Of late my wife has been reprimanding me for being hypercritical and harsh with my daughter. Not wanting to get into my way versus your way debate with my wife, I decided to check for myself if my wife’s comments are actually true. Where else would I turn to counsel than my new-found best friends, books? I turned to Amazon search engine to shortlist a book to read on the subject and after a few clicks, I had found ‘Between Parent and Child’ by Dr. Haim G. Ginott, a book first published in 1965 and considered a classic on this subject.
Forget the content of the book, the book could easily called a classic for the number of high impact one-liners in it. Mid-way through the book I completely lost count of the number of one-liners that made me sit up and say wow! The book is concise but thorough and the chapters are short but effective. Most importantly at the end of each chapter I was motivated to read the next chapter. The book proceeds at a rapid pace in dispelling many myths about parenting and parent-child interactions. Overall it’s a very good and delightful book to read and could be an important source to refer back to, from time to time.
Some of my favorite pointers/ observations from the book are:
- Don’t be a parent, be a human being who is a parent
- Good parents need skill
- Communication for connection: Respond to children’s feelings, not their behavior
- Behind many childhood questions is the desire for reassurance
- Fish swim, birds fly, and people feel
- Praise, like penicillin, must not be administered haphazardly
- Abusive adjectives, like poisonous arrows, are not to be used against children
- Anger, like the common cold, is a recurrent problem. We may not like it, but we cannot ignore it.
- The niceties of the art of living cannot be a conveyed with a sledgehammer
- Emotions, like rivers, cannot be stopped, only directed
- Parents can initiate favorable changes in their child by listening with sensitivity
- Discipline, like surgery, requires precision – no random cuts, no careless attacks
- Discipline: Permissive of feelings but strict with behavior
- When children are punished they resolve to be more careful, not more obedient or responsible
- Effective upbringing is based on mutual respect between parent and child without the parent’s abdicating the adult role
- It’s desirable that a parent or other caring adult be home to greet children upon their return from school
- It hurts to share a parent’s or a spouse’s love
- Children do not yearn for equal shares of love: They need to be loved uniquely, not uniformly
- Efficiency is the enemy of infancy: Children need opportunities to experiment, struggle, and learn without being rushed or insulted
- Children need a clear definition of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behavior