The Natural Child makes a compelling case for a return to attachment parenting, a child-rearing approach that has come naturally for parents throughout most of human history. In this insightful guide, parenting specialist Jan Hunt links together attachment parenting principles with child advocacy and homeschooling philosophies, offering a consistent approach to raising a loving, trusting, and confident child.
The Natural Child dispels the myths of "tough love," building baby's self-reliance by ignoring its cries, and the necessity of spanking to enforce discipline. Instead, the book explains the value of extended breast-feeding, family co-sleeping, and minimal child-parent separation.
Homeschooling, like attachment parenting, nurtures feelings of self-worth, confidence, and trust. The author draws on respected leaders of the homeschool movement such as John Taylor Gatto and John Holt, guiding the reader through homeschool approaches that support attachment parenting principles.
Being an ally to children is spontaneous for caring adults, but intervening on behalf of a child can be awkward and surrounded by social taboo. The Natural Child shows how to stand up for a child's rights effectively and sensitively in many difficult situations. The role of caring adults, points out Hunt, is not to give children "lessons in life"-but to employ a variation of The Golden Rule, and treat children as we would like to have been treated in childhhood.
Jan Hunt is the director of The Natural Child Project Society, the newspaper columnist of The Natural Child, and a parenting advisor. She has been featured on CNN Headline News and Yahoo.com, and contributes to Mothering, Growing Without Schooling, Readers Digest and other US and Canadian periodicals.
Review by David H Albert
If John Woolman were alive today, and contemplating parenting issues, this is the book he would have written. Jan Hunt was a member of Multnomah Friends Meeting in Portland in the 1970s before moving to British Columbia, where she founded (and still directs) The Natural Child Project and served on the Board of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She has now moved back to Bend, Oregon.
Hunt's thesis is simple: a happy childhood lasts forever, and every child is no less a human being than we are, and must be treated as such. Adults behave as well as they are treated, and the same holds true for children. Adults generally do not improve their behavior when they are insulted, criticized, threatened, publicly humiliated, or beaten; or in the rare instances when they do so, the costs in fearfulness, anger, and resentment are extraordinarily high.
Fortunately, argues Hunt eloquently, the seed of how to be with children is implanted within us. If we listen hard enough, the direction of how to act toward a child comes naturally. Crying, for example, is a signal provided by nature meant to disturb parents so they can seek out the causes of the child's distress.
The Natural Child offers a consistent and compelling approach to raising a loving, trusting, and confident child, without resort to coercion or manipulation, simply by following the Parenting Golden Rule: "Treat your child as you would like to be treated if you were in the same position." This book is a must for every Meeting library, and the perfect gift for the Friendly individual or couple expecting the arrival of their first "distinguished visitor".