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350 of 364 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Key to a better society and a better world
Before examining the book's content I believe it is important to state that in my opinion this book would be a far easier read for those with some background knowledge of John Bowlby's attachment theory or at least prior reading on the subject of parent-child relationships.

Obviously I am speaking from my own level of intelligence, (not too intelligent but an...
Published on 13 Feb 2006 by D. R. Silvester

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, not that well written
Gerhardt puts forward research evidence for the vital importance of close contact with babies for their development.

Tho making an excellent point, she seems to restate it over and over in ways that may put people off reading more of her (and other, related) work. Maybe the publishers thought too short a book wouldn't look so 'significant'?

The...
Published on 4 April 2012 by J. H. Bateman


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350 of 364 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Key to a better society and a better world, 13 Feb 2006
By 
D. R. Silvester "Clandestine Knowledge Seeker" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain (Paperback)
Before examining the book's content I believe it is important to state that in my opinion this book would be a far easier read for those with some background knowledge of John Bowlby's attachment theory or at least prior reading on the subject of parent-child relationships.

Obviously I am speaking from my own level of intelligence, (not too intelligent but an avid reader) I should imagine that there are many parents and lay people who would enjoy reading this book without the above prerequisites.

For maybe the first third of the book I found it quite heavy going because the focus is upon the development of the child's brain in relation to certain types of parenting.

Therefore, there is a lot of exploration into the structure of the brain and how certain parts such as the Hypocampus and Hypothalamus work in conjunction with other parts such as neurotransmitters like serotonin and cortisol. Initially the book seemed quite cold and technical.

Moving on, the book goes on to provide strong evidence for the work of John Bowlby and Attachment theory, illustrating how neglectful, emotionally ambivalent and emotionally distant parenting styles create brain structures and chemical imbalances that leave children prone to rage, aggression, hyper tension, violence, depression and addiction in adulthood.

At times I found the book disturbing when considering how many children are disadvantaged in this way, especially considering the problems they face in later life.

On the other hand this book is of huge importance to the lay person, professionals, policy makers and most particularly anyone who has or plans to have children.

The prominent message here is that a great many if not all of our social ills, war, violence, addiction, crime and murder (to mention but a few) are the consequences of unresponsive and abusive parenting.

Undoubtedly many parents may feel defensive reading this book, but I would defy anyone to offer a scientifically sound counter argument to the evidence presented within it. Also it is worth noting that the main thrust of the book is not to establish blame, but to throw light on what was previously unknown so that we may eradicate these needlessly destructive patterns.

The bottom line is that this book has huge potential to effect massive social change. In seeing how these maladaptive attachment and parenting styles lead to first personal problems and then serious social ones, we have the solution to making changes for the future of our children and theirs in turn.

Overall this book is a humanistic subject approached from a scientific perspective. Make no mistake this book is one of the most important I have and ever will read. Without a doubt it will also be the same for anyone reading the book.

Finally, in addition to being highly informative, it is also optimistic in pointing out that change is not impossible, but prevention is the key to a better society and a better world.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading, 9 July 2010
By 
M. Belnavis (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain (Paperback)
I actually purchased this book out of curiousity after I was told it was a book for me by a mum who was observing me being lovey dovey with my little man. Basically, the information the writer is trying to put across is why we need to be so loving and affectionate with our babies. A little on the technical side at times but overall it reiterates what I (and every sensible parent) should already know. I am a firm believer that if your child cries it is for a reason and not just a matter of getting his/her own way. I totally disagree with the whole leave them to cry it out belief that my mum says didn't do me any harm (sure it didn't!). Children need to be loved but more importantly they need to be shown that they are loved, even when they mess up. What we do with our babies sets the foundation of what they become when they are older.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A startling revalation, 9 Jun 2011
By 
Stephen Vaughan (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain (Paperback)
This book was recommended to me as a way to help understand some of things going on in my own life, and boy, what a stunning revalation. The style is a good mix of science written in a very approachable way, and social comment written in a strong observational style. This combination works very well together to explore the consequences of parenting styles on the way children turn out in later life. I particularly liked the way that the author explains the way that apparently benign environments can actually cause later difficulties. There's no mumbo jumbo either - its all there in the neuroscience, explained as the effect an upbringing has on the way the early brain develops. It has been extremely helpful to me in understanding why I think and feel and act in the way that I do. Recommended not just for parents, but for everyone. You'll never see life the same way again.
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220 of 231 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, an explanation on why abandonment is so damaging, 13 Feb 2006
This review is from: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain (Paperback)
I am the director of a foundation that works in Romanian orphanages and children's hospitals. For years we have been perceived as amateurs by the therapists because we focus on providing the children with individual attention and affection. It is such a HUGE relief to find a book that makes our work worthwhile. The damage that Dr Gerhardt describes is seen 100 times over in children who have not just been disregarded, but have been truly abandoned: left to themselves for month after month with only staff workers to change and feed them. Babies that stop crying because no one responds to their desperation are horribly broken. The attitude that they will grow out of it is so misguided and hurtful. I would LOVE to have the book available in Romanian. It could have a profound effect if people understood what is happening when they think that taking care of the baby's physical needs is enough.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scientific proof for the benefits of responsive parenting!, 28 Oct 2005
This review is from: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain (Paperback)
This book is amazing, the science behind it is excellently explained and based on real babies.
This book shows us how our parenting has an incredible effect on our child's future health and happiness. Everyone should read this book before they have a baby.
In a nutshell it explains how babies need to be held, cuddled and comforted when they're upset, and that the more attention and physical contact they receive the happier they will grow up to be.
READ THIS BEFORE YOU THINK ABOUT LEAVING YOUR BABY TO CRY IT OUT!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little bit too technical, 4 Sep 2007
By 
This review is from: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain (Paperback)
I thought this book was good but I found it difficult to read because of all the references to brain chemistry. It is interesting to know how your behaviour towards your baby affects their development, and how it occurs in the brain, but I found there was too much focus on this and not enough focus on how to love your baby in the right way. A lot of people have said it should be a recommended book for all new parents, but I think the 'average' parent would struggle to understand most of the terminology in the book. However, I do feel more knowledgeable now I have read it and will never leave my baby to cry for prolonged periods due to what the book has told me, and now I love my baby as much as I can during the day and I do feel she benefits from it, she is a really happy baby. Perhaps a watered down version of this book should be available to new parents.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think, 10 Aug 2012
This review is from: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain (Paperback)
Most of the reviewers seem to have read this from the point of view of a parent - and the message could be pretty scary for parents. Although I'm a parent I read this from the point of view of being an (old) child - and found it very helpful as a way of helping to understand myself, especially long standing patterns of behaviour. I appreciate that some of the science is speculative and I approach it from the point of view of an aid to thinking rather than a revelation of 'truth' - which is how books should be approached. Nevertheless I think it is very important and if it makes you uncomfortable you have to think about why it does. Especially recommend it for anyone doing/undergoing counselling/therapy.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unputdownable, 15 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain (Paperback)
Rich, provocative, accessible, unputdownable. This will be a hugely influential book, and should be required reading for parents, professionals and policy-makers. It is fascinating, and tells us what in our heart of hearts we knew but would rather ignore - that the way in which we respond to and respect our babies' emotional needs will shape their future and our society. A tough message for a materialistic, individualistic culture and a very sharp poke in the eye to those harsh child 'taming and training' books and programmes that are so fashionable once more.
For those interested in how to support and nurture parent-child relationships from infancy on - and negotiate problems when they arise - may I also recommend the Parker and Stimpson books -- RAISING HAPPY CHILDREN and SIBLING RIVALRY, SIBLING LOVE. Aimed primarily at parents but, again, full of information and real families' experiences of what helps.
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65 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 27 Sep 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain (Paperback)
This book is essential reading for all parents and anyone who works with small children. It's particularly refreshing to read a parenting book that can back up its claims with real research findings, and which has enough respect for the reader's intelligence to allow you to draw your own conclusions on how you treat your child in the light of it, rather than the dumbed-down, unsupported 'rules' too many other books offer. We all know our children flourish with love and support - thank god for an author who is brave enough to say so and show us the evidence!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, not that well written, 4 April 2012
By 
J. H. Bateman "jembateman" (Lancaster, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain (Paperback)
Gerhardt puts forward research evidence for the vital importance of close contact with babies for their development.

Tho making an excellent point, she seems to restate it over and over in ways that may put people off reading more of her (and other, related) work. Maybe the publishers thought too short a book wouldn't look so 'significant'?

The repeated references to physical and psychological/emotional proximity could sometimes have been replaced with more guidance on the importance of verbal interaction to promote babies' linguistic awareness and abilities, which Gerhardt doesn't really do much on.

She frequently resorts to generalisations I'd question. e.g. she states fear of snakes is innate whereas videoes of babies with (harmless!) snakes shows it's learned as they don't mind them. Again, she contrasts animals' 'fear' with the care humans (should) show their young, but can't we describe lion prides, etc. as 'caring', or even 'loving' in their own leonine way?

The text accompanying a human brain diagram uses different terms from that diagram for its parts, which is confusing and which an editor should have amended.

Gerhardt also uses 'he' throughout for the baby and 'she' for the parent; 'they' is perfectly acceptable and more elegant, and a writer should be aware of this and able to write using this. As a single Dad I was irritated by this!

A good introduction to the field, but the editor should have done their job better.
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Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain
Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain by Sue Gerhardt (Paperback - 24 Jun 2004)
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