Child Knows Best?

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(1), 68–69. Reviews the book, Problem-Solving Techniques in Childrearing by Myrna B. Shure and George Spivack (1978). The text of a 43-day training program used to show inner-city mothers how to talk with preschoolers about sharing toys and making friends is presented, along with the results of an evaluation of training. The book's aim is to reach a wide audience–parents, professionals, and social scientists. The internal and external validity of the research is questionable and makes advocacy of this approach (particularly for child-abusing parents) premature. While children improved in the way they talked about hypothetical problems, it is unclear how long this improvement lasted or whether the children even changed how they behaved in real conflicts. It provides the text of an interesting training program, some ingenious assessment devices, and an unambiguous argument for a nondirective approach to parent training. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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