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Parenting Books Scare Mothers: Study Finds Unattainable Standards, More Worry

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What can first-time mothers expect when they're expecting? Upsetting parenting books that set impossible standards, author Angela Davis has discovered.

Davis researched a variety of women who heeded expert parenting advice published over several decades for her book, Modern Motherhood: Women and Family in England, 1945-2000. Some experts gave strict advice, like Frederick Truby King who suggested a rigid scheduling for feedings, while others, such as Benjamin Spock in the '70s, had an alternative approach. Although the advice varies, Davis found one striking similarity between the parenting books: they stressed out new moms.

"Whatever the message, the advice was given in the form of an order and the authors highlighted extreme consequences if mothers did not follow the methods of childrearing that they advocated," she said.

Such childcare bibles caused stress and feelings of inadequacy in new moms to the point where some found the advice worrying, Davis noted.

Another thing the women had in common? After experiencing both childhood and motherhood, many remained unsure of what parenting approach worked best.

Even todays, mothers and fathers voraciously debate the pros and cons of modern parenting books' child-rearing tactics from co-sleeping to raising children outside of gender conventions.

Read on for parenting books that might keep you up at night:

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