WHY? CHILDREN'S QUESTIONS: What They Mean and How to Answer Them by Ruth & Anita Gurian Formanek

WHY? CHILDREN'S QUESTIONS: What They Mean and How to Answer Them

Email this review


Parents stymied by the questions of young children, especially in delicate areas like sex and death, will find that this authoritative book suggests useful guidelines. Psychologists Formanek and Gurian examine the intellectual and emotional aspects of children's questions (""forever"" is conceptually elusive; ""can Godzilla fit through my window?"" probably masks a more general anxiety) and they supply responses to the more common kinds of questions children ask. They urge parents to get the child's ideas first, then use their own words in explanation and tell no more than the child wants to know. They provide an unusually well done question-and-answer section as part of each chapter, and their succinct but sensitive discussions of topics overlooked in most parenting books (unemployment and crime, for instance) are carefully worded and unlikely to offend; the tactful but brief birth-control section, which parents can extend as they like, should satisfy a variety of viewpoints. The authors cite, as appropriate, contemporary research (Wallerstein and Kelly on divorce, Comer and Poussaint on race), along with major theorists (Piaget, Mahler) and other interesting child observers (the Opies, Chukovsky, Liv Ullmann, Studs Terkel). Their firmly rooted book refutes some prevalent notions (e.g., children who earn their own spending money are not always economically wiser) and approaches each issue with taste and intelligence.

Pub Date: June 20th, 1980
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin