Never Assume: Getting To Know Children Before Labeling Them
Patricia McGuire, MD, FAAP
Outskirts Press (2008)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (12/08)
Patricia McGuire, mother of three, and a developmental pediatrician, has written an excellent resource for parents to help them learn to get to know their child(ren), their temperaments and how to develop skills that make parent and child living together easier.
Through essays and personal stories, the author gives everyday examples of when meltdowns come for both the child and parent. She gives good advice on how to handle various situations and advice on when to not get into a battle.
One of the most important sections of information, I thought, was very beneficial, was the section on learning your child’s temperament. Temperament is the way your child handles the world around them. Some of these traits include approachability, adaptability, and intensity of reactions. By providing examples of Megan, these areas are easy to read and understand. Even being a Psychologist for over 25 years, I had not even thought of this area as one we need to know. I certainly changed my mind after reading this section. I still believe, as does the author, the best way to communicate with a child is to get down to their eye level, use a low and calm voice, say their name and keep the words simple.
The author also provides a good section on special needs children and the impact that labeling has on them. Many in the education world believe that children with learning disabilities are “just plain lazy.” It is important that educators learn to teach children at a level and type that are comfortable to the children.
The last section of the book talks about modeling for our children and often we as parents say things like “because I’m the parent and I said so.” Children often think we don’t have the time to answer their questions of “why”- and we often believe we don’t have to answer those questions. This often leads to a battle of wills- with no one winning.
I found “Never Assume” by Patricia McGuire to be very informative, set in a tone that was neither demeaning nor controlling. I can see the author’s passion in working with children and trying to help parents become the best parents they can. It is such a simple thing- know your child.