ABC News’ Abbie Boudreau reports:
The newest parenting trend among such celebrities as Penelope Cruz and “Spider-Man” actor Tobey Maguire has less to do with parenting and more to do with treating little kids more like adults.
The approach is called RIE, an acronym for Resources for Infant Educarers, and is pronounced “wry.” It encourages parents to eliminate baby talk, throw out the high chairs, toys and sippy cups and avoid yelling and traditional parenting punishments such as time-outs.
The RIE philosophy is explained in the book “Baby Knows Best” by author Deborah Carlisle Solomon, who says the book’s title is really true.
“Parents have the bigger picture, but babies really do know more and are more competent than we often give them credit for,” Solomon told ABC News.
Parents who follow the RIE method believe its hands-off approach instills independence, responsibility and patience in their offspring.
“Let’s just see what happens, and we are here to protect them and referee, but let’s give them a chance,” said one mom while observing playtime at the RIE center in Los Angeles.
During snack time at the center, toddler-aged children choose their own bibs and pour their own water.
The more mellow approach of the RIE technique is what appealed to Fielding Edlow when she was thinking about how to parent her infant daughter, Ella.
“It just really was in sync with how we want to live our lives, which is being present, slowing down and giving space to a child,” Edlow said.
Parenting expert Karyn Gordon said the RIE method has both its pluses and minuses.
“I love the notion that they focus on independence and not rescuing, overindulging or spoiling a child,” Gordon told ABC News. “[But] this philosophy would say don’t interfere at all and let the kids figure it out and, to me, that is too extreme.”