The Silenced Child
From Labels, Medications, and Quick-Fix Solutions to Listening, Growth, and Lifelong Resilience
Claudia M. Gold
Da Capo Press
Our lives have meaning because of the stories we tell and the sense we make of our relationships and experience. The greatest risk of our current culture is not over-medication but rather under-listening. Abandoning listening has costs for all of us.
In her new book, The Silenced Child, pediatrician Claudia Gold, the author of Keeping Your Child in Mind, aims to show the dangers in building a super highway to a quick fix while letting the alternative path become overgrown with weeds. The ability to be curious, to wonder, to empathize with each other’s feelings, is what makes us human. It is not simply a question of “therapy vs. medication.” It is about valuing uncertainty, for letting the story unfold.
The central thesis of the book is that the most serious side effect of psychiatric labeling and medication is lost opportunity for listening. Yet this is not a book “against medication.” Rather it is meant to serve as a cautionary tale of what will happen if we neglect to listen to each other, and of the good that can come when we do protect the time and space for “being with,” for healing through relationships and human connection.
Praise for The Silenced Child
This poignant book is a paean to patience, carefulness, and attentiveness—rare commodities in a digital age. It is an urgent call to action for a medical world dominated by biology and statistics. In arguing that attachment and healing take time, Claudia Gold creates a manifesto for wiser family relations, demonstrating with elegant simplicity how we can realize more productively the love we already feel for our children.
— Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree
Drawing on powerful research, as well as the timeless and insightful wisdom of Winnicott, Bowlby, and many more, Gold makes an undeniable case for the simple act of listening, an act that in many cases can be the most potent treatment available.
Readers will be amazed by the inspirational real-life stories that Gold offers throughout these pages, stories in which trying to improve life overall while providing a safe place for open discussion can lead to better outcomes than any drug can offer.
—San Francisco Book Review
Brazelton’s To Listen to a Child, and later, his “Touchpoints” books, taught millions of parents, pediatricians and teachers that children’s behavior has much to tell us, if only we learn to listen to it. In her important new book, Dr. Gold describes the ways in which children and parents have been silenced and shows us how to rescue the irreplaceable and uniquely human capacity to listen from the misguided efforts to categorize children and automate the art of caring for them.
—Joshua D Sparrow MD, Director, Brazelton Touchpoints Center