The Continuum Concept

The Continuum Concept

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Jean Liedloff

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 196mm x 14mm | 118g
  • Publication date: 23 November 1989
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 014019245X
  • ISBN 13: 9780140192452
  • Illustrations note: index
  • Sales rank: 5,988

Product description

"The Continuum Concept" introduces the idea that in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings - especially babies - require the kind of instinctive nurturing as practiced by our ancient relatives. It is a true 'back to basics' approach to parenting. Author Jean Liedloff spent two and-a-half years in the jungle deep in the heart of South America living with indigenous tribes and was astounded at how differently children are raised outside the Western world. She came to the realisation that essential child-rearing techniques such as touch, trust and community have been undermined in modern times, and in this book suggests practical ways to regain our natural well-being, for our children and ourselves.

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Author information

Jean Liedloff has written for the Sunday Times and was a founding member of the Ecologist magazine. She lectures and broadcasts around the world to students, doctors, parents, psychotherapists and the general public. She lives in London.

Customer reviews

By Alison Ball 22 Oct 2011 5

I truly believe that any parents-to-be should read this book.
I, however, am not, but found it very interesting and have definitely learnt a thing or two for when the time comes.
Among other things, the book questions our modern Western approach to parenting and encourages thoughts of a different approach, which has worked in other parts of the world for a very long time.
Does our current mainstream approach leave children growing up without a vital need fulfilled, and are we too hard on children and babies that just need to be against their mother?
I certainly know I will be putting much of what is discussed here into practise in a few years.
I sent an early wedding gift of this book to a friend, both of whom have commented that they really loved it and learned a lot.
Definitely work buying, borrowing, or otherwise finding a way to read!

Editorial reviews

"Already a sensation in England," notes the publisher, and no wonder. Advocating the natural way to raise children, this book insists on the importance of 24-hour physical contact between mother and child, from birth until the child takes the initiative for independent movement, and "instinct-reinforcement" thereafter. This "continuum," an evolutionary adaptation, supplies the crucial sensory experiences which lead to neurosis-free adulthood, an end to anxieties. Uh-oh. Liedloff, who spent several years among the Yequana Indians of Venezuela, is offering their way of bringing up baby as the norm from which we civilized folk have somehow (unspecified) been diverted. No matter that adult Yequanas spend their days fetching water and grating manioc, whereas increasing numbers of young mothers work: those that have a choice will gladly delay careers indefinitely and those who must work can find grandmothers or other eager caretakers to carry baby around while scrubbing and cooking. ("It would help immeasurably if we could see baby care as a nonactivity.") Liedloff maintains that the feeling of bliss which comes from this constant contact (including a shared bed) is what heroin addicts and others (criminals, homosexuals, alcoholics, gamblers) have missed; fortunately, "There is reason to believe that the missing experience can be supplied to children and adults at any stage." Despite a handful of pertinent, original observations, this anti-intellectual argument - like most panaceas - is full of speculations and half-truths, bearing little resemblance to the realities most of us know, and the suggestions for research are feeble. Liedloff (apparently childless) found "the missing center of things" in her "beloved jungle," a reenactment of a childhood epiphany; here, ironically, she seems out of touch. (Kirkus Reviews)

Table of contents

How my ideas were so radically changed; the continuum concept; the beginning of life; growing up; deprivation of essential experiences; society; putting continuum principles back to work.