Psychotherapist Brown finds what she calls a prevalence of ""innocent evil in family life"": many parents are really feeding their own emotional needs when they think they are doing ""what's best"" for their children. Those, for instance, who strive to create the image of a ""perfect"" parent tend to squelch behavior that reflects poorly on that image; a mother who gains emotional sustenance from the cuddly helplessness of her baby will reinforce babyish, clinging behavior. Ambitious parents tend to direct children into successful careers, frequently at the expense of the children's talents and desires. Sometimes parents even subtly encourage bad behavior to distract themselves from their own marital problems. Because children are completely dependent on parents for their very existence, says Brown, they will do almost anything to achieve parental approval. She calls on parents to look closely at the dynamics of their families and determine what they are doing that is harming the children. This is not a child-rearing primer or a self-help book for parents, but rather a plea to parents to allow children to communicate, grow and flourish.