Childhood Lost: How American Culture Is Failing Our Kids

Childhood Lost: How American Culture Is Failing Our Kids

Childhood Lost: How American Culture Is Failing Our Kids

Childhood Lost: How American Culture Is Failing Our Kids

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

Humans belong to the taxonomic order of primates. This order is distinguished by many characteristics, one of which is giving birth to dependent young. Humans are extremists in this particular characteristic—we give birth to the most dependent infants and care for them for more years than does any other animal on earth. As such, infancy and childhood are major life cycle stages for humans, stages that deeply influence the development of the individual as well as the formation of family and community. Yet, we still have much to learn about the physical, emotional, psychological, and social development of infants and children.

In this chapter, I present an anthropological view of infancy and childhood. Although there has been some ethnographic work on children, few anthropologists have studied infants, and even fewer have been interested in explaining how biological development and cultural experience shape parenting practices, or how childhood experience forms adults.

The anthropological perspective is both deep in time (evolutionary) and broad in scope (cross-cultural). This is of critical importance because it helps us to evaluate which features of the parent-child relationship amid the rich cultural mosaic of parenting styles are essential for healthy child development. This perspective is particularly relevant at this juncture because western culture seems to have lost its ability to understand children. The West now . . .

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