email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
The Creek"Who Could That Be at This Hour?"100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian Drew3 Willows33 Minutes47A Company of FoolsA Corner Of The UniverseA Crack In The LineA Frog ThingA Great and Terrible BeautyA Monster CallsA Northern LightA Step From HeavenA Stir of BonesA Walk in the Rain With a BrainA Wish for Wings That WorkAdam Canfield of the SlashAfterAlice MacLeod, Realist at LastAll Rivers Flow to the SeaAll SoulsAll the WayAll Unquiet ThingsAmong the HiddenAmong the ImpostorsAnatomy of a BoyfriendAngus, Thongs and Full-Frontal SnoggingAnnie's BabyArizona KidArtemis FowlAs Simple as SnowAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAt the End of WordsAway Laughing on a Fast CamelBad Girls ClubBad RatsBang!Beating HeartBecause of Winn-DixieBefore I DieBefore I FallBetween Mom and JoBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBig Rabbit's Bad MoodBlack-eyed SuzieBlind SightBog ChildBoy Kills ManBoy ProofBoysBoys Are DogsBoys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking BootsBraceBreaking PointBronx MasqueradeBruisesBrushing Mom's HairBrutalBurnCatalystCathy's BookCathy's KeyCaveat EmptorCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryCharlie and the Great Glass ElevatorCity of CannibalsClaiming Georgia TateClawsClay's WayConfessions of a Teenage Drama QueenConfessions of an Angry GirlContentious IssuesCoralineCountry Girl, City GirlCrispinCrossesCruise ControlCulture and Conflict in Child and Adolescent Mental HealthDancing in My NuddypantsDani Bennoni: Long May He LiveDear Zoe,DeliriumDeliverance From EvilDestination UnexpectedDirty Little SecretsDiscovering Pig MagicDivaDivergentDoing ItDown the Rabbit HoleDrawing a BlankDuck! Rabbit!Ellison the ElephantEmma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a TreeEmpress of the WorldEscape Under the Forever SkyEvery Little Thing in the WorldEverything Is FineEverything on a WaffleFacts About ADHD ChildrenFade to BlackFade to BlueFaith, Hope, and Ivy JuneFeather BoyFinallyFinding H. F.FiregirlFirst CrossingFlashcards of My LifeForbiddenForest of the PygmiesFoxFreak the MightyFreaky Green EyesFree?FreewillFrictionGeektasticGentlemenGeography ClubGeorge's Marvelous MedicineGetting Over Garrett DelaneyGhost at the WindowGirl PartsGirls Acting CattyGirls in PantsGirlsourceGLBTQGoing BovineGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGossip GirlGotta Get Some Bish Bash BoshGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGutsHamletHandbook for BoysHappy Halloween, Li'L SantaHarmlessHarry the Hypno-potamusHate ListHear Us Out!HeartbeatHeroHippie ChickHitler's DaughterHootHow to Build a HouseHumanism, What's That?Hurt Go HappyI Am Not Joey PigzaI Donít Want to be CrazyI Need You More Than I Love You and I Love You To BitsI Saw It HappenIf a Tree Falls at Lunch PeriodIf I StayIf We KissIn the Company of CraziesIt Happened to NancyIt Was A Dark And Silly NightIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalIt's Perfectly NormalJacob's LadderJakarta MissingJake RileyJames and the Giant PeachJennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, ElizabethJoey Pigza Loses ControlJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJokerJumping Off SwingsJumping the ScratchKeeping the MoonKeeping Your Child in MindKidYogi - Yoga for ChildrenKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLast CallLast DecemberLeaping BeautyLemony SnicketLess Than PerfectLiarLittle ChicagoLizard LoveLizzy's Do's and Don'tsLock and KeyLooking for BobowiczLooking for NormalLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogLove, AubreyLucy in the SkyLukeís Way of LookingMadappleMaking the RunMaking the RunMany StonesMapsMargaux with an XMary Pope Osborne's Tales from the OdysseyMichael Rosen's Sad BookMirrorMaskMolly Moon's Incredible Book of HypnotismMonsterMore Than a LabelMore Than FriendsMore Than FriendsMouse's First ValentineMy Brain Tumour AdventuresMy HeartbeatMy One Hundred AdventuresMy Perfect LifeNastybookNo Right TurnNot As Crazy As I SeemNothing But the TruthNothing PinkNow Playing: Stoner & Spaz IIOlive My LoveOlive's OceanOliviaOlivia Saves the CircusOn the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex GodOne Hot SecondOut of BoundsOut of the DustPandemoniumPanic at Toad HallPaper TownsPatrolPeachesPeriod PiecesPictures of Hollis WoodsPiggyPINSPlanet JanetPlanet PregnancyPretty Girl-13Prince William, Maximilian Minsky & MePrincess in LovePrincess in the SpotlightPrisoners Under GlassProject Sweet LifePsychotherapy with Adolescent Girls and Young WomenPuddlejumpersPunkzillaPurgeRainbow PartyRequiemRethinking Gender and Sexuality in ChildhoodRevolting Rhymes & Dirty BeastsRosy Cole's Memoir ExplosionSabrielSaving GraceSay YesScatSchool of FearSee You at Harry'sSexyShadows on the WallShatteredShelterShooterSins of the FathersSkelligSmackSmall Avalanches and Other StoriesSomeday This Pain Will Be Useful to YouSomeone Like YouSomething About AmericaSong for EloiseSophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers AmericaSophomore SwitchSplit ScreenStartled by His Furry ShortsStone WaterStory of a GirlStuffSuffer the ChildrenSummer of the SkunksSurviving HitlerSweetheartsTalkTargeting AutismTeen Angst? NaaahTeen TelevisionThat SummerThawThe 10 PM QuestionThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianThe Actual Real Reality of Jennifer JamesThe Amnesia ClinicThe Arctic IncidentThe Artsy Smartsy ClubThe Bear MakersThe BFGThe Big BurnThe Book of JudeThe Boy Who Climbed into the MoonThe Boy Who DaredThe Boyfriend ListThe Buffalo TreeThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Case of the Case of Mistaken IdentityThe Chosen OneThe Clouds AboveThe Color of AbsenceThe Crazy Things Girls Do for LoveThe Dating GameThe Day Leo Said I Hate You!The DaydreamerThe Diary of a Killer CatThe Diary of Pelly DThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-BanksThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round ThingsThe EndThe Ersatz ElevatorThe Eternity CubeThe Eyes of van GoghThe Flight of a DoveThe Future of UsThe Geography of GirlhoodThe GiantessThe Great BrainThe Grim GrottoThe Heretic's DaughterThe Hookup ArtistThe Horse and His BoyThe Hostile HospitalThe Last Chance TexacoThe Little TernThe Love Curse of the RumbaughsThe Lucky PlaceThe Men They Will BecomeThe Miseducation of Cameron PostThe Mystery of the Third LucretiaThe Naked Truth About SexThe Neil Gaiman Audio CollectionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Outcasts of 19 Schuyler PlaceThe Palace of LaughterThe Penultimate PerilThe PostcardThe Princess DiariesThe Rules of SurvivalThe Same Stuff as StarsThe Sands of TimeThe ScarThe Serious KissThe ShakeressThe Silent BoyThe Silly BookThe Sledding HillThe Slippery SlopeThe Snow SpeaksThe Spider and the BeeThe SpindlersThe StepsThe Story of Frog Belly Rat BoneThe Tail of Emily WindsnapThe Thief LordThe Thought that CountsThe Treasure Map of BoysThe TwitsThe UninvitedThe View from SaturdayThe Vile VillageThe Virginity ClubThe WilloughbysThe Wish HouseThe Witch of Blackbird PondThe Witch's BoyThe Wolves in the WallsThe Wolves of AndoverThen Again, Maybe I Won'tThen He Ate My Boy EntrancersThey Broke the Law-You Be the JudgeThings I Have to Tell YouThirstyThirteen Reasons WhyThis Book Is Not Good For YouThis Burns My HeartThis Full HouseTime Stops for No MouseTrue BelieverTrue BelieverTruesightTwenty Boy SummerTwistedUnder Pressure and OverwhelmedUnder the Wolf, Under the DogUnder WildwoodVery Far Away from Anywhere ElseVirgin Sex for GirlsVirgin Sex for GuysWalking on GlassWastelandWatch Me Do YogaWe're Not MonstersWelcome to the ArkWhale TalkWhat Comes AfterWhat HappenedWhat I Saw And How I LiedWhat the Birds SeeWhat Works for Bipolar KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Jeff Comes HomeWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen You Reach MeWhere She WentWhere The Kissing Never StopsWho Has What?Why Are You So Sad?WildwoodWill You, Won't You?Witch ChildWith Their EyesWolf on the FoldWonderlandWorlds ApartWurst Case ScenarioYogaYoga 4 TeensYou Hear MeYou Know You Love MeZane's TraceZazoo
I wanted to review this book because the title led me to believe that it might have something to do with a Buddhist approach to helping children deal with emotional turbulence.
The author uses the insights of the English pediatrician and psychoanalyst Winnicott as a base from which to describe "in detail what it looks like to hold a child in mind through each stage of development from the new born period through adolescence."
Gold wants to show how behavioral issues such as crying, tantrums, sleep problems and general defiance can be defused by seeing these problems from a child's point of view. I would tend to agree with this approach. However, the book shows us that to view these issues from a child's point of view requires us to view the behavior through the lens polished in advance by Winnicott, Bowlby and Fonagy.
Indeed, in his review of Gold's book, Fonagy writes that God, "strikes at the core of what being a parent mean: to recognize your child as a person with thoughts and feelings." I agree with the importance of Fonagy's insight. The central question is how can behavioral pediatrics view children as persons when the very behavioral approach established by Watson and Skinner degrades the notion of personhood? The behavioral approach to human nature cannot do justice to the unique singularity and haecceity of persons.
The book consists of vignettes "distilled from hundreds of stories" that Gold was told in her practice. The "persons" in the book are behavioral composites. I found it troubling that the father's role in raising a child was not given due consideration. The composite men in the book were presented as incompetent and weak. This calls for further analysis that will not be carried out here.
Equally troubling is Gold's claim not to be an expert. She writes, "In reality, you are an expert with your child, you know better that I do what to do." Clearly, the composites in the book are experts at being incompetent. The tactic of experts telling non-experts that they are really the real experts is truly baffling.
The huge claim and promise of the book is "once you have finished reading the book....you will integrate on the level of your own brain biochemistry, a new way of being with your child." As if parents who are not connected to their children are going to wake up with the epiphany, "Now I know why my two year old son has tantrums after spending four hours walking up and down the aisles of a big box store- I haven't read enough Winnicott."
The book while well edited and well written is not a manual for parents. It reads more like a series of thoughtful papers presented at a conference on behavioral pediatrics. Having lived through many of the issues Gold describes in her book, I found myself disagreeing with her" non-expert" advice on many levels.
It seems that the solutions to our difficulties are clearly in front of us and do not require the introduction of further theory to elucidate how we fall short of our potential. The problems that the author discusses have more to do with the bizarre behavioral of parents than with the normal reactions of their children.
The book describes "parents" who are their wits end; who can no longer deal with crying, acting out, tantrums, hitting etc. Rather than reach for Winnicott, we might reach for Wittgenstein and Ayer and look at the obvious.
We might ask the following questions: was it really necessary to force feed your child hotdogs when they obviously gag at the very thought of taking another bite of your sausage nostalgia? Is it really worthwhile to feed your toddler sushi to impress your friends at the mall when your child cannot stomach the texture of the artistically rendered raw fish creation? Did you really expect a three year old to sit through a two hour movie without moving, without becoming bored, frustrated and angry at your lack of aesthetic choice and common sense? How did you expect your child to react after having been overstimulated on a diet filled with Oreo's, orange soda and Dora the Explorer?
For parents who cannot see that their children are persons, with thoughts and feelings, this book or any other book will not teach them how to be properly human. If behavior is understood in terms of levels of development, then clearly parents are at fault for expecting their children to run before they can stand. The general message is that parents really should not be blamed since they are only reacting to how they were raised is not always the case.
Gold shows how "the effects of parent's relationships with their own parents on their experience of raising a child is central." For example, a mother may be strict with her daughter and more lenient with her son. It is quite eye-opening to realize that in dealing with our own children, we may be still reacting to our mother's sadness or our Father's anxiety.
Gold does move into a Buddhist direction when she writes, "the key to the success of our children lies with their parent's capacity to fully emotionally present with them." Do parents, composite, real or otherwise, really need to be told that a child "needs his parents to help him regulate and contain his feelings?" How is this possible with parents who are emotionally illiterate? To balance Gold's behavioral approach I would recommend that readers study Thich Nhat Hahn's recent book- Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child.
© 2012 Marko Zlomislic
Marko Zlomislic is professor of philosophy at Conestoga College, Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada