Neurotic Children as Adults by Arnold Holtzman

“It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men

This right here is an accurate summary of the purpose of this book. The kind of adults children grow into is entirely dependent on how they are brought upon. According to Arnold Holtzman, nothing is ever truly forgotten. There is always a subconscious memory of childhood comforts. For this reason, something as simple as interrupting the comfort and joy of suckling can have deeply etched effects on the child. Effects that run into adulthood. 

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The author introduces the idea of mother from hell and mother from heaven. Mother from heaven instinctively cares for her child. Her physical and emotional connection with her child is real and almost tangible. Even when she is chastising the child, he or she can still see the love and affection in her eyes. Mother from hell does not take the time to build this bond. They let their own demons color their interactions with their child. 

Over the years, behavioral disorders have been defined differently. It seems that every few years a different disorder becomes the it-ting. A look at the root and basis of all these disorders reveals that they are all as a result of parenting from hell. They are all as a result of some form of deficiency in childhood. It all comes down to the experience in formative years. All the way from infancy, not just when the child learns how to speak. 

The author obviously has a good understanding of psychology and behaviorism. His understanding is obvious in the way he relays his message. He does not just regurgitate the information from textbooks but rather lays out his understanding in simpler terms. He does this in simple language. The prose flows freely. This is a subject requiring a strong voice. The author is unapologetic but not arrogant and offensive. This book has depth. It is not an overview. It is a breakdown of the subject matter. It is a contribution to a discussion. It is not a lecture. 

This book has several examples of adults with behavioral issues deeply rooted in developmental deficiency. His description of each one of these cases is vivid and revealing. These cases are relatable. More often than not, the reader will recognize his or herself in Janice or Cheryl. If one is already a mother they will recognize how their childhood played a part into making them into this kind of adult. Hopefully, that will help their own relationship with their child so that they will not grow into such an adult. 

Being a parent is often tinged with doubt. No one stops to tell a parent they are doing a good job. They only ever stop to make judgment when something looks wrong. This means that life as a parent is uncertain. One can never know if they are doing it right, they can only hope. This book is that much needed assurance and may be even guidance. Children are the future. This book is one, albeit small, way of ensuring the adults of the future are emotionally and psychologically healthy. Five stars out of five for this book. It is incredibly helpful. It is not judgmental. It is apt and fitting. If there were more stars, ‘Neurotic Children as Adults’ would be deserving.

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