ABC-CLIO

Childhood Lost

How American Culture Is Failing Our Kids

by Sharna Olfman

 

A disturbing look at American culture today and how it is connected to increasing numbers of children who are physically or mentally ill, obese, sexualized, violent, or neurologically and learning impaired.

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Cover image for Childhood Lost

March 2005

Praeger

Pages 240
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Psychology/Child and Teen
  • Hardcover

    978-0-275-98139-6

    $46.00

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    978-0-313-08864-3

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Experts from across disciplines join forces here to focus attention on current American culture and the devastating effects it is having on its children. From children developing surprising physical maturity and sexual awareness at younger and younger ages, to those estranged when television and computer screens replace family time, and those warped by national junk food/fast food habits bringing an explosion of obesity and diabetes among boys and girls, this book takes a harsh look at the results of American social norms. The damage being done by governmental policies is examined, including inadequate parental leave, a minimum wage that is not a living wage, unregulated day care, and a public education system that delivers inferior education to poor children. A call to action, this is a work from some of the best-known child experts nationwide. Every person who has or cares about a child will find this of interest.

Experts from across disciplines join forces here to focus attention on current American culture and the devastating effects it is having on its children. From children developing surprising physical maturity and sexual awareness at younger and younger ages, to those estranged when television and computer screens replace family time, and those warped by national junk food/fast food habits bringing an explosion of obesity and diabetes among boys and girls, this book takes a harsh look at the results of American social norms. It highlights the damage being done by governmental policies, including inadequate parental leave, a minimum wage that is not a living wage, unregulated day care, and a public education system that delivers inferior education to poor children. A call to action, this is a work from some of the best known child experts nationwide. Every person who has or cares about a child—or the future of U.S. socity— will find this of interest.

Most experts writing about childhood address issues from their own particular perspective. This work draws together a team of top scholars from across fields. They connect the dots in engaging and clear essays. Altogether, they demonstrate that the problems facing children today come from an underlying crisis of adult values, and they suggest that individuals must join forces to turn back this crisis.

Table of Contents

Introductiona by Sharna OlfmanChildren's Irreducible NeedsThe Natural History of Childhood by Meredith SmallWhy Parenting Matters by Laura BerkHow American Culture Is Failing Our KidsThe War Against Parents by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Cornel WestThe Impact of Media Violence on Developing Minds and Hearts by Gloria DeGaetanoChildhood: The Fastest Growing Market Segment by Susan LinnBig Food, Big Money, Big Children by Katherine Battle HorgenSo Sexy So Soon: The Sexualization of Childhood by Diane LevinTechno-Environmental Assaults on Childhood in America by Varda Burstyn and Gary Sampson"No Child Left": What Are Schools for in a Democratic Society by Peter SacksWhere Do the Children Play by Sharna OlfmanAbout the ContributorsIndex

Reviews/Endorsements

Reviews

"In this powerful narrative about the challenges facing children and their families in the US in the 21st century, clinical psychologist and associate professor of developmental psychology Olfman does an excellent job of bringing writers together to help readers explore a wide variety of issues, including debates on culturally relevant topics ranging from the educational dilemmas caused by No Child Left Behind and the developmental impact of media violence and childhood obesity to the commercialization and sexualization of children. This book is an easy read, providing political, social, moral, and empirical perspectives. It will be both disturbing and thought-provoking to anyone professionally or personally concerned about the issues currently facing children and their families in the US. Recommended. General collections, professionals, and practitioners."Choice

"Olfman, a clinical psychologist and professor of developmental psychology at Point Park University, presents ten essays that raise an alarm about the consequences of accepted social norms for American children."Reference & Research Book News

"A powerful collection of essays that demonstrate how our society is conducting a war on children. Examines media violence, commercialization and the sexualization of childhood, obesity, and failed government and corporate policies on parental leave, minimum wage, and unregulated day care. A useful handbook for educators, parents, and policymakers."Rethinking Schools/Rethinking Schools Online

Endorsements

"[A]n enormously important book and should become required reading for anyone who is concerned with our children's welfare. It brings together world-renowned experts from a wide range of fields, ranging from anthropology and economics to psychology and environmental studies. Each of them write with passion about their research and the dangers that face our children today. These essays highlight the unparalleled importance of childhood for a human being's physical, intellectual, emotional and moral growth, and the steps that must be taken to safeguard children's irreducible needs."—Stuart G. Shanker, Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, York University

"This brilliant and trenchant expos^D'e of how American culture fails our children will enlighten parents and should be on every policy-maker's desk. I only hope they have the guts to read and act on it!"—Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., Educational Psychologist and author, Your Child's Growing Mind: Development and Learning from Birth to Adolesence

"The corporate takeover of childhood is a developmental hazard that harms the young and dumbs the culture, and is a moral issue for all citizens. A domestic war on parents and children? Not on your watch, say the authors of Childhood Lost. If exploiting children is morally repugnant, why is it legal? Commercializing childhood colonizes the child psyche from birth--a theft of spirit both unconscionable and tragic. The strategic interventions offered here can help heal the tear in the fabric of life. Read this remarkable book of conscience, take action, and tell others. Lawmakers, parents, CEOs, and educators: support families, safeguard the children."—RAFFI Cavoukian, children's troubadour, author, founder of Child Honoring

Other Titles of Interest

All Work and No Play... cover imageHow Consumer Culture Controls Our Kids cover imageThe Science and Pseudoscience of Children's Mental Health cover image
Sexualized Media Messages and Our Children cover imageDrugging Our Children cover imageYour Child Does <i>Not</i> Have Bipolar Disorder cover image

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