A PARENT'S GUIDE TO THE FIRST THREE YEARS by Burton L. White

A PARENT'S GUIDE TO THE FIRST THREE YEARS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Designed as a companion volume to The First Three Years of Life (1975), this recap and enlargement by the former director of the Harvard Pre-school Project is anything but authoritative; by turns tentative and apologetic (the latter particularly for its finding that mom, or at any rate a close relative, is needed full-time in the home for the first few years), it is often overconcerned with pigeonholing both children and childhood development. The game is given away early on, where White describes a research group whose members were either doing a ""great job,"" ""raising average children,"" or raising ""children falling behind in development""; there is no objective way to measure success in childrearing, so White concentrates on rapidity of development in intellectual and motor skills as an absolute standard of judgment. Even then, there is a great deal of hedging; the research isn't conclusive about issues such as bonding in the first days of life, or the Leboyer childbirth method, so the strongest stand taken is that ""if you've got little to lose and the possibility of something good to gain, why not?"" As in his earlier book, White describes the kinds of toys appropriate to each stage; advocates firm but consistent treatment of children from eight to 14 or 15 months (paving the way for a milder case of negativism in the second year); and calls for the public school system to take some responsibility for training parents in early childhood development. Dr. White has not found enough new material to make this companion volume worthwhile; those interested in a general guide to infant and toddler development will find the earlier volume more useful--and Penelope Leach's Your Baby and Child (1978) a sensitive, astute alternative.

Pub Date: Dec. 11th, 1980
Publisher: Prentice-Hall