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The Magic Years: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Early Childhood Paperback – December 9, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (December 9, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684825503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684825502
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Magic Years is almost 40 years old, yet this book still offers a wonderful way of looking at how kids think, and why they act the way they do based on their cognitive and emotional abilities. The Magic Years refers to the psychological sense of discovery and magical power a young child feels. This book is used in many child development courses, but is a good read for anybody wanting to understand the young child's mind as he grows, acquires knowledge, and moves into more logical thought patterns. Selma Fraiberg's respect for children radiates from the pages. Take a little bit of time with this book; as Fraiberg says, "It is the quality of our understanding ... that provides us with the right method at critical moments."

Review

Parents' Magazine An expert with a gift for writing describes how children mature from birth to six years old....[Fraiberg] discusses theories and facts about feeding, talking, sex education, fantasy, self-control, fear and other subjects in the practical terms of daily living.

Mental Health Bulletin The Magic Years is far and above the best description of this early developmental period.

Customer Reviews

This is a great book for parents of young children to read.
Raisa Williams
In actuality, the book is a very enjoyable read with humorous examples and descriptions.
JNDauterive
It is the best book for understanding development from the young child's perspective.
M. Schuster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By lisamcmil on October 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a psychotherapist who has worked with many children, I cannot praise this delightful work highly enough. This fascinating book is an easy to read and brilliantly conceived glimpse into the child's reality. Though written decades ago, The Magic Years is still standard assigned reading for psychologists in training. Fraiberg describes the development in childrens' reasoning (e.g., how they perceive and interpret things through the use of "magical thought"; hence the title). She also discusses kids' changing emotional and intellectual needs as they develop through these years from toddlerhood through grade school. Her vivid grasp of the child's perspective allows anyone to relate better to children. It is never too early or too late to read this book. A must-read for parents or for anyone who wants to better understand the logic behind how young kids work. A great gift for the new parent!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By John C. Leopold on April 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is must reading for anyone who is around kids a lot. I am a pediatrician and have learned more from this book than any other, including Nelson's Text of Pediatrics. Selma Fraiberg offers us a window into the mind of children, from the 8 month old to kindergartener. She teaches us what is not in textbooks. She has an amazing way with words and many of anecdotes are hilarious and touching. Read what she has to say about how children and parents handle loss. Here is an excerpt from "The Missionaries Arrive", about the toddler: "The missionaries have arrived. They come bearing culture to the joyful savage. They smuggled themselves in as infatuated parents, of course. They nurtured him, made themselves indispensable to him, lured him into discovery of their fascinating world, and after a decent interval they come forth with salesmen's smiles to promote higher civilization." Ms Fraiberg teaches us child development and gives us the tools to handle developmental bumps in the road. Buy and cherish.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Schuster on September 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have owned several copies of this over the years, and reread it every year or so. It is the best book for understanding development from the young child's perspective. I use examples from this book in my workshops. It is readable, enjoyable, and although it is 40 years old, is one of the most up-to-date and clear books I have read on children's emotional development. She was a woman ahead of her time!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Stults on March 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this book because Holly Van Gulden recommended it at an attachment workshop I attended. I've read it twice now and I refer to it all the time.

Fraiberg's writing style is a bit awkward at times, so it took me a while to get through the book, but it was definitely worth the effort. She offers reasonable and understandle explanations of the stages and struggles of the developing young child. Using concrete examples from her vast experience, she addresses the roles of anxiety, fear, imaginary friends, and language in the emotional and intellectual development of the child from birth through age six.

As the mother to a child with mild attachment problems, this book was invaluable in helping me gauge my daughter's emotional development and making informed decisions about the kind of therapeutic parenting she needs. I found Fraiberg's explanations and advice to be reassuring and empowering.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this book 28 years ago when my daughter was born. I didn't remember the whole name nor the author, but I had read it several times, and it made such a lasting impression on me that I did remember the words "The Magic Years". I was very glad to see it's still in print. Now I'm going to send it to a niece who just had a baby. There are many books about the physical sequence of development in babies and toddlers and how to enhance each stage of development but none addresses their mental and social development and needs as completely as this book does. Unfortunately for babies and young children, adults tend to view their mental and social development from an adult's perspective. This can result in a lot of misinterpretations and misunderstandings regarding a baby's or young child's behavior. What I remember most about this book is that unlike any other book it enabled me to see the world from a baby's and very young child's point of view. It vividly describes what adjusting to and living in our world is like for babies amd young children and enables parents to see the world from their perspective. The result is parents who understand their baby's and young child's behavior and who can then react to and influence it positively instead of negatively. The book is not for those who want an easy to read, quick, month by month synopsis of their baby's development. But for the parents who want a thorough understanding of their baby's or young child's mental & social development and needs and who want to do their best to meet these needs, it's a resource unlike any other: a resource I've remembered for 28 years and one I would highly recommend.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By donnieb@bway.net on October 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
Get inside an infant's and toddler's mind. This book will teach you that your baby is not driving you nuts for fun or profit. They are just being normal. It made our lives easier, and it made us better parents.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JNDauterive on July 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is excellent. It was given to me by a psychiatrist, and I have often been grateful for that. I had experience raising older foster children, but upon the arrival of a baby, discovered new parental challenges for which I wished to be well prepared. I found this book to be extremely enlightening as to the way that infants and young children view their world and the healthy way a parent can respond to them. It logically explains how children develop a conscience. It showed how easily parents or caregivers can misinterpret a child's behavior and make mistakes that may adversely affect the parent-child relationship and the child's emotional development, and set the stage for lifelong conflicts, emotional imbalance, and perhaps even anti-social behavior.

As Dr. Fraiberg explains, the infant is born absolutely self-centered, and her book is invaluable in guiding parental response in order to set the child up to be emotionally healthy enough to become autonomous and objective, which in turn will allow it to develop a healthy self esteem, and compassion and generosity to others.

I am very glad I read this book and have bought many copies for friends and even strangers. I always offer this with my gift: There are a few pages right at the beginning that are somewhat technical, defining mental health and the roots of anxiety, and that might scare some readers off. In actuality, the book is a very enjoyable read with humorous examples and descriptions. Highly recommended.
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