moment,” the author writes, “but it is less that a particular moment makes the difference than that the accumulation of moments creates a set of expectations for each of you.” Parents of all ages, especially new ones, should find Moore’s easygoing wisdom invaluable.
A wonderfully insightful, back-to-basics approach to parenting.