Rearing the Preschool Child

Rearing the Preschool Child emerged out of Dr. Thomas Millar's long experience with child psychiatry. After he wrote The Omnipotent Child, many parents noticed that the book seemed to be focused on the management of eight year olds already in growing up difficulties. They urged Dr. Millar to write a book about how to rear the preschool child so that he or she did not become a classic "omnipotent child." Such preventive parenting is certainly a lot easier than fixing the problem later, so Dr. Millar wrote Rearing the Preschool Child in order to help parents bring their toddlers through the normal process of growth - including the struggles of temper tantrums and the "terrible twos" - so that they emerged as adaptively competent children with good self-esteem.

Rearing the Preschool Child describes how normal infants come to surrender their illusion of omnipotence, develop patience and self-control, and come to see themselves as a member of the family but not its center. The book explains how children learn to cope with the expectations of the widening world, and how the experience of coping successfully with difficult challenges, new experiences, and life's normal disappointments leads to self-esteem.

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This book tutors parents to deal with the events that generate adaptive growth in the preschool child. First comes bonding, then the awakening of emotion, and next the building of a conscience. Soon separation anxiety arises and, dealt with properly, this leads the child out of infantile omnipotence. Next the book sets out to teach parents reasonable methods to train children out of egocentricity and so help them become social beings, able to cope with the world around them. The toddlers grow into adaptively competent children: patient, reasonably accommodative, comfortable with normal authority, and possessing good self-esteem.

Rearing the Preschool Child is more than a parenting book, however. It is a penetrating analysis of the nature of the human mind, showing how the brain developed over the course of human evolution and how that evolutionary process is repeated during each human childhood. Unlike the Freudian notion with its concepts of libido, id and repression, Dr. Millar's formulation invents no mythological entities. Nor does it suggest that children suffer from some attention deficit. His book explains child development in terms of modern advances in psychological understanding, putting brain and psyche together in a formulation that will lead parents to understand their children's development, and from that understanding to fashion effective programs to deal with their children's common growing up problems. Professionals as well as parents will find this book both stimulating and thought provoking.