What is “Parentology”? Bring Your Questions for Dalton Conley

9781476712659Last year, we talked to NYU sociologist Dalton Conley and his two children, E and Yo, on our podcast “How Much Does Your Name Matter?” Their names — E Harper Nora Jeremijenko-Conley and Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles Jeremijenko-Conley — are a bit of an experiment:

CONLEY: Of course it’s hard to separate out cause and effect here until Kim Jong-Un allows me to randomly assign all the names of the North Korean kids…but my gut tells me that it does affect who you are and how you behave and probably makes you more creative to have an unusual name.

Conley’s approach to naming his kids is certainly interesting (and highly unusual), to say the least. As it turns out, Conley has the same approach to parenting. He chronicles his unorthodox, research-inspired parenting in his new book Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to AskThe book is out today, and Conley has agreed to answer blog reader questions about the book, so ask away in the comments section below. As always, we’ll post his answers in short course.

Here’s the table of contents to get you started:

Parentology 101 Syllabus

Preface: “Parentology” Defined                                                       

1. What Not to Expect When You’re Expecting

2. Tying the Knot (and I Don’t Mean Marriage—or the Umbilicus)

3. But Maybe You Should Name Your Boy Sue:What’s Not in a Name

4. The Best Thesaurus Is a Human Thesaurus: How to Read to Your Kids

5. Practicing the Delicate Arts of Extortion and Bribery (How Else Are American Children Supposed to Catch Up to the Finnish People in Math?)


7.  Shut the F* Up, Dad! Discipline (or Lack Thereof) 

8. Turn Your Feral Child into a Nice American Capitalist (You Know You Want To)

9. If It’s Organic, Don’t Panic—and Other Tips I Learned in Berkeley for Drugging One’s Kids

10. Go Ahead and Get Divorced—Your Kids’ Genes Will Never Notice

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  1. michele says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  2. Mike says:

    How do we get out of the entitlement trap (“I want it all, I want it now, and I want you to give it to me’)?

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    • Chris says:

      I did not write Parentology, but I’m going to hazard a guess that it has something to do with using the word “No”, early and often.

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  3. Eric M. Jones says:

    I can see it now: A cop trying to write a ticket on the side of a busy highway.


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  4. Chris says:

    Where do you fall on the Nature vs. Nurture scale. If it’s 50 / 50, it still holds the best thing you can do for your kids is procreate with someone as far better looking and smarter than you as possible. If it’s 80 / 20 or higher, nurture strategies seem like using a bucket rather than a cup to change oceanic levels.

    Still, we don’t get to change the nature part after the fact (so far…), so give us nurture tips!

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  5. nborlaug says:

    What do you think of the freakonomics promoted idea that who you are when you have kids will determine more about your children than what you do? Your children’s happiness, the percentage chance they will graduate from college and the chance they’ll go to jail is much more correlated with who you are than the things you do.

    Do you think that’s true a broad idea? I find it to be disturbing yet also calming. It’s disturbing because parents like to think that all the little things they do will have profound impacts on our children’s happiness and sense of fulfillment. It’s calming because it reduces the anxiety of parenting to some extent.

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  6. Experimental Dad says:

    The other day, I was struggling to get my two – year – old dressed and ready to leave the house. He likes to run away while I’m trying to put his shirt on him and on this particular occasion, I decided to let him have his way. We got his shirt on just enough to cover his face before he took off. I let him run …right into the dog – which he tripped over – and fall to the floor. He ended up with a pretty big bruise. I picked him up afterwards, hugged him and explained that his injury happened because he was running with his shirt over his fool head and couldn’t see and that we must take care.

    My question is, where do you feel the line is between protecting kids from harm and letting them get hurt for the sake of learning a lesson?

    Incidentally, my child’s name is Quest. 😉

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  7. Matti says:

    Why should we consider your limited sample size “study” to be anything more than anecdotal? How do you justify it as “science” and not simply “story telling”?

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  8. Kathryn says:

    For those of us who have waited to have children and have now spent 30-some years with nothing depending on us, pristine white carpets, and a full bank account, what is the best way to prepare for the hectic and surprising aspects of parental life in order to not feel completely lost? Or perhaps the best way to come to terms with those feelings?

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