cover of book

How to be a Good Parent
compiled by Jaqueline Mitchell
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2015
Cloth: 978-1-85124-438-6

To keep children clean is something that should never be attempted. It cannot be done.
The mere provision of the vegetable is not sufficient; it must be actually eaten.
If there is room enough for somersaults, the child can be satisfied.
These are just a few of the words of wisdom on offer in How to be a Good Parent, the latest in a series of delightful advice books from the Bodleian Library that also includes How to be a Good Husband and How to be a Good Wife. As developmental psychology began to show promise, beleaguered parents were drawn to the nascent discipline with the sorts of questions that will be familiar to any parent: How does one tell a toddler “no” without triggering a tantrum? Are there circumstances in which it’s acceptable to extract good behavior with bribery?
How to be a Good Parent brings together bits from the best of advice books of the 1920s and ’30s, taking readers through all the challenges involved in raising a child. Among the topics discussed are good—and bad—behavior, how to dress one’s dear son or darling daughter, mealtime, and the dreaded morning and bedtime routines. A section on taking medicine offers sage advice: “Gargling is a useful accomplishment” (while perhaps not appropriate for the dinner table). In a section on playtime, parents tasked with planning their child’s birthday will warmly welcome the book’s advice to “let the children give their own parties!”

By turns humorously old-fashioned and timeless, How to be a Good Parent is a charmingly illustrated guide to what any parent can tell you is the world's most difficult job.

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