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Resource Review Thursday: Review of Brain, Child Magazine

I’ve been thinking about how I want to plan and structure my days with my children, and I’ve also been giving some thought to how I want to structure and plan my blog.  One thing I hoped to do with this blog when I first started it is to provide a place to find good parenting resources that are attachment-friendly, respectful of the dignity of parents and children alike, and written in a clear, accessible way. I’ve been the Parenting Resources Feature Writer at Suite101 for just over two years now, and I’ve reviewed a lot of good (and not so good) parenting resources during that time.

So, with that goal in mind I am starting a new weekly series: Resource Review Thursday.  Every Thursday I’ll post a review of a parenting resource, and as I post my weekly reviews I’ll add them to my new Resources and Reviews page.  I haven’t got a lot of lengthy periods of time to create a page all at once, (I’m sure many of you can relate!) but I do want to get a list of resources up there and if I have to do it gradually, then that’s how I’ll do it. As always, if I received a free copy of something I’ll disclose that at the bottom of my review. If you know of a resource you want to recommend or would like me to review, please let me know.

To get us off on the right foot, here is a review I wrote awhile back on one of my very favourite parenting magazines: Brain, Child magazine.Brain, Child Magazine Cover

Brain, Child: “The Magazine for Thinking Mothers”

Are you looking for a parenting magazine that’s like a New Yorker for moms? Do you want to read a magazine that assumes you arrived in parenthood with your intelligence, sense of humor and wits about you? Brain, Child is a parenting magazine dedicated to the emotional and intellectual lives of mothers. Based in Lexington, VA, Brain, Child was founded in 1999 by Jennifer Niesslein and Stephanie Wilkinson, two friends with new babies and writing backgrounds who wanted to start a literary magazine for mothers. In 2000 Brain, Child was nominated by the Utne Reader as one of the five best new magazines that year, and has been nominated for and won several other Utne awards since.

Personal Essays, In-Depth Features, Thought-provoking Fiction About Parenting Issues

The main component of Brain, Child is the personal essays, which cover a broad range of topics in parenting such as miscarriage, parenting adolescents, dealing with divorce, whether to shelter kids from violence or censor books and films in your house. These essays are not rants or one-sided perspectives but present fully examined and complex issues in a compelling and well-written way.

Each issue has one in-depth feature article on a topic such as work from home scams or immunization safety. The article on immunizations in the Spring 2008 issue is refreshingly balanced, grounded and well-researched, especially given the sketchy background information available today on immunization safety and the high emotion involved for parents and health professionals alike. The rest of the magazine is filled out with a fiction piece, a humor piece, reader letters and fun feedback such as “what is the funniest thing you’ve heard a parent say to a child?”

Don’t Expect Brain, Child to Tell You How to Parent

One thing that really sets Brain, Child apart from other parenting magazines is that there are no how-to articles or lists of government-approved parenting guidelines. These folks assume you can find and choose general parenting information on your own, and instead focus on presenting more emotional and complex perspectives on parenting and the impact it has on your life.

Advertising is minimal and tightly aimed at the magazine’s high-income and high-education reader demographic. The essays and feature articles assume you are comfortable with having your perspective challenged by what you read. There isn’t much simple reassurance here, but there is a great deal of emotional work that has gone into the personal essays. If you don’t really want to be intellectually or emotionally challenged by a parenting magazine you might find this one hard going.

Overall, Brain, Child presents motherhood as multi-dimensional, complex, ever-changing and challenging work, and is consistently respectful of mothers of all stripes, whether working, at home, single or divorced. Brain, Child assumes that you’re a parent who’s not afraid to think things through, likes to consider various perspectives on right and wrong, and is emotionally invested in parenting. If you’re that kind of parent, you’ll love reading Brain, Child.

Disclosure: I received three free copies of Brain, Child to review. I then loaned them out to all my friends, who loved it and subscribed to the magazine themselves!

Image credit: Clover Archer

Originally published on Suite101.com on June 19, 2008

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Amber July 2, 2010, 3:54 pm

    I love Brain, Child. I’m pretty sure that at least 3 people read every issue I receive. It’s just pure awesomeness, and it makes me think. So many parenting magazines have just the opposite effect on me, so this one is refreshing.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..What I Learned in June 2010 =-.