YOUNG PEOPLE AND PARENTS by Dr. Arthur H. Cain

YOUNG PEOPLE AND PARENTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ostensibly addressing young people ""ages 13-29"" and devoted to bridging the generation gap with insight and understanding, Cain comes through instead as a long-winded and rather snide Dutch uncle, variously advising and attacking both generations. Meandering early chapters pontificate on parent-child relations in foreign countries and the tenor of past decades in this one, in order to put the ""social background"" of readers' parents ""in perspective."" The conclusion: ""The whole world today is drastically different from what it was in the past."" Then, denying that he is ""going into"" any of the subjects of parent-child contention, Cain nevertheless lays down as law his own prejudices on each issue, with no further justification than the claim that he is ""speaking as a psychologist who has specialized in the subject."" Lest young people (all of whom he assumes to be politically sophisticated radicals) suspect (from his conservative views on pot, dress, four-letter words) that the doctor favors the opposition, he repeatedly characterizes himself as ""antiestablishment"" and ""prorevolutionary."" One is tempted to argue item by item with Cain's peremptory pronouncements on sex role, marijuana, Dr. Spock -- but, as he says, the issues are incidental. Improved relationships are his goal, and his contribution here amounts to advising those whose parents are too permissive to ""ask them for a set of rules and regulations"" and, if that fails, lo draw up their own schedules and ""find a friend outside the home who will consent to play first sergeant."" ""To limber up an overly-repressive parent... use the public library (to bolster arguments for joining the Black Panthers or SDS!)... and write him a petition."" As a last resort, ""be big"" and ""forgive your parents."" Unhelpful at best, this hot-air harangue will more likely fan the flames than cool any family conflicts.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1971
Publisher: John Day