Title: The Continuum Concept: In Search Of Happiness Lost
Author: Jean Liedloff
Publication Year: 1975
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Review: I really, really enjoyed the first half of this book which is basically an autobiographical account of a very interesting woman’s experience living with and observing the parenting practices of a primitive, Stone Age culture. I could not put the book down when reading that half of the book. It is relevant not only to parenting, but to life in general. I was not an enormous fan of the second half of the book where the author theorizes on the effect of such an upbringing vs. modern practices on a grown individual. While I agree with a lot of what the author asserts, there are definitely pieces of her theory that I don’t agree with. (i.e. I do not believe that parenting techniques have anything to do with homosexuality.) However, I enjoyed the first part of this book so much that I would recommend this book to pretty much everyone.
What’s funny is that this book doesn’t really teach much. There are no baby-raising instructions or words of wisdom for how to deal with certain situations. Despite this, or maybe because of this, the book makes a lasting impression. Everything this book teaches could be summarized in a few sentences. Basically, hold your baby, love your baby, enjoy your baby, every moment of every day. As a result, your life (and your child’s life) will be simpler, happier, better. While that is really the heart of what this book teaches, reading it will make the message become ingrained and unforgettable. As a word of warning, this book will likely make you feel extremely guilty if you’ve ever let your child cry for long periods of time while you intentionally did nothing.
I read this book while pregnant with my third child. He is now 6 months old and I still find myself thinking back to this book on occasion as I’m appreciating the wonder that is my precious baby boy. I also think of this book when my boy is in distress and I’m not able to comfort him, like while driving in the car. I think, “Man, those primitive continuum babies would never have had to endure this torture.” It’s impossible to say if this book had any impact on his current temperament, but he is the easiest child of my three. I do put him down several times a day (in exersaucers, on blankets, in a jumper – I do live in modern society with modern demands, after all), but I never let him cry for more than a few seconds. Whenever he wants to be picked up, I do everything I can to go get him as soon as possible. Even when he’s sad, his face lights up when he sees me. I already considered myself to have used attachment parenting with my first two children, but I am definitely enjoying mothering my infant now in a way that didn’t seem possible before reading this book. (Personal Rating: 9/10)
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