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Reclaiming Childhood Paperback – 29 Jan 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (29 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415477239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415477239
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 634,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

‘This is a powerful and passionate book that explains why so much of what we say about children is so wrong.’ - Professor Frank Furedi, author of Paranoid Parenting

'Reclaiming Childhood is a lovely blend of developmental theory and up-to-date research, a deep knowledge of children, and good old common sense. This bracing book is a gift to children everywhere.’ -David Anderegg PhD author of Worried All the Time and Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them

'a book that should be read by every student teacher, teacher trainer and teacher. It will be a "must" for every parent. It is of more value than any parenting course! Politicians and the press who are paranoid about parenting should be made to read it.' - Professor Dennis Hayes, co-author of The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education (Routledge 2008)

'Guldberg has the ability to look at the whole weird world of what we now call "parenting," and figure out how this natural stage of life got to be so strange, so stilted and so difficult. Luckily her writing is anything but! A clear and illuminating look at our parental foibles and their effect on our kids. - Lenore Skenazy, founder, Free Range Kids.

'A Voice of Sanity in the World of Anti-Bully Hysteria [...] If you are a parent and consider stress-reduction a worthwhile expense, this book will be worth every penny!' - Psychology Today Blogs

'
Helene Guldberg offers a fresh and invigorating challenge to the gloomy conservatism that informs so much contemporary discussion of childhood.' - Professor David Buckingham, Institute of Education, University of London

'...an impassioned, lively and thought-provoking polemic' - Nursery World

'[T]his book is a valuable primer in critical thinking about taken-for-granted assumptions regarding many children's experiences today. It is a highly readable synthesis of a variety of ideas and sources, and contains important information for those who work with children and create the policies which shape their lives.' - Teachers College Record, July 31, 2009

'Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear is not only an important book, it is groundbreaking ...  This entire straight-talking book is worthwhile and a must read for anyone concerned with child development and social policy ... We should be grateful that there are still psychologists around like Helene Guldberg who have not confused political laws with the laws of nature and can inform us what kids truly need for healthy psychological development. - American Journal of Education, August 2010

 

 


 
 

 

Review

A lovely blend of developmental theory and up-to-date research, a deep knowledge of children, and good old common sense. This bracing book is a gift to children everywhere.

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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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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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