From Library Journal
Childhood angst tends to torment parents as well as children and can erupt into the tragedy of school shootings. These books address such problems from fairly dissimilar perspectives. Psychologists Thompson (coauthor, Raising Cain) and Cohen (Playful Parenting) collaborate with journalist/ author Grace on a sensitive and straightforward advice manual that focuses on 40 key questions regarding the social life of children. Conversational and upbeat in tone, the book is divided into three sections designed to help readers distinguish "normal" social pain from more lasting trauma. The text covers friendship skills, tattletales, racial bigotry, bullying, and personal hygiene and also suggests techniques for building positive leadership and conflict-resolution skills. The issues addressed are drawn from actual questions raised during their workshop/consulting experience. The answers reflect cumulated wisdom about what matters in the life of children from grade school through adolescence, and the book as a whole similar to but more practical than Charlotte Giannetti's and Margaret Sagarese's recent Cliques. In contrast, Garbarino (human development, Cornell Univ.; Lost Boys) and de Lara, a researcher and family therapist, focus on the pathology of mainstream high school life in America. Based on interviews and discussions with rural and suburban students from "All-American" communities and published research, the book debunks myths about school safety and discusses multiple aspects of emotional violence in a school setting, including stalking, bullying, dysfunctional adaptations to harassment, and teacher violations. The authors exhibit an insightful understanding of school cliques (e.g., "hicks," jocks, and "Goths") but tend to be alarmist when depicting daily high school life. However, the research is impressive and generates many valuable suggestions for improving the school environment. The book concludes with resources and readings on bullying and violence prevention. Though Garbarino and de Lara's book is more focused on school management issues, both books are recommended for public library parenting collections. [Thompson's book was previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/02.]-Antoinette Brinkman, M.L.S., Evansville, I.--Antoinette Brinkman, M.L.S., Evansville, IN
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Thompson and Laurence Cohen use their experiences as parents and child psychologists to unravel the complex dynamics of social interactions among children. (The third coauthor is writer Catherine Grace.) They note that parents and teachers approach conflicts between children from their own biased perspectives--parents generally viewing their own children as innocent victims, teachers inclined to identify with the underdog or top dog, and both bringing childhood memories to their evaluations. This book is aimed at helping parents put things in perspective, learn about what children often don't reveal, and find the balance between agonizing over every slight and overlooking significant problems. The book is divided into three sections: normal social pain, children at risk, and school and neighborhood problems. Using research and case studies, Thompson and Cohen help parents deal with a range of social problems, including teasing, rejection, fights, bullying, and cruelty. Just as important, they help parents distinguish between the kind of social antagonisms that can traumatize a child and the kind that are just part of growing up. A valuable resource. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved