Parenting Experts: Their Advice, the Research, and Getting It Right

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9780275976781: Parenting Experts: Their Advice, the Research, and Getting It Right

Most parents lack the time, training, and other resources needed to consult the extensive research on parenting that has been produced by scientific study. Instead, many rely on advice from a few well-known authorities cited in popular books, newspaper columns, and other media. Dr. Rankin takes a critical look at the advice of five of these experts― Benjamin Spock, T. Berry Brazelton, James Dobson, Penelope Leach and John Rosemond―then compares it with the findings of hundreds of empirical studies on children and parents. The focus is on major parenting problems, including persistent infant crying, toilet training, early day care, discipline, adolescent sexuality education, substance abuse, and the influence of television and other electronic media. A final chapter summarizes the accuracy of each expert's advice compared with research findings, points out the common ground between experts, and summarizes their major strategies and biases.

In some cases, a substantial gap exists between expert advice and scientific research findings. Parents, as well as medical, educational, and social service professionals and students will find this book not only helpful, but illuminating. Rankin's meticulous analysis points out areas of agreement and dispute between some of the most quoted parenting experts in the field, and, perhaps even more revealing, areas where their widely quoted pronouncements deviate from research and clinical evidence.

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Book Description:

Compares the parenting advice of five well-known experts to research findings, explains the differences between the experts' backgrounds, and examines the political beliefs that often color their recommendations.

About the Author:

Jane L. Rankin has taught and conducted research in developmental psychology for 25 years. A former Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Psychology Department at Drake University, she is now Associate Dean for Research in the School of Communication at Northwestern University. Much of her research has focused on stereotyping, self-consciousness, and memory in children, adolescents, and older adults. She is the mother of two college-age children.

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