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Unlocking Parental Intelligence

Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior

By Laurie Hollman

In Unlocking Parental Intelligence, long-experienced psychoanalyst, Laurie Hollman, PhD, encourages parents to find the significance behind their child’s behaviors by becoming “meaning-makers.” Parental Intelligence is explained through compelling and empathic story-telling that answers parents’ questions: “Why do children do what they do? “ “What’s on their minds?” “How can parents know their child’s inner world?"

Through a clear five-step approach, parents discover the power and wisdom of a new parenting mindset that helps them learn what their kids think, want, intend and feel. They see actions as communications. They are rewarded with open parent-child dialogue about the underlying problems hidden beneath the behaviors. As they problem solve, parents discover misbehaviors are not only meaningful, but a catalyst to change.

Parents and professionals alike will find a new parenting approach from this invaluable book that will reshape families’ lives and guide them through all stages of typical and atypical child development. This accessible read enlightens, uplifts, and relieves while cultivating critical thinking on the part of parents and children as they wrestle with the common, and sometimes desperate vexations of family life. 

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Laurie Hollman

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Review quotes

"Dr. Laurie Hollman’s book, UnlockingParental Intelligence has accomplished a notable feat in describing sophisticated theories of child development and behavior and offering a window into the inner workings of the minds of parents and children while managing to make these ideas clear and easily accessible to parents. The book is clearly and beautifully written and Dr. Hollman conveys throughout a non-judgmental, non-critical stance where the reader feels her genuine empathy for the parent and child and their struggles. Her empathy transforms the parents into becoming more empathic with their children.

What distinguishes her guide from other parenting books is her emphasis on the important need 'to understand' the meaning behind the misbehavior of the child or adolescent, rather than assuming to know what the misbehavior means and reacting in the moment. She offers ‘stories,’ about eight children and their parents and takes you along on each of the journeys, while describing the parents’ gradual awakening that leads to insight about their child and also to greater self-knowledge. Of special note is Dr. Hollman’s ability to enable parents to look deeply into their own minds and to understand how their past generational histories are carried over into their feelings and dealings with their own children. This is a very admirable parenting book. I strongly recommend this book to mental health professionals and educators working with children and adolescents, who could also use it as a text book for child therapists."
Phyllis Beren, PhD, Co-Director, Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Program; Training and Supervising Analyst at IPTAR and the Contemporary Freudian Society. 

"With candor and compassion, Laurie Hollman, PhD, teaches parents about Parental Intelligence. In her ground-breaking book, she draws on contemporary child development theory offering parents an easy-to-follow, five-step program for conflict resolution. Parents will learn how to understand the underlying determinants to their child’s behavior, how to 'read' non-verbal as well as verbal communication, and how to create an open dialogue. As an experienced child and family therapist, Dr. Hollman is in a unique position to talk to parents. She provides fictionalized accounts of real problems. Dr. Hollman teaches parents how to understand their own expectations, listen to their child’s communication, and take into account the meaning behind the child’s behavior and how it relates to their developmental level. Along the way, parents will build a stronger, healthier bond with their child. Just as Dr. Hollman teaches parents to interact more effectively and empathically with their children, she writes with empathy and understanding as she teaches parents this proven and user-friendly method of parenting. Dr. Hollman’s book is an essential guide for every parent."
Rena Greenblatt, PhD, Psychoanalyst; Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychologist; Learning Disabilities and ADHD Specialist; Faculty, New York University

"Dr. Laurie Hollman's informative and highly engaging new book, taps into resources parents possess and provides a useful approach to creating the kind of parent-child relationship that promotes child development and parenting satisfaction. Dr. Hollman illustrates through vivid examples, with which all parents will be able to identify, how emotional triggers can sabotage empathy and she demonstrates how her Five Steps to ‘Unlocking Parental Intelligence’ lead to problem solving. It is essential reading for all parents and professionals who seek a greater understanding of children's behavior and their own reactions to it.”
Ilene Sackler Lefcourt, Director, Sackler Lefcourt Center for Child Development, NY, NY; Faculty, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research Parent-Infant Program

"Children, no matter how old they are, often express with their troubled behaviors a wish to communicate. The challenge is to decipher their message. Laurie Hollman, PhD, shows us with talent, how one may think about a family history in a transgenerational mode and resituate the child’s departure from their usual ways in this context. Guided this way, parents can adjust their focus to the needs of their children and find their way out of devastating impasses. By using a precise description of blocked family situations, she shows us how to take consideration of unconscious transmission in parental situations and slowly unknot  conflicts. With this book, Dr. Hollman  provides a precious accompaniment for families."
Myriam Szejer, MD, Child psychiatrist, psychoanalyst Montrouge, France; Faculty, University Versailles-Saint Quentinen Yvelines; author,Talking to Babies: Healing with Words on a Maternity Ward. 

"Dr. Laurie Hollman’s book has been extremely clarifying and helpful to me, not only as a parent and step-parent, but also as a psychologist in my clinical work with families. Dr. Hollman possesses an exceptional gift in providing parents with the confidence to unlock the door to the tools they already possess to enhance their understanding and enjoyment of one of life’s greatest gifts—their children—thereby enabling parents, through self-reflection, empathy, and wisdom, to cultivate their children’s optimal development within a loving and secure family framework. This book is also very helpful to parents whose children have pervasive developmental disorders and other special needs.

Dr. Hollman also gives us promise for future generations of children raised with Parental Intelligence who grow up and want to be leaders. Learning the skills of Parental Intelligence is a source for instilling creative interpersonal, problem solving, and leadership abilities essential to fulfilling, productive lives in the next generation who will lead us in many local, national, and global arenas."
Lynn Seskin, PsyD, School and Clinical Psychologist, Specialty in the Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Pervasive Developmental Disorders

"It is my pleasure as Editor of Moms Magazine, a community of parenting experts and moms sharing real-life experiences of parenthood, to say that Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is one of our go-to experts because she provides a clear approach to guide moms on their parenthood journey through her Parental Intelligence model. We live in a fast-paced world and never before have we seen such a shift in the way we live our lives with social media, the 24-hour news cycle and emerging technologies—and this all applies to parenting, too. There is so much information out there—and so many opinions. We need an expert voice, like Dr.Laurie Hollman’s, who can help break through the clutter and give us easy-to-follow advice that tells us what to think about as we parent. This is what our readers want, and it is presented in Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior."
Judy I. Cohen, Managing Editor, Moms Magazine

"Dr. Laurie Hollman’s book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence, is a clear and concise guide to parenting. Learning to understand the meaning of a child’s behavior and dealing with it in an empathic, problem-solving way is an effective approach to raising children who are self-confident and able to eventually understand and control their own behaviors. This is a guide to thoughtful parenting that is dynamic and aids both the parent and the child in feeling able to adjust to changing issues as the child goes through different developmental stages. It is a book I will recommend to my patients and the techniques are helpful to teach to therapists who work with issues related to parenting.”
Marie Oppedisano, PhD, Psychoanalyst; Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychologist; served as researcher, Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY

"This enlightening book offers a clear, practical approach to parenting that promotes relationships between parent and child. Dr. Hollman presents insightful parenting skills by sharing real-to-life family histories, experiences, and solutions. Parents are encouraged to learn from their own past histories, given permission to have made mistakes in how they handled situations with their child, and shown how to move to a more positive understanding and resolution of the current ‘crisis.’ The families we get to know have children of different ages, different marital situations, and different challenges that make their families unique, yet familiar. Through use of the steps taught in the book parents are led to realize that the ‘offense’ is not always the behavior that must be adjusted. The plan encourages communication between parent and child which will lead to smoother resolution of future issues. What I like best about this beautifully well-written approach is that it will facilitate a calmer environment in the home and family with more productive dialogue between the parents and between parent and child."
Dottie Del Gaudio, MS.Ed., Director and Teacher, UMC Nursery School, Huntington-Cold Spring Harbor, NY

"This is a well-written, easy-to-understand book that offers parents useful tools for reflecting on their relationships to their children . . . Hollman has penned a worthwhile read with a helpful template for handling fraught situations without resorting to kneejerk responses."
Publishers Weekly

"Laurie Hollman has given parents an important, groundbreaking approach to discipline—by guiding their children's behavior, not negative punishments for misbehaviors. As parents come to understand their child's point of view, they come to better understand their own. How this reciprocal relationship impacts how parents handle misbehaviors is a breakthrough that Hollman explains in an easy-to-follow 5-step process. How each step leads to the next is engagingly illustrated in riveting fictional accounts of real behaviors—stories that make it hard to put this book down. By Unlocking Parental Intelligence, Hollman gives us reading that no one who cares about healthy family functioning will want to miss."
Myrna Shure, author of Raising a Thinking Child

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Publication date
October 13, 2015