Logo

Hampstead child psychiatrist pens parental guide to help build kids’ self-esteem

PUBLISHED: 11:22 02 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:24 05 June 2017

Dr Holan Liang

Dr Holan Liang

Archant

A child psychiatrist believes that having conversations with your children from a young age is vital in building their self-esteem.

Inside Out Parenting by Dr Holan Liang Inside Out Parenting by Dr Holan Liang

In her mission to “build children from the inside out”, Dr Holan Liang – a consultant psychiatrist at the south London and Maudsley NHS Trust – has penned her first book based primarily on the early years of parenting.

The book – Inside Out Parenting: How to build strong children from a core of self-esteem – evolved largely from her experience as a mother of two young kids, which propelled her to start the blog called Shrink Grows Kids: Can a child psychiatrist raise children?’

Despite her career being based on working with children, Dr Liang believes that nothing can prepare you for the real thing. As well as the impact on your life as a whole, you are left with a decision to make on your career.

“When you have kids you have difficult choice when it comes to balancing your work life and family life,” she said.

"There is a worrying trait that some parents wait to establish their career first before being around for their children, or even wait until they can have intellectual conversations around the dinner table to really speak to them. "

Dr Holan Liang

“When people have children they are often at the point in their lives when they are just about to make real strides in their career, that was certainly the case for me. This sharpens the difficult choice required.

“Each time I came off maternity leave my salary was downgraded and the pay felt atrocious as it barely covered two children in nursery – and that’s a doctor’s salary so I don’t know how many people on a lower salary cope with trying to continue to work.”

“I wanted to be researching and at the cutting edge of my work, but as a child psychiatrist I knew the importance of parental engagement in the early years and so I made the difficult decision to go part time to the detriment of my career. But once my children were at nursery and school, I found myself twiddling my thumbs at home. It felt a waste of my training, so I started my blog.”

In Dr Liang’s book however, the focus is firmly on the kids, and in particular  an empowering approach to parenting that champions building a strong base of “inside things”, such as self-esteem, so that the “outside things”, like achievement in musical exams and academia, has better meaning for your child.

Unpicking the barrage of information available out there, the book helps readers to develop parenting strategies best suited to each individual child rather than presenting a catch-all method.

“I think that the tiger parents, the helicopter parents, the micro-managers and maxi-organisers, the French parents whose children don’t throw food, the Chinese who are all about the tutoring, have been getting their priorities all wrong,” Dr Liang said.

“They’ve been sweating the small stuff – without self-esteem, a child’s achievements will be unfulfilling, their relationships will be lopsided at best and doomed at worst, and perhaps happiness will elude them forever.

“We need to start building them up from the inside out.”

Dr Liang – who lives in north London with her husband and two children – is also a firm believer that the key is parents building a relationship with their kids when they are very young.

“There is a worrying trait that some parents wait to establish their career first before being around for their children, or even wait until they can have intellectual conversations around the dinner table to really speak to them.

“I think that employers and institutions need to allow their employees to be there for their children when it matters.

“Those early years are incredibly formative and it is so important to have conversations with your children from an early age – even if what they are saying doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

In her book, Dr Liang – who is also an honorary consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital – blends scientific reasoning with anecdotal advice, with the latter proving to be just as invaluable.

The over-arching mission is to help nurture children with a strong identity who are ready to “take on the world”.

You can find the book – which was published in May – in Waterstones and by searching for Dr Holan Liang at amazon.co.uk. Take a look at Dr Liang’s blog by visiting shrinkgrowskids.com.

Dr Liang is also holding her book launch at 6.30pm at the Waterstones on Hampstead High Street on Thursday, June 8.

Latest Hampstead Education News

South Hampstead Junior School pupils have marked 60 years since the school moved into its own separate site at 12 Netherhall Gardens in 1957.

‘The future is bright’ for a crop of Camden youngsters who dazzled judges in a public speaking contest at Regent High School.

Henrietta Barnett School has been named as the UK’s top performing state school in a much-anticipated annual league table released by the Sunday Times.

A success story of one of Archant London’s Student Takeover schemes is encouraging students at City of Westminster College and College of North West London to get involved in a potentially “life-changing” opportunity at the Ham&High.

A young violinist from Archway has described the moment she was accepted into the National Youth Orchestra (NYO) as like “a dream come true”.

A newly-opened redesigned wing at University College School has been dedicated to a headmaster who spent 17 years at the helm in Hampstead.

Camden headteachers have joined forces to highlight the impact of “relentless cuts” in the run-up to Philip Hammond’s budget announcement on Wednesday.

It was packed-out affair at Rokesly Junior School as parents received a lesson on how calmness is key when talking to your children.

Gifted youngsters from across Camden were celebrated at another inspiring Jack Petchey Foundation awards ceremony.

An opportunity of a lifetime has arisen for media-savvy students at City of Westminster College and the College of North West London.

A champion of diversity, a talented dancer and a rising musical star are just three of the youngsters who are set to be recognised at a Camden awards ceremony.

St Anthony’s School for Girls was awash with colour as students celebrated cultures from around the world.

Education editor James Scott speaks to Sarah Creasey about life as headteacher of Parliament Hill School.

“We are not going away,” was the warning shot to politicians in Westminster on Tuesday as parents and students from Haringey and Camden protested against school cuts.

Charitable students at UCS Hampstead have clubbed together to give a mammoth donation to the north Paddington food bank.

Meeting the need for extra school places remains a key priority for Camden, Barnet and Haringey councils, in the face of warnings about a looming shortfall.

Nobody goes to university without knowing they’ll take on debt.

Whizz-kids are giving the older generation a helping hand at Highgate School by running a technology club for ex-students.

The head of English at St Anthony’s School for Boys is a double champion after wining two gold medals at the European Masters Marathon Championships in Poland.

The Mayor of London has been applauded for tackling pollution in Camden after three of the borough’s primary schools were included in the first wave of ‘air quality audits’.

A school expansion has been lauded by Camden Council, despite “teething problems” over travel arrangements around the site.

A tech-savvy Abacus Belsize Park Primary School teacher will be inspiring her pupils this term after spending part of the summer break at a celebrated teaching event in California.

A blogger has been jailed for nine months after harassing parents of children caught up in false allegations of a ‘satanic paedophile ring’ at a Camden school.

Portland Place school headteacher David Bradbury...

A top Highgate independent school is acting as the principle educational sponsor to a state-funded academy which opened its doors in Tottenham on Monday with the chief aim of providing disadvantaged students living in Haringey with a “first class” education.

Following the much anticipated grading changes to GCSEs, three quarters of students at Westminster Academy were celebrating achieving the benchmark grade of a pass at GCSE.

The principal of Greig City Academy has lauded the ‘outstanding’ achievements of his GCSE students, with some of them setting their sights on Oxbridge degrees.

Students collecting their GCSE results across Camden yesterday morning have produced scores that are well above the national average.

Highgate School’s students have risen to the challenge of tougher exams by producing top results, according to headteacher Adam Pettitt.

Hornsey School for Girls have said despite reforms the school has achieved another set of “fantastic” GCSE results.

Students at King Alfred School have bucked the national trend after achieving their strongest raft of A* and A grades for 10 years.

North Bridge House Senior Hampstead students have bucked the national trend after receiving their GCSE exam results this morning.

The UCL Academy in Swiss Cottage celebrated it’s first ever GCSE results day with plenty of students securing impressive grades.

Pupils at South Hampstead High School were celebrating this morning as they collected the school’s best ever GCSE results, with a record-breaking 77.4% of entries awarded the top A* grade (up 13% on 2016) whilst an incredible 94.6% of entries were graded A*/A – another record for the school.

Pupils at top independent school Channing are celebrating after scooping outstanding GCSE results.

The headteacher of top independent University College School has urged the government to stop tinkering with education after the school posted record GCSE results.

Students collecting their GCSEs at Portland Place School this morning had plenty to celebrate, with headteacher David Bradbury lauding their dedication.

Students at Henrietta Barnett School have achieved a record number of top grades in the GCSE results they collected this morning.

If there is one day guaranteed to punctuate the calm of summer it’s likely to be today, when youngsters collect their GCSE results from school.

With pupils across the country anxiously waiting on their GCSE results, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test.

Camden schools have performed above the national average in this year’s A-level results.

An Oxford-bound Westminster Academy student has achieved a stellar score in her International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).

Henrietta Barnnett School’s students are set to achieve great things, according to headteacher Del Cooke.

The talent for maths at the UCL Academy is clear for all to see after almost half of A-level students achieved an A* or an A grade in the subject.

The majority of students have exceeded their expectations at Greig City Academy, according to the head of sixth form.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2017 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant