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Posted August 1, 2000
It was an awsome book.
This book is a wonderful tool for all parents. It focuses on a difficult part of child rearing that all parents go through. It is very interesting how our society spends a lot of thought, time and money on helping our children grow intellectually and yet our focus on their emotional growth lags behind. As Terri Apter has said 'Self-esteem has a far greater impact than intelligence or innate ability.'(p. 17) Terri Apter has used her own research along with that of other to develop this book. Some of the sources used were research presented by Erik Erikson, Gerald Patterson, Myrna Shure, George Spivack, Carol Gilligan, Daniel Goleman, and Michael Brown. This book is unique in that it is not only backed by research but that it is explained in such a way that people of all educational background can understand and apply. First of all the subtitle is very effective. The word coaching implies a wonderful concept that does not have attached a negative connotation. Some might have used the word teaching or discipline. Secondly, unlike other books on child development this one sets up vignettes, gives potential solutions, plans of attack, and approaches that would be reasonable for the parents to use. Then it takes these situations a step further in that it then explains why the typical responses are harmful and why the given responses are beneficial to the emotional growth of the child. In short, I feel that this book should be a household name for all parents, even those who think they are doing a wonderful job in nurturing their child's self esteem. There is always some area to better, or some situation that will come up that you are not sure how to respond to positively. Apter starts her first three chapters give background information and an overall assessment of children and where their view of selves is, their self-esteem. Apter gives a comprehensive list of potential signs that indicate low self-esteem. Lastly, within these three chapters Apter explains the causes of low self-esteem as anxiety, anger and depression. Then she follows her beneficial pattern of vignette, reasons why the situation plays out as it does, and then appropriate responses parents could have and why. The next six chapters deal with specific areas that are crucial to the emotional development of all children. In these chapters Apter talks about, parents, discipline, school, siblings, friends and adolescence. Again Apter uses her wonderful style and presentation of the details in each area. Lastly, Apter closes with a chapter on how to guide your confident child into making moral decisions. In this chapter Apter gives four 'mind sets' (p.242) that are part of moral behavior. They are, 'care for the welfare of others, responsibility for one's actions, concern for the quality of one's own conduct and understanding of justice.' (p. 242)
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