The Continuum Concept

When I was pregnant two unrelated friends recommended I read Jean Leidloff’s book The Continuum Concept. I was enthralled with the concept and the idea of being able to raise a calm, self-assured, cooperative child. As soon as I read the book I knew that raising my child in-arms, breastfeeding on call, and sleeping in a family bed was the way I wanted to usher my child into the world. So many people commented on, as a baby, how calm, happy and quiet our baby was. He never cried because he always had his needs met. Being so close to my baby, I always knew what he needed at any given moment. It made being a new parent fun and easy. A group of parents in our area joined together on a regular basis to discuss, learn and understand more about the ‘concept’. The biggest challenge we all seem to have had was figuring out how to adapt the Indian’s tribal way of living to our fast-paced, individualistic, industrialized society. My conclusion is, you have to take the parts of this concepts that makes sense to you and weave them into the way of life that you know and with which you are comfortable.

The aim of the Continuum Concept, shaped by Jean Leidloff, is to raise well-integrated children who have strong self-preservation instincts and the ability to peacefully discern and articulate their needs. Leidloff observed the peaceful ways of the children while living with Stone Age Indians in South America, and has enlightened us with an alternative to the Western way of raising children through discipline, doting and parental absence in the guise of child independence. Leidloff advises keeping your child on your body at all times during the infant stages, including sleeping with your children, allowing them to have their own experiences through self-exploration, and not reacting adversely to your child’s actions, but instead remaining neutral.

Jean Liedloff, an American writer, spent two and a half years deep in the South American jungle with Stone Age Indians. The experience demolished her Western preconceptions of how we should live and led her to a radically different view of what human nature really is. She offers a new understanding of how we have lost much of our natural well-being and shows us practical ways to regain it for our children and for ourselves.

Infants whose continuum needs are fulfilled during the early, in-arms phase grow up to have greater self-esteem and become more independent than those whose cries go unanswered for fear of “spoiling” them or making them too dependent.

Though not written as a child-rearing manual, The Continuum Concept has earned a reputation as an excellent resource for parents and parents-to-be who intuitively feel that the parenting “techniques” of the modern era are inherently misguided.

“Deserves to be read by Western parents, child psychologists, and other social engineers concerned with restoring self-reliance and well-being. There are remarkable insights here.”
The New York Times Book Review

“A book we should all read…to help us become nurturing parents and advocates for our own child within, to understand what we missed, and to restore it.”
Gloria Steinem

“Basic things about human nature that we forget or ignore at our peril.”
Professor Robert Aldrich, M.D., Formerly of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Washington, D.C.

“If I had to choose one book to give parents-to-be, here it is.”
George Leonard

Jean Liedloff’s writing combines vivid storytelling with articulate reasoning in such a way that it jars the reader’s mind free of the entrenched, “civilized” way of thinking which obscures the inner knowing of what she calls the continuum sense.

Claire Kellerman, certified ‘permaculture designer’, artist, writer and photographer, has shared her work globally.

Claire attended Sarah Lawrence College, graduating from New York University with a BA in Music and Writing, with a focus on the classic texts. Claire served as a personal assistant to Karin Frost, Ergobaby’s founder.

February 2, 2011