RIE – The Newest Hollywood Fad

I enjoy reading. Normally I prefer books, but on occasion I will grab a large stash of magazines from our local library to peruse the newest fads and fashion tips to hit the runways. The February 2014 issue of Vanity Faircovered the newest parenting fad to hit Hollywood and it’s a doosie!

Resources for Infant Educarers, or RIE (pronounced “wry”), firmly believes in treating children like adults. Babies do not sit in high-chairs, use sipper cups, or have pacifiers. Infants will not be put in baby carriers, have mobiles hanging over their cribs, or be placed in a playpen. All of these actions are considered demeaning to the child, who ought to be given the same respect as we would any adult. Did the children ask for any of these items? Why do we assume they must be treated with so little dignity?

RIE also advises that no toys be purchased for your children. Anything they need for their entertainment can easily be found already existing in your cupboards at home, there is no need for colorful objects which make noise. (Ironically, their website has pictures of children playing with toys.)

It seems we are raising a generation of “adolescents” who never leave home and still do not know how to have a proper conversation. (All points I would have to agree with.) Making choices for them, using “baby talk”, and imprisoning them in devices are believed to be a major contributing factors for this social disease.


The article, which I hope you will take a moment to read, goes on to discuss more aspects of RIE that I find fascinating. I would like to think I’m generous enough to see these parents’ hearts. They want what is best for their children and wish to raise a generation better than my own. I just think they might have forgotten a few things.

Perhaps we treat children like children because they are children. It isn’t that we are being disrespectful, but that we recognize these little minds have yet to form an opinion of their own. A child cannot form an opinion about which he is ignorant. Maybe we give children colorful toys and rattles because for years they have naturally reached for them on their own, not that an adult forced one into their hands and made them play with one.

I also find it interesting that RIE parents expect children to sit at tables and use proper tableware and yet they are allowed to yell and scream. In one respect they want children to act adult and, on the other, they are allowing them to exhibit immature behavior. Proper adults should not be going around yelling and screaming at one another; they ought to carry out a conversation and work through their problems. So, which is it?

While on one hand I agree with some of RIE’s principles, mainly the need to raise a mature generation of youth, I see many faults in their program. The next generation cannot raise itself; it needs guidance, council, and a firm hand. I wonder how long this newest fad will last, before it’s replaced by another? I give it six months….

Have you heard of RIE? What are your thoughts on their parental program?

Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:2

18 thoughts on “RIE – The Newest Hollywood Fad

  1. I just read some of the article. This is the first I have heard of this kind of parenting. Some of the “philosophy” makes sense but execution sounds heartless and cruel. Babies are calmed soothed and feel loved when they are rocked. I couldn’t NOT rock my baby, ever!


  2. First of all, I’m deeply skeptical of any “parenting experts”. And I think it’s sad that so many parents turn to someone to tell them what to do, without using their own common sense and trusting their intuition. There are some things I agree with very much- treating kids with dignity and respect, not condescending to them. I’m also minimalist when it comes to “stuff” for babies- I don’t think they need much.
    But this seems to go way too far. Children are not little adults. I was disturbed by this quote in the VF article:
    “they let babies cry for as long as they want to, on the principle that you don’t want to condemn them to repressing their emotions for a lifetime. Nor do RIE parents manipulate a baby by rocking him to sleep, or tickle a child—where is the respect in that?—or interfere in kids’ fights (within reason).”
    I agree with the tickling, but the rest… ugh.


  3. I’ve been following the blog of Janet Lansbury (http://www.janetlansbury.com/) who is something of an RIE expert, and I’ve been loving it. My experience is that RIE is a variation on the theme of Montessori, and goodness knows that’s been around for a long, long time now.

    Montessori also has children learning to drink from glasses, not sippy cups. I am just starting to read about her philosophy more deeply, so I am in no way able to provide an in depth comparison of the two philosophies.

    I think that sentence referenced by Miriam might be trying to inject a bit of controversy into the article. RIE wouldn’t have you withhold needed comfort from a crying baby, but it would suggest that you take a second and try to determine what your baby is communicating, rather than slapping a pacifier in the baby’s mouth or just using the fastest way you know to get quiet restored. Here’s a post on that: http://www.janetlansbury.com/2012/10/would-you-pick-up-this-crying-baby/

    I’m finding that both RIE ad Montessori challenge me to view my child as a person, and to take the time to listen and apply my mind to understanding what she’s trying to communicate, and that’s good for me, and it’s good for her. It’s too easy to get task focused (dishes! laundry! bathrooms! etc.) and want her to just be quiet. These philosophies are asking me to give her the courtesy that I should give anyone I’m relating to – listening and understanding and love.


    • Jen, I was just a going to comment about how this parenting style is similar to the Montessori learning philosophy.

      The videos on their website also help see that they do pick up kids when they cry, just not necessarily instantly, but rather ask that you pause and see what could be causing the crying.

      This is the first I hear of this, however I could immediately see the Montessori aspects that it incorporates. I personally like some of the ways in which the Montessori philosophy teaches children. I like that toys can be more natural and not needing to be super extravagant or techie.

      However, I do use a high chair and my kids drink from spill-proof cups with straws. We have a playpen too!


  4. I’ve never heard of this movement,but as a mother of 4, with 3 now in adulthood and a degree in Early Childhood Development, I find this scary… Unrealistic expectations for a child’s age is the number one cause of child abuse, so this seems very dangerous to me…What’s wrong with a baby being a baby? Childhood is a precious stage that should be protected, we only get one of them…I find this sadly misguided… Unfortunately sometimes fear runs people’s ideals and that is never a good foundation… Whenever it’s based on fear it has some measure of irrationality…. Just my humble opinion


  5. I have never heard of this parenting ‘fad’ before today. Just from reading the article I can say that I agree with some of it and disagree with some of it. First of all, I don’t “follow” a particular *style* of parenting. I think the closest would be attachment parenting, but I don’t follow it *religiously*. I think respecting children as humans is a very good thing, but I disagree with treating them as adults. They are not adults and should not be expected to handle things in an adult manner. They learn by watching us, the parents, not by experiencing adult situations.

    Not using a high chair seems to be a safety hazard. They just sit on a *regular* chair? My 1 year old would get excited and fling himself off…

    We don’t use too many ‘baby items’. We also talk to him in similar ways as the example, but we do ‘baby talk’ as his voice back to us. LOL I think that conversing to him and allowing a pause time helps him to learn normal conversation skills.

    Overall, I think that following ANY parenting technique *by the book* can be dangerous. Learning to read your baby’s cues and responding appropriately should be the foundation of any parenting style regardless of the *rules*. If you treat your children with love and respect you don’t need anyone to give you a handbook, you just need to trust your gut instinct. But I’m kind of ‘burned out’ on doing things the *right* way all the time. I’m done with how-tos and guilt trips…I just love my children and respect them as persons and forgo experts and labels.


    • Oh, and I believe it is very important to use a baby carrier. It puts babies at good level to watch adults converse. Another way to learn through modeling. I’m not sure what they do for babies if they aren’t holding them. Stroller?


  6. Like many, I agree with some but disagree with others.
    Utilizing “infant” items does not make a person dependent in the future. It is in the parenting. If you treat you infant in a cold, unloving manner you will develop a cold and unloving adult. Take the time to be a parent and raise your child. Nothing raises a child better than compassion, love and affection with some sternness.


  7. I had never heard of this. Most parenting fads center around the children and it seems they swing from extremes. I’ve learned in my short years of parenting that prayer, modeling God the Father’s grace & discipline, & knowing my kid works the best for us.

    God centered parenting always wins over other methods…even the traditions I grew up with. Kids grow and change…so we need God’s guidance for every stage. Methods I used when Michael was a toddler, don’t work now at 7 almost 8. When he’s a teen things will change too. Thankfully God knows my son better than I do. I desperately need Jesus’ guidance. Some kids require more discipline at certain stages…others more grace. We can’t figure that out from a book. We have to know our kids and have God’s guidance.

    I’m not saying that all methods are wrong. Parenting is hard and it’s nice to read helpful books. But children aren’t robots that can be programmed. They are unique and only God knows the hearts of men. I grew up with two parental extremes. In the beginning I was more of a disciplinarian like my Dad. My first instinct is to tell my kid to get over things but God is showing me that i need to have grace. I shouldn’t parent out of fear. My son developing a heart for God is way better than having an obedient robot. So things are a bit messy when you deal with the heart. That’s scary but it’s also beautiful because I see how God is changing my heart at the same time. My son and I are growing together. I can not say that the way I approach my son will work for every child. How could it? So maybe a certain fad works with one kid but it probably won’t work for another. Human beings don’t work that way…

    Well, that’s my long opinion lol. This post hit a chord. I truly hope that any parent following fads will realize that kids can’t be programmed. We truly aren’t in control. We have to put children in God’s hands because he’s the only one who truly knows our kids inside and out. God bless Sister and thanks for the thought provoking post!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.