Monday, June 7, 2010

Book Recommendation!!

A recommendation from my brother, a preschool teacher at Burley Elementary Chicago... and one that I couldn't wait to share with all of you! I couldn't have picked this book up at a better point in my life. My son is 19 months old, a "junior toddler" as the book would stage him.

The Emotional Life of the Toddler
by: Alicia F. Lieberman, Ph.D.

This book explains with comforting detail everything that your toddler is unable to communicate at this age. The cover of the book is what intrigued me right away.

"WHY "No" is every toddler's favorite work. WHY your toddler clings to you one minute and rejects you the next. HOW to undersand your child's sudden fear of familiar things like the bathtub." That grabbed my attention because it is exactly what we are experiencing as a family right now.

The book begins by explaining what drives a toddler to do what they do and how they treat their "secure base" as a result of their temperament and parental response. " [A Secure Base will] show that the balance between attachment and exploration in the child is mirrored by the balance beween protectiveness and encouragement of exploration in the parent. When things go well enough, the parent serves as a secure base from which the child sets forth to explore and to which he can trustingly return for solace before moving off yet again." pg. 10

I could talk forever about this book and 100 different ways of why I think every parent should read it, but I will just highlight a few key ideas that struck me the most.

-Temper Tantrums
  "Tantrums take a child to the very bottom of his being, helping him to learn that anger and despair are part of the human experience and need not lead to lasting emotional collapse. If the parents can remain emotionally available even while firm in their position of denying something, tantrums also teach a child that he will not be left alone in his "dark night of soul." " pg.39

Anger is a rightful emotion that children need to understand is ok to feel. An older toddler may respond to the parents saying, "I understand that you are upset over not getting the cookie, but you can not have the cookie right before dinner. You can have the cookie after dinner." This was how I understood being "emotionally available" for your child.

  "Temperament is defined as the "how" of behavior: in looking at children's temperament, we try to describe how intense, moody, adaptable, and predictable they tend to be. The focus is behavorial style, not ability (the content or "what" of behavior) or motivation (its reason or "why")." pg.56

Describes in Detail the Types:
1. Easy Children
2. Slow to Warm Up
3. Difficult Children
4. Active Children

With every type of temperament, how the parent can respond in such a way that the child will respond. Each child's needs are different, but allowing your eyes to see what your child's needs are - is key. Then your response will follow either helping your child or possibley making the situation worse.

My favorite quote from the book:
"When a child's behavior irritates or emarrasses us, we often respond by seeing murky motives behind it. In a way, we are trying to justify our negative reastion by looking for equally negative motives in the child. This is very human, but it is neither hair nor helpful to the parent-child relationship or the child's development. Temperament describes HOW children react the way they do, not WHY he is responding that way." pg.64


- How parental styles and secure base behavior coinside or conflict.
  For instance, the scenarios described where three different child have the same temperament (active), however each of their parents have DIFFERENT parenting styles. You begin to see how the child's behavior and inner balance adapt to their parents' reaction of their high level of activity. Not all of them were good results for the children...

-Anxieties in young children
-Separation, Sleeping Irregularities, Night Terrors, Siblings Rivalries
-Divorce (it's own full length chapter)
-Transition to childcare (relationships involved)

If you find yourself needing more insight into the mind of your toddler and would like to find ways to help your child cope with their neverending contradictive nature to explore the world and stay close to mom and dad... please pick up this book! It's been the biggest help I have found into understanding my little guy more and aiding me in how I respond to his needs.



Holly said...

This sounds like a really interesting book!!

AFD said...

Sounds like a book I may need to borrow from the library! Or from you! Let's talk soon. How are you feeling? Did you get a lot done with Jax at your parents? I know I did!

croleyc69 said...

I think I would really love that book. Thanx for sharing !!


amanda said...

sounds like a great book. i'll have to find it!

Anonymous said...

perfect timing...I've gotten a good look at a new level of love, jealousy, joy, and rage in Harry the past few days. I'll definitely check this out!

prashant said...

sounds like a great book.
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