Psychological Self-Help

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life-long relationships, namely, with our siblings. Our brothers and
sisters have a powerful impact on us--sometimes fierce loyalty,
sometimes bitter rivalry, sometimes both--but siblings are mostly
overlooked by current psychology (Bank & Kahn, 1982; Klagsbrun,
1992). Our parents, our siblings, our spouse, and our children are, for
most of us, our most important relationships. 
No doubt our role in our family of origin influences our role in our
family of procreation. Blevins (1993) helps you understand those
relationships. Marriage counselors have found that the closeness
(separateness vs. togetherness) and the flexibility (adaptability from
rigid to chaotic) within each partner's family of origin influence the
current relationship. Our marital expectations and conflicts frequently
originated in our childhood. The chauvinistic aspects of traditional
families are discussed in the last section of this chapter. 
Creating a child takes no thought; yet, deciding to have a child is
probably the biggest decision you will ever make, so do it carefully.
Elizabeth Whelan (1976) has a self-help book that might help with the
decision to have a baby or not. Parenting a child is a demanding life-
long job. 
Child care—useful references (and a little history)
Many of us as parents-to-be had little advanced warning of what
an enormous task raising a child really would be. It is truly life
altering! There are 24-hour-a-day chores and so many problems we
don't know how to handle. Thus, thousands of child care books have
been written. Dr. Spock's (Spock & Rothenberg, 1990) and Dr. T.
Berry Brazelton's books have calmed and guided many of you readers
and your parents. Dr. Spock was eventually criticized for being too
permissive, i.e. not authoritarian or punitive enough with children, and
too outspoken against the war. Almost everyone agrees that the early
years are psychologically crucial, however. Freud said, "The child is
father of the man." Harry Harlow (1973), who studied the early
development of monkeys, said, "primates love early or they probably
hate forever." 
Parenting is such a complex area involving efforts to help and
change children (as well as to self-help by changing your own
parenting) that I will only summarize the major themes of current
thinking. Mostly I will help you find useful knowledge. 
There are many approaches to child-care, depending on the child's
age and the problem. Inform yourself. Universities, public libraries,
and bookstores have mountains of books on parenting. There are
excellent general reference books covering normal development and
how to cope with common problems: For guides to pregnancy and
childbirth, see Kitzinger (1985) and Eisenberg, Murkoff & Hathaway
(1988). For good advice about baby and child care, see Brazelton
(1983, 1984, 1987, 1989 & 1992) and Leach (1983 & 1991). Dr. T.
Berry Brazelton is currently America's baby doctor. If you aren't a
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