Ghost from the Nursery: A Book Review by Claudia Claudia Quezada-Commerford FSHS 305 Kansas State University Ghost from the Nursery: A Book Review by Claudia In the ‘Ghost from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence’, the authors set out with the goal to make readers aware of the importance of the first period of a child’s life. They are seeking to explain the rise of violence in the United States, with children being the fastest growing criminal population. The authors are steering and urging us to look to the first period of life, prenatal development, and the first two years following birth.
During these critical thirty-three months of infancy, an individual forms the core of moral sense by developing the ability to trust and relate to others, and lay down the foundation for their lifelong learning and thinking. The authors take the stance that the majority of intricate factors leading to violence take root in the nursery. The authors present us with evidence that early chemical and physical harm to the fetus, by prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs, can alter infant and toddler’s minds enough that their cognitive processes are later unable to learn about, understand, and cope with life’s difficulties.
By reference to the life of, ‘Jeffrey’ a young murderer; the authors have set out to identify the key factors characterizing the profile of a violent and impulsive murder at 16. They do this by examining aspects of Jeffrey’s life, drawing on current knowledge in child development, identifying possible contributing factors, and most importantly, identifying areas where intervention may assist. Parenting is hard work, and it is especially hard for those who have not had the benefit of good role models or practical support.
So therefore, the authors are making a plea for us to become a more compassionate society that values our babies and young children enough to promote policies focusing on improving their welfare. Working together across all levels to support both the children and their parents or caregivers during this very important period. Critique I believe that the biggest strength of this book is that there is an important message for everyone. Parents will be able to read the message loud and clear of their most imperative job to provide a welcoming and positive prenatal and postnatal environment for their child.
Teachers will be informed on how to asses and help their students become successful because some of these children “may be experiencing abuse at home, or come to school out of chaotic and neglectful circumstances that leave them physically and emotionally malnourished” (Karr-Morse & Wiley, 1997, 105). Other concerned adults are encouraged to follow their intuitive sense about a child’s first signals for intervention, like that of the concerned “women who had urged Tammy to get counseling for Eric” (Karr-Morse ; Wiley, 1997, 56).
Social service providers, community organizers, and those in legislation will find strong data to hopefully make changes in public policy and improve funding to prevent maltreatment of babies beginning from conception. The authors do a great job of determining a number of issues related to child abuse and neglect including early brain anatomy and development, exposure to drugs in the womb, the interaction of parenting and temperament, and the impact of early trauma, head injuries, and emotional deprival.
Every chapter takes a profound look at these issues and how they relate back to childhood violence. Along with providing essential knowledge, each chapter is opened by reconnecting with the case study of Jeffery and providing a personal account of the implications of the issues being discussed. As I read each chapter I began to understand all the many variables involved in producing a violent child and the impact on the way the child does or does not processes information.
Though Karr-Morse ; Wiley present valuable information and understanding of the child abuse and neglect, it did for me have a weakness. While reading, I felt that the ideas and some of the content was repeated to often throughout the book. The authors had a tendency to be repetitious in their writing to a point that I felt it took away from the overall point of the book. Along with in depth explanations, Karr-Morse ; Wiley had a tendency to include too many supporting facts.
Though interesting, the facts at times distracted me from the main arguments that they are attempting to make. Overall, this book was very educational and seemed to be a valuable contribution to the field of child abuse and neglect. Implications Considering the information and the message of the book I feel the implications for practicing in the area of child abuse and neglect are especially important for parents, teachers, and or anyone providing services to children.
The knowledge gained from research examining the effects of maltreatment on brain development can be helpful in many ways. With this information, we are better able to understand what is happening within the brains of children who have been abused and neglected. Much of this research is providing concrete evidence for what professionals in this field and caregivers have long been describing in behavioral, emotional, and psychological terms.
All those practicing in the area of child abuse and neglect will be able to use the information from this book to help improve systems of care and to strengthen prevention efforts. Abuse and neglect come in many different forms and some easier to detect then others it is important to be sensitive to these issues and the repercussions if not detected and treated. I feel it is also very important to note that in situations involving any child abuse case there are always many factors that are involved in. Nothing is ever black and white or cut and dry.
For anyone working in human services settings it is vital to always look at all the pieces of the bigger puzzle before one gives an assessment on whatever the situation may be. Prevention through education is another big theme that sticks out after reading the book. It is with the knowledge and information that is well-documented in this book by the authors that give everyone a better understanding why it is so vital to educate and help prevent our nations surge toward violence and self-destruction. We as a society have the ability shape our children in homes of all classes.
In reading, Ghost from the Nursery, a person will have a very clear understanding and proper knowledge of how child abuse and neglect affects a child’s development. It is with that better understandings that we can possible intervene with the proper resources and help to advocate for these children. I believe that there isn’t any one person who would not benefit from reading this book and paying attention the information is in everyone’s best interest! References Karr-Morse, R. , ; Wiley, M. S. (1997). Ghosts from the nursery. New York, NY: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.