HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Hide or Seek: How to Build Self-Esteem in Your Child, Expanded and Updated
Author: James Dobson
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company, newest edition in 2001
ISBN-10: 0800756800 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 978-0800756802 (paperback)
ISBN-10: 0739401467 (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0800717605 (hardcover)
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: For parents
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Dobson, James. Hide or Seek: How to Build Self-Esteem in Your Child, Expanded and Updated (original edition published in 1974 and expanded edition published in 1979, both by Fleming H. Revel Company, Old Tappan, NJ). I have read a couple of other books by James C. Dobson, a psychologist and professor of clinical pediatrics who founded Focus on the Family, namely Dare to Discipline and Preparing for Adolescence. His books have been highly recommended, and everything that I have read by him makes sense. In Hide or Seek, his basic thesis is that the epidemic of inferiority is at the root of so many problems that young people face in our society, using Lee Harvey Oswald as an opening example. After discussing how failing to measure up to society’s standards especially in the areas of beauty and intelligence can create feelings of inadequacy, he suggests ten strategies for helping parents to build self-esteem in their children.
I happen to have a copy of both the original Hide or Seek: Self-Esteem for the Child—A Compelling Approach for Parents and Teachers from 1974, and the Hide or Seek: How to Build Self-Esteem in Your Child, Expanded and Updated from 1979. The basic text in the two is the same. The only differences are that the revised edition has a new preface and also an epilogue that contains two further strategies. In that epilogue, Dobson does draw an important distinction between Biblical pride, which he defines as an arrogant self-sufficiency leading us to violate the two most basic commandment of Jesus about loving God and our neighbor, and true self-esteem which is self-respect or self-confidence, and even warns “that the quest for self-esteem can take us in the direction of unacceptable pride.”
He concludes, “Hide or Seek does not reflect the philosophy of Me-ism. I have not suggested that children be taught arrogance and self-sufficiency or that they be lured into selfishness. (That will occur without any encouragement from parents.) My purpose has been to help mothers and fathers preserve an inner physical and mental and spiritual health.” While Dobson clearly bases his suggestions on Biblical principles and even points out the benefits of following God’s ways, which I appreciate, he does not come across as “too preachy,” so that even those who are not strong believers should be able to find useful information in the book. Young parents will especially benefit from it, but I think that anyone will find it helpful in developing a proper positive attitude towards self. The latest edition, The New Hide or Seek: Building Confidence in Your Child was published in 2001.