The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon

The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon

The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon

The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon


With the first two editions of this landmark work, Dr. David Elkind eloquently called our attention to the dangers of exposing our children to overwhelming pressures, pressures that can lead to a wide range of childhood and teenage crises. Internationally recognized as the voice of reason and compassion, Dr. Elkind showed that in blurring the boundaries of what is age appropriate, by expecting -- or imposing -- too much too soon, we force our kids to grow up far too fast.

In the two decades since this groundbreaking book first appeared, we have compounded the problem, inadvertently stepping up the assault on childhood in the media, in schools, and at home. Taking a detailed, up-to-the-minute look at the world of today's children and teens in terms of the Internet, classroom culture, school violence, movies, television, and a growing societal incivility, Dr. Elkind shows a whole new generation of parents where hurrying occurs and why and what we can do about it.


When I wrote The Hurried Child, now almost a decade ago, I was trying to describe something new on the American scene -- a transformation in our treatment of children that was as momentous and as far -- reaching as the changes in our behavior toward women and minorities. Yet because there was no explicit movement associated with a changing view of childhood and children, the transformation was in place even before we were aware that it had happened.

In my subsequent books, All Grown Up and No Place to Go and Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk, I attempted to further document how our changed treatment of adolescents and of young children was making life harder rather than easier for them. We have been "unplacing" teenagers by progressively removing the markers that set the limits and boundaries of age-appropriate thought and action, I wrote. And we are "miseducating" young children by teaching them the wrong things at the wrong time for no purpose. In these books, as in The Hurried Child, my aim was not only to document the transformation in our treatment of young people but also to make clear that children have had to pay the bill for many of the social revolutions that occurred in our society since the 1960s.

In The Hurried Child I wrote that the once-prevalent conceptions of children, summaried in metaphors of the child as a blank slater and as a growing plant, were already dated in the postindustrial United States. I wrote that a new conception of children was in the making, and that it had to be the underlying explanation for our . . .

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