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January 24, 1966

Your Child Is A Person: A Psychological Approach to Parenthood Without Guilt

JAMA. 1966;195(4):324-325. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100040130051

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Until recently, many of the numerous books on child care seemed designed to create guilt feelings in parents rather than desirable personality development in children. A parent who feels guilty will eventually resent the child who occasioned this feeling, and will be unable to give him love and emotional security.

Very different is this book by Chess, Thomas, and Birch. They did not start by formulating theories based on observations of disturbed adults, but instead carried out a long-term research project on children's personality development. From birth to school age, 231 New York children (136 from nativeborn college-educated parents, and 95 from Puerto Rican working-class families) were carefully observed. Babies differed in activity levels, regularity, tendencies to approach or withdraw from new situations, adaptability to change, level of sensory threshold, mood, intensity of response, distractability, persistence. The investigations studied the interactions between these characteristics of the baby's temperament and the

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