Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To sort articles by author…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

While performing a search, you can sort the articles by Author in the Search section. This will rearrange the results of your search alphabetically according to the author’s surname. This feature is useful to quickly locate the work of a specific author.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Rawn, M. (1988). Dr. Balter's Child Sense. Lawrence Baiter with Anita Shreve. New York: Poseiden Press, 1985, 252 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 75(3):481-482.

(1988). Psychoanalytic Review, 75(3):481-482


Dr. Balter's Child Sense. Lawrence Baiter with Anita Shreve. New York: Poseiden Press, 1985, 252 pp.

Review by:
Monica Rawn

Dr. Baiter speaks as child advocate to parents — not to the psychoanalytic community, except to those who might be parents. His is an educative approach, appealing to the conscious, conflict-free cognition of “good enough” parents. And likewise, their children are presumed to be “good enough” — that is, responsive to a sensible, sensitive approach.

He addresses such common child rearing issues as weaning, sleep problems, aggression, toilet training, phobia, sexuality, and discipline. These are demystified and placed in the contexts of developmental phases and phase specificity. Writing without jargon, Dr. Baiter combines the warm, homey, easy wit of an “old hand” with the highly sophisticated psychologist in his discussion of the separation-individuation process, the Oedipus complex and its vicissitudes, psychic structuring, and the compromise formation of symptomotology, to name but a few.

He never loses his “vicarious introspective” stance in relation to the child's Weltanschauung, and it is precisely from this vantage that Dr. Baiter offers remedies to daily dilemmas. He makes a plea to parents to nurture the child's need for respect and support in his struggle for autonomy and separateness, to help the youngster to identify and express his feelings, all this by way of securing his sense of self and worth. Empathy with the parental experience is not overlooked but set on the “back burner” with straightforward encouragement to put the child's needs first.

Dr. Baiter notes the paradox of conflicting short- and long-range goals, the parents' wish for children to be obedient today but autonomous tomorrow. He inspires parents to take the long view of the immediate situation. He is a superego modifier for parents too fearful or too rigid to relax in the face of their children's foibles. Describing typical transgressions and improprieties of little ones (“shticks”), Dr. Baiter normalizes and universalizes these, attenuating the sting with his gentle humor.

A short chapter is devoted to some special family problems — twins, adoption, divorce, custody, and death. These are not good-enough situations, and Dr. Baiter's rather clichéd discussion falls short of the extra depth a more sophisticated or needy parent might look for.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.