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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

The oldest cultures in the world have mastered the art of raising happy, well-adjusted children. What can we learn from them?

Hunt, Gather, Parent is full of smart ideas that I immediately wanted to force on my own kids.” (Pamela Druckerman, The New York Times Book Review)

When Dr. Michaeleen Doucleff becomes a mother, she examines the studies behind modern parenting guidance and finds the evidence frustratingly limited and the conclusions often ineffective. Curious to learn about more effective parenting approaches, she visits a Maya village in the Yucatán Peninsula. There she encounters moms and dads who parent in a totally different way than we do - and raise extraordinarily kind, generous, and helpful children without yelling, nagging, or issuing timeouts. What else, Doucleff wonders, are Western parents missing out on?

In Hunt, Gather, Parent, Doucleff sets out with her three-year-old daughter in tow to learn and practice parenting strategies from families in three of the world’s most venerable communities: Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania. She sees that these cultures don’t have the same problems with children that Western parents do. Most strikingly, parents build a relationship with young children that is vastly different from the one many Western parents develop - it’s built on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones.

Maya parents are masters at raising cooperative children. Without resorting to bribes, threats, or chore charts, Maya parents rear loyal helpers by including kids in household tasks from the time they can walk. Inuit parents have developed a remarkably effective approach for teaching children emotional intelligence. When kids cry, hit, or act out, Inuit parents respond with a calm, gentle demeanor that teaches children how to settle themselves down and think before acting. Hadzabe parents are world experts on raising confident, self-driven kids with a simple tool that protects children from stress and anxiety, so common now among American kids.

Not only does Doucleff live with families and observe their techniques firsthand, she also applies them with her own daughter, with striking results. She learns to discipline without yelling. She talks to psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, and sociologists and explains how these strategies can impact children’s mental health and development. Filled with practical takeaways that parents can implement immediately, Hunt, Gather, Parent helps us rethink the ways we relate to our children, and reveals a universal parenting paradigm adapted for American families.

©2021 Michaeleen Doucleff. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"NPR reporter Michaeleen Doucleff narrates this audiobook - part memoir and part guide on contemporary parenting. She is honest, clear, and thoughtful as she presents a wide range of research on parenting theories from many cultures. For those seeking new ways to connect with or better understand their children, this will be a welcome listen. Doucleff creates the feeling she is in your kitchen, swapping stories and wisdom of the ages. This title is easy on the ears, and the chapters go by swiftly. For an author turned narrator, she is very confident as she presents ideas from diverse sources. From the Inuit to city dwellers, Doucleff informs as she entertains, regaling us with advice of how to keep the peace." (AudioFile Magazine)

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What listeners say about Hunt, Gather, Parent

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I wish they had a professional narrator

I read about this book and was very excited. But I found it really hard to listen to. If I could, I’d give that part zero stars. The author narrates it and it’s just not her strength. I know she’s on the radio. But it’s like she keeps her 2 minute radio segment energy the whole 8 hours (or however long it is) instead of allowing for the story to ebb and flow in energy. It’s also feels like you can tell when she gets to the end of a line of text, and she treats it like the end of a sentence, but then there’s more sentence. I put this down and tried again multiple times, but I can’t finish it. Maybe I’ll buy the hard copy someday. The author has found an interesting premise, but narrating a whole book is not this author’s strength.

8 people found this helpful

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Read (Listen) to this audiobook!

I just got this audio book a few days ago and am not even all the way through... but have to say: If you are a parent, read this book. I am learning so much and can't wait to try out new tips and practices with my children and grandchildren (and maybe even some adults in my life lol). I love the science behind the parenting "facts" we have all been spoon-fed.... and the reasoning behind why studies are not repeatable and too small, yet guide so many of us in western parenting. The author's heart shows through as she reads her own book aloud. (What author recently asks a reader to directly and immediately email them if they somehow come across the wrong way in their intentions to support parents where they are?) So many people hire professionals to read their own books, which is great where needed; in this case it is really nice to hear her story in her own voice. Can't wait to finish it, and have already recommended this book to others.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Hands down my favorite parenting book

Though it does reference some of my other favorites!
This book really appealed to me as an attachment parenting style babywearing cosleeping mom, who chose to do things differently from western culture during the baby phase because it just didn't feel right or natural to me. I feel like Western society has strayed far from our natural state in so many ways! Thank goodness that I lived in a time where I could find online resources about how other cultures managed the needs of their babies. But then, I ran into trouble once my babies weren't babies anymore!!! What was the most natural, intuitive way to parent toddlers and bigger kids? Certainly not the way I was raised! I was so lost, and struggled to discern deeply ingrained but unhealthy methods of parenting from my own childhood and the more appropriate methods I thought should have come naturally to me, but which I struggled to manifest. Then, enter this book. Just as it was with babywearing and cosleeping, everything rings true to my little parent heart. It feels right. Thank you for this guide! ❤

4 people found this helpful

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Mostly love it, but also it’s problematic

This book absolutely helped me become a better parent. I have two sons under the age of three. My older son has always preferred his dad. I had really just accepted that as developmentally normal. As I started to read/listen to this book (I loved it so much I bought a physical copy, too), and as I started to incorporate strategies and principals from this book, I noticed my relationship with my older son improving greatly. He still is a Daddy’s boy, but he is much more affectionate with me, and I am much more understanding and nurturing towards him. (I always thought that I was nurturing before, but I didn’t see the things I was doing that were coercive and controlling before reading this book.) I love love love love this book, and it has made me completely rethink a lot of my preconceived notions about parenting. I will recommend this book to all my new parent friends from now on.

There is, however, a caveat. I saw another reviewer mention the problematic nature of the book—which is why I rated it 4 instead of 5 stars. As I recommend this book to my friends and family, I will need to preface the recommendation with an acknowledgement of the problematic nature of this book: it borders on fetishizing non-Western cultures.

Overall, the book really contextualizes parenting advice I’ve gained from other parenting books (stop yelling, don’t do timeout, don’t get angry) and gives you a context for why and how to be a more peaceful and effective parent. It uses storytelling to convey the message in an effective way. There are some pieces of the book that don’t fit in with all my values, but there are many more pieces of the book that I can personalize to my own home. So, I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak, but readers should be warned that, yes, this book does have problematic elements.

3 people found this helpful

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dr douclef is brilliant

i am due to have my first child this July. after listening to this book, i feel well equipped to handle the anxieties of parenthood. i also have confirmed my suspicions of why some leaders are better than others and how certain of my bosses have been so much more effective at managing. excellent book; would recommend

3 people found this helpful

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Not a Parent, Still the Best Book of the Year

I am not a parent but I read a review of this book and decided it sounded too good not to read. It is amazing! well written with great storytelling and even better, the methods work! I am a high school teacher and I tried the calm question asking method from the the Inuit section of the book and IT WORKS!!! I have also tried some methods with my nieces, all of which have worked. Parent or not, this book is a must read!

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed

Agree that the author’s voice is difficult to listen to.... it’s like a teenager’s voice. The content while well- meaning is simplistic and left me wanting more substance. I wasn’t impressed by the sense of humor here and there- just didn’t flow right. Kept waiting for more.....

Would not recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jk
  • 12-04-21

Loved this book

The author is very relatable, intelligent, down-to-earth and funny. I found it very helpful how she summarizes the parenting ideas at the end of each section with advice/examples of how to try them yourself. I found many of the recommendations worked well for us and made parenting much more pleasant and less exhausting. I have listened to this book two times through so far and loved it both times. Kids change so much with age, even over a few months, so I felt I was reminded of some things a learned the first time but also felt new things applied to my daughter as she’s grown.

1 person found this helpful

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Positively impacted my parenting

The research aspects of this book were fantastic. The author does a great job of describing her experiences with the families that she observed.

The only issue I had was when she would discuss some of her parenting strategies. I appreciated the examples and how we can apply them with our children. There could have been less of her personal examples because some of them were hard to sit through.

Overall it was very helpful in shifting my mindset around raising my kids. I would recommend it to any parent even if your kids are older.

1 person found this helpful

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The author sounds like a little girl

She has good things to say but the author sounds like a child. And her penchant for pronouncing the ‘t’ in the word ‘often’ is an affectation I hear a lot in the Media world. She’s not British.
There are still some good ideas in the book and I would recommend it.

1 person found this helpful