As a Christian mom, "Hunt, Gather, Parent" by Michaeleen Doucleff struck a chord with my values rooted in Christian teachings. The book takes readers on a journey across cultures and time, introducing parenting strategies that align surprisingly pretty well, for the most part, with biblical principles. One of the key takeaways for me was the emphasis on emotional control, where parents model the art of regulating emotions to reduce tantrums in children. This resonates deeply with the biblical concept of patience and self-control, virtues we aim to instill in our little ones (by the Holy Spirit's help as parents and hopefully also for our children one day).
Doucleff's exploration of autonomy and allowing children to safely navigate risks also resonates with the Christian belief in empowering our children while providing guidance. The book encourages a delicate balance between granting autonomy and ensuring a safe space for exploration, mirroring the Christian approach to guiding our children towards responsible decision-making within the framework of faith. The idea of valuing children's and adults' attention and honoring them by not interrupting or distracting makes a lot of sense.
The emphasis on motivating children without resorting to bribes or threats aligns with the Christian value of nurturing intrinsic motivation and a sense of duty. It reminded me of biblical teachings on the importance of cultivating a generous and helpful spirit in our children, encouraging them to contribute positively to their communities. Along with this, she talks about praise and the issues it can create for children. I liked that she talks about lowering the amount of praise from parents. Giving thoughtful feedback or pointing out their maturity to benefit children is more work for parents, but so much more motivational.
I also really liked the emphasis on community and family -- parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles all invested in the children together, training them up in helpfulness (seeing a need and meeting it), taking care of younger siblings, and choosing activities that all members of the family participate in rather than child-centered activities (which she defines as activities we would only do if we had a child to take vs an activity we'd do regardless of if a child was along).
One point where my perspective differed was in the notion of not disciplining at all and allowing children to hit you (for example) without any response, ignoring it. As a Christian parent, I believe in the importance of loving discipline as Scripture says. Yet, the book's emphasis on controlling one's own frustration before addressing a child's behavior resonated strongly. This aligns perfectly with what the Bible warns about avoiding the pitfalls of disciplining in anger.
"Hunt, Gather, Parent" not only provides practical strategies and tools for our parenting, but also prompts reflective consideration of our own behaviors as parents. The insights gleaned from diverse cultures serve as a valuable complement to Western parenting principles, offering a broader perspective on raising considerate, responsible, and compassionate children. This book serves as a helpful resource, inviting parents to explore alternative approaches to parenting than the typical Western approach.