Not All Hurried Children Are the
Same: Children's Participation
in Deciding on and Planning
Their After-School Activities
Susan M. Perez
University of California, Riverside
No matter what philosophy of life we espouse, it is important to see childhood as a stage of life, not just the anteroom to life. Hurrying children into adulthood violates the sanctity of life by giving one period priority over another.
—Elkind (2001, p. 221)
When David Elkind's book, The Hurried Child, appeared in 1981, it aroused both professional and public attention. For the first time, psychological stressors identified with adulthood, such as overscheduling one's day, shifting from activity to activity in a day with few breaks in between, and a fixation on achievement, were associated with youth. Much has changed since Elkind's book first appeared, and in many ways, the circumstances of children's everyday lives have become more harried and stressful than what was described in the book. The current state of children's after-school experiences is of rising concern to educators, policymakers, and parents, and over the last 10 years, this topic has entered the arena of national debate. This chapter is concerned with what developmental psychologists can bring to this discussion.
Several societal trends of the late 20th and early 21st centuries have made children's daily lives markedly different from that experienced by the post- World War II generation. These trends include increased numbers of single parents and dual-wage-earning families that necessitate long hours for children in after-school care. Parental anxiety about maximizing future options for children has led to an upsurge in various types of apprenticeship programs