Hugs for Survival: Strategies for Effective Parenting


207 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-7710-6065-3




Reviewed by Margaret E. Kidd

Margaret E. Kidd is a member of Toronto’s Child & Family Services
Review Board.


Dr. Harold Minden has written a book for parents which aptly combines theory and practice. It’s a helpful book for all those adults who spend time with children and who would like to add to their skill and understanding. I like it. It’s practical and realistic, yet it doesn’t preach or pretend that parenting is a cinch if you do as he says!

The book starts with the research finding (in response to the question “How would you rate your parenting experience?”) that 41 percent of a large sample of parents found the experience frustrating and negative, and only 22 percent found it fulfilling and positive. Dr. Minden has assembled a review of research as well as case histories from his own practice to help parents acquire skills that should give them more success and satisfaction.

He is careful to remind us to match our methods to the child’s age, stage of development, and personality. He points out that learning is a slow process, both for the child and the adult. His thoughtful presentation of behavior management stresses flexibility and appropriate adjustment to the situation. The importance of physical contact, including hugs, pats, and smiles as supportive rewards, is continually emphasized.

One-to-one relationships between parent and child, careful analysis of one’s expectations, appreciation of both child’s and adult’s self-concept and self-esteem, and making the “rules” as clear and explicit as possible are given due emphasis.

Dr. Minden recognizes differences in values and tolerance levels. He doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but he spells out possible strategies to help the child develop, and to help adults fulfill their responsibilities. He acknowledges the difficulties, giving helpful insights to enable behavioral change in parents. It is evident that he is not only a professional, but a parent!

This is not a cookbook of never-fail recipes, but a thoughtful compendium of directions to enlighten and improve this most important human pursuit ... parenting!


Minden, Harold A., “Hugs for Survival: Strategies for Effective Parenting,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 3, 2021,