The truth about RIE parenting

Parenting is such a divisive topic it’s a wonder it hasn’t been added to sex, politics and religion as a dinner party taboo.

As such, the backlash against Deborah Carlisle Solomon’s new book Baby Knows Best, which introduces a no-frills approach to parenting, was to be expected. But the obvious misreading and blatant misreporting about the book was another thing entirely.

Baby Knows Best is based on the Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE — pronounced ‘wry’), parenting philosophy. While it’s being reported as the latest parenting fad in Hollywood, embraced by the likes of Tobey Maguire, Penélope Cruz, Helen Hunt, Felicity Huffman, and William H. Macy, RIE parenting is over 35 years old.

RIE for the modern age: Baby Knows Best was released last year.RIE for the modern age: Baby Knows Best was released last year.

It was founded in 1978 by early childhood educator Magda Gerber, who advocated respect between a parent and child and said adults should allow their children to solve problems without interference.

Most of RIE is uncontroversial. But from the reporting you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a cross between Amish and negligence.

‘Experts warn it could do more harm than good,’ reports the Daily Mail, which admittedly is not known for its balanced reporting.


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