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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read for Students and parents, 31 Jan. 2009
By 
J. Morris "Animal Magic" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear (Paperback)
This book is a breath of fresh air. Helene Guldberg deals with a lot of assumptions made today about children by actually looking at the facts and indicating that the issues are not as simple as commentators put it. For example, her writing on the statistics and points made in the Unicef report upon which a lot of policy is being made today makes one realise that there needs to be more discussion before acceptance of that policy. It may not be as simple as UK children being at the bottom of the table for well-being. She also argues very well that "junk food" is a morally loaded term rather than a scientific understanding of good or bad food.

As Guldberg indicates there needs to be more discussion rather than just face value acceptance of issues facing children and parents. Guldberg is the first writer I have come across for a while who reminds us that there is a history where childhood did not exist at all and that children are a lot more robust that we give them credit for today. She also shows through her useful comparison of children's lives in Norway to the UK that we as parents do not have to accept that risks whether old or new should close down children's freedom. More importantly she argues effectively that children need to take on risks, solve a lot of their own problems and make their own mistakes in order to grow up as robust adults. We as adults need to give them the space to do that.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Hopefully it will start a much needed debate.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a book about parenting that doesn't blame parents, 30 Jan. 2009
By 
Jan Bowman - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear (Paperback)
This is the first argument I've seen about raising children today that doesn't end up blaming parents. It also explains why unsupervised play, the sort that anyone over 40 will remember with fondness - no grownups around, roaming over building sites, canals and other risky places and not being expected home till teatime - is essential to the development of sane, capable adults.

Guldberg is a child psychologist and uses well-researched examples to make her case. She argues persuasively that today's obsession with safety and supervision at the expense of freedom is robbing children of the best and most critical part of childhood - the bit where children get to explore the world entirely on their own, as a normal, vital part of growing up.

Crucially, rather than blaming parents for being overprotective, Guldberg points the finger at policymakers. She explains why teachers and parents are being encouraged to resent and criticise each other by today's education strategies, and calls for a rational, humane approach to bringing up children. A lovely, important book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let children be children, and adults be adults, 16 Feb. 2009
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This review is from: Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear (Paperback)
If, like me you are fed up with headline after headline bemoaning how bad today's world is for children, then this book is a must read.

Guldberg puts the experience of childhood today into historical perspective, and as a result portrays children's lives in a much more positive light than most. She takes up all the fears of the modern age, from our obsession with healthy eating, to bullying and stranger danger, and indicates that things are not as bad as we probably think they are. Guldberg convincingly puts the case that children are not only healthier and wealthier than ever before, but importantly, they are more robust than we tend to give them credit for.

For Guldberg, if anything poses a danger to the next generation, it is our safety-obsessed culture and our lack of trust in other adults which encourages us to keep children safely cocooned away from the world. This adult fear of the world potentially denies children important experiences in independent play, that we perhaps took for granted, and that are an important part of growing up. We need to let children be children, and this means they sometimes need the freedom to make their own mistakes, and learn from them.

Whilst Guldberg challenges the many ways in which the fears of adult society are projected onto our children, she does this while promoting a very positive view of the importance of adulthood. In the final section of her book she poses a defence of parents, teachers and strangers in the lives of children, arguing that they each play an important but different role, and they should be trusted to get on with it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's all about the adults, 29 Jan. 2009
By 
Jane Sandeman - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear (Paperback)
This book has as its central thesis that as adults are becoming more fearful of the world around them they are projecting their anxieties onto children and their childhood. It makes a strong argument for letting children have freedom to make their own mistakes and work out what they are and who they are and what the world is without the continual intervention from adults.
It is a very entertaining read and is useful to start the conversation as to how we do let children enjoy their childhood and how we as adults in society should behave towards each other.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great book, 28 Jun. 2013
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this book is very very good. a must read. written in plain, easy to understand English. really good for my lit review.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 30 Jan. 2009
By 
Mr. Jason Smith "Jason Smith" (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear (Paperback)
I was shocked to discover while reading this book, that going by the modern interpretation of bullying, I was a victim while at school. Far from traumatising me for life, I always considered encountering the harsh realities of the playground to be an important part of growing up and discovering who I am. This book is a must-read for parents. A much needed dose of commonsense, I hope it is read widely.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reclaiming Childhood, 27 April 2009
This review is from: Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear (Paperback)
Excellent book,up to the minute information, especially if studying an Early Childhood Studies degree.
Very readable. A must buy book.
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Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear
Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear by Helene Guldberg (Paperback - 29 Jan. 2009)
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