14 Jul: The Spock Generation

Dr Benjamin Spock’s ‘Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care’ was first published on 14th July, 1946. It was then translated into 40 languages, selling over 50 million copies – second only to the Bible in the USA.

Spock’s thesis is perhaps best summarised in its seminal opening sentence: ‘Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do’. This intuitive approach was a shock to the world of parental guidance: just 18 years prior, psychologist John B Watson had recommended that children should be treated as adults. 

In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly revisit the radically different 1916 tome ‘The Mother and Her Baby’; explain how Spock’s trusting instincts were a mainstay of his career; and consider whether Gene Rodenberry’s preference for strong-sounding names REALLY explains how ‘Spock’ became a character on Star Trek…

Further Reading:

• TV interview with Dr Spock (1982):

• ‘The Pied Piper Of Permissivism’ (The Guardian, 1962): https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/23/dr-benjamin-spock-baby-and-child-care-1962

• ‘Dr Spock’s Timeless Lessons in Parenting’ (The Conversation, 2019):