A Mind of Their Own by Katharine Hill
An excellent book about building children's emotional wellbeing for parents, family workers, teachers and preachers, thoroughly based on current research and advice by experts in the field
A Mind of Their Own
By Katharine Hill
Reviewed by Moira Kleissner
We hear a lot about the mental, physical and behavioural difficulties of our children after the Covid crisis. Many parents are confused and worried about how to deal with what they are experiencing. Therefore a book with the strap line, “building your child’s emotional wellbeing in a post-pandemic world” can help, for children of any age. In fact this book will be useful for any parent at any time and not just post-Covid.
The title might imply a heavy read full of jargon and unworkable advice, however this is not the case. Equally, this is not a book of snap cure-alls, nor airy-fairy cure-all pontificating by one person. There is no over spiritualisation of the problems ordinary families might face. So what is it all about?
A very readable book, it is full of practical ideas, suggesting workable techniques for ordinary British families. No Americanisations nor quick fix spiritual hype here. The 21 short chapters include advice, firmly based on expert, proven theories and techniques. Subjects such as body confidence, bullying, strong emotions, dealing with disappointments, behaviour challenges, listening to children, talking, giving focused time and discusses how to help SEND children and more, are all discussed cogently.
The author, Kathrine Hill, a family lawyer, is UK Director of Care for the Family. She has thoroughly researched each field she tackles. There are references at the bottom of the pages, so that readers can delve deeper into the material if they so wish. At the back is a comprehensive list of helpful agencies for advice and reference. This is not one women’s glib ideas about working with children, but a book whose contents are thoroughly based on current research and advice by experts in the field. Yet at the same time it is readable and full of practical advice and humour.
I enjoyed the cartoons by David McNeal, which appear throughout the book. At the end of each chapter there are “Action Points” (giving advice), “Activities” (reinforcing the ideas discussed with whole family activities, easily achievable and often fun) and sometimes there are “Zip it” points (very importantly, what not to say to a child). The examples and stories cited are realistic and importantly, in a British setting.
I have read, and indeed reviewed, many books on children and families, over the years. But I can honestly say that this is the best and most usable book I have read until now. I can’t recommend it more highly. There are many books available on parenting, especially within the Christian market that just don’t scratch where it itches with British families. I would be happy to use it in a wide context including with non-Christian parents, as there are no preachy Bible quotes. An excellent book for parents, family workers, teachers and preachers.
Moira Kleissner is a retired Primary Deputy Head, storyteller, trainer and minister’s wife