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Toxic Childhood: How The Modern World Is Damaging Our Children And What We Can Do About It [Paperback]

Sue Palmer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 May 2006

Children throughout the developed world are suffering: instances of obesity, dyslexia, ADHD, bad behaviour and so on are all on the rise. And it's not simply that our willingness to diagnose has increased, there are very real and growing problems. Sue Palmer, a former head teacher and literacy expert, has researched into a whole range of problem areas, from poor diet, a lack of exercise and sleep deprivation to a range of modern difficulties that are having a major effect: television, computer games, mobile phones. This combination of factors, added to the increasingly busy and stressed life of parents, means that we are developing a toxic new generation.

Sue Palmer's wonderful book illustrates the latest research from around the world - in Japan, for example, use of chopsticks is declining rapidly among children - and provides answers for worried parents as to how they can protect their families from the problems of the modern world and help ensure that their children emerge as healthy, intelligent and pleasant adults. Toxic Childhood is an enormously important book that reveals the issues behind our general concerns that 'things are getting worse' and shows how you can make sure that your own children suffer as little as possible.



Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (3 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752873598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752873596
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 413,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sue Palmer has written over two hundred books, articles and TV programmes for the education market, including How to Teach Writing Across the Curriculum and Speaking Frames (David Fulton). She's been involved in many campaigns around education, outdoor play, screen-based entertainment and the commercialisation of childhood. The Evening Standard listed her among the twenty most influential people in British education in 2009.

Product Description

Review

A fascinating account of the problems facing kids today... it contains solid parenting advice on subjects ranging from diet to childcare. (SAINSBURY'S MAGAZINE )

'A splendid book that draws together a vast swathe of the most authoritative research from a whole range of fields and disciplines ¿ that together explain ¿the worsening behaviour of children and the explosion in numbers of special needs pupils¿ (THE MOTHER )

Every parent should read this book, as it does contain a wealth of information you should know (EVENING HERALD )

Book Description

One in six children in the developed world is diagnosed as having 'developmental or behavioural problems', and the number is rising by 25% each year - this book explains why and shows what can be done about it

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
142 of 151 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars some sensible suggestions but often unconvincing 29 Mar 2007
Format:Paperback
As somebody with extensive experience of Scandinavian childrearing, I was intrigued to see how selectively the author quotes Scandinavian practices in relation to the findings of greater happiness and greater powers of concentration in these children. Scandinavia features prominently in her chapter on education, as a counterpart to the vicious effects of the early British school start and the result-centered education approach, neither of which she approves of. Scandinavian children are happier, they start school later, therefore we have proved the benefits of the late school start. Well, yes, maybe we have, but I notice that in other areas where practices differ between countries, Scandinavia doesn't get a look in. For instance, Scandinavian parents routinely let their children come into bed with them, because they have never been told that this is the sign of bad parenting. How come Palmer doesn't tell us this and relate it to the greater happiness reported by these youngsters? Nor are we informed that virtually all Scandinavian children attend full time day care from an early age (housewives being a virtually extinct species). So how do we know which of these is the decisive factor? Perhaps it's the night time cuddles, Palmer? Or the happy day care centres? Or something totally different that your Scandinavian sources forgot to tell you about. Research your study is not. As every properly qualified researcher knows, to be able to draw accurate conclusions, you have to isolate one factor, everything else being equal. Not tell anecdotes about a child looking grumpy on the steps of the Uffizi and speculate for several paragraphs on her parents' television habits. Read more ›
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Preaching to the converted? 9 Mar 2007
By John Williams TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was tempted to begin by saying that anyone who reads this book probably doesn't need to, but maybe there are parents out there who would find it useful. Parents who sense that something is wrong with childhood, but can't put their finger on it and would like some clues as to where to begin putting it right. Simple measures like taking the TV out of children's bedrooms, and aiming for the 'authoritative' (as opposed to 'authoritarian') style of parenting. This is a fairly authoritative book, anyway. Sue Palmer has done a lot of research. She puts her views and advice across in a readable style. For those who find it a bit skimpy there are plenty of references at the end of each chapter for further reading and web sites to visit. It's a bit of a rant, and I felt it was getting rather repetetive towards the end (hence only four stars), but Palmer does put her case across very convincingly, and I for one wouldn't disagree with her. I certainly wouldn't write her off as being illiberal or old fashioned, despite her yearning for 'old fashioned' values and advocacy of greater state support for parenting. Not sure about the 'mind the gap' section at the end of each chapter. These sections were supposedly intended to relate the advice in the main body of each chapter to the lives of the poorest families in western societies, but I thought they were a bit unnecessary and slightly sinister. As someone who brought up children twenty and more years ago, now has grandchildren, and works with children and families, I could relate to this book, and thought it full of good advice and ideas. Anyone could benefit by reading it, but it is aimed primarily at parents of young children. I hope that lots of them will read it, and put the advice into practice. As it says at the end of the book, 'We might even be in time to save the world.'
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63 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sue Palmer is an experienced writer and broadcaster on children's education. This very useful book makes a strong case for some traditional values. Our children need to develop focus, self-restraint and empathy; they need to learn to do as you would be done by; and they need presence, not presents, parents who listen and talk to their children. She recommends real food, less of sugar's empty calories and more fish oil, eaten at family meals; play and exercise; bedtime routines; and protecting children from advertising (Sweden bans advertising to under-12s).

In Finland, a teacher of nursery children must have a master's degree. Britain, on the cheap, uses poorly-qualified, even unqualified, staff, not just in nurseries but increasingly in primary and secondary education too. Our children from age five are subjected to tests and targets: our 11-year-olds are bottom of the league for enjoying reading. In Sweden and Finland, formal education starts at seven: they are top for literacy and have smaller gaps between rich and poor and between boys and girls.

But it is not just a matter of deficient parenting skills, or of a defective educational system. Why do these happen? Our competitive, long-hours, rat-race, culture is harming our children - and our adults too! When both parents have to be out working to make ends meet, the whole family suffers. As Ms Palmer says, we need family-friendly economies, not economy-friendly families.

And there is the vital matter of inequality, which, unfortunately, she does not treat in this book. Britain has the third biggest gap between haves and have-nots among the 24 OECD countries; the USA has the biggest. We have the second highest child death rate; the USA has the highest.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great condition
Book came promptly in great condition. Very interesting read. I would recommend it for families and any one who works with children.
Published 16 days ago by nicchick
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Very informative and thought provoking book for parents,teachers and anyone who works with children. Read more
Published 17 days ago by JM
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Sue Palmer for this brilliant book.
I have a seven year old daughter who was watching too much TV, a lot of the time on her own. She was like a moody teenager and I was letting her have her own way too often because... Read more
Published 3 months ago by mimirose2008
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read
A valuable addition to the plethora of child rearing advice literature; it's well written in an informative and entertaining style.
Published 10 months ago by Expert Review
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Good read for parents or parents to-be . Sue palmer knows her stuff. If you are looking at this book you are probably already a good parent but it's a useful reminder of things. Read more
Published 11 months ago by diva
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent service and no issues, arrived well within timeline given. Would highly recommend this site to anyone. Quality punctual service
Published 12 months ago by jonathan skirton
5.0 out of 5 stars Toxic Childhood
This book is an easy read, very fascinating and would recommend to anyone working with children or someone who wants to find out how our world is damaging children today.
Published 13 months ago by Rach
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
All parents should read this book- ideally BEFORE becoming parents. Very thought provoking and gives practical advice to help you change life for the better, for you and your... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. A. Palmer
4.0 out of 5 stars :-)
This book was recommended by my tutor, not read the whole thing yet but it is very interesting and I would recommend.
Published 14 months ago by ann
1.0 out of 5 stars Working class people are bad parents (apparantly)
This poorly written diatribe against the working class, contamporary life, and technology, is one of the most condescending and patronising books ever written. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Brian
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