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RIE parenting - Hollywood fad or respectful parenting?

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
RIE parenting, magda gerber, janet Lansbury, toddlers, parenting styles
Have any of you ward of RIE parenting? Its pronounced WRY and is an acronym for Resources for Infant Educarers. 

Is it a new Hollywood fad or is it about respectful parenting???

Hollywood stars have taken to it and parents who have adopted it are said to include Tobey Maguire, Penélope Cruz, Helen Hunt, Felicity Huffman, and William H. Macy.

The method was formulated in the 1940s by Magda Gerber, the charismatic wife of a Hungarian industrialist, who resettled in Los Angeles, where she taught seminars on child rearing on her deck in the hills, under a rubber tree. But maybe not! This quote is from a Vanity Fair commenter and states that RIE has been around for much longer than was previously thought!

"LA loves a good parenting trend? RIE has been around in LA for forty years. But it wasn't formulated by Magda Gerber in the 1940's. Gerber built on the work of the Austrian pediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler who began her research and formulation of the ideas  in the 1930's and even earlier in the 1920's when she was doing her pediatric residency under Dr. Clemmens Von Pirquet (famous for discovering a test for Tuberculosis). Pirquet ran a children's hospital where the children were treated with the utmost respect. No treatment, test or intervention was done to them without the express permission. Pirquet trained his whole staff in this respectful and compassionate way of treating children. And that was around the turn of the century. Pirquet influened Pikler. Pikler influeced Gerber. The Revolution happened in Hungary and Gerber escaped and brought the ideas to the United States where her family settled in a neighborhood on the east side where there were a lot of Hungarians."

RIE comes from a very different ethos than recent parenting ideologies and are a counter attack on helicopter and cotton wool parenting.

RIE doesn’t believe in praise—they don’t want to encourage kids to feel like performers. Instead they have one big rule (though there are many, many smaller ones): parents—or “educarers”—need to stop treating children like children.

Parents are instructed to carry on long, adult conversations—there is no baby talk!—with their pre-verbal bubs. They are told to “Take the telephone off the hook before you intend to feed, bathe, or diaper your baby,” Gerber wrote, “and tell your infant, ‘I’m going to take the phone off the hook so nobody will disturb us, because now I really want to be just with you.’ ” Interesting! Hmmmmm. Yes I'm not a fan of baby talk or mother ease per se but this!? Que?! What is happening? Has the parenting world finally gone doollally???

So what does RIE believe in?

RIE is philosophically opposed to anything that disrespects a baby, including not only sippy cups and high chairs but also baby gyms, baby carriers like Björns, baby swaddles, and baby walkers, which Gerber, who had quite a way with words, called “a moving prison.”

What else is prohibited? How about toys? “Children don’t need toys,” says Solomon. “Almost all of the toys at RIE can be found in somebody’s cupboard.” No rattles either. According to Gerber, “Rattles are an adult idea: you pick up something, and it makes noise. Why does it make noise? Because some adult put something into something.” No mobiles. “Mobiles are intrusive—the infant has no choice. Who chose the mobile? An adult.” No pacifiers. “The pacifier is a plug,” Gerber once wrote. “It does stop a child from crying, but the question is, Does an infant have a right to cry?”

So basically anything that distracts, pacifies or silences a child is banished! Doesn't really leave much then does it?!

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