Synopses & Reviews
Over the last four decades, American hospitals have seen a steady increase in children suffering from psychological disorders, peer violence, and suicide attempts. To figure out why this is happening and how to put an end to it, child psychologist Dr. Charlotte Peterson has been spending six months every five years living in indigenous villages and observing their parenting practices. What she's found is that the people of peaceful cultures, particularly the Tibetan, Bhutanese, and Balinese people, know something we Westerners, despite our modernity, don't, and their children are happier, healthier, and more balanced because of it.
What Dr. Peterson has found is that the children in these cultures are raised with a high degree of cherishing and empathy. Attachments are promoted by intensive nurturing of infants and gentle, clear limit-setting with toddlers that teaches self-control and builds self-esteem. The result, as Dr. Peterson has found after visiting these places again and again, is children who are trusting, enjoyable, and kind, and#151;not and#147;spoiled,and#8221; as we might imagine.
The Mindful Parent brings together Dr. Peterson's village interviews, observations, research, and over thirty-five years of work as a psychologist to teach modern parents how to raise healthier, more well-balanced, and kinder children. It includes creative ideas from parents who are currently adopting these practices and balancing other aspects of their personal, career, and financial responsibilities to assure their children get the support they need to thrive.
Peterson a psychologist for 35 years made it her “major life quest” to study parenting around the world. Her travels took her to 60 different countries but she refers primarily to Tibetan Bhutanese and Balinese cultures in this wide ranging text. Peterson compares the deeply nurturing practices prevalent in these countries to features of American parenting she finds dispiriting: the use of day care from an early age and a lack of support from extended family members and the government (which Denmark for example provides through generous paid leave). In response Peterson offers a relational approach which she calls mindful parenting emphasizing close proximity and physical contact through practices such as safe cosleeping breastfeeding and wearing babies in slings. She also provides brain development research supporting her position that these measures contribute to higher mental and emotional health. Without placing the blame on working parents Peterson cites statistics demonstrating the urgency of problems facing American kids and calls for new more family friendly policies. Some readers may find her approach impractical or unoriginal (William Sears’s attachment parenting concept comes to mind) but her impassioned plea for change will spark others to seek creative ways to extend their time at home with their youngsters. (Nov.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."