These days, parenthood and anxiety seem to go hand in hand, especially given that it’s harder than ever to raise happy, well-adjusted kids in our complicated world. And all parents long to figure out just who their child will become when he or she grows up. But with websites, media, and other parents providing an endless stream of advice about how to raise a perfect and perfectly happy child, how can you really know whom to trust?
Susan Engel draws on her years of experience as a developmental psychologist, educator, and mother to help parents stop worrying about their young children’s future and stop trying to control their formative years. Offering an intriguing new way of thinking about child development, she uses both personal and professional research to identify problematic behaviors that require intervention and gives reassurance about those that don’t. Unlike many parenting experts, Engel encourages perspective and acceptance: rambunctious children will calm down as they find activities to absorb their intellectual energy; similarly, as shy kids grow, they will learn how to reach out to others on a one-to-one level.
Engel provides straightforward guidance about issues of major concern for parents—happiness, intelligence, love, and morality—while blending stories about real children with relevant and up-to-the-minute social and clinical research. This absorbing narrative is an indispensable tool that will restore your sanity, help you sleep better, and put the joy back in child-raising.
Susan Engel is a developmental psychologist in the Department of Psychology at Williams College and the founder and director of the Williams Program in Teaching. She wrote a column on teaching for TheNew York Times called “Lessons” and is a cofounder of The Hayground School in Eastern Long Island.