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For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence [Paperback]

Alice Miller , Hildegarde Hannum , Hunter Hannum
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mar 1983
Alice Miller explores the sources of violence within ourselves and the way these are encouraged by orthodox childrearing practices. Challenging the way in which we rationalise punishment and coercion as being for the child's 'own good', she illuminates the cost in compassion and humanity in later life, both in the private and public domain. Her message is clear: 'people whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood; will feel no need to harm another person or themselves.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence + The Drama of Being a Child : The Search for the True Self + Truth Will Set You Free, The
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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Diane Pub Co (Mar 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078816452X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0788164521
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,077,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Dr Miller's books, refreshingly free of jargon, read like picturesque fiction (RUTH RENDELL)

All too believable... Her thesis is icily simple. (NEW STATESMAN AND SOCIETY) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

* A challenge to the child-rearing practices of punishment and coercion, by the acclaimed author of THE DRAMA OF BEING A CHILD.

* 'This book can change lives' - Maurice Sondak.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully enlightening book 24 Aug 2000
By hilary
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Alice Miller shows us the roots of our own pain and struggle by explaining how methods of child rearing (what she terms "poisonous pedagogy")brought about the behaviour of Adolf Hitler and others. A difficult book to read, because of the pain it evokes, but truly enlightening as it shows how all cruelty, wars, destruction of our environment, criminality, and terrorism actually stem from the abused child's need to deal with its childhood and the way it was treated by parents, teachers, ministers and other care givers, all for its "own good".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subversive and necessary 10 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback
An absolutely extraordinary look at how the mind of a child is formed and influenced and the part played by both verbal and physical coercion. This book has become more influential than any other over the years - I read it first some twenty years ago - and influenced how I raised my children, how I treat other people, and the direction of my work and sense of purpose. Genuinely life-changing, Alice Miller's classic reflects a simple truth that consumer society ignores to all our detriment - children, and the society we raise them in, most decidedly make the future (politics, survival of the species and all) in which we will all live or die together. Is there any more important subject?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Alice Miller digs into the psycho-history behind the mental-illness cases she deals with, turning her lights on the legacy of parent education from medieval through early-modern times. And to a large degree Miller lays the blame for traditions of mental illness on Christian theology. If children were presumed to be born evil, then the struggle to raise them could be something like exorcizing demons. How should a God-fearing parent proceed? The examples Miller cites from parenting literature are many and disturbing. In a 1740s "Essay on the Education and Instruction of Children", J. Sulzer, argues that the first necessary step was for children to learn that the world of adults had an established order, which could not be altered by wailing protests or selfish demands. Second, they must learn to obey the authors of that order:
"The second major matter to which one must dedicate oneself beginning with the second and third year is a strict obedience to parents and superiors and a trusting acceptance of all they do. These qualities are not only absolutely necessary for the success of a child's education, but they have a very strong influence on education in general. They are essential because they impart to the mind orderliness per se and a spirit of submission to the laws. A child who is not used to obeying his parents will also not willingly submit to the laws and rules of reason once he is on his own ..., since he is already accustomed to act in accordance with his own will. Obedience is so important that all education is actually nothing other than learning how to obey." (p.12)

Perhaps Miller aims indiscriminately at religion in general. She is focused on cases of abuse, like a policeman who sees crime all day. Her call for compassion is not the whole answer for parents, but it is crucial for a saner world.

--author of Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Rel
Format:Paperback
This book confronts our culture's tendency to rationalize raising children in a manner that is convienent for the parents, but often not in a manner that is in the best interests of children. Sometimes I feel you need to take the author with a grain of salt, but she's basically spot on.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another eye-opener from the master 2 Feb 2003
Format:Paperback
When you listen to the music of Bach, one is consistently amazed at its beauty and power regardless of the piece's length, instrumentation or meaning. And we are amazed, even if quietly so, because Bach always seems to have reinvented music by rediscovering what the language truly is; spiritually reexplaining the music we have grown up hearing--even if it's other classical or cerebral jazz--as one of many dialects. Hearing a masterpiece of Bach's affects us in the end only slightly differently than anything he ripped off in an hour or two for his church chorus before or after. To our souls, the fact that he introduced us to the hidden language of beauty is equally if not more important than even the greatest example of the poetry that, via the language, he created.
Change that metaphor to the jazz of Coltrane, the plays of Shakespeare, the art of Picasso, the universe view of Einstein or what ever you like; this is the effect one feels when reading the psychological work of Alice Miller. This being my fourth book of hers I'm in the middle of reading, I don't bother with rating them according to which is better or worse; each one clearly and eloquently reveals a different facet of the diamond that is the tortured but beautiful soul of Western civilization, and perhaps all of humanity. Alice Miller puts us in touch with the obviously LOST language of the soul of the human child. And she does it to such a degree that you feel that language begin to speak YOU once again, the way it did when you were three or four years old, with every incredible common sense discovery she shares about the actual nature and genesis of culture and its many beliefs. All of her books do this. This is perhaps the paradox that will never cease to amaze you with all of her work, and especialy this one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of...
good research material
Published 20 days ago by Mr Robert Messam
2.0 out of 5 stars An Unscientific Theory
Before I criticise Alice Miller's (AM) book let me say first that it is very well written with avoidance of unnecessary jargon. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Colin W
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This was a great book and the story was just as I thought it was going to be enjoyed it very mutch
Published 12 months ago by colin wingeatt
5.0 out of 5 stars this is for your own good
If you want to know why the world is in the state it is in, why we are held to ransom by politicians, corporations, banks, why nature is devalued and destroyed, and why the rich... Read more
Published 20 months ago by martart99
5.0 out of 5 stars Violence is Power
Alice breathroughs with pickaxe and shovel to emerge through the madness.

German historical archetypes are illuminated as attachment gone wrong. Read more
Published on 2 April 2010 by Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommendable
In my opinion almost everybody can benefit from reading this book. I think it is probably one of the most important non-fiction books written in the last 100 years. Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2009 by Hella Hirschfelder
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight into childhood
This book gives an excellent insight into many people's childhood, including myself's. The book is well written but seems to re-cover the same ground on many occasions. Read more
Published on 15 July 2005 by D. Hopkins
5.0 out of 5 stars An esential book for understanding where evil comes from
This is an account of how childhood experiences lead to disastrous adult behaviour, notably in Hitler's case. Read more
Published on 31 Oct 1999 by R. Johnson
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