Parents can sometimes feel like ships being tossed in the storm--trying to keep their households afloat amidst escalating child-care and health-care costs, declining funding for public schools, and workplaces that do not favor working families. The Irreducible Needs of Children reads like a social compass, or better yet, a family's true north. T. Berry Brazelton, one of the world's most respected pediatricians, joins with one of the most respected child psychiatrists, Stanley Greenspan, to offer parents, as well as caregivers, teachers, policymakers, and even custody-hearing judges clear-cut guidelines for rearing healthy, well-nurtured children.
Each chapter speaks to the fundamental priorities, such as "The Need for Ongoing, Nurturing Relationships" or "The Need for Limit Setting, Structure, and Expectations." In every chapter the two doctors offer a lively dialog as they boldly assert their child-rearing opinions based on solid research and their collective years of wisdom. They then lead into a list of joint recommendations. No topic is too controversial or specific for these hard-core child advocates, including how many hours a baby or toddler should be in child care per week (ideally less than 30), the importance of one-on-one time, setting up child-oriented custody arrangements, and how much homework or television a child should have each day. Although you may not agree with every recommendation, this makes an excellent navigational tool for parents and anyone else who controls the course of children's destinies. --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Pediatrician Brazelton (Touchpoints) and child psychiatrist Greenspan (Building Healthy Minds) join together to present a hard-hitting treatise on what children really need from their parents and from society. While the text is densely written, it is engaging. The two childcare experts share the mutually strong conviction that society is not currently meeting the basic needs of children. Each chapter is devoted to the discussion of an "irreducible" need, such as the Need for Ongoing Nurturing Relationships, the Need for Physical Protection, Safety and Regulation, the Need for Stable Supportive Communities and Cultural Continuity, and the Need to Protect the Future. After each discussion, the authors recommend ways to meet these needs. For instance, Brazelton and Greenspan examine how day care shortchanges children in America and make detailed recommendations on what is needed to improve the situation, such as better training, higher wages and continuity of care. Also powerful are their comments on educational issues and the need for an expanded role by schools and healthcare systems. Policy makers, health-care professionals, educators and parents will find this a thought-provoking but demanding read that poses incisive questions about the way we raise, educate and care for our children. Brazelton and Greenspan offer viable, intelligent solutions to a full deck of problems faced by our country as well as by the global community. (Oct.)
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