Doctor Benjamin Spock, the paediatrician whose commonsense theories of child care helped guide parents around the world during the last half-century, has died.
He was 94.
Spock died Sunday in San Diego, according to Dr. Stephen Pauker, who had been Spock’s physician for 12 years.
His book “Baby and Child Care,” first published in 1946, was the Bible for parents of the baby boom that followed World War II.
In subsequent years, as the paperback sold 50 million copies and was translated into more than 30 languages.
Spock came under fire from critics who branded him the “the father of permissiveness,” responsible for a “” generation of hippies.
Through it all, Spock said he never changed his basic philosophy on child care – “to respect children because they’re human beings and they deserve respect, and they’ll grow up to be better people.”
Spock said he never meant that children should be allowed to be uncooperative or impolite.
In later years, he said he was becoming more moralistic.
He said parents should give their children strong values and encourage them to help others.
Benjamin McLane Spock was born May 2, 1903, in New Haven, Connecticut, oldest of six children of a lawyer.
He decided on medicine after spending a summer as a counsellor at a camp for handicapped children.
In June 1968, Spock was convicted in Boston and sentenced to two years in prison for conspiracy to aid, abet and counsel young men to avoid the draft.
The verdict was reversed on appeal.
He ran for president in 1972 as a candidate of the Peoples Party, getting more than 75,000 votes.
In the 1970s, he wrote “Raising Children in a Difficult Time,”which discussed such issues as drugs, contraception, and day care.
A later revision of “Baby and Child Care,” included material on single parents, stepparents and divorce, something he learned of first hand following his own divorce and remarriage.
Spock, who described his own parents as strict but loving,reflected that he was probably too stern in raising his sons.
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