The tag line for this book is “Practical child psychology for modern parents” and it is written by Tanith Carey with input from Dr Angharad Rudkin, a clinical psychologist. It’s aimed at the parents of children aged 2–7.
After an initial chapter questioning what parents want for their child(ren) and where their own values may stem from, there is a chapter devoted to explaining how children learn, how their brain develops and the milestones parent’s should expect at various ages in terms of their child’s thinking, relating, feeling and doing. However, this is not the remit of dry, clinical, scientific papers; it is easy-to-read, written in plain English with a clear layout and diagrams that assist those readers who are visual learners. This is a Dorling Kindersley book after all.
The book then splits into 3 sections discussing:
4–5-year olds, and
Each of these chapters is further split into explanations of common things children say, such as “I want a cuddle” or “I’m scared of the dark”, and some everyday situations you might find yourself in, for example, a car journey or a meal out. There are over 100 scenarios which most parents will recognise, and the book is designed so you can easily dip in and out as the situations arise. Under the banner of “Parents’ survival guide”, the book really comes into its own when it offers parents some valuable, practical tips and advice for both ‘in the moment’ and in the ‘longer term’, suggesting appropriate responses to each situation. Responding from a place of understanding and knowledge can help parents teach and nurture their child, without resorting to knee-jerk reactions, heavy-handed discipline or the parents losing control, which generally stem from a lack of understanding or an adult’s desire to control.
In the foreword, Carey says that this is “the first parenting book that simultaneously brings together the thinking of both the parent and the child” and it’s a good reflection on what the book achieves. There was a time when society assumed that parents would know automatically how to bring up children, simply because they had conceived and given birth to a baby. Those days are long gone, and the age of ‘modern parenting’ is truly upon us. When couples fall pregnant, most of them go to antenatal classes to prepare for the physical aspect of giving birth. But what happens next, in the child’s most formative years? 90% of a child’s brain growth occurs prior to their 7th birthday, having been ‘wired according to the experiences she has had and the kind of care she has had since birth’.
With many parenting classes having been closed due to lack of funds in recent years, Tanith Carey’s book will be a lifeline to many parents, with it’s easy-to-follow, practical advice, giving an insight into the child’s view of the world, it could make the difference between parents being just ‘good enough’, or being exceptional. But don’t be fooled, this book is not just for parents, but everyone who works with children, including all nursery professionals.
Published by Dorking Kindersley Limited, 2019. London.