Parenting, Inc.

Parenting, Inc. is a new book by Pamela Paul, a popular writer for Time magazine and other mainstream publications, as well as several books. It was brought to my attention by a friend affiliated with Silicon Valley Moms Blog, and I’m glad of it.

The book wasn’t so much a revelation for me, as I’m firmly in the “we don’t really need that, DO WE?” camp, but it sure rang true. Over and over in this project we call parenting, our values and confidence are called into question by marketing campaigns, obvious or insidious, designed to sell us product in the name of giving our children what they need.

Ms. Paul says that it’s time for this to stop.

Or at least time for us to be aware of it. In a world where strollers are status symbols and baby DVDs are popular, it’s easy to get carried away. Gym classes for toddlers? Music for infants? Headphones for babies still in utero? Tutors for preschoolers?

There’s a lot out there, but my opinion is this: A baby needs just three things: diapers, clothes, and milk, in addition to her parents’ unflagging love. All the rest? Is gravy.

Need a reminder, or want to read about the latest studies and campaigns? Check out this book. It will make you think.

The author received a review copy of Parenting, Inc. She will happily lend it out to local friends, but wants it back on her keeper shelf when they’re done with it.

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