Where Did THAT Child Come From!

Where Did THAT Child Come From!
ISBN: 0872432580

ISBN-13: 9780872432581

Every child travels in unique, sometimes surprising psychological directions. Now this can be thrilling when a child's achievements go far beyond what a parent ever expected or hoped. Yet it can be disappointing--it can even seem a betrayal--when a child turns out misguided, mean-spirited, or perhaps so different in personality, attitudes and interests, as to seem a stranger in the nest.

How do we explain the troubled juvenile delinquent who settles down to married life, becoming a responsible parent and employee? How do we explain why, despite all the advantages offered by doting and law-abiding parents, a talented child sometimes winds up a failure while a well-behaved child winds up stealing cars? Who would have predicted--who could have caused or prevented--any of these positive or negative outcomes? When our own children, as they grow to maturity, start acting quite differently from what we expected, we may very well wonder, whose child is that anyway? To answer such questions, psychologist David B. Cohen translates our best evidence into the lively, easy-to-understand language of the story-teller. He uses numerous anecdotes, some personal, as well as research findings to illuminate what much of parenting and child development are really all about. As one psychologist said: "David Cohen is a knock-'em-dead writer who introduces readers to highly significant findings, but in a most lively manner, using compelling stories and anecdotes along with clear explanations. No other book I know of comes even close to accomplishing this." Where Did THAT Child Come From! recognizes the obvious, that parents have a great influence over their young children and that they have an awesome responsibility to civilize them, to teach them to be socially responsible. That said about behavior management, the book also shows why in many ways, biological as well as social, parents have surprisingly limited influence for how their children turn out in terms of life-long traits: personality, intelligence, character, and mental health. Just why this is so is one of the most spectacular, yet largely unsung stories of our time. Understanding this story can have a truly liberating effect on many parents. It certainly had such an effect on the parent who wrote: "Your new book really has impact. I've been quoting it every day. You make a great case: We simply do not--and cannot--have as much control over how our kids turn out as we thought, AND THAT'S OKAY! Hell of a book! It will really throw some heads."

David B. Cohen holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan and was a member of the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Texas at Austin from 1969 until his retirement in 2001. Cohen is the author of Stranger in the Nest: Do Parents Really ShapeTheir Child's Personality, Intelligence, or Character? (1999) and Out of the Blue: Depression and Human Nature. (1994)


"David Cohen's extraordinary book, Where Did THAT Child Come From! introduces parents to highly significant findings, but in a most lively manner, using compelling stories and anecdotes along with clear explanations. No other book I know of comes close to accomplishing this." Stanton Samenow, Ph.D., Forensic Psychologist, Washington D. C.

"THAT Child!" does a wonderful job of grabbing and holding the everyday reader's attention while communicating key ideas about children's emotional and intellectual development. Any parent should find it both absorbing and challenging--and many parents who blame themselves for all sorts of things about how a child turned out will find it liberating." John Loehlin Professor of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin

"David Cohen makes a convincing case that we must change the way we think about the origins and development of personality, mental illness, and a variety of other important traits. One of the most surprising and important findings in psychology of the past twenty-five years is that we have greatly overestimated the influence of parenting while underestimating the influence of biology." Michael Bailey, Professor of Psychology, Northwestern University


"Clearly, we need to distinguish between responsibility for good parenting and responsibility for how things turn out. Responsibility for good parenting is unquestionably ours. Responsibility for how things turn out, however, is not unquestionably ours, as we will see. My point is simply that appreciating the difference is essential if we are ever to understand what our parenting and children's development are all about."


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Cohen, David
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