From one of the world's foremost researchers and pioneers of pediatric health--a book that offers hope and a pathway to success for parents, teachers, psychologists, pyschiatrists, and child development experts coping with "difficult" children. A book that fully explores the author's revolutionary discovery about childhood development, parenting, and the key to helping all children find happiness and success.
In The Orchid and the Dandelion, Dr. W. Thomas Boyce writes of the "dandelion" child (hardy, resilient, healthy), able to survive and flourish under most circumstances, and the "orchid" child (sensitive, susceptible, fragile), who, given the right support, can thrive as much as, if not more than, other children.
For the past four decades Boyce has been working with troubled children. The Orchid and the Dandelion offers help to those who have lost their confidence in the promise of a child gone seriously adrift--into drug abuse, delinquency, depression, or destructive friendships, the dark territory of psychological trouble, school failure, or criminality.
Boyce's breakthrough research reveals how genetic makeup and environment shape behavior. Rather than seeing this "risk" gene as a liability, through his daring research, Boyce has recast the way we think of human frailty and shows that while variant genes can create problems (susceptibility to depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and antisocial, sociopathic, or violent behaviors), they can also, in the right setting and with the right nurturing, produce children who not only do better than before but far exceed their peers.
He describes what it is to be an "orchid" child, to live a life far more intense, painful, vivid, and variable than that of a dandelion. For orchid children, the world is often a frightening and overwhelming place. He makes clear that orchids are not failed dandelions and shows people how to embrace the unique gifts, abilities, and strengths of orchid children and how to create and environment at home and work that will allow them to flourish.
Boyce writes, as well, of dandelions: how vital they are to what George Eliot describes as "the growing good of the world," even in the midst of their own struggles and life challenges. He writes of his own family, particularly of his sister, the inspiration for his work, an orchid child overcome by the family's tragedies and sadnesses to which the author, as a dandelion child, was impervious.
And we come to understand that beneath the servicable categories of "orchid" and "dandelion" lies the truer reality of a continuum, a spectrum of sensitivities to the world, along which we all have a place.