Childhood Lost: How American Culture Is Failing Our Kids

By Sharna Olfman | Go to book overview

Introduction
SHARNA OLFMANThe rich diversity of cultures created by humankind is a testament to our ability to develop and adapt in diverse ways. But however varied different cultures may be, children are not endlessly malleable: they all share basic psychological and physical needs that must be met to ensure healthy development. Childhood Lost examines the extent to which American culture meets children's irreducible needs. Without question, many children growing up in the United States lead privileged lives. They have been spared the ravages of war, poverty, malnourishment, sexism, and racism. However, despite our considerable resources, not all our children share these privileges. Indeed, in the current cultural climate, many children are taxed beyond their capacity for healthy adaptation, and parenting has become intolerably laborintensive.Although elected officials across the political spectrum profess their commitment to [family values,] national policies that support family life are woefully lacking and significantly inferior to those in all other wealthy nations. As a result, American families are burdened by
inadequate parental leave and nonexistent child sick leave;
a healthcare system that does not provide universal coverage for children;

-xi-

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Childhood Lost: How American Culture Is Failing Our Kids
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I - Children's Irreducible Needs 1
  • 1: The Natural History of Children 3
  • 2: Why Parenting Matters 19
  • Part II - How American Culture is Failing Our Kids 55
  • 3: The War Against Parents 57
  • 4: The Impact of Media Violence on Developing Minds and Hearts 89
  • 5: The Commercialization of Childhood 107
  • 6: Big Food, Big Money, Big Children 123
  • 7: So Sexy, So Soon 137
  • 8: Techno-Environmental Assaults on Childhood in America 155
  • 9: [No Child Left] 185
  • 10: Where Do the Children Play? 203
  • Index 217
  • About the Editor and the Contributors 223
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