Confident Child

Terri Apter, Author, Apter, Author
Terri Apter, Author, Apter, Author W. W. Norton & Company $23 (270p) ISBN 978-0-393-04058-6
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
""Self-esteem is now recognized as a key to children's successful development,"" notes Apter, a Cambridge University social psychologist and author of Altered Lives and Secret Paths, in the first chapter of this convincing, well-written and truly helpful guide. Focusing on children ages five through 15, she details behaviors that indicate low self-esteem in children and suggests means by which parents can deal with their children's (and their own) accompanying anxiety, anger and depression. Her methods are based on a technique called emotional coaching, by which parents enourage kids to identify and accept their feelings and to find acceptable ways to express them. With withering accuracy, Apter describes mistakes every ""inevitably imperfect"" parent makes and suggests ways parents can correct them. Even moderate displays of anger are damaging, she warns. ""When Mommy's mad a mountain grows in my throat,"" a 6-year-old girl told the researcher. But parents can temper anger's effects by managing it and by compensating for anger--that can't be managed through spending special time with their children and making positive feelings clear--with hugs and smiles. Here is a book that takes the vagueness out of the term self-esteem and suggests concrete ways for parents to help their children like themselves and feel confident about their abilities to deal with the world around them. (Apr.)