Benjamin Spock Ê

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Benjamin Spock

1903- 1999

Psychologist

Dr. Benjamin Spock achieved everlasting fame as the author of The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946), an extraordinarily popular tome that revolutionized childraising. It remains the best-selling book ever written by an American author.

Spock's essential theme was that a child-centered approach was superior to the older method of raising children strictly, according to set rules that would serve to avoid spoiling. Spock was later criticized for his contribution to the creation of what was termed a generation of undisciplined, problem-prone children.

The doctor did concede that perhaps he had erred on the side of too much flexibility. Subsequent editions of the book have been modified from the original to reflect a more balanced approach and it remains a perennial favorite among new parents.

During the Vietnam War, Spock became a fixture in the antiwar movement, appearing at demonstrations and helping men avoid the draft.

Until nearly the end of his life, Spock was involved in revising his celebrated baby book and offering his suggestions for living a healthier life.