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Children Who See Too Much
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About the Author

Betsy McAlister Groves is founder of the nationally recognized Child Witness to Violence Project at Boston Medical Center.

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These two books, which were both written before the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, address children's exposure to violence in America. Based on the counseling and therapy programs of the Child Witness to Violence Project at Boston Medical Center (of which Groves is the founder), Children Who See Too Much is a slim but substantial book. The author's premise is simple: today's children are exposed to violence almost daily on TV, in video games, and, too frequently, in real life. Those who witness violence in their homes are not protected by their youth from its consequences; such violence leaves an indelible mark on the chemistry of their brains. Parents, professionals, and communities have a special role to play in helping such children cope with trauma. Readers will not find simple answers here; instead, Groves provides six practical steps that will help parents create a safer world, regardless of neighborhood or race. The Boston Medical Center model presented in this book is clearly a valuable one for other communities to copy. A chatty though helpful nuts-and-bolts how-to book, "Not My Kid" takes 21 chapters to present 21 steps on how to nurture nonviolent children. Muscari (nursing, Univ. of Scranton) begins by defining normal/abnormal behaviors in children of all ages. Then she guides parents through the specifics of raising nonviolent children even though the world around them is violent, arguing that the responsibility for eradicating drug use, bullying, intolerance, domestic abuse, and gun violence lies with parents and communities. In light of recent events, both of these excellent books may be in demand, Muscari's more by parents and Groves's more by community leaders. ["Not My Kid" is also available as a video, ISBN 1-58966-009-9, $19.95. Ed.] Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Betsy Groves offers rare insight and guidance for adults who seek to help children cope with trauma and violence. Now more than ever, we all need this help as images of disaster are an all too common element of childhood in America. --James Garbarino, Ph.D., author of Parents Under Siege

"Groves draws on her tenure with the Child Witness to Violence Project in Boston to show that there is hope for these youngsters, that they can be helped through frank talk and therapy. Her message is clear: Children must be encouraged to openly discuss the violence in their lives; otherwise it will foment trouble within." --David Ruenzal, Teacher Magazine

"Children Who See Too Much will fill the need for a road map felt by parents overwhelmed by all the awfulness around them." --Judith Warner, The Washington Post

"The subject makes Children Who See Too Much an easy choice for social workers and pediatric counselors. Yet, in breaking down the issue, Groves shows why the book is meant for parents, teachers, police officers-and anyone who senses the weight that children carry today." --Jodi Nirode, The Columbus Ohio Dispatch

"Groves provides six practical steps that will help parents create a safer world, regardless of neighborhood or race. The Boston Medical Center model presented in this book is clearly a valuable one for other communities to copy." --Library Journal

"This is a valuable book to alert parents and therapists to the pain that children go through after witnessing violence. It is so timely now after the horrors we have experienced in New York City. These children are all the more vulnerable to other kinds of violence." --T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

The need for a book to help parents and caregivers whose children have seen violence has never been more apparent than in the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. While Boston Medical Center's 10-year-old Child Witness to Violence Project is specifically designed to do just that, this book by the project's founder, a licensed social worker, disappoints. The project, which works with young children who have witnessed evil firsthand (e.g., a parent's murder) or who are traumatized by news stories (such as the kidnapping of Polly Klass from her home), clearly has done much good in helping children cope. When Groves focuses on specific stories, like four-year-old Daquan, who was at home when his mother was murdered, or Jenna and Ben, who were present when their father attacked their mother, the book comes alive. But too often Groves strays from her subject and offers mini-primers on child development theories or television violence that are not nearly as insightful as her work with kids. Despite a tendency to oversummarize in order to pad out this slim and somewhat uncohesive volume, Groves does make an impassioned case that youth is not a protection against violence and that domestic violence in particular has the most devastating effect on children. She warns that there are no quick fixes to help young children. What matters most is "the adult behind the strategy who says, `I will listen to you' or `I believe you can succeed.' "Her six-step plan for changing the world includes such commonsense notions as offering children steady, loving relationships and reintroducing civility into daily life. (Feb. 12) Forecast: At press time, Beacon did not have plans to accelerate this book's publication schedule, so while many parents and educators could benefit from Groves's advice right now, they may have to wait until February. But by then, the shelves will probably be packed with related titles, thus stunting this one's potential. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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