The Child Code: Understanding Your Child’s Unique Nature for Happier, More Effective Parenting

Avery. Sept. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780593192252. $27. CHILD REARING
Dick (psychology, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.) draws on her experience as both a parent and an expert in genetics and child behavior. Here she asserts that answer to the question of nurture vs. nature is “both/and” and that nature’s influence has been underplayed. “Genes place a leash on environmental influence, but it’s an elastic leash,” she writes. Readers learn how genetic code shapes development, personality, behavior, and interaction. Dick contends that children respond to their environment and their parents based on their unique temperaments, and the resulting complex behaviors are based on the combination of hundreds, perhaps thousands of genes. Dick’s child-rearing strategies are based on “the three E’s” of temperament: extraversion, emotionality, and effortful control. The book explores mental illness (e.g., anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD) in a final section; none of it deals specifically with autism, which seems like an oversight.
VERDICT There’s much to glean from this scientifically informed tome.
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