Vintage Parenting Advice

Feeling inadequate in your parenting duties this week? Wondering if you’re putting your children on the fast track to success or Slip and Slide to¬†delinquency? Well hold onto your wine glass because¬†I’ve discovered the secrets to¬†successful¬†child rearing buried deep within the pages of a 1940’s vintage parenting advice book entitled, ‘In Your Hands’ from the Children’s Book House series. Prop the baby up on the davenport, as suggested on page 18, and prepare to get your mind blown. (Spoiler: You’re incompetent.)


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Good grief, are you sweating? I’m sweating. Only a few pages into the book and it’s yelling at me. Already I feel completely inadequate.


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So apparently we’re supposed to worry about goodness and success but not SIDS. Not sure how to instill good values in your child? Well just check out the ‘Character Index’ at the back of the book where you will find page numbers to corresponding stories that will help teach your children about patriotism, thrift and industriousness. Oh, wait, did I mention this manual is part of a 13 volume set of books, each all roughly the size and weight of an old telephone book? We only have eight volumes and I’m already terrified my children aren’t going to learn how to avoid ‘foolishness’ if I can’t dig up the remaining books on eBay.


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“Through instituting certain forms of censorship, the viciousness of the contents of many…of these[comic] books…have been lessened. The danger still exists however, and thoughtful parents will be on guard against the intrusion of this kind of matter into their children’s reading.”

I guess these means my children are on the fast track to hell because I let them check out three Star Wars graphic novels yesterday.
But maybe it’s not too late. Perhaps if I follow the advice in the chapter on ‘Manners’, I can still somehow influence their upbringing.
“When we get up in the morning we say a cheerful good morning to everyone.” They suggest I teach this by example but they don’t say whether this applies pre-coffee.
“No playing with the silver.” That’s an easy one for the win column.
“Setting an attractive table helps to make children want to have attractive manners.” If that means I need to wipe the table down between meals, there’s no hope for us.
And if you’re like me and need even more¬†hand-holding, you’ll be happy to discover the ‘Home-School Charts’ that detail what schools expect from children in various grades. (I’m a glutton for punishment.)
“In Grades One, Two and Three…To recognize at least six[musical] compositions and name the composers. To use saw, hammer chisel, nails, woodwork table, etc. To tell sizes of stockings, gloves, shoes, dresses, hats, etc. To plan before he acts, choose materials wisely, finish one job before starting another, and be orderly and neat.”
Based on this chart, my work ethic is below a first grade level. Very encouraging.


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In the era before child leashes, parents kept the kids close by dressing them like pansies when they went out in public. This child is deathly afraid of someone seeing him in this outfit.

Or maybe he’s a¬†psychopath. Better check it out with a professional by age six.

“At this time the parents will want to know more about the specific mental ability of their child so as not to expect too much or too little from him. …Take him to a competent consulting psychologist who will check up on not only his intelligence but on his special talents, his¬†abilities¬†and¬†disabilities¬†..personality characteristics, etc. … I would like to remind parents… that both the biological and social sciences seem to agree that the human individual has his characteristics determined in all essentials by this time.”
Translated: Is your child older than six? IT’S TOO LATE! YOU CAN DO NOTHING!!


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I’m just going to ignore this since we homeschool. I’m positive my children’s educations are far¬†exceeding¬†anything they’d be¬†receiving¬†elsewhere…moving along, nothing to see here!!!


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Yeah, but my shoes and my problems are still much bigger. Hey Teddy tiny toes, take that whining elsewhere. I’ve got 270 more pages to read before I can be assured you won’t be a pariah on society.


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AAAAAA! Okay, okay, stop yelling at me! I’ll start engaging in more readiness activities and read more character building stories out loud!


  1. “In the era before child leashes, parents kept the kids close by dressing them like pansies when they went out in public. This child is deathly afraid of someone seeing him in this outfit.”


  2. This was hilarious, but somehow depressing too. Is that possible? Perhaps because I am a great big failure as homeschooler, according to the grade level requirements.

    I would so love to read this series, if only to contrast it with the drivel that’s published on parenting today, and then have a good laugh about “trends” in parenting.

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