September 27, 2007

Book Review: Tubular Tykes

Radical Parenting: Seven Steps to a Functional Family in a Dysfunctional World by Brad Blanton, Ph.D. (Sparrowhawk Publications, 2002, ISBN 978-0970693822)

This book was written by: Brad Blanton, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and CEO of Radical Honesty Enterprises, which offers workshops to help apply the principles put forth in this book. Dr. Blanton has been "biological father of six children in the last five decades and the responsible parent of five,"(p.11) which only took him four marriages to accomplish. The fact that he gave them names like Elijah, Carsie, Shanti, and Amos should in no way be held against him. This also doesn't count the son that Dr. Blanton didn't know about until after the child's fourteenth birthday, when the mother sued him for child support.
Dr. Blanton has an extensive career in conflict resolution, possibly dating back as far as when he fractured his stepfather's skull, "breaking three of his ribs, before leaving home."(p.8) He writes that "After that therapeutic event, and a few more like it with my stepfather-and sixteen years of psychotherapy-I'm almost over having my reactions to how I was parented completely run my life." (p.8)

What is in this book: An indictment of our environment as "A sick society, in which control and money are the primary considerations of value,"(p.11-12) and one of "culturally-endorsed child abuse."(p.12)
Dr. Blanton feels that to properly raise children, one must create a new community of more nurturing principles, which he does in his book by drawing heavily on the work of others, discussing the experiments of Stanley Milgram, spending the balance of chapter 12 quoting Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon's A General Theory of Love, having his ex-wife Amy Sliver write chapter 18 ("The Alternative to Preparing and Repairing"), and accepting help from his daughter Carson.

What is not in this book: Advice on the best way to ollie with toddlers, do kickturns with newborns, or thrash with grade schoolers. Also missing are instructions on grinding with children, which is just as well since it sounds like it should be illegal.

Would you recommend this book to Tony Hawk? maybe. He's a pretty radical dude, and I hear he's also a parent.

Would you recommend this book to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Absolutely not. Partly because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in no way ready for the responsibilities of parenthood, but mostly because all they ever seem to eat is pizza, and a child left in their care would end up dangerously malnourished.

What was interesting about this book? The views expressed in the chapter "The Family Bed - A Limbic Service Station." (p.131). In this chapter, Dr. Blanton advocates sharing a bed with your newborn, and on page 132 he states that although "one objection to the family bed is the lost opportunity for sex," the solution he proposes is for parents to "have another place in the house to go in order to make love, after the children are asleep in the family bed. Do it on the altar of your meditation room. Do it in the room you have set up for the child to move into when he leaves the family bed." Alternatively, you can "put a pillow between you two and the baby and go to it," even though "we don't actually know what effect the parents' making love nearby has on the baby's consciousness."

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