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Bad Childhood Good Life

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Bad Childhood Good Life, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, HarperCollins, NY, NY, 2006.

The controversial radio show host, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, wrote the book I chose for this report. The premise of this book is that even if you have had an unhappy, dysfunctional childhood, you can rise above it and have a happy and successful life as an adult. I had heard several of Dr. Laura's shows and knew her to be an opinionated, hard-hitting woman so I felt this book would be interesting.

The introduction of the book includes transcripts of calls to her show from people who had dysfunctional childhoods. She seems to effectively walk them through their own scenario and helps them to see that even though their present is affected by their past, they have a choice of how great an extent they will allow it to influence their future. In fact, the theme that runs through the entire book is "choice". You can choose to be a victim of the past and continue in misery or you can choose to make changes and reframe your way of thinking and be not just a survivor, but a winner.

Dr. Laura speaks often throughout the book about choosing not to be a victim. She acknowledges that many children who have witnessed abuse or addiction have legitimate reasons to be sad or resentful about their childhoods, however, she takes them to task about making changes and letting go of the past. She also stresses learning from the mistakes and problems of the past. This cannot be as easy as she makes it sound. Many of these troubled people probably lack the resiliency to simply prevail over the past and move on. Some may be hindered by other problems such as depression or other mental health issues. I feel she is asking them to do something for which they are neither prepared nor educated. It would be like asking a real estate agent to perform an appendectomy. She does acknowledge that therapy is helpful; she was in private practice at one time. However, she does not stress, what I feel is the necessity that several months or even years are probably necessary to overcome their issues. There are usually no quick fixes.

The material covered in this book is definitely relevant. There are many people in our society who blame their parents and dysfunctional childhoods for their own problems and lack of success. Unfortunately, many may simply be reacting instinctively and doing what they have been taught or have seen modeled; they sometimes tend to repeat the mistakes of their parents rather than learn from them. In therapy they can be educated and gain new insight. Dr. Laura does allude to



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