A debut guidebook offers natural and common-sense approaches to child behavior problems.
The note of optimism sounded in the title of Beurkens’ work is present throughout the volume, which functions as a written version of a deep, calming breath taken in the midst of the turmoil parents can feel while raising their young children. Her focus is nominally kids with anxiety or mood problems, tackling such issues as attention deficits and energy imbalances. She consistently expresses a patient, evenhanded reassurance for the young parents who are her obvious target readership. Beurkens, a clinical psychologist, uses a stance of big-picture professional observation to keep parents centered on essentials, even in the face of multiple distractions. “Others may see your child only through the lens of their challenges,” she writes, “and sometimes even you may have a hard time remembering who your child is underneath the problems and difficulties that arise.” She outlines the broad-strokes nature of some of those complications and then lays out a series of simple, mostly natural approaches to overcoming them. She stresses good nutrition, for instance—steps to cut down or eliminate excessive sugar and all artificial sweeteners from a child’s diet, strategies to get youngsters involved in thinking about their own eating habits, etc. Given today’s screen-oriented social world, the points Beurkens makes about the importance of physical activity (and even simple movement) are particularly refreshing. “Human beings are wired for connection,” she points out, meaning the face-to-face, personal kind rather than the electronic one. The book’s most convincing section is one of its shortest, on the vital role sleep plays in health (overstressed parents will want to pay close attention to the pages and pages of restorative common sense in this chapter). From first part to last, the message is that parents are doing their children a big service by being vigorously mindful of the basics. New parents especially will find a great many useful tips in these pages.
A levelheaded, readable manual for taking some of the chaos out of child-rearing.