After a near-death-experience, world-renowned pediatrician and author Dr Christopher Green, concedes he is going back on what he preached. Adopting a more relaxed, child-centered approach Green says: "I used to be called the Toddler Tamer but I don't think we need to tame them any more; I think we really need to value them. "I think most behavioral problems are not problems if you can spend quality time with children and give them attention”, he emphasizes.
Green had lost the will to live and sank into depression after a stroke and his wife's death. He re-wrote his bestseller Toddler Taming right from scratch to help him regain the power of language. After years of despair, he says he has reclaimed his optimistic outlook and in November plans to marry his new fiancée Judy Halliday, who has also recovered from a stroke. "For me, things are going well,'' he says. "I have got a book that's better than my original one and every word has come from the heart because I see now what's really important in life.
"When I did the new book, I put chapter one as the things that in more than 20 years of working with kids are really, really important. It's things like if you give a child attention they don't need to misbehave to get your attention", Green says.
Green’s principles advocating consistent discipline and routine for toddlers, were a hit among parents during the 1980s when his book was first published.
Child-rearing theories have swung in all directions over the years. According to Robin Barker, author of the popular handbook Baby Love, many parents are confused and even intimidated by the plethora of contradictory advice.
"I feel sorry for mothers today having to wade through all this stuff,'' she says. "What I would like to see is everyone lighten up a bit and have more fun.
Barker agrees many of her ideas are similar to those of Dr Spock, whose revolutionary book Baby And Child Care influenced generations from the 1940s to 1980s.
She says controlled crying, where a child is left to cry at night, rather than being tended immediately by a parent, can work and does not recommend long childcare five days a week for children under three. She strives to drive home the message that “Kids are quite resilient.”
According to Claudia Keech, CEO of online magazine motherInc, it is best to take advice from a variety of experts."Every single child has a different way of reacting so no one thing is going to work for every child,'' she opines.
"For first-time parents, it's like beginning a job without an apprenticeship, so advice from (different experts) is brilliant."