The Gardener and the Carpenter

Sep 4, 2018

The psychologist Alison Gopnik worries that parenting is too much like being a carpenter, where you shape chosen materials into a final product. But what if we parented more like gardeners—creating nurturing spaces in which children can flourish?

The psychologist Alison Gopnik is worried about modern-day parenting, including her own. It’s too much like being a carpenter, she says, where you shape chosen materials into a final, preconceived product. Kids don’t work like that. In a new book, Gopnik suggests parents think less like carpenters and more like gardeners: creating safe, nurturing spaces in which children can flourish. Gopnik joins us to discuss how we can raise better kids by changing our approach to parenting. (Rebroadcast)

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Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and an affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She writes the Mind and Matter column for the Wall Street Journal. Her new book is called The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children [Amazon|Indiebound].