Readers not familiar with the term “postmodern” should be aware that society we live in is now defined by this word. Universities across the United States, such as Johns Hopkins University, publish journals on the topic and the subject is debated by intellectuals, psychologists and the like. In her book, Authentic Parenting in the Postmodern Culture, Mary DeMuth goes into great detail about both postmodernism and how it affects those of us parenting today.
Postmodernism, defined for the general masses by DeMuth, simply means “after (post) modernism.” The era of modernism began shifting about 50 years ago as our views on all aspects of life began to differ from past generations. DeMuth takes the broad concept of postmodern thinking and shows readers how this applies to our children and, even more specifically, to us as parents.
Some examples of postmodern thought that DeMuth includes in chapter three are: “More education creates a moral society; Skepticism is important. The miraculous cannot be proved; and thinking is linear. A + B = C.” The 17th-century philosopher Rene Descartes, who has been referred to as the "Father of Modern Philosophy," presciently summed up 20th-century postmodern thinking in his statement, “I think, therefore I am.”
DeMuth illustrates throughout her book not only how postmodern thinking affects our parenting, but what postmodern parenting looks like. One example that struck me personally was an illustration about DeMuth and her daughter. The author explained that she was writing on a deadline and was becoming frustrated by her daughter’s many interruptions. In the midst of the conflict, DeMuth realized that all her daughter wanted was her mother’s attention. She pulled her daughter on to her lap, gave her a hug and just sat there with her for a moment. Her daughter then hopped off her lap and ran off to play, content. This simple solution helped change my attitude about my children’s interruptions and has helped me learn to respond in kind.
Filled with day-to-day stories from DeMuth’s own life, this book is a powerful tool for any parent. The author is open and honest in such a refreshing way that I connected with her and didn’t want the book to end.