Selma Fraiberg wrote this classic on early childhood fifty years ago. My own thinking is based largely on her work, and I literally sleep with this on my bedside table for parenting comfort after a hard day with the kids. One of the problems with parenting advice today is that it's a "one size fits all" approach that doesn't take the child's specific developmental stage -- or temperament -- into account. Fraiberg explained this in the juicy little quote I've included below. Here's a sampler from the book's preface:
If we understand the process of child development, we see that each developmental stage brings with it characteristic problems. The parents' method of helping the child must take into account the child's own development and his mental equipment at any given stage. This means that there is very little point in speaking categorically about "childhood anxieties" or "discipline problems in childhood". The anxieties of the two year old are not the same as the anxieties of the five year old. Even if the same crocodile hides under the bed of one small boy between the ages of two and five, the crocodile of the two year old is not the same as the crocodile of the five year old -- from the psychological point of view. He's had a chance to grow with the boy and is a lot more complex after three years under the bed than he was the day he first moved in. Furthermore, what you do about the crocodile when the boy is two is not the same as what you do about him when the boy is five."
From the classic "The Magic Years", by Selma Fraiberg: page xvii.
Here at BabyShrink, I take Fraiberg a step farther. We look at problems with parenting babies, toddlers and preschoolers, and break the developmental stages down even more specifically. So the feeding problems of the 3-month-old are completely different than the feeding problems of the 9-month-old or of the two-year-old.
I don't do any affiliate links in any way from this site, so believe it when I say the 10 bucks you spend on this gem at amazon (or wherever) will be worth way more than that in parenting clarity. Enjoy!
Dr. Heather The BabyShrink