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Peller, L.E. (1950). Your Child Makes Sense. A Guidebook for Parents: By Edith Buxbaum, Ph.D. With a Foreword by Anna Freud. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1949. 204 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 19:101-102.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:101-102

Your Child Makes Sense. A Guidebook for Parents: By Edith Buxbaum, Ph.D. With a Foreword by Anna Freud. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1949. 204 pp.

Review by:
Lili E. Peller

This is a popular book based on the author's long psychoanalytic experience in this country and abroad. As a 'Guidebook for Parents', it is concerned not only with conscious educational plans and intentions, but it also shows how the emotional interplay between the adults in the home affects the child. The young child senses its mother's moods to a surprising extent. Temperamental differences between mother and child can become a cause of disturbance; a mother who is aware of the child's resemblance to a disliked uncle or father may react to the child with ambivalence. Discord in the home is harmful to a young child whether or not it is drawn into it. A child who has been harshly corrected may become more submissive than the parents intended. One chapter has the poignant title, Children Are Good Observers and Bad Interpreters; the parents are warned that overt actions do not tell the whole story; even the young child is not always an open book for its parents. These are points not included in other books; here, and in the ensuing practical advice, this book covers new ground. Other chapters, like Mouth Activities, and Control of Excretory Functions, present material which will be partly familiar to the reading parent. On the other hand, this reviewer misses a discussion of the relation of the child's castration anxiety to the care of its hair and nails, or its bathing and clothing. The conflicts stemming from the child's physical care are not discussed in other books; Edith Buxbaum could have shown that here too 'the child makes sense'.

Parents are relieved to read about others who have problems similar to their own. The many short case histories, well chosen from the author's wide experience, offer this comfort.

A book which of necessity points to many potential dangers should not be unduly threatening or pessimistic. Substituting 'may be' for 'is' or qualifying a blunt assertion by 'sometimes' would lead to less apprehension without affecting the truth.

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