I suspect this book is better in the original German as it tends toward long-windedness, but even so I couldn't put it down. It is very much geared toward German readers but is very applicable to the rest of the world as well, especially those of us in the US.
Alice Miller explores the roots of violence as the violence imparted to children, and who were not allowed to express the pain and suffering caused by the violence. She covers in great detail the child-rearing methods prevalent in Germany from the 1700's thru this century; and of course there are many parallels to the "methods" advocated in the US then and to this day. The explicit, stated reason of these methods was to break the will of the child, beginning with infancy. Yes, infancy. And how was that done? By depriving children of thier voice, their joy, their anger, sadness, the ability to listen to their body's cues such as hunger. She really drives home the way that the cycle of violence in families is perpetrated, and why it is so very important to break the chain. I will never again hesitate to empathise with a child who is being 'swatted' or otherwise humiliated by a parent. Children need to know that their emotions are valid, and we have an obligation to allow them to express these emotions.
If you have any doubt that children are being deprived of their voice, read "On Becoming Babywise" by Ezzo and Bucknam. They begin at infancy by scheduling feeds for children and telling the parents to decide when playtime is. They do not respond to the cries of their children. They are also responsible for an overtly Christian (sort of) parenting method entitled "Preparation for Parenting". No disputes with the mentors are allowed in these programs, which is exactly what the parents are to be passing on to their children. As far as beating children, 20% of Coloradans recently surveyed said that is is fine for parents to beat their children with a wooden spoon. Focus on the Family actively advocates such beatings as a method of "discipline". Sadly, violence against children is still occurring around us.
I have recovered from agoraphobia and drug addiction and now to the root of my problems: childhood traumas. We are so busy or so scared to slow down and search for truth. Or are we looking down the wrong roads for the real reasons. America will probably have to experience more killings and will probably have to go down the tubes before we wake up. I'm sorry that we are so asleep. The twelve steps hardly touch the truth. The twelve programs are just a refurbishing of old useless guilt ridden ideas. In other words, another road of binding circles. Not the people, but the continued closed mindedness of recovery centers need to give up the almighty dollar and look at miller's writings. When you look at continued suffering there is probably a buck to made. Recovery centers and twelve step programs continue to create dependency. If people would point the finger where it really belongs and we be allowed to express the hurt we get better and stay better. Alice Miller offers help like no other.
This is one of those rare books that has the power to change the way you look at the world. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about how people's childhoods can and do affect their adult selves. The sections exploring the childhoods of a German serial killer and Adolph Hitler offer convincing evidence that people are not born evil. And if people are not born evil, then this has dramatic implications in the way we all raise our children. A must-read book for all parents and educators alike!
I dedicate this review to our Young People: American psychologists, church elders and those adult who need this kind of help this book offers, refuse to look at these writings of Alice Miller. They have either victimized or have been a vitim - survivor - and, they can't, at this time look at this pain. Counsellors as well, want to show some success so they give a quick fix, but hardly ever look at the real issues. Until we look at this book and other writings, by Alice Miller, we Americans will live in denial, deceit and we will suffer and cause others to suffer unnecessarily. Why does the pain of the past need to be released? Alice miller's writing are profusely being ignored and as a result our children are killing each other. Until we read and digest these ideas these killings in high schools will continue. These children are very unhappy, to say the least, but why? Why not take a look at these writings? Are we afraid of truth? Americans are supposed to be so brave but are we? We can hardly be so smart if these killings in the high schools are continuing? The only way they will stop is not the tough love crap that "the Sally" Jesse Raphael shows portry. The children she is suppossedly helping are being exploited and will one day realize what their parents and Sally has done to embarrass them. By then, they will be much more hurt and angry, and Sally will be in her retired years and in her rocking chair not caring about the exploitation of those children that she had on her shows. She is not alone. There is the Dr.James Dobson's as well that still push hitting and controlling our young people. Anything By Dr.James Dobson ought to be laughed at for he is still controlling and living or trying to live in the medieval ages. The children, the teenagers, and other young people, pleas take the time and read this book; and you won't have to carry the crap your parents are putting on you. You are not to blame. You didn't make the world this horrible place. The older generation handed you this place. Don't take the blame. Let's do more than survive. Find out where the real problem comes from and empower yourself. Young people and I am sorry to use this term, but I don't know any other term to address you. So please accept my apology. Don't wait until you get older. Read this and all other books by Alice miller. firstname.lastname@example.org signing off...for now
In her book, Miller talks about how children are brainwashed into believing that parental violence is a loving act, learn to equate hitting with love, and continue the cycle of violence with their own children. Hospitals should issue this book to every new parent. Maybe if more parents could read this book there would be fewer traumatized and battered children in our emergency rooms and psychiatric wards. A book this important should NOT be out of print.
I was stunned to learn from Ms. Miller's how the abusive pedagogy of our modern society has its roots in child rearing books from as far back as 300 years! It's time to take Ms. Miller's message seriously and heal the world!!
This book offers a good clue to the source of the continuing cycle of self-destruction many are in. I am a returning college student studying Psychology and Art Therapy along with world religions. It is a disgraceful shame that the policies of the HMOs in the USA are stiffling Alice Miller's message. If you are a damaged person, please also read her book "Pictures of a Childhood." You can obtain relief independantly of the "Big Money" by utilizing personal art therapy. In addition, it should be understood that the type of discipline suggested by Dr. James Dobson is not child abuse. He has never advocated beating a child senseless. Furthermore, I have yet to read in one of Alice's books any detailed condemnation of discipline. She is against terrorism both physical and psychological. To slander those giving other points of view on discipline without fulling grasping the grace and love in the Christian Gospel is to miss the Christian point of view of "sin." Dr. Dobson roundly condemns child-beating and verbal abuse, as well as repression and oppression perpetrated by both the Christian and non-Christian people of this world.