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For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  1,062 ratings  ·  42 reviews
For Your Own Good, the contemporary classic exploring the serious if not gravely dangerous consequences parental cruelty can bring to bear on children everywhere, is one of the central works by Alice Miller, the celebrated Swiss psychoanalyst.

With her typically lucid, strong, and poetic language, Miller investigates the personal stories and case histories of various self-d
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 14th 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1980)
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Aimee J Martin
This is an older book written in 1980 that I came across sitting on the floor of a dusty, old used book store. I snagged it for $3 and it was $3 well spent.

This book focuses on the origins of violence and hidden cruelty in child-rearing and the roots of violence.

Amazingly, this book was written in 1980 and expresses that 'everyone should read this book who is troubled by what is happening to our world and to our children..' Wow.. I would love to hear what Alice Miller has to say now in 2010.
Katrina Dreamer
I read this for a class on ancestry. My teacher recommended it because I have German ancestry, and this book was one of the most illuminating I've read in a long time. It helped me understand my upbringing in the light of German culture, and the culture my great-grandparents, grandparents, and even ancestors earlier, were raised in.

I highly recommend this book for anyone with German, or even Scandanavian or European roots.
On recommendation from my therapist. Luckily for me, this copy was heavily marked up so it was easy to skip around to the juicy bits.

"A child conditioned to be well-behaved must not notice what she is feeling, but asks herself what she ought to feel."

Larry Strattner
My mother used to say,"We are all victims of victims." If you reflect on this continuum, as Alice Miller does, you realize that many of her case study examples are as immediate today as they ever were since violence is a trait passed down through experience and it is so unerringly inserted deep in the mind of an abused child that it remains almost invisible until an opportunity presents itself for it to blossom horribly within its unwitting host.

Ms. Miller's logic and her view of the roots of vi
Although this book was written in the historical context of an older generation of parents and children, Miller intuits important psychological insights that are supported by current research. The writing and choice of case studies sometimes seems overwrought, and a large section is devoted to Adolf Hitler's childhood and the impact of Nazism (which came as a surprise to me), yet many of Miller's insights can be applied to a more general population. A worthwhile read for those interested in psyc ...more
Sue Lyle
In my opinion the best of Alice Miller's writing, it provides a well researched analysis of child rearing manuals over the centuries and their impact on our attitudes and behaviour towards children. It shows us that values change and that we can change if we want to. I would make this compulsory reading for all would-be teachers.
I love Alice Miller's books. Her psychoanalytic perspective along with her anecdotal analysis of famous historical people makes for great reading.
Аделина 'Змей' Генова
"В началото бе възпитанието" не е книга за всекиго и все пак належащо трябва да бъде прочетена от всички ни.
Защото без значение как и от кого сме отгледани ние неминуемо сме продукт на възпитанието, което (не) ни е дадено. И ще плащаме за това не само като единици, но и като част от обществото. Защото никое дете не се ражда престъпник или убиец.
Всяко действие си има причина и всеки зъл акт е бил продиктуван от нещо преди него. Вероятно от нещо много преди това.

Възпитанието не е лесен процес. Осъ
100+ страници, почти половината книга, са прекалено много като възможност, която търпеливо давах на тази книга, за да ми хареса. Не мога да си позволя разкоша (поради липса на излишно време и нерви) да се боря с четенето на нещо, само защото всеки трябва да го прочете или само заради положителните мнения на хора, в чиито преценки има(х)м доверие. Не мога да дочакам и обещаваните грабващи вниманието моменти. Не намирам смисъл в чистата загуба на време без никаква полза. Това, че травмите и грешно ...more
Oct 06, 2007 Gea rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, those interested in history
So far the entire first third of the book is excerpts from writings about 'parenting' from Germany around 1770-1800. Shows how horrible parents were supposed to raise their kids. I am having a hard time getting through reading all of it - not only because it is sickening - but because Miller hasn't begun writing herself or getting to the point yet. The second half should get better and to the point (I would expect!), but I am not there yet.

After skipping some of the graphic part in the beginning
Rhonda Rae Baker
This should be required reading for everyone...I am overwhelmed with how much truth is spoken on these pages!

I've been around long enough to realize and to witness that so much of what is said here is how circumstances unfold for many lives.

Oh that we, as a society, will wake up and look around us. This type of abuse is everywhere and we much look into our past and that of our parents to see what pattern have been unconsciously repeated.

This could save your life and that of your children...but m
After having it on my shelf for years, I finally read this book, truly amazing. Psychoanalyst Alice Miller explains clearly [even in translation:] what it does to a person's psyche to have been routinely punished by a caregiver for any reason and for no reason. This is her explanation for Hitler and those who collaborated with him and it is convincing. She quotes extensively from 19c [German:] child-rearing manuals warning the parent to establish his/her dominance over the child in the very firs ...more
It's one of these books where you are nodding all the time while you're reading it. "Yes. Yes. Yes. This makes sense. That I undersand. Of course!" - These are your thoughts. Some will make you angry, some will make you sad. Parents try to make their children "tough" so that they can compete in that cruel world out there, but all they achieve, is establishing callousness. And this callousness is what makes the world so tough. We must find ways to break this vicious circle.
Apr 06, 2008 Bethtub rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, especially anti-oppression folks
Recommended to Bethtub by: Billy Keniston
This is 'must read' material for anyone looking to quell oppressive dynamics. It changed my life and capacity to see various oppressions stemming from personal experiences, as well as how they model each other (i.e. how men relate to women, adults to children, white people to people of color, so on)
I read passages of this several years ago... can't quite remember why, although I do remember it hanging around my bedroom with a bookmark in it for a long time - and that I found the parts I did read... well, maybe not enjoyable, but certainly illuminating.
One of my child rearing bibles. I am opposed to spanking, I don't just choose not to do it myself. I am apalled by the entire concept, and this book explains why better than I can.
So far this is an amazing book with great helpful incite about what I am working on and dealing with in my life. Thank you Anne for your recommendation
This was the book that started my journey to adulthood. I healed tremendously while reading and pondering this book's message.
Richard Gilbert
Alice Miller makes an impressive argument that harsh parenting causes lifelong pain, and in some cases dysfunction at a national level. She traces Hitler's sickness to an abusive childhood and says other Nazi leaders were also victims as children of the "poisonous pedagogy" that was typical of childrearing in Germany in their youth.

Miller's prose appears dense but is actually easily readable. Though she goes very far in blaming seemingly all horrific crime on punitive parenting, her explanation
Jul 17, 2008 Thom rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those in guided counseling
Good book to stir up suppressed issues, however it is at high risk for facilitating inaccurate memories.
All I Need To Know I learned In Kindergarten (And How To Undo It).
This is so painful to read... I keep having to put it down.
This book should be required reading for everyone.
Mind blowing -- amazing insight into trauma
Those that most need to read it...won't
Христо Блажев
Насилието в детството ражда чудовища – “В началото бе възпитанието” на Алис Милер

“Във всичко, което прочетох напоследък за детството на престъпници, дори и за масови убийци, никъде не можах да открия звяра, злото дете, което педагозите смятат, че трябва да възпитат и превърнат в „добро“. Навсякъде открих просто беззащитни деца, които са били малтретирани от възрастните в името на възпитанието и често в служба на висши идеали”.

Една от книгите, които ми се
Die Philosophin, Soziologin und Psychologin Alice Miller macht auf bemerkenswerte Art und Weise auf die Wichtigkeit der frühkindlichen Entwicklung aufmerksam. Drei verschiedene Schicksale bzw. die Kindheit von drei verschiedenen Menschen werden von ihr anhand von Zitaten und unterschiedlichen Quellen dargestellt: Adolf Hitler, Jürgen Bartsch (ein Kindes-Massenmörder) und Christiane F. (eine Drogenabhängige).
Weiterhin kritisiert sie die sogenannte "Schwarze Pädagogik", die hauptsächlich zur NS-Ze
Jaime Busse
While the writing style is academic (dry in parts) the content is fascinating, mostly supporting her premise that child rearing practices can be very harmful to children, who then grow up to be abusive adults, and how we can attempt to break this cycle, or risk a repeat of what happened to the Jews during world war II.
Alison Whiteman
Alice Miller is an icon. I read this in graduate school (1990s). The chapter about Hitler's life as a child was startling.
Karen Eleanor
I had to read this book for a class project and I absolutely hated it. I may be biased because it is written from a psychoanalytic standpoint, but to me the logic employed throughout the text is childish and circular. The author makes reference to no solid evidence, only hearsay and conjecture. Miller also managed to make this book very dry despite being about some very interesting psychological case studies. I could go on and on about the hypocritical and counterintuitive nature of the book, bu ...more
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Psychologist and world renowned author, who is noted for her books on child abuse, translated in several languages. In her books she departed from psychoanalysis charging it with being similar to the poisonous pedagogies, which she described in For Your Own Good .

Miller was born in Poland and as young woman lived in Warshaw where she survived World War II. In 1953 she gained her doctorate in phi
More about Alice Miller...
The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting Thou Shalt Not Be Aware : Society's Betrayal of the Child The Truth Will Set You Free: Overcoming Emotional Blindness and Finding Your True Adult Self The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness

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