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Harold A. Minden.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1982.
207pp, paper, $19.95 (cloth), $11.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-7710-6065-3 (cloth), 0-7710-6069-6 (paper).

Professional, Parenting.
Reviewed by Glenn DiPasquale.

Volume 11 Number 4.
1983 July.

Dr. Harold Minden, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto, is an expert in stress management and parenting. In this book he has attempted to use a blend of common sense, theories of child development, and research results to educate his readers about effective parenting. He begins by reporting one of his own research efforts, a survey that indicated that over forty per cent of parents feel like failures and find parenting to be frustrating and negative. Only twenty-two per cent of his sample parents found parenting to be fulfilling and positive, and Dr. Minden looks in some detail at the characteristics that differentiate these two groups.

The majority of this book's twelve chapters, however, are devoted to prescriptions for effective parenting. These include most of the old favourites, plus some nice, new ideas. The author does an admirable job of touching all the bases and blending theoretical and practical content. Though he sometimes betrays a hint of condescending smugness, Minden is a lucid writer who explains concepts well. He gives his readers sound, practical advice usually supported by research or case histories. All in all, the book is a nice piece of work. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be suited to a general audience. The parents who would benefit most from reading it are those who are bright, educated and, above all, accomplished and avid readers. The very parents who, according to Minden's survey, are least likely to need it, a predictable irony I suppose.

As good as it is, Two Hugs for Survival must receive Two Raspberries for Ignorance. The brief section in chapter three where the author discusses autism is appallingly outdated. The disorder is described as a disturbance caused by a cold parent (i.e., mother) who fails to cuddle and fondle the infant. This sexist and very hurtful view of autism has been thoroughly debunked in recent research, and everyone working in the field should now be aware that autism is a communication disorder probably due to specific brain abnormalities. Why, even the Ontario government got it right in its recent special education legislation! Minden owes all mothers of autistic children an apology for perpetuating myth.

To be sure, there are other minor flaws in this work (e.g., Minden confuses punishment and negative reinforcement), but they are forgivable and do not interfere with overall effectiveness. In summary, this book is an enjoyable, solid effort well worth reading. It can be confidently recommended to literate parents, unless their child is autistic.

Glenn DiPasquale, York County Board of. Education, Newmarket, ON.
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