email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
"Intimate" Violence against Women3 NBS of Julian DrewA Little PregnantA Natural History of RapeA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Stir of BonesAbout a BoyAdult Children of Emotionally Immature ParentsAgainst MarriageAgainst MarriageAlmost a PsychopathAlone TogetherAnatomy of LoveAngelsAnother CountryAnxious ParentsApples and OrangesBe Honest--You're Not That Into Him EitherBeing the Other OneBetrayed as BoysBeyond AddictionBipolar DisorderBoys Will Put You on a Pedestal (So They Can Look Up Your Skirt)Breaking ApartBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBringing Up ParentsBut I Love HimCaring for a Child with AutismCaring in Remembered WaysCherishmentChildren of the Aging Self-AbsorbedChildren of the Self-AbsorbedChildren, Families, and Health Care Decision MakingClawsCloserCold HitCoping With Difficult PeopleCouple SkillsCruddyDancing in My NuddypantsDivorce PoisonDoing ItDone With The CryingEcstasyEmotional ClaustrophobiaEmotional Fitness for IntimacyEmotional Intelligence at WorkEntwined LivesErotic PassionsEssentials of Premarital CounselingEvery Pot Has a CoverFacts About ADHD ChildrenFamilies Like MineFamilyFamily BoundFamily FirstFear of IntimacyFinal JeopardyFind MeFlashpointFor Lesbian ParentsForgive Your Parents, Heal YourselfGandhi's WayGeorgia Under WaterGetting over Getting MadGetting the Love You WantGetting the Love You Want Audio CompanionGirl in the MirrorGirl StuffGoing Home without Going CrazyHandbook of AttachmentHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHappiness Sold SeparatelyHard to GetHe's Just Not That Into YouHealing ConversationsHollow KidsHot ButtonsHot Chocolate for the Mystical LoverHow Families Still MatterHow to Create Chemistry with AnyoneHow to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Handle a Hard-To-Handle KidHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!I Don't Know How She Does ItI Hate You-Don't Leave MeI Only Say This Because I Love YouI'm OK, You're My ParentsIn the Mood, AgainInside the American CoupleIntrusive ParentingIt's Called a Breakup Because It's BrokenIt's Love We Don't UnderstandJakarta MissingKeeping Passion AliveKeeping Your Child in MindLet's Get This StraightLiberation's ChildrenLife's WorkLikely to DieLove JunkieLove SickLove Times ThreeLove Works Like ThisLoving Someone With Bipolar DisorderLoving Someone with Borderline Personality DisorderLust in TranslationMaking the RunMaking the RunManic DepressionMars and Venus - Starting Over.Mating in CaptivityMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MotherstylesMurder in the InnMysterious CreaturesNecessary NoiseOdd Girl OutOpenOpening to Love 365 Days a YearOphelia's MomOrgasmsOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming Your Difficult FamilyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting on the GoParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerParents and Digital TechnologyParents Do Make a DifferencePassionate MarriagePlanet JanetPreventing Misbehavior in ChildrenProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Raising AmericaRaising ElijahRaising Kids in an Age of TerrorRaising Kids in the 21st CenturyRaising Resilient ChildrenRay's a LaughRelationship RescueRelax, It's Just SexRespect-Me RulesRomantic IntelligenceRoom For JSecrets of a Passionate MarriageSelf-NurtureSelfish, Shallow, and Self-AbsorbedSex Addiction: The Partner's PerspectiveShidduch CrisisSickenedSingleSlut!Socrates in LoveSomeone Like YouSong for EloiseSpecial SiblingsSpiritually Healing the Indigo Children (and Adult Indigos, Too!)Staying Connected to Your TeenagerStaying Sane When Your Family Comes to VisitStop Arguing with Your KidsStop SignsStop Walking on EggshellsStop Walking on EggshellsStrong, Smart, & BoldSummer of the SkunksSurviving a Borderline ParentTaking Charge of AngerTelling SecretsThank You for Being Such a PainThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe AwakeningThe Bastard on the Couch CDThe Birth of PleasureThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Bully Action GuideThe Burden of SympathyThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe CorrectionsThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe DisappearanceThe Dream BearerThe Educated ParentThe Emotional RevolutionThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe EpidemicThe Ethics of ParenthoodThe Ethics of the FamilyThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good DivorceThe Guide for International Intercultural Couples and Families Intercultural MarriageThe Healing Journey for CouplesThe Hostile HospitalThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Introvert AdvantageThe Little FriendThe Love HexagonThe Moral Intelligence of ChildrenThe Neuroscience of Human RelationshipsThe New I DoThe Normal OneThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Philosophical ParentThe Psychology of Parental ControlThe Real Rules for GirlsThe Reflective ParentThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of WivesThe Spider and the BeeThe State of AffairsThe StepsThe Story of My FatherThe Velveteen FatherThe Virgin BlueThe Visitation HandbookThe Whole ChildTo Have and To Hurt:Two Is EnoughUnderstanding MarriageUnderstanding the Borderline MotherUnhitchedUntrue Up in FlamesWe've Got IssuesWhat about the KidsWhat Goes UpWhat Is Secular Humanism?What It Means to Love YouWhat Our Children Teach UsWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen Mars Women DateWhen Someone You Love Is BipolarWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhy Are You So Sad?Will You, Won't You?WomanWorking With Emotional IntelligenceWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!

Related Topics
Problem Child or Quirky Kid?Review - Problem Child or Quirky Kid?
A Commonsense Guide for Parents
by Rita Sommers-Flanagan and John Sommers-Flanagan
Free Spirit Publishing, 2002
Review by Lizzie Perring, Dip Mus., Cert Ed., MA, Dip Counselling and Psychotherapy
Jan 6th 2004 (Volume 8, Issue 2)

In this book, the wife and husband co-authors, Rita and John Sommers-Flannagan, have promised to "Help Kids Who Don't Fit In, Can't Fit In, Can't Get Along, Are Too Fearful, Sad, Anxious, or Angry, And More..." Working in the field of Special Educational Needs myself, I hoped that this book support parents in talking down so-called Special Needs, by see behavior in context and by reasoning how behavior and thinking develops. Hence the title "Problem Child or Quirky Kid."

Plunging in I found that, using the royal "We," Rita and John proffered answers to many troubling scenarios, case studies, and questions, resourced from their professional experiences. The book has many helpful and positive messages. Its exploration of "What's Normal" felt a bit worrying at first, but the authors' offer close referencing to child development and the anomalies of age and context, soothing my concerns initially. However, an anxious parent may well find that this book compounds anxiety rather than alleviating it. It has promised to talk down difference or at the very least, reason with it. I have the impression that many parents of troubling children get trapped into heat-seeking. By this, I mean that they may rapaciously devour the sorts of checklists, criteria and potential diagnoses proffered by Rita and John in this book, in their desperate struggle to explain their child's behavior, rather than anything else. Many such parents get locked into desperate searches for professional help and access to specialized services to support their child at any cost. This book is not calm enough to allay such desperation. It does not deconstruct the myths it promised to engage with. It masquerades as down to earth and common sense.

What would I like to them to do differently? Well, I'd like the authors to grapple in the first place with the Nature/Nurture debate, thereby helping parents to consider the huge significance of their role in their child's behavior. Attachment Theory could be alluded to in order to support this. Then there are Howard Gardner's theories of Multiple Intelligences and the whole filed of Emotional Literacy. All these offer strongly referenced and authoritative voices to empower parents to understand their offspring.

In their chapter "Problems with Attention, Hyperactivity and Impulsivity," the authors offer a plethora of diagnostic materials before offering any reassurance. The assertion that these behaviors aren't a concern if they are not "interfering with basic areas of ... life such as school" is tucked away underneath a set of criteria that will enable any worried parent to make their own un-professional judgment on the child's difficulties. I want this message emblazoned everywhere. It's surely the core message that all responsible professionals should be delivering to parents. If the "Quirky Kid" is getting on with life in their own idiosyncratic way and feels successful and reasonably happy, why stir up parental anxiety? Being a parent is troubling enough as it is.

It is things like that in the sequencing of the book that I find troubling. My most radical response would see this book re-edited and all anxiety-building materials stripped out. For instance, I do not like to hear children categorized as "Resistant, Anxious, or Sad", because that is never all they are. "What else are they?" I would like to ask. I also feel that in any book about children I want to hear children's voices and views represented. Just in case that's not enough, I find the literary quotes heading each chapter are the indulgence of adults and distracting.

What I want in a book like this is more about communicating and relating to children. More about adult anxiety and how this affects children. I want to commission a companion book from children, entitled Problem Parents of Quirky Adults, because I have feeling that it's not fair to have one without the other.


2004 Lizzie Perring



Lizzie Perring, Dip Mus., Cert Ed., MA, Dip Counselling and Psychotherapy, lives in Coventry, UK. She writes about herself:

I am a mother and grandmother with long career in the field of Special Educational Needs. I have specialized in supporting children with emotional and behavioral difficulties and their families. I haven't forgotten my own experience of emotional and behavioral needs as a child. I am a firm advocate for Children's Rights and for Children's and Young People's Participation.


Welcome to Metapsychology. We feature over 8200 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716