JCPCP book review

Saturday, 02 April 2011 11:23

Making and Breaking Children's Lives

Edited by Craig Newnes and Nick Radcliffe

This book represents a critical look at current issues in the field of child psychology. It examines current debates around mental health's reaction to societal shortcomings in bringing up children.

Among many other issues, the book investigates the concept of individualism, exploring how this allows society to see mental health problems as residing in the child. Psychiatrists are seen as agents to manage guilt and anxiety and not to explore the roots of problems. The effects of psychiatric labelling and drugging are discussed and there are four whole chapters on the issue of ADHD. These chapters question the dominance of the biomedical model and the subsequent validity and utility of ADHD as a diagnosis.

The book is split into three parts; constructing childhood, problematising children and appreciating children. Some chapters make an easier and more enjoyable read than others, my personal favourite being that of Dorothy Rowe's which explores 'ADHD: Adults fear of frightened children'. Also interesting is a chapter on empowering children and their families, whilst chapter eight makes use of a clinical vignette which really draws the reader in.

This book is both informative and thought provoking, and would interest those wishing to access critical viewpoints.

Laura Goble