Rest, Play, Grow: The New Book by Dr. Deborah MacNamara
Based on the work of one of the world’s foremost child development experts, Dr. Deborah MacNamara’sRest, Play, Grow offers a road map to making sense of young children, and is what every toddler, preschooler, and kindergartner wished we understood about them.
Baffling and beloved, with the capacity to go from joy to frustration in seconds, Dr. MacNamara sees young children as some of the most misunderstood people on the planet. Her work has shown her that parents and caregivers struggle with these little ones and their extreme behaviour, from tantrums, resistance, and aggression to separation anxiety, bedtime protests, and not listening. In her book, she sets out to demonstrate that the key to understanding youngsters lies in realizing that their challenging behaviour is not personal, nor is it a disorder or deficit.
Based on science and the relational developmental approach of renowned psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Gordon Neufeld, Rest, Play, Grow is designed to reveal how adults have a critical role to play in creating the conditions for young children to flourish, and is a story of how young children develop, from their intense need for attachment and the vital importance of play to discipline that preserves growth.
In the introduction to her book, Dr. MacNamara talks about being invited as a guest speaker for a group of new mothers and their infants. She talks about the questions she was asked and how they led along familiar paths she didn’t want to travel.She says, “I wanted to reveal that the secret to raising a child isn’t about having all the answers but about being a child’s answer. I wanted to share with them that parenting isn’t something you can learn from a book, though books can help when you’re trying to make sense of a child. I wanted to express that parenting isn’t something you learn from your own parents, though great ones are wonderful templates. I wanted to reaffirm that caring for a child knows no gender, age, or ethnicity. I wanted to reassure them that their feelings of responsibility, guilt, alarm, and caring were the instinctive and emotional underpinnings of becoming the parent their child needs. I wanted to convey that what every child requires is a place of rest so that they can play and grow. This doesn’t require perfection from a parent, or knowing what to do all the time. What it requires is a yearning to be their child’s best bet and to work at creating the conditions to foster their growth.”
She goes on to talk about parenting as ‘being the child’s best bet’.She explains, “Becoming a child’s best bet requires understanding them from the inside out. It requires insight, not skill. It is more about what we see when we look at our child than it is about what we do. It is about being able to hold on to the big developmental picture instead of getting lost in the details of daily living. Simply put, perspective is everything. “She illustrates with many examples, saying “The secret to unlocking the ancient patterns of human growth lies not in what we do to our young children but in who we are to them. “
Dr. MacNamara has worked closed with Dr. Gordon Neufeld for over a decade, and the theoretical content and images in the book are used with his permission and are based on material in over 14 courses he has created for the Neufeld Institute, amplified with illustrations from Dr. MacNamara’s own parenting and clinical experience.The work is designed as a road map for parents, laying out how “an adult must WORK so that children can REST, so that they can PLAY and then GROW.”The book is not about tips, techniques and strategies.“It is a road map for growing a child into a separate, independent being who assumes responsibility for directing their own life and for the choices they make.”