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Reviewed by Nandita Keshavan for Readers' Favorite
Mother As Emotional Coach: 8 Principles for Raising a Well-Adjusted Child by Stephany Hughes is an excellent book with intuitive wisdom regarding motherhood. The book is very well balanced; it addresses a range of important topics while emphasising key important concepts regarding the emotional well being and development of children. A key feature of the book which I liked the most was its description of the importance of celebrating children's innate tendencies or “original equipment.” If this is taken to heart, it will go a long way to tackle the problems of labeling kids with syndromes, when in reality they are expressing inner talents which are yet to mature. It's a truly refreshing, heart centred and intuitive approach which will help parents to relate to their kids, understand them, and appreciate them better.
The book could be also very useful to fathers, older siblings, or anyone who plays a role in raising or mentoring a child. Stephany describes eight simple principles which she believes are very important in the upbringing of children. These principles address the importance of setting a good example, passing on a good work ethic, and sharing an interest in reading and other interests. Further principles discuss the importance of having a focused approach to raising kids, in a way that allows them to have a quiet environment with meaningful and manageable activities. I am sure many parents would benefit from her advice on self care and avoiding having a very hectic schedule which prevents bonding sufficiently with kids. The importance of support and unconditional love, and passing on the value of prayer are also explained.
Stephany's approach is naturally caring without compromising on discipline when needed. She certainly advises active parenting, while allowing children enough freedom to explore their interests, be creative and learn skills according to their natural abilities. Several subsequent chapters are inspired by a Polish psychologist's theory on levels of emotional development (Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration). The theory inspired Stephany to try to instill awareness of the levels of emotional development that children can progress through, given the right environment and parenting. To appreciate this concept fully, the book as a whole should be read and reflected upon, making good use of the questions at the end of each chapter.
A few of Stephany's experiences in volunteering with children weave through the book and enhance an appreciation of the value of good schooling and home comforts to children. Hopefully, readers will learn to integrate an appreciation for the values discussed in this book, such as assisting in emotional development of children, allowing them to manifest innate tendencies and personalities without judging, and providing a stable home environment free of peripheral problems, such as relationship issues etc into their parenting approach.
Stephany calls these innate tendencies “overexcitabilities,” and certainly they may appear to seem odd at first. Whichever name you ascribe to them, childhood is a crucial period during which children can learn to explore their tendencies, develop talents, and feel valued in a safe environment. Parents play a great role in facilitating the development of children, and this book is an excellent guide with practical wisdom on this process.