Kirkus Book Review

Family psychologist McKee tenders a concise road map to building a positive, rich bond with one’s child.   Building a constructive, enduring relationship with a child takes time, self-awareness and an appreciation of a young one’s cognitive, emotional and social needs, says McKee at the start of this bracingly direct guide to fashioning that relationship. The author aims for clarity with his audience, employing a tone of professionalism—he taps into much recent research on childhood development—that is bolstered by a measure of warmth and understanding: “You can nurture the development of a healthy emotional relationship with your child by surrounding him/her with an atmosphere of acceptance and respect underscored with consistency and reliability.” McKee doesn’t leave such a grand statement dangling, but explains directly how to verbally and physically engage with your infant, nurturing a sense of play and pleasure. The author also suggests when to relax; parents shouldn’t concern themselves with timetables, but “[f]ocus instead on inviting and encouraging your child to continue to develop his/her skills.” He urges parents to provide and participate in play activities to develop motor skills, with an eye toward mutual pleasure, which will strengthen the relationship. McKee cautions not to automatically bring one’s parents’ style of child-rearing to his or her relationship with a child, due to the differences in personality and temperament. He makes plain how consistency, reliability and predictability—follow-through on rules—engender trust and security, and how positive attitudes impact self-esteem and self-confidence. The author firmly believes that discipline is achieved not through punishment—which should be a short-term response—but through an “internal mastery” of behavior that responds more to rewards than penalization. What gives this manual its tender humanity is the creation and subsequent nurturing of an atmosphere of active encouragement and acceptance that will bring gratification and growth to all parties.   A constructive guide to upbeat, supportive and satisfying parenting.

— Kirkus Book Reviews