Book Review: The Unhappy Child: What Every Parent Needs to Know by Kenneth N. Condrell, Phd

Most adults still entertain the delusion of childhood as an idyllic, happy time despite studies which show that 25% of children and nearly 10% of teenagers suffer from depression. Most parents find themselves ill equipped to assist an unhappy child. Dr. Condrell draws upon thirty-five years of experience as a child psychologist to provide parents with the necessary tools to cope. Additionally Dr. Condrell shows parents how to take an active role and avoid the common behavioral traps that can lead to an unhappy home life.

Diving into messy divorces, depressed, constantly quarreling or permissive parents, Condrell reveals how damaging these behaviors can be with often-heartbreaking excerpts from the children seen in his practice. Maintaining an upbeat, positive tone Condrell focuses on steps parents can take to evaluate and change destructive behaviors. The problems that come with stepfamilies, sibling abuse, favoritism and parental anger and their role in creating an unhappy child are examined in detail. Constructive advice for changing the home environment including seeking out the unbiased opinion of a trusted friend or loved one provide eye-opening opportunities for personal growth while reconnecting with your child.

Unsatisfactory home life is not the only cause of unhappiness, there are bullies, peer pressures and rejections as well as those children who are constantly made to feel like failures by sometimes, supposedly well intentioned adults. Condrell uses his expertise to address these contemporary issues head on, even if it means removing the child from a toxic school.

Lastly, there is a look at what makes a child happy including ten differences between a happy, well adjusted family and an unhappy one and seventeen parenting guidelines for effective parenting. The gist of these boils down to respect, reasonable rules, private one-on-one time for each family member and being aware of your own behavior. Children learn by watching and mimicking their parents, if you want happy well-adjusted kids, provide the role model they need, be there and aware of your children. With its wealth of logical, honest advice, parents should keep a reference copy of this book handy.

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