WHAT ARE THE UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS OF FAMILIES that produce the world's most successful men and women? How do parents within all societies prepare their children to become morally strong and professionally successful? How should young people prepare themselves for parenthood? What birthing procedures should couples adopt that best protect the infant? What should the parent's priorities be in the first three years of their child's life?
Professor William Maxwell and his co-authors have skillfully woven together the collective intelligence of the world's longest-lasting and most successful cultures and modern child-development research studies to produce a book that will help revolutionize the way humankind parents its children. From pre-natal practices in southeastem Nigeria, to post-natal infant-care in Fiji, to Scotland's "family hour" practices, this book distills the wisdom of all human cultures into 50 powerful prescriptions for raising children who will "carry forward an ever-advancing civilization."
"This illuminating handbook on how to raise a child has been written by two experts in the fields of education and health. It is conveniently organized so that a parent can read through it step by step as the child grows. The approach is practical and is a beautiful combination of the spiritual and the scientific, with emphasis on such matters as calmness of spirit; being natural; good habits, including courtesy and tidiness; on the encouragement of curiosity. It is significant that four of the eight parts to the manual deal with training the child befoe it is born. This book is a must for all parents and potential parents. I wish it had been available fourteen years ago when we beagn or family."
— John Huddleston, Chief, Budget and Planning Division, International Monetary Fund
"SUPERPARENTING id full of wise advice that is conservative in the best sense of the word. In a world. In a world that is moving in the fast lane, the book gives parents thoughtful guidelines for providing a stable yet nurturing environment for children. In this age of anxiety, where "anything goes," and where new drugs, new chemicals never before existent are introduced into our bodies and our environment, remind us of the need of growing infants for a basically wholesome and stable environment. I found only one or two of the ways questionable, but always, even they were worth considering seriously."
— Victor Kobayashi, Professor of Education, The University of Hawaii
Dr. William Maxwell earned his B.S. degree in Education – Physical Sciences – at Oregon State University, his Ed.M. and Ed.D. at Harvard. He also studied at the Universities of Maryland, California, and Oxford. His research studies on intelligence have appeared in Psychological Reports, Phi Delta Kappan, The International Journal of Dducational Development, Educational Leadership and others. His book, Thinking: The Expanding Frontier ( Philadelphia: Franklin Institute Press, 1983), is on the recommended reading list on thinking at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Maxwell has been dean or head of teacher education at four universities, including the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. He currentlly serves as the Professor of Thinking at the University of Advancing Technology, Tempe, Arizona.
Who are the inventors of civilization?
Among those who have debated this question are darwinists and social biologists who maintain that civilization is a product of natural evolution.
The prominent historian Arnold Toynbee argued that the source of civilization is fundamentally religious in nature. One leading sociologist, Emile Durkheim, gave more weight to economic factors to explain the advancement of cultures and societies. Even some geographers offer evidence that climate factors determine when humans are predisposed to study and meditate, two preconditions for the rise of civilization.
Recently, the debate has taken a surprising turn. There is a growing body of evidence that one fo the primary inventors of the pillars of civilization is children. This fundamental re-thinking about the genesis of civilization was foreshadowed by William James, one of the fathers of American psychology, and Noam Chomsky, whose linguistic theories revolutionized the way scholars think about the growth of language (“All babies ‘speak’ the same language up to 18 months” for example).
Some of the evidence for the belief that children are the primary inventors of civilization comes from the study of the role that children’s games play in the development of the human intellect. A child’s will to play is universal and universally recognized. Given the right circumstances, children begin inventiong games shortly after birth (“Peek-a-boo”) and continue inventing throughout childhood. Figuring out a strategy for winning at nim, for example, probably mankind’s oldest mathematical game and still played by children around the world, possibly motivated Pythagoras to begin the study of number theory. This, in turn, generated the discipline of mathematics, a parent of all sciences.
Other evidence supporting the notion that it is open-minded children, rather than adults, who invent the pillars of civilization comes from the study of communication, where researchers have found that children are the inventors of grammar and syntax (Matt Ridley, 1999, 2003). And since nearly all babies have perfect pitch and few adults do, inferential reasoning suggests that it is very young children imitationg bird songs and other natural sounds who might have initiated the first steps on the long road toward formal music.
This book does not present a case for the revolutionary idea that children may be one of the inventors of civilization. However, the evidence is compelling that the rise and fall of civilizations is related to the quality of parenting within cultures, although this fact, and the role of children in society, are largely overlooked by both scholars and the general public. The eminent Harvard psychoanalyst, Erik Erikson, wrote “...we are also forced to recognize a universal blind spot in the makers and interpreters of history: they ignore the fateful function of childhood in the fabric of society.”
With the weakening of societal institutions, families are under great stress. The traditional support structures for parents, typically extended families and villages, as Dr. T. Barry Brazelton pointed out, have been greatly weakened or are no longer available to most families.
The parents’ job is further complicated by conflicting advice, contradictory cultural expectations, and the absence of a common philosophical foundation from which problems associated with raising children can be solved. Exacerbating the child rearing task is the reality that most schools teach very little about parentin, and most religious institutions today give inadequate instruction in child development. Thus, most intending parents do not fully appreciate the breadth of knowledge, skills, and the commitments required to raise chlidren successfully.
The ancient models of the successful family have faded in all cultrurs. Therefore married couples must create theirown new vision of good parenting, guided by the best practices from tradition and the best information from modern science. Such new images will be motivationg to young couples and will reinforce fheir necessary commitment to become good parents. From their new version of the ideal family will come well-adjusted children who are confident, responsive, emotionally balanced, and who will see the world as fundamentally good.
The authors designed this book to help parents focus on what is universally considered to be the most critical stage in a child’s development: prenatal to three years. It is in this sensitive period thst the child explores the full range of his or her emotions, all of which must be trained primarily by the child itself, but with the assistance of attentive parents. It is also in this stage that the seeds of the intellect are planted and often begin to flower.
The book opens with some general principles that parents may use in establishing a successful marriage and home. It follows with specific suggestions that the couple will want to consider prior to conception. The book continues with recommendations for parents during and immediately after birth, and provides guidance to new parents for the first three years of the child’s life.
From selecting a mate and physical preparation for pregnancy to natural childbirth, breast-feeding, early-childhood education, and moral instruction, parenting must be revolutionized in this new millennium. Intending parents must seek out the best time-tested traditons from all cultures, plus relevant scientific research findings from all disciplines, particularly medicine, child development, sociology, psychology, education, and nutrition. Expectant and committed parents, armed with traditional knowledge, up-to-date research findings, plus their own intuition, will be confident that they have all the guidance they need to raise citizens well-equipped for the ever-changing future.
This book is not encyclopedic, and does not go beyond early childhood. It does not detail the hour-by-hour routines of baby care or chronicle the predictable and almost infinite number of stages that every child traverses. It offers few “prescriptions” to prevent or treat the dozens of illnesses, accidents and disabilities that children suffer, except, for example, breast-feeding, which prevents or mitigates many infectious diseases. Wise parents will browse their libraries, bookstores and the web and keep a few basic references handy from the prenatal period on. Parents should also schedule routine consultations with a competent pediatrician to address problems before they become serious and to assuage their normal anxieties. To assist parents in their general education we highlight in our reference list some of the most important books dealing with the wider range of issues and problems that every competent parent will want to master.
And master those issues they must. All parents, at the close of their lives, invariably look back and ask of themselves, “Dic I do a good job as a parent?” Every book on parenting, including theis one, seeks to enable each parent to answer, “Yes.”
Preface and Acknowledgements ... 8
Foreword ... 11
Introduction ... 13
Part I Some Ceneral Principles
Chapter 1 Obey the Laws of the Universe ... 18
Chapter 2 Make the Home Orderly ... 21
Chapter 3 Shower the Child with Love ... 25
Chapter 4 Allow the Child Independence ... 30
Chapter 5 Teach Your Child Justice ... 33
Chapter 6 Teach Your Child to Think ... 36
Part II Some Specific Suggestions to Consider Prior to Conception
Chapter 7 Chose a Mate with Healthy Cenes ... 42
Chapter 8 Be Chaste Before Marriage ... 45
Chapter 9 Conceive In Wedlock ... 49
Chapter 10 Love the Other parent ... 52
Chapter 11 Strengthen the Mother's Body ... 54
Part III Some Specific Suggestions after Conception
Chapter 12 The Mother Takes No Drugs ... 58
Chapter 13 The Father to Keep the Mother's Mind Peaceful ... 61
Chapter 14 The Mother to Obtain a Complete Medical Examination ... 65
Chapter 15 Inspire the Mother ... 68
Chapter 16Pray for the Embryo ... 71
Part IV Some Specific Suggestions During Birth
Chapter 17 Use a Birthing Stool, Squat or Water Birth ... 75
Chapter 18 No Drugs During Birthing ... 78
Chapter 19 Monitor the Birthing Room Temperature ... 81
Chapter 20 Lights Out, Please ... 83
Chapter 21 Wait for the Umbilical Cord to Collapse Before Cutting ... 85
Chapter 22 Suck the Throat Clear ... 89
Chapter 23 Don't Spank ... 91
Part V Some Specific Suggestions for Immediately after Birth and the First Year
Chapter 24 Bathe Gently ... 94
Chapter 25 Let the Mother Cuddle the Infant Immediately ... 96
Chapter 26 Feed Colostrum to the Infant and Breast-feed ... 98
Chapter 27 Both Mother and Father to Sleep with the Baby ... 101
Chapter 28 Mother and Father to Avoid Sex in Baby's Presence ... 103
Chapter 29 Train the Infant's Senses ... 104
Chapter 30 Help the Infant Train Its Sense of Balance ... 106
Chapter 31 Begin Ear Training ... 108
Chapter 32 Wean Gently ... 110
Chapter 33 Expose the Child to a Wide Circle of Affections ... 112
Chapter 34 Keep the Infant Clean ... 115
Part VI Some Specific Suggestions from Year One
Chapter 35 Name Things for Infants ... 118
Chapter 36 Let the Child Name Things ... 120
Chapter 37 Assist the Child to Master Language ... 122
Chapter 38 Parents to Avoid Behavior the Produces the Autocratic Personality ... 126
Part VII Some Specific Suggestions from Age Two
Chapter 39 Insist Upon Neatness and Order ... 130
Chapter 40 Encourage the Child to Share ... 132
Chapter 41 Teach the Child Human Relationships ... 134
Chapter 42 Teach Manners ... 136
Chapter 43 Treat the Child as Learner ... 138
Part VIII Some Specific Suggestions from Age Three
Chapter 44 Treat the Child as a Mathematician (Not Arithmetician) ... 142
Chapter 45 Expose the Child to Scientific Puzzles ... 144
Chapter 46 Expose the Child Gradually to a Multicultural Nursery School ... 146
Chapter 47 Expose the Child to a Wide Variety Of Games ... 149
Chapter 48 Have a Story Time ... 153
Chapter 49 Have a Music Time ... 155
Chapter 50 Have a Happy Home ... 157
References ... 158
Illustrations ... 169
About the Authors ... 170
I showed the book to the mother of a young girl. She read the book and liked it very much. She remarked that every mother should get a copy of [this] book.
— Edward de Bono, M.D., D.Psy., Ph.D., Piccadilly, London, England
This book distills insights and inspiration from the wisdom of many religions and philosophies around the world, and enriches it with scientific research. All readers will enjoy and benefit from this book.
— Professor Ron Crocombe, Professor Emeritus, University of the South Pacific,
Suva, Fiji (Living in the Cook Islands)
If you can only have one book on parenting, this is the one to own.
— Larry Sobel, M.D., MPH, FAAFP, practicing family physician, Phoenix, Arizona
Dr. Maxwell's latest book: SuperParenting is the ideal handbook for the new or hopeful parent, containing best-practice advice from remote cultures to common sense, with guidance from the practical to the spiritual – a must read for every new parent (or engaged couple).
— Dominic Pistillo, President and Founder
University of Advancing Technology, Tempe, Arizona
This book inspires us to take a fresh look at the roles of parents and their stewardship of children. It moves from depiction of an orderly home as a pro-tective emotional context for children to prenatal and postnatal practical, heart-warming suggestions for nurturing children emotionally and intellectually. Cems of advice are embedded even in captions of its illustrations. It is a ground-breaking book, a pleasure to read.
— Bud B. Khleif, Former Professor of Sociology, Harvard University and Professor of
Sociology Emeritus, University of New Hampshire
Being part of the generation that is having children late in life lends itself to thinking one knows it all and has seen it all when it comes to the do's and don't's of pregnancy and child rearing. However, after reading Bill Maxwell's and his co-author's findings in SuperParenting, it opened my husband's and my eyes to new options and approaches we never heard of and look forward to integration those ideas into our child's life.
— Ellen M. Zavian, Professor of Sport Law, George Washington University