Alison Gopnik's new book is The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children.
From her Q & A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: You write that “parenting is a terrible invention.” How would you define parenting, and why do you see it this way?Visit Alison Gopnik's website.
A: One thing people don’t realize is that the word “parenting” is really recent. There’s nothing until about 1960, and since then there’s been an enormous use.
The word comes with a particular picture of what the relationship between a parent and child should be: if parents get the best skills, they can shape how the child comes out, the way a carpenter makes a chair.
That kind of picture—if you get the right apps, books, toys, you get the tools to shape the child to be a better adult—is incredibly pervasive. But it’s actually recent.
Q: And why do you describe that as terrible?
A: It doesn’t fit well with...[read on]