|What every parent needs to know |
by Margot Sunderland
I really didn't expect to like this book What every parent needs to know as much as I do. I think perhaps the title put me off a little - I still feel a bit burned from parenting books that tell you what to do, regardless of who you are or what your baby needs. My particular bad experience was reading Tracey Hogg, but there are plenty of others out there too. I thought it might be more of the same. But I was so wrong. In fact, I think I would go as far as to say that of all the books I have read so far, if I had to recommend just one for parenting, this might well be it.
The book starts with talking about how your child's brain is still quite undeveloped at birth, and the importance of how we parent that unfinished brain. It then moves on through chapters on crying and separation, and sleep and bedtimes. Then it looks at behaviour and discipline, the chemistry of love, the socially intelligent child and looking after yourself.
Each chapter is further divided into smaller, manageable chunks of text which are accompanied by appropriate photos and diagrams, making it really attractive to look at an easy to read. Even if you are parenting and are only able to read a little at a time this book is accessible. I particularly like the key points at the end of each chapter, which are a clear and concise summary of the key points within the chapter - again brilliant for a parent who can't just sit down an digest a full chapter in one go.
I like it too because it is a wonderful blend of science and love. It is very much based on science, i.e. that of brain development, sleep, stress hormones, psychology etc. and yet also deeply connected to the human nature and instinct, and with much focus on the need for love and care. It's not just about babies either, but also about older children, particularly in the latter half, so it is a book that can be referred to again and again over the years.