Between Parent and Child

Ginott, Dr. Haim G. Between Parent and Child: the Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1965.

This book starts off with the best introduction, “No parent wakes up in the morning planning to make a child’s life miserable” (p 1). As soon as I read that I knew I was in for a good read. Between Parent and Child is all about psychological perception and what you say (as a parent), how you say it, and even what you don’t say, can influence a child both at that moment and years down the road. What Dr. Ginott offers up is common sense advice about how to communicate with small children and even teenagers. His advice is no-nonsense and extremely practical. It is so straightforward it seems simple, a no-brainer, if you will. The ah-ha moment is not in what to say, it’s how to say it to avoid conveying a message you do not intend. Choosing tone as well as the right words are crucial to emotionally intelligent communication with a child. My one naysayer comment? Many, many times Dr. Ginott suggests mirroring the child’s emotion to illustrate understanding. The go-to catch phrases are “You wish you could play with Sam,” “You wish you could have ice cream for dinner,” and, “You’re angry about losing the game.” Here’s where I would get annoyed. I dislike anyone telling me how I feel. As a small child I probably would have connected with someone “understanding” me… but as a teenager I wouldn’t appreciate dad calmly regurgitated what I just angrily spit out.

I would recommend Between Parent and Child to anyone – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers. In short, I would recommend this book to anyone who is around children of all ages. If I were planning to have a child I would also plan on reading Between Parent and Child several times over. Once while pregnant and definitely more often during my child’s formative years. Maybe even during labor just for good measure.

Favorite quote, “Often after getting angry at their parents for not listening to their argument, children will present their case in writing” (p 56). Yes, but what Dr. Ginott doesn’t mention is that after getting said missive parents often ignore it.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called, “Babies: a Reader’s Guide” (p 30).

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