Benjamin Spock Quotes

Benjamin McLane Spock, 1903 – 1998

Born: 2 May 1903, New Haven, Connecticut
Died: 15 March 1998, La Jolla, California

Spock “prepped” at Andover, then entered Yale University, living at home for the first year. A member of the crew spotted the 6’4″ freshman and asked him to row, the Yale “heavyweight varsity eight” brought home the Olympic gold medal from the 1924 Paris Olympics. Spock graduated in 1925, attended Yale Medical School for two years and completed his MD at Columbia in 1929. He was the first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to better understand children and families, and was an early advocate of affection and flexibility rather than a distant treatment of children with the primary goal of discipline. Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, first published in 1946, has sold over 34 million copies and been translated into thirty languages, becoming the most influential book on the subject ever. It was updated several times during Spock’s life as new information became available, reversing his position on sleeping position when research showed that sleeping on their backs increased sudden infant death syndrome and concluded that circumcision was “traumatic, painful, and of questionable value”. In 1962 Spock joined The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and spoke out against the war in Vietnam. He was arrested several times in protests and ran as the People’s Party candidate in the 1972 presidential election. He was widely accused of damaging society by encouraging permissive attitudes in child rearing and encouraging a culture of instant gratification, which he and his supporters deny. (The Quotemaster was raised with guidance from Spock’s book but does not remember ever reading it himself, thus cannot comment on this.) Spock died at home following a long and expensive battle with cancer.

Benjamin Spock quotes:

Biologically and temperamentally, I believe women were made to be concerned first and foremost with child care, husband care and home care.
    Benjamin Spock

Children who grow up getting nutrition from plant foods rather than meats have a tremendous health advantage. They are less likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer.
    Benjamin Spock

Don’t take too seriously all that the neighbors say. Don’t be overawed by what the experts say. Don’t be afraid to trust your own common sense.
    Benjamin Spock – Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care (first published 1946)

Don’t worry about trying to do a perfect job. There is no perfect job. There is no one way of raising your children.
    Benjamin Spock

Every child senses, with all the horse sense that’s in him, that any parent is angry inside when children misbehave and they dread more the anger that is rarely or never expressed openly, wondering how awful it might be.
    Benjamin Spock

Happiness is mostly a by-product of doing what makes us feel fulfilled.
    Benjamin Spock

Having a good time together is the essence of lovingness and the best means of increasing it.
    Benjamin Spock

I really learned it all from mothers.
    Benjamin Spock – Time magazine (8 April 1985)

I wanted to be supportive of parents rather than to scold them. The book set out very deliberately to counteract some of the rigidities of pediatric tradition, particularly in infant feeding. It emphasized the importance of great differences between individual babies, of the need for flexibility and of the lack of necessity to worry constantly about spoiling.
    Benjamin Spock

I would say that the surest measure of a man’s or a woman’s maturity is the harmony, style, joy, and dignity he creates in his marriage, and the pleasure and inspiration he provides for his spouse.
    Benjamin Spock

I’m not a pacifist. I was very much for the war against Hitler and I also supported the intervention in Korea, but in this war we went in there to steal Vietnam.
    Benjamin Spock

I’ve come to the realization that a lot of our problems are because of a dearth of spiritual values.
    Benjamin Spock – Associated Press interview (1992)

If I could make only one wish for a child, I’d wish him the quality of lovingness.
    Benjamin Spock

In automobile terms, the child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering.
    Benjamin Spock – Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care (first published 1946)

In our country today, very few children are raised to believe that their principal destiny is to serve their family, their country, or God.
    Benjamin Spock

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