The directive, categorical, hard-sell antithesis of Bank Street's Raising a Confident Child (above). ""You know the kind of child you want to raise. . . he is a capable child. He meets his challenges. He is calm and confident. He is coping."" (Yes, the child is always a ""he""--whereas Bank Street uses he and she interchangeably, without fuss or strain.) Saunders is a child psychologist who conducts ""stress-education clinics"" in suburban Skokie, Ill. ""I will say it often, it cannot be said often enough: the children who deal best with stress are those who have self-confidence."" Parents can tell, as surely as reading ""a road map."" Juxtaposed, then, are the traits of ""A Capable Kid"" and ""A Vulnerable Kid""--with no recognition of differing temperaments, no allowance for developmental lurches. Saunders also invokes adult stress-related illnesses: ""If we don't learn to deal well with our stresses, we can develop headaches, backaches, ulcers, heart attacks. . . Our children live in the same, stressful, complicated world."" Children do, in fact, show specific symptoms of reactions to stress: sometimes in crisis situations (bereavement, other separations), sometimes in developmental situations (the schoolboy headaches and schoolgirl stomach aches discussed of late by T. Berry Brazelton, p. 666). But the Saunders approach deals only incidentally with specific problems. It talks to parents in apple-pie generalities (""Validating parents like themselves and their kids""); it talks to kids, adult-like, about ""The Trap of Negative Thinking"" and ""The Joys of Positive Thinking."" Its guidelines are slogans: ""The children of validating parents are Capable Kids."" To help the troubled child, or to help any child deal with the ordinary troubles of growing up, this is pap or worse.