As soon as I read the title of this book, I couldn’t wait to read it. The notion of guiding your parent-child interactions from the perspective of your child’s view on life sounded like a “V-8” moment – simplistically obvious, yet I’d have to bet most people do not engage their children in this way. It is important for parents to remember that our children are not as far along in their emotional development as we are (or, at least, we hope that is the case). Likewise, the thought processes of our children, their emotional reactions to events, and their ability to think through situations should not be held to adult standards.
In Keeping Your Child in Mind, Claudia M. Gold, Behavioral Pediatrician, shares her beliefs and observations about overcoming “everyday behavior problems” by “seeing the world through your child’s eyes”. Her work builds upon that of John Bowlby, the originator of Attachment Theory, and Donald Winnicott who is well known for his ideas on the true and false self and the transitional object.
While the idea that the parent-child relationship has significant impact on a child’s development is not new, Gold brings fresh ideas and new experiences to understanding children based upon their developmental stage. “As relationships are healed,” Dr. Gold writes, “behavior improves.”
I found Dr. Gold’s theory to go a step beyond that of Bowlby and Winnicott, as her thought is also deeply rooted in the childhood experiences of the adults in the parent-child relationships she observed. From my understanding, troubles with children frequently stemmed from their own childhood experiences and, once addressed, would subsequently transform the relationship with their own child.
This leaves adult children who come from ‘normal’ childhoods a bit out of the loop -though they are certainly not without children who have behavior issues. The emphasis is so great that I think a better title for this book is Keeping Your Childhood in Mind because it plays such a significant role in Gold’s theory and guiding principles.
Keeping Your Child in Mind can be a great resource for new parents, especially if they are not familiar with the normal stages of child development. It is beneficial to hear real client stories and how Dr. Gold worked with those individuals. The case studies are enlightening and keep the book from being a dry read.
The book is organized by age group, making it easy to navigate and read age-appropriate material. Included in each chapter are complementary examples of real-life situations as well as research citations explaining why this theory works well when applied.
I agree with Dr. Gold’s belief that children are often over-diagnosed and that we are quick to search for the immediate fix for behavior problems. The book encourages parents to figure out the source of the behavior problem – taking parenting to an introspective and conscious level. Rather than viewing behavior issues as a quality to be repaired, Gold maintains, “quirks and vulnerabilities rarely suggest that something is wrong with a child. Rather, they are a unique set of challenges that he must learn to cope with…”
I really appreciate the premise behind Keeping Your Child in Mind and the idea of nurturing our children through their developmental stages. By monitoring our own distress levels, we are better equipped to assist our children through difficult behaviors and stressful moments. While, at times, the reading may be slow, we can all find something beneficial in the thoughts and theories of Claudia M. Gold, MD.
This book was sent to me by Da Capo Lifelong Books for the purpose of reviewing it.
If you are interested in purchasing this book, you can find it at Amazon: